I get to meet some great people in my line of work and there are none more interesting and fun than the GreyBeards!

GreyBeards is comprised of Martin Banks and David Tebbutt, both seasoned journalists and technology writers who offer a range of strategic consulting and training courses focused in part dealing with the media. I’ve had the good fortune to be on the receiving end of their wisdom, both in the class room but more often outside through our engagements at events and meetings. David, sent over a really useful graphic they use as an aid-memoire for those that engage readily with the press. However, as he pointed out, it’s really applicable to almost any circumstance where you have a message to convey which immediately made me think of the challenges we face as IT professionals in gaining the support and commitment from our peers.


Copyright GreyBeards Ltd. 2010
(Click here or on image to see a fully annotated version)

If you click on the picture it will send you to David’s version that is full annotated, just hover over any part of the diagram to get relevant information.


The “egg-timer” (triangles) demonstrates the need for preparation and in constructing, simplifying, refining, and I think, symbolised by the image, consolidating your key messages. This then flows into the bottom half which represents the expansion into the interview itself.



The “bridge” to me is central and key to your interview technique in my opinion as it is a reminder that where ever your conversation may start, you need to seek to get back to your key messages, the areas you are experienced and knowledgeable to talk about.


The “rat hole” is the place that needs to be avoided and the reason you need to use the “bridge” to link back to saver ground.




The“safety zone” is where you want to be to deliver your message and is amplified on the right hand side of the diagram. The circular nature of this reminds you that you can roam any where within the safety zone, but remember the closer you get to the borders, the nearer you get to the rate holes so use the bridge to move to safer ground.

Getting across the river!


Another useful analogy I was shown sometime ago was to imagine that you need to cross a river.

You have a pile of rocks in your pocket that you can throw out into the river that will help you get across. These represent your key messages you wish to relay.

However, as with all stones in water, be aware that they become slippery when wet! Many are uneven and wobbly too.

You must avoid the water at all costs so you must try to balance on your stones. If not then the shark is sure to get you!

(Picture drawn using Expression Blend 4!)