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EPISODE 18 – Dave Thackeray

Mastering Simplicity In Your Proposition

In this episode, we’re joined by Dave Thackeray, a seasoned content strategist with a passion for simplification in communication. Dave’s journey from journalism to content strategy in various sectors, including education and telecommunications, has led him to advocate for clarity and simplicity in business propositions.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The importance of simplicity
  • The Double Diamond Design Framework
  • Techniques for gathering diverse viewpoints 
  • Breaditation





Episode Transcript
Episode transcript

According to the Myers Briggs company, 57 percent of the population have a preference towards introversion. there’s nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert. I’m one myself. If you’ve got something valuable to say, but you’re not promoting yourself or your message, then it’s going to be hard to make much of an impact, which is why I’m so pleased to be joined by personal brand and visibility coach Fifi Mason, where we’ll discuss how to stop self silencing and make more of an impact.

Fifi, great to see you again. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for having me and great to see you as Well, just for everyone who’s listening’s benefit, can we start off with a bit of an intro to, to you, your background, your career and how you’ve ended up being a personal brand and visibility coach?

Yeah, sure. oh, it’s been quite a journey to be fair. So I, initially I was working in the web and marketing industry and there came a point where I decided I’d had enough of that and I wanted to become a freelancer. for around a year or so, I was just helping people with their branding, designing websites, and going to lots of local networking to find clients.

And it, it got to a point where, it was probably around just over a year, where I realized I had to change. Some clients that just really didn’t align with me. And some of them were demanding so much from me that I, even would get off, phone calls with them and I would be in tears because they would be.

rude, demanding, asking so much more of me than what they were willing to pay. And I really realized that I had to make a change. I had to figure out what I was actually doing with my freelance business, what I was actually wanting to do going forwards, who I wanted to help. And what I had realized was that I wasn’t really marketing myself in a way that attracted the right kinds of people to me.

And so I went on this self discovery journey of figuring out who I am and what I’m all about. And it was really interesting. a personal brand journey. It was about how I wanted to show up in the world, how I wanted to put myself out there so that I was really resonating with the right kinds of people, the people that I knew were going to value what I had to say, what I had to bring, the skills that I had.

And it just became this whole journey of figuring out who I am, who I want to help the most, how I was going to do it going forwards, and just learning more about my personality as well. And I soon realized being an introvert, being more quiet, that was who I wanted to work with. I wanted to help those people, and I fell in love with that process of personal branding, and Decided that was going to be it.

That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help other people go through this process of figuring out their thing, figuring out where they want to go. And if they are an introvert or more quiet or even shy, They can still do that. They can still have a business that truly aligns with them and a free, be a freelancer who is putting themselves out there and attracting the clients that they really want to work with so that they enjoy their work so that they.

are doing the work that they feel fulfilled doing. So that is, yeah, that is how I came to this point of helping quiet introverts to get visible, to show up and really put themselves out there in a way that they can attract the right kinds of people to them. And you, you, mentioned about, wanting to work with the quiet introvert type personality.

is there a particular profile of business that you work with? Does it tend to be solopreneurs or do you work with larger, organizations as well? I predominantly work with coaches, so life coaches, wellness coaches, in all sorts of areas, and. I help them to figure out their niche as well.

so there’s, it’s still quite broad, but helping them to realize who they want to impact the most, who they want to help inspire, encourage, guide, and how they’re going to show up enough to resonate with their clients. yeah. Yeah, and I think even though you might have a preference for working with Small businesses, coaches, solopreneurs, a lot of what you’ve got to say actually applies to individuals working in any size organization.

and one of the reasons that I was so keen to speak with you is in my background in marketing, a lot of the time people don’t actually want to hear. In fact, it’s very rare. I think that people want to hear from the marketing department. They actually want to hear from the founder or the scientist that came up with something, or if you’re an HR company, someone who actually lives and breathes HR.

As part of their career and really knows the topic like the back of their hand, but they’re not always. the most extroverted people willing to put themselves out there. I think it’s, valuable. I think there’s a lot of pressure for a lot of people to adopt that extroverted type personality, in order to be heard and stand out from the crowd.

It’d be great if you could talk a bit about what self silencing is and why it matters. Yeah, certainly. So yeah, you made a great point there of that, anyone. I think, I believe everybody has a personal brand, and they can take control of it. It’s, how you’re perceived, how you’re showing up in the online world, but also with those around you.

And, it’s, it all starts with really getting comfortable with talking about your thoughts, your ideas, your opinions, your perspectives, and what often happens. And it’s not, even necessarily an introvert thing, but I find that a lot of what The people that I work with, quieter introverts, do struggle with this more.

But yeah, self silencing is when we hold back from sharing those thoughts, those ideas, those opinions, because we fear what is mostly perceived consequences. And I say perceived because they are the things we think are going to happen. They are the, worries that we start making in our head and they’re not always real.

They’re not always going to happen. They are the worst case scenario. So someone worrying about what someone might think, what someone might say, getting criticized. That’s the worst. That kind of thing. They hold back from talking about what they, care about and the ideas that they should be bringing to the world because they worry that other people are going to just be rude, be nasty, or, that even no one will even care, so what’s the point anyway?

And, yeah, a lot of people struggle with self silencing and holding back in this way. And it’s a real, I think it’s just really sad, because everyone has value to bring to the world. And, yeah. We just have to find that self confidence and belief in ourselves to get to a point where we can comfortably start sharing those things.

Yeah, and I read your book, Stop Self Silencing, and I found it a really helpful, structured approach to this topic. This topic and this issue, you’ve touched on them already but in there you do give five core reasons why people Self silence, it’d be great if you could just expand on them a little bit because I think that’s a really good foundation for Once you understand that then you can start addressing them individually as well.

Yes, certainly. So The five core reasons you might be self silencing is just understanding them is really, I find it just, it makes things so much more clear and easier to navigate. So I’ll go through them one at a time. So number one is you worry that those you care about will see you differently.

And that is the specific fear Of just the people that we care about, our friends, our family, our peers, it could be our colleagues, our bosses, and clients, if you have a business. We, worry that by sharing more of ourselves and being more authentic, putting out those thoughts and ideas that we have will change their perspective of us in a negative way.

And, you might get someone or you think you’ll get someone coming to you and saying, I never knew this about you, this changes my whole opinion of you, I don’t want to know you anymore, that kind of thing. we start to really say that to ourselves and believe that those things are going to happen.

And, Because it’s someone that we actually care of, we care about their opinion of us, that’s where the fear comes from. It’s like we, we care about them as people, we care about their opinion, and we don’t want them to judge us or change their opinion of us in any way. And so it’s the fear of judgment, the fear of rejection, the fear of, not being part of the group anymore because you said something that others don’t agree with, that kind of thing.

So that is number one. Do you, recognize that yourself in anything that you do? I don’t about that because, the relationships and how I feel about the relationships with people closest to me. I’m very fortunate that I believe they’ve got my back whatever so that for me isn’t too much of an issue But there is one that stands out because I’m funny enough before this Before recording this episode.

I did take the quiz that’s on your website and to figure out Where it is that perhaps I might be falling foul of these core problems and I’ll flag it when we come to it So number two is You feel responsible for other people’s feelings, and this is when you might find you’re walking on eggshells or Silencing yourself because you want to keep all of those around you comfortable You want to make them feel comfortable, and you don’t want to upset them.

You don’t want to anger them you feel like you have to be cautious of what you’re, going to say because you worry that it could cause them to be emotional in some way, start crying maybe, or it’s just taking on the responsibility of those feelings and holding yourself back and not saying things because you just don’t want to upset anyone.

So that is number two. Then we have number three, which is you feel your thoughts or ideas are insignificant. And this is where you might decide not to even post stuff on social media, for instance, because you think, I have this idea, I have this thought, but No one’s going to care. No one’s going to listen to me.

What I have to say isn’t interesting or unique. I’m just not going to bother. And it’s really just being in this mindset of that you just don’t have anything interesting. Whatever you have to say is just not even relevant to anyone. and I think that’s It’s one that we have to be very conscious of because I believe that every person in this world has opinions that are valid and ideas that could change people’s perspectives if they were just open enough to talk about them and if they felt confident enough to express them.

So that one is number three. I think for that one, for me, there’s a, little bit of that applies to me, but probably more so that it’s not necessarily the ideas that I feel professionally in my head are insignificant, but it’s more to do with, why the hell would someone want to know how I’m feeling on LinkedIn about something so that, willingness to be vulnerable or share personal information, and we’ll, come back to this, I think later on.

but I’m. I’m less comfortable doing that because I really do deeply deep down have this feeling of why on earth would anyone care? Yeah, It’s a really good point to make and that is being well being vulnerable is part of this being vulnerable is It just allows people in, it allows people to trust you and connect with you, and I think that’s really important to, to realize that we, if we want to be our authentic selves and have people be able to respect us and trust us, that we do have to have that kind of, Yeah, that we have to get to a point where we can be open and more transparent, but we don’t have to be, we don’t have to reveal everything about ourselves.

It’s finding the balance, which yes, we will come to. so number four. And this one is the most common. This is the one that I know everybody I talk to is just Yes, that’s the one for me. Yep, that one’s the one that stood out for me as well. You’re unsure you could defend your ideas and that is holding back because you don’t feel confident enough to defend it in a debate or a discussion and you might be worried that you’ll be put on the spot and questioned and challenged and you won’t have the words to argue your stance, you won’t have the vocabulary or even the knowledge to really express what you’re trying to say in the face of that kind of conflict and it’s just one of the ones that i know personally i will i find very difficult and i know that a lot of people do and it’s even more, I think, for those who are shy, the, one that really does stand out the most as well, because being someone who might be shy and a bit socially anxious, that’s the sort of situation that you’re going to want to avoid the most.

So I do feel that’s the, The most challenging one. So what has your experiences been like? Yeah, that’s absolutely the case for me. And that’s the one that stood out when I was reading your book. I started this podcast, Because for a whole number of reasons, I want to build relationships with more, people that work in freelance in marketing.

but also, I think that there is a inherent problem with businesses above a certain size that they, when they have a marketing need that they don’t have the skills or resource in house to fulfill, and it’s not a full time permanent hire, they will default to hiring, working with an agency. And my only experience with working with marketing agencies is that they are eye wateringly expensive and usually provide an absolutely terrible service.

In fact, if I was being a bit braver, I’d say I’ve never seen one provide a better service than a freelancer or team of different freelancers or an employee would be able to beat. And they cost two, three times as much as any of them. And often will outsource the work to freelancers anyway. But I’ve not been brave enough to be putting that message out there directly on any of the posts that I put on LinkedIn or any of the communications that I’m having because I don’t feel that I can defend it properly.

Because, I think, already touched on, I think I do have a natural introversion. part to my personality. Because of that, I’m deeply aware that I’m not the sort of person whose personality can just carry the force of an argument through just how I’m a brilliant orator. I like to have data, I like to have evidence to back up everything that I’m saying, so that if I’m challenged, I’m then not confronted with this, Oh my god, isn’t this terrible?

Isn’t this embarrassing? Because I can’t defend my, particular viewpoint because I don’t have the data to do it. and that, like I said, that’s the one that stood out for me. Yes, I can see why you would find it more, you would be more hesitant to really start sharing that. But yeah, when it comes to sharing these things that we feel could be more controversial, for lack of a better word, it all comes down to preparing and educating ourselves so that you, feel confident in your stance, and you feel that you have that kind of data that you need to bring up if someone was to question you around it.

And I think, going back to the number two, the having, the question of, Or feeling like you’re responsible for other people’s feelings. It’s really, what we are responsible for. for this one, for, if you feel that you could be put in that position and you’re holding back because of it. what you’re responsible for is doing that research.

And then also the delivery and making sure that you’re articulating it in a way that really. It expresses and explains your whole point, but not argumentatively. And we’re also responsible for being open to criticism. As long as it’s not rude, nasty, and an attack on you as a person. I believe we should be able to debate.

Our ideas. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have a free society. And that is, terrifying to even consider. So allowing ourselves to be open to having those discussions and the more you have them, you learn more, you get new perspectives and it could even bolster your own position because you can argue different perspectives.

Because you’ve learnt more. it’s just really taking that small step to do a bit of research, put it out there as an idea, and not as a personal, I, am, this is my opinion and I’m never going to move from this position kind of thing. It’s just a, this is an observation I have. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this too.

do you feel this or do you feel that? And really opening it up as a discussion and then as time goes on, as you really start to learn more perspectives and have more research You are prepared. You can then formulate your controversial opinion Into something that really could be a strong opinion that you can hold and believe and stand by because you’ve done the work.

Yeah, but and by that point it’s already been battle tested Yeah, definitely Okay, so we’ll get to the fifth and final one, which is you feel you don’t have a right or you’re not good enough, and this is the feeling of inadequacy or the just feeling that you’re not good enough because you’re not good enough.

qualified enough, and you’re not worthy of sharing your thoughts or opinions. And it’s slightly different to number three, which is Not feeling like your ideas are insignificant, because this one is more around self worth and identity, and you could even link it to imposter syndrome. And it’s just having thoughts in your head like, who am I to say this?

Or, They’ve been doing it much longer than me, so what do I have to say this? And really questioning the right to speak and be heard, and it’s it’s as if there’s this unspoken rule that we haven’t met, and it’s that we haven’t put the time in, we haven’t put the hours in, we haven’t done it long enough, and we’ve just not met the rule, which is.

It’s just arbitrary and not even real because no matter how much experience you have, there is still some validity and, you do have knowledge there. but it’s just being stuck in that mindset of, there’s all these people that have been doing it for longer than me, so I should just stay quiet.

which is, yeah, it’s really, what I would say is the This is linked to, the Fairness Fallacy, and that is the belief that only the best, most qualified have the right to, to, be the experts, and, yeah, it’s very interesting. Ultimately, this one To get past this one, we, it really comes down to self affirmations and believing in yourself and ignoring that self talk or like switching that self talk around so that you are saying the opposite, for instance.

So instead of I’m not good enough, it’s. I am good enough, and, getting to a point where you believe it in yourself. So that is number five. And I think that’s a really interesting point because regardless of how much experience or what boxes you’ve been able to tick. You may or may not feel give you the right to speak up about something.

There’s almost certainly going to always be someone who has more experience than you. What you always have as an individual is you do have a unique set of experiences and that does give you a unique viewpoint that it will give you something to say. I think it’s really interesting to have covered those core reasons as a bit of a foundation for why it is that people self silence.

You’ve touched on a couple of techniques already. About how to get people to move beyond that and to stop self silencing. you do go into more detail with some techniques in, your book that people can use to, to help address some of these. Could you talk about those for a bit? Yeah, for sure. So in my mini book, stop Self Silencing, I do go into, more detail around those five core reasons.

And then I have, some tools and techniques to help. to break past it. And my favorite one is called the what if game. And this is just a really simple reframing technique that helps you to move from the, mindset of self to the mindset of service. And. The idea is that you will draw out two columns on a piece of paper and label the first one self and the next one service.

And then you’re gonna think about the what if questions that come up as you start to think about expressing those thoughts and ideas, maybe posting them on social media, maybe it’s sharing something personally with someone that you know, and You will write down what they are, so it could be, what if somebody says something negative?

What if someone is argumentative and questions me? what if nobody cares? And you start to list them down on the, in the self column. And then in the service column, you’re going to flip that perspective to the benefit. For those that you would share it with. So your audience as a coach, coaching clients, or your freelancing clients, for instance.

It would be, what if I make someone smile today? What if this is something that someone needed to hear to make a change? What if I make an impact on their life that means they go about their day with a smile on their face and everybody else is smiling around them. Just anything that comes to mind that is, is like the opposite impact that you could have by sharing your life.

Ideas, your thoughts, your opinions. And so basically you’re flipping from the self perspective to thinking about the service perspective and thinking about those that you could help. Those that you could impact with your, by, sharing things, by putting out your ideas, your opinions, and, your thoughts and really just showing up in a way that feels aligned and authentic to you.

Is that technique particularly effective for addressing any particular one of the core reasons why people might be self silencing, or is it universally applicable? I think it’s universally applicable to all of them, it just takes you from thinking more about or worrying more about what other people are going to say and think, so maybe number one is the most impactful for that strategy, but I believe if you went through all of them, worrying about what people might think, worrying if you’re going to upset people, Or anger them if people are going to question you and want to debate you if they even care if you were to go through all of them and really start to think right now I’m stuck in my head.

I am Worrying about all of these things and instead of worrying about them. I’m going to think about the impact and the positive things that I can Do with sharing my thoughts The positive that people can take away from it, rather than the negative. Rather than thinking of the worst case scenario, I’m going to think of the best case scenario.

I suppose it’s a useful framework, isn’t it? It’s a useful practice from forcing you to stop only thinking with a kind of, emotional, instinctive response that’s maybe almost fear based of what if, how, bad is this going to look for me? And by forcing you to Write down some positives that might come out of it.

It is it’s making you apply some rational thought To what might actually happen to the outcomes to stop catastrophizing that the worst downside that might possibly happen Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what it’s doing it’s it’s just a practice that can just in that moment take you away from the worries and the fears and Bring in the possibility, the possibilities of, helping people, of, the impact that you could have on others and just getting your, getting yourself out of your own head, basically.

The, the, other technique that really stood out for me in your book was, there, there was a matrix, or a quadrant of, it’s based on what are you comfortable. and what information is it that your audience needs to hear? I liked it for a few reasons. I thought it was going to be very, helpful for just identifying what topics that I should be talking about.

But when I actually read the detail It then encourages you to start thinking about, there is other stuff that does open up a bit of vulnerability. So my point earlier about, why on earth would someone care how I’m feeling on LinkedIn about some things? maybe putting a bit of vulnerability out there.

It does encourage you to use that content as well. Maybe sparingly, and there’s some guidance there as well. But I just found that, that whole approach really useful. And on your website you’ve got a resource which I’d encourage people to download because it gives a starter set of about a hundred questions for you to then plot on that matrix.

And you can, obviously add other topics to it, but I found that as a really helpful exercise to go through. Yeah. So that is the, visibility comfort level matrix. And, as you described, yes, it’s about having a list of topics, in my resources, it’s 90 plus that I’ve got in there, but you can come up with as many things that you would think you could think of.

So topics like your relationship status, the name of your partner. the name of your children, past health experiences, current health challenges, A mistake that you made once, a time when you had a really embarrassing experience, anything that you could think of. So you would list all of these down, and then you’re going to plot them onto the matrix, which is, in front of it.

On the x axis you’ve got very comfortable to comfortable, and on the y axis you’ve got my audience doesn’t need this and my audience needs this. And the idea is that you put them, you rate them based on how comfortable you are and if your audience needs this. And if they do, if you feel really comfortable sharing it and your audience needs this, That is your high impact zone content.

That is the content that you feel open to expressing, sharing, and it’s something that the people you wanna help, those people that really need to hear your message, are going to resonate with. But then as you spoke about the vulnerable kinds of content, these are the things you might not be as comfortable sharing, but they are still relevant.

They are the con they still exist. The topics, the messages that your audience needs to hear. And that could be the more controversial opinions that you might hold, because you’re, you just feel a bit more conscious about sharing them, a bit more uncomfortable, because, Because of the reasons you might be holding your back, the reasons you might be self silencing, so worrying that you can’t defend it, you might feel that it’s uncomfortable for you, but it’s very important.

to spread that message to your audience. And so that is your vulnerable connection ground content. And that content is going to make the biggest impact if you can find it or find a way to start sharing it, to really get it out there and. And do it in a way that feels comfortable to you still. Be able to share that content or the messages by finding the words, the right words to express it, to, Delivering it in a way that you feel is appropriate, is friendly, you’re not causing arguments just for the sake of it.

You’re not trying to create debate and I mean you see it a lot nowadays. People want to be controversial because it gets It’s how the algorithm works, isn’t it? But it’s finding the way that you’re wanting to express it that you feel the most comfortable with, even if you do feel that it’s more vulnerable content.

And then there is content that your audience doesn’t particularly need to hear, but you would find comfortable talking about, and that’s still stuff that you might put out there. It could still resonate with one or two people in the world. But then the final quadrant is The restricted territory, this is the content your audience don’t need, just don’t need, they don’t need to hear it.

And you’re just not comfortable with it. you can just ignore that kind of stuff. If you’re not comfortable and it’s not relevant, then don’t You just move on. So yeah, that is the visibility comfort level matrix. Love it. And I did find, I found that whole process thoroughly valuable. And from the resource that is available on your site, just having a starter list of about 100 topics for you to start plotting out.

That was super useful because I think, certainly for me, who doesn’t post on social media very frequently, maybe once or twice per week. Although that might start increasing after this conversation now, apologies everyone. But just, having that fear of a blank sheet of paper removed and having some starter topics go, actually, maybe I should be talking about that a bit more.

That was very, useful. But I’ve really enjoyed that conversation, Peafy. Thank you so much for all of your input. I’ve found it thoroughly, useful. Valuable and so useful. It’s been like a mini, a mini counseling session for me. So thank you very much for your time Before I let you but before I let you go I am asking everybody for a book recommendation that you think Anybody in marketing should read and it doesn’t have to be restricted to marketers It might be a book that you think just anyone would benefit from reading.

Yes. So one of my absolute favorite books is Susan Cain’s Quiet and that honestly, it’s a After reading that, it made everything make sense for me. When I figured out that I’m an introvert and that I need more time to myself to re energize and that it’s okay to be an introvert and not the most outgoing extroverted person in the world, it was like, it was just like having more freedom and being able to breathe easy.

So I highly recommend that book. Brilliant. Thank you. And how can people connect with you after the show? You can find me on fifimason.com/connect or LinkedIn. That’s where I love to hang out the most. Brilliant. I’ll include links in the show notes. Thank you so much, Fifi.

Great to see you. Thanks, everyone.