I spent almost 35 years in broadcasting; working in radio for several years before moving onto television in 1986. For 24 of those years I anchored a daily news program in Saskatoon. I loved my job and, for the most part, I loved the people I worked with. I even had some pretty great bosses along the way, with the exception of perhaps a couple of them. My last boss had only been my boss for a few weeks. He will go down as likely my worst boss. My 35 year broadcasting career came to an abrupt end in October of 2013. It wasn’t my choice to leave. I like to say I was managed out the door. It was a blow, I’ll admit, but looking back it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I got comfortable in my job… perhaps a little too comfortable. In May of 2014, I launched my own company; Trish Cheveldayoff Communications and Consulting. I have learned a great deal in the last three years. Today, I find myself working on annual reports, news releases and advisories, media training, media events, fundraisers, sponsorship, donor stories, and helping local companies with their messaging. It’s been great and I’ve done it all from the comfort of my home office. I love having a home based business. Right now for example I am sitting at my computer in my pajamas and enjoying a hot cup of coffee. I’m multi-tasking this morning as I’ve got a load of laundry in the washing machine and another load ready to go in. It’s nice not having to get up in the morning and rush to get out the door. I was always rushing as I tried to multi-task while getting ready for my work day. Thus, I was usually about 10 minutes late for work. I just never had it in me to get to work on time. So now, I start when I want to start or when I need to start. I also find myself working late at night. Clearly I am more of a night owl than a morning person. I don’t know how I survived those 6 years doing early morning radio news in Tillsonburg, Ontario. But I was much younger then and didn’t require the amount of make-up I need today. It now takes a great deal of time to look this good. I often get asked about what I’m doing now. Some people think I’m still on the air. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and told me how much they love watching me on the News at Noon. When I remind them I haven’t been on TV since October of 2013, they seem surprised. They still think I’m part of the CTV family. Through my husband’s work as an MLA, I attend many dinners and fundraisers in Saskatoon and in the province. Many people believe I’m at these events as a representative of CTV. I guess that’s good for CTV, since many times, CTV is nowhere to be found. The company is still benefitting from my presence, even though I haven’t worked there in 3.5 years. You’re welcomed CTV! All kidding aside, I have enjoyed working for myself. Until recently, when people inquired about what I’m doing now, I would often say, “I have my own little company.” I recently attended a conference for women entrepreneurs and a woman at my table asked me why I used the adjective “little” to describe my company. It was a good question and one I really didn’t know how to answer. She suggested I stop referring to my company as “little.” She reminded me I am doing important work, supporting those small and medium sized companies who perhaps don’t have the budget for a full-time communications person. She reminded me that even though my face is no longer coming into people’s living rooms on a daily basis, I am still contributing and making a difference. That “little” piece of advice was the “big” piece of advice I needed to hear, to remind myself there is life after a 35 year broadcasting career and it can be just as rewarding and fulfilling. Better yet, I can do it all from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas, while enjoying my morning coffee.
Have you noticed lately people have forgotten about the telephone? Don’t get me wrong, just about everyone has a telephone; either a landline or a cell phone and, in some cases, people have both. But from what I see, people have forgotten how to use the telephone. I know today’s cell phones allow you to avoid having actual conversations with people. Just about everyone, it seems, has reverted to texting because it’s easy and quick. But just because it’s easy and quick doesn’t make it better. I also think some people would much rather send an email than pick up the telephone and call someone. The only problem is people are getting hundreds of emails in a day and, in many cases; they aren’t even opening them. Just look at the latest email stats. Did you know the average number of emails an office worker receives a day is 121? Did you know the open rate for email sent in North America is about 34%? What impact does all this have on your communications strategy, both internally and externally? Are you really reaching the people you need to reach? Are you really communicating with them? I would suggest in many cases you aren’t. Texting is a great tool if you’re texting your husband to tell him to pick up milk or a loaf of bread on his way home from work. Texting might be great if you need to find out where your teenage son or daughter is. But it’s not the best method if you’re trying to connect with your customers or clients. Emailing is good if you follow up with a phone call to ensure they received your email and actually read your email. Do you know what might be even better than an email? Try sending an old fashioned letter in the mail. I know the price of a stamp has increased over the years. Currently a stamp will cost you $1 but its only 85 cents per stamp if you purchase a pack of stamps. Trust me when I say your letter will stand out, because the person receiving it will likely have just a handful of actual letters sitting on their desk but their computer inbox will be filled with hundreds of unopened emails. We have raised an entire generation who are unable to successfully communicate and connect with others. I would love to hear your thoughts. But please don’t text or email me. As the American new wave band Blondie belted out in the early 1980’s, “Call me, Call me, anytime. Call me!”