Barry’s Tea Radio Adv

Greatest Irish Christmas advertisement?

Is “Christmas Train Set” – or “the Barry’s Tea Christmas radio ad” – written by the late Catherine Donnelly and voiced by the late Peter Caffrey the greatest Irish Christmas advertisement? Believe it, or not, it is enjoying it’s 21st Christmas this year.


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Bill Clinton’s horrible word…

Former US President Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton demonstrated his communication prowess once again during his visit to Dublin last week. The 42nd president of the United States told it as it is and used direct language to connect with his audience when referring to Ireland’s financial difficulties: “It’s a horrible time now but you will get out of it. It will get better as long as you hang together”
Contrast this language with that of those elected to lead the Irish public: euphemistic, evasive and filled with financial and economic jargon. Calling a spade a spade, or a horrible time exactly that, is the kind of political communication desperately needed in Ireland today.
Having let his audience know that he understands how they feel, Clinton continued by offering hope: “All the talents, all the abilities, all the incentives. They are still there. I have really no doubt that the country will come back and that you’ll come back with a more diversified economy, less vulnerable to what just happened to you. As long as everybody keeps moving ahead.” Sadly, this sort of inspiration is thin on the ground in Ireland today.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that Irish politicians can take from Clinton’s visit is that you don’t have to avoid telling the bad news while still bringing your audience with you. “Take the bitter medicine you have to take,” he advised, before reminding people of the strengths of today’s environment: “This is not the drab horrible story that drove thousands of emigrants to the shores of the United States almost two hundred years ago.”
Clinton again demonstrated his ease in his use of the vernacular during his Business & Finance speech when he advised that “We just have to get our mojo back”, not only using a conversational tone and language, but invoking “we”, as in we are in this together and we will get through it. Also consider the use of “we” rather than the impersonal “the Irish people”, “the electorate” with which we are familiar from our Irish politicians.
Horrible, just horrible.

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Dermot Earley’s handshake

Image of Dermot EarleyThroughout the tributes paid on the recent death of Lt Gen Dermot Earley was a reference to the former Chief of Staff’s handshake.

Major General Sean McCann, who succeeded General Earley as Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, referred to latter’s handshake as his “calling card”. Colleagues from the sports pitch, where he had demonstrated skills as a leader and team player, also remembered that calling card: “He had that famous handshake that made you feel that little bit more important, and you knew it was sincere…,” remarked former Roscommon Senior footballer, Seamus Hayden. There were many other memories of that handshake.

Clearly, Dermot Earley communicated so much through his handshake. It is an example of how much one can say without words; how one can express a presence; how one can exude sincerity, confidence and assuredness. The impact of his handshake remained with you long after he had left.

In a world increasingly reliant on digital communication, either socially or in a commercial context, how are we to identify and develop ways in which we can make as powerful connection with others as Dermot Earley did with his handshake? Should we expect that such a thing might be possible?

As we continue to develop new means of digital communication, perhaps we have to accept that there are elements of what we can achieve face-to-face, that can never be replicated electronically. Non-verbal communication accounts for the vast majority of how we communicate in person. To date, even the ubiquitous emoticons are poor cousins.

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