How to learn new skills for free!

 

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Start learning today and fill that page!

 

Hi there.

Nearly two years ago I wrote about some free courses which are available on the world-wide web.

I think it’s fair to say that an that an update is overdue, so this week I’ll be mentioning course providers who offer courses relevant to business people (SMEs) and individuals.

I am starting with a provider with a great range of course to suit all learners.

FutureLearn by  The Open University is a MOOC (massive open online course) and is privately owned by The Open University.  According to their website you:

‘Join over 1733635 people learning with FutureLearn. Enjoy free online courses from top universities and cultural institutions. Find the course for you.’

They also have another path to free learning called Open Learn.

Open Learn is: ‘The home of free learning from The Open University

The resources used by FutureLearn and Open Learn are no different from the main Open University courses, in that they all have well- designed course material. I have taken courses with both and find them to be informative and interesting. The only negative I can find is that there are so many courses you may have trouble deciding which ones you want to study!

FutureLearn courses have specified start dates and can run for two/three weeks through to eight weeks. You can interact with other learners via threads of comments. Open Learn, offers more flexibility as you start and finish when you want.  At the end of the course, FutureLearn gives you the option of purchasing a certificate, while Open Learn offers you a statement of participation.

I studied for my degree with The Open University (and while it’s not free), I loved the fact that my fellow students came from all walks of life, all ages and nationalities.  According to The Open University‘s Former Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean:

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.’

They have always been proud of their great resources, which is evident in their factual programmes made with the BBC; such as Hospital, where The Open University‘s academics have been advisors on the co-produced programme.

Now onto a completely different organisation called Alison.

Alison describes themselves as ‘the original MOOC’ (massive open online course), and is:

‘a five-million-strong, global online learning community, filled with free, high-quality resources to help you develop essential, certified workplace skills.’

To be honest I have started a few courses with Alison but did not know that much about them. Wikipedia has some background information and says that ALISON stands for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online. So, you can’t say that you have not learnt anything today.

From the information given on their website, and a promotional video, Alison started in Galway, Ireland and offers courses that are flexible and can be studied at your own pace wherever you are. They have over 750 courses on offer including diploma courses, free courses, languages, digital courses and courses for personal development. Students are assessed throughout the course and have the option of purchasing a certificate.

Lastly, a name that you associate more with recruitment than courses is Reed. While Reed, do not offer the courses themselves, they are a platform directing you to the sources of the courses. Rhyming was purely coincidental!

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I am always encouraging reading and research. I love learning new things, so I’ll be checking out the new courses from FutureLearn.

I believe that whether you are a business owner or a regular individual, you should always be looking for ways to develop yourself and your business.

I hope that you enjoyed the blog, and it’s made you want to learn something new.

Take care,

Tricia

p.s Speaking about learning new things, if you are new to blogging and want more information or you’d like to attend a future blogging workshop, contact me here at My email address or via the contact form on My Website.

Business Writing Tips

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Hi, there.

This week I thought I would share a few videos and articles about writing tips which I hope won’t be too patronising, but help you with your writing.

Whether you are writing for your website or for promotional material, the principle is the same, basic grammar and punctuation is just the start. These videos should highlight what it takes to make an impression with your audience, through your content.

In the first video by Mind Tools, you can Learn How to Write More Effectively for business.

Next is a quick video called Improving your business writing skills, by Matter Horn Languages which seems to state the obvious, yet it is the obvious which is often overlooked.

In How to Write the Perfect Business Blog PostForbes gives some suggestions which should help you to write a great blog post.

If you disregard the figures used in this last article as they refer to US Dollars, the message behind it is universal.  Like the other videos and articles, 12 Tips for Better Business Writing by Life Hack gives some essential tips and I especially like tip 12.

Remember PM Noble Consultancy Services can help with website content and blog posts for an existing or brand new website. However, if you need to know the basics of how to start a blog then why not come along to the Introduction to Blogging workshop on April 28th, 2017 at the Let’s Go! Business Hub in Enfield?

Thanks for reading and I hope that you picked up a few more useful tips.

Next week is Easter, and I will be back, but in the mean time, I wish you a Happy and Healthy Easter.

Take care

Tricia

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools Day (Don’t get caught out!)

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Hello there.

So it’s the 1st of April, and to some, it will be a relief that the day has fallen on a Saturday so they won’t fall foul of silly office pranks.  However, you are not off the hook from the media. This week’s blog includes possible origins and some past pranks.

Now what is April Fools Day all about and why do we celebrate it?

Let’s look at the first definition of April Fools Day, on Wikipedia and two other possible origins by Wonderopolis and Metro. Pope Gregory the thirteenth and Geoffrey Chaucer make appearances in the theories.

So although there is just speculation about how all this business of playing tricks and inflicting hoaxes started, it still continues to this day.

Here are some of the best pranks, according to The Mirror and Bored Panda.  Although some are funny I am in no way advocating any kind of deviant behaviour towards, friends, family or work colleagues, under the guise of April Fools.

April Fools pranks have not alway gone to plan. According to the Guardian Google had to pull the plug on a joke which backfired last year. I wonder what they’ll do this year?

Well, I hope that you don’t get caught out today. You can be sure though that there are no tricks up my sleeves. If you need help with social media management, website content, blogging or proofing, then contact me via my website. Also for those who want to start a blog or need some help with a current blog, book your place soon to get an early-bird discount for my Introduction to Blogging workshop on April 28th, 2017.  See you there!

Take Care

Tricia

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Poetry

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Hi there.

This week I thought I would put together some poetry of various styles to celebrate Mother’s Day in the UK tomorrow.

To start with I decided to include a poem by Victorian English writer Christina Rosetti.  Although written for her mother’s birthday, I have included this work as I think the sentiments apply to Mother’s Day. You can read more about Her Life here.

My next choice is  A Mother’s Day Poem by the poet and author  Ms Moem, who writes personalised poetry for all occasions.   She is a new find from YouTube, but I love what she does. Check her website http://msmoem.com/.

I hope she doesn’t mind, but for my third choice, I have used a couple of lines from a poem by Vernette John -Joiles which I think is perfect as we celebrate all women,  who  (as mother-figures) have impacted the lives of many others especially other women. In Woman Know Your Worth, from the book Love Needs No Occasion, the talented author and poet writes:

When you know your worth,

You don’t live carelessly,

You walk and carry yourself respectfully,

Mindful of your Creator and abase yourself reverently,

You give honour and esteem to whom it is due easily,

You take care of your fellow woman selflessly,

And speak peace and wisdom calmly,

You desire to love and share fully,

Woman know your worth.

My next choice is To My Mother by Robert Louis Stevenson. As a Scottish novelist and poet Stevenson has written many works but is best known for  Treasure Island.  For more about his life and works, check the RLS website.

For my last choice, I have gone across the pond for a playwright, activist and poet. The Negro Mother by Langston Hughes is a powerful poem which exemplifies the struggles and strength of a mother during a transitional period in African -American history. For some facts and figures about Hughes life, here is Britannica’s Bio.

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog.

Happy Mother’s Day to all women, because you probably don’t realise how much you have done for others and how appreciated you are!

Take care,

Tricia

P.S Apparently you are never too young to start on your poetry journey and 1f you are eagle-eyed you may be able to see who wrote the Mother’s Day ditty. The One in a  million refers to a poem published in the Daily Star (below) back in 1983!

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The Five Ws of Blogging!

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Hi there.

This week I thought I would mention blogging and share some points raised in a social media workshop led by Sara Carter, a brilliant marketing advisor at Enterprise Enfield. The workshop was part of their Inspiring Women programme. Check the website for the eligibility criteria.

So, now back to the Five Ws and the One H What?, Why?, How?, Who? and When?

What is a blog and What should you post?

Here’s a simple YouTube video called What is a Blog?  which as the title suggest tells you what a blog is, in straightforward language.

Here are some of the ideas that came out of the workshop:

It is like ‘an informal newspaper’ which,’ helps you tell your story’ and it allows you to ‘share your life story with the world.’

It records ‘day to day activities’ and it is about ‘writing stories which point to the business.’

Need more definitions? Here are some links:

Blog Basics

Lifewire

Wikipedia

What you should post depends on your target audience. but generally speaking, your posts should educate (train/guide etc) or inform (give them information that they find useful and which solves a problem).

Next on the agenda, Why you need to blog!

More ideas from the group:

Blogging ‘informs’ and ‘gets your ideas across,’ and ‘helps you to engage with an audience in a personal informal way.’ This should lead to increasing ‘your online presence.’

Okay to sum up. You should blog as this…

Helps to drive traffic to your website

Helps to establish your credibility and authority in your area of expertise

Helps to increase your SEO

Helps you to interact with and establish relationships with customers

Now. How to start a blog.

Here are a couple or videos which I think are quite helpful. They are How to Start a blog and get noticed and Blogging Tips.  If you need a step by step guide, check the Beginners Guide to Blogging and WikiHow to start a blog.

With all this information, there is no excuse for you to put off starting a blog.  Once you have looked at all your options and you start to plan your blog posts, you need to ask Who are the big players in blogging and Who are your target?

If you want to see what impressive blogs look like, check these Top blogs.

Only you are going to know who your audience are and who you ultimately want to sell your product or service to.  This is where you should ask yourself some more questions. Which sites and platforms do your customers use?  What content is likely to appeal to them? If you need more ideas, check what your competitors are doing.   If you want to research a good range of blogs try Hubspot, Neil Patel, Jeff Bullas, PM Noble Writes, Seth Godin, Mashable and Lifehacker.

Last, but by no means least, When should you post? By this, I am referring to when during the day and over which period of time. For example, weekly or monthly?

You will find that there are quite a few sites with conflicting information because like with most things in life, one size does not fit all. The time of day that you post any social media depends on the target audience. It can be trial and error so try different times of the day. Whatever you decide, make sure that you post regularly. If you are going to post once a month, then do so; that way you will maintain consistency with your customers and they will take you more seriously.

If you need any more advice or information on Blogging, Social Media or Website Content get in touch via the website pmnobleconsultancyservices.co.uk. Remember you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Happy Blogging!

Take care,

Tricia

Mind Matters?

Untitled design (2)Hello there,

This week I thought I would mention a subject which I feel relates to these blogs Grey Matters Part One and Grey Matters Part Two, which were written a year ago.

In the series, I wrote about the human brain not the biological Grey matter, but why it is important to keep your mind active by reading and listening to quality material. Hint –  Reading really interesting blogs help.

What do you think?  Does it matter what you feed your mind, as long as it doesn’t starve?

Okay, so, first of all, let me start with the benefits of reading. A Mail Online article asks Can a good book help beat depression? in which Eleanor Harding quotes Debbie Hicks, the director of research at the Reading Agency, who says:

‘Reading is a really good stress-buster. It can help you escape to another world and get you out of your everyday life.’

Another article which quotes the Reading Agency is from the Independent which states that Reading improves relationships and reduces depression symptoms.

Now, let’s move on to music. In another Independent article How music could help you concentrate while studying. The studies are not really very conclusive so, Max Baker sums  up the piece with:

‘…what a student can take from research is that using music to create an environment yourself is conducive towards the task that you wish to complete.’

Any other benefits? Kendall Deflin of Live fo Live Music think so and gives  10 Positive benefits of listening to music according to science.

I still think that quality matters in reading material when you are trying to improve your grammar and general English language skills. However, as the articles highlight, the music you choose determines the outcome you would like. So as always, don’t take my word for it, do your own research. You are the best person to decide what works best for you.

Take care,

Patricia

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