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King of Ping: A Pizza the Action

Words by Katie O’Brien

The run-up to the King of Ping fundraiser brought with it a sense of excitement, anticipation and plenty of fight talk. And who can blame us? Not only was this the first event run by NABS’ new committee of young  industry leaders – but it was the first time the King of Ping title had been up for grabs. It was time to grab a paddle and jump into the saddle.

Ping 1

It wasn’t just the title itself being fought for; the ultimate winner would be off to see The Editors live, and a bottle of champagne was up for grabs for t he person to capture the best action shot. It’s fair to say that people weren’t messing about with this one – both players and spectators were a competitive lot and leaving empty-handed wasn’t on anyone’s to-do list.

With people from every strain of media and advertising in attendance, there were plenty of introductions afoot (in-between heated games of nail-biting ping-pong, of course), and as balls flew across the room, it was clear that our adjudicator would have his work cut out.

After a few games had been played and contestants were well and truly warmed up, we took a break for pizza… but not just any old pizza; The Northern Quarter’s Dough (makers of some of the finest pizza that Manchester has to offer), kindly supplied us with enough grub to sink a large ship! As people began tucking into everything from garlic bread and Margherita, to pesto chicken and Philly steak, Kate Harris, our Regional Director, gave a speech thanking everyone for coming, and explained a bit about what NABS is all about and how it can be of career and wellbeing help to everyone in the advertising industry.

Ping 2

As people were knocked out, one by one, the suspense mounted and, before long, it was time for the grand finale. The two players that had made the cut were the YMCA’s Jerahl Hall and A Proper Agency’s Robin Porter.

Jerahl was honoured to be in the final:

“It’s pong-tastic to have made the final. I’ve just been taking each round as it comes and here I am, playing the granddaddy of them all!”

Robin felt that playing Jerahl earlier in the night had given him an advantage:

“He’s beat me already tonight in an earlier round, but I’ve learnt his game, I know what his best shots are and I’m feeling confident.”

Ping 3

It was the best of three rounds, and it was neck and neck from the get-go. As they nipped at one another’s heels throughout the first two rounds, it was clear that this could be anyone’s game. The room fell quiet as spectators waited on tenterhooks to see which of the two finalists would be victorious.

Having won a game each, it was only towards the end of the third round that anyone took a significant lead. Despite both playing a spectacular game of ping-pong, there could only be one winner…

A big ‘well done’ to Robin Porter, the official King of Ping! Congratulations also goes out to Laura Mather from Reel World, who bagged the prize for best action shot. Check out the video here. 

Special thanks go out to Dough for the pizzas, John Stansfield for the stellar adjudication and everyone else who contributed to the night’s success. Bring on the next fundraiser!

Ping 4

International Coaching Week

Words by Emma Pratt, careers coach at NABS

May 18-24th sees a global celebration of coaching. It’s the 16th annual International Coaching Week where tens of thousands of coaches  help people to better understand the benefits of coaching, what its impact can be on them, and on those with whom they work.

Coaches across the world will be engaging with their communities to enable as many people as possible to experience coaching, perhaps for the first time. Here at NABS, our Executive Coaches will be doing the same, engaging with our industry by offering 20 minute ‘phone coaching taster sessions’ from the 19th to the 22nd May.

The NABS Executive Coaching service has been engaging with creative agencies, media agencies and owners for over seven years. In that time we have seen literally hundreds of industry folk across all disciplines, levels and ages and have supported them in developing their careers, performance and wellbeing. Over the course of International Coaching Week we hope to work with as many of you as possible, to share with you both the coaching experience and the benefits it can bring.

How will a 20 Minute Phone Coaching Taster Session work?

As the coachee, you would decide what you would like to achieve from your 20 minute coaching taster session. An idea of the types of areas that could be covered might include: career planning, developing leadership skills, increasing confidence, optimising performance, clarifying your vision, developing gravitas, managing up, self-belief, resilience, stepping into a new role or team motivation, amongst much more. Basically, whatever you would like to talk about. In these 20 minutes you will have the opportunity to discuss your career objective with an independent  party, gain insight and clarity on your situation and walk away with some powerful tools and techniques to help you move forwards.

At NABS we find that lots of people we speak to are keen to advance their careers, as well as their learning and development, but have never worked with a coach before, so aren’t sure what to expect  nor what they will be able to achieve from having coaching. The most common questions asked tend to be ‘how could coaching help me?’, ‘I’m not sure what I want to do next in my career, can I talk about that?’ or ‘would my company know what I came to see you about?’. In answer…

What exactly is Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching provides a safe and confidential environment for a coachee to explore a specific career topic they want to discuss, working towards a particular goal or goals. An Executive Coach will help a coachee to find the insights and answers themselves, creating in turn a deeper learning, a widened perspective and an increased awareness. This leads to better results, confidence, motivation and empowerment.

The Benefits of Executive Coaching

• Taking a pause from the day-to-day for an hour or so to focus on yourself and your career.  This gives you both the space to think without distractions and to have someone else focus fully on you. How often do any of us give ourselves the time to do that?

• Helping you to become clear and focused on what comes next in your career. Is it developing a roadmap to achieve your career aspirations, achieving promotion, developing new skills, achieving more fulfilment from your role or creating a better work/life balance?

• Identifying your values, interests, skills, strengths and motivators, and working through what might be holding you back as well as what can move you forward

• Developing personal effectiveness, prioritising demands, gaining clarity, refining ideas, setting better goals and performing at your fullest potential

• Having a sounding board; someone to challenge you, expand your thinking, create options, develop strategies  and who will motivate you to action

Perhaps the best questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to work with a coach is ‘Where do I want to be in a years time?’ and ‘What will happen if I don’t make the change to get there?’ If the answer to the latter isn’t appealing then it’s time to talk to a NABS Executive Coach.

To be a part of International Coaching Week and to experience Executive Coaching for yourself, book your 20 minute phone coaching taster session now. This is for one week only. There are limited spaces and we expect demand to be high so book your spot now by calling 0207 290 7070 or emailing now.

Steve Edge: The Future Doesn’t Just Happen

Prophet. Madman. Wanderer. And there it was, in those three words the makings of what was undoubtedly one of the most memorable and iconic Tuesday Club Talks NABS has hosted.


The voice behind the profanities came from the indomitable Steve Edge who declared that at the age of four, having discovered fat marker pens, plastic scissors and glitter, that his career in design was born. We, the audience were hooked.

Home schooled for most of his childhood up until the age of 13, when the not-so-welcome authorities imposed the education system upon him, Edge was surrounded by creativity, wonder and stories. And it is the latter point, his art of storytelling that was the constant in the otherwise giddy rollercoaster journey that we were willing riders on. He told us he was dyslexic. He told us he didn’t care – and neither did we. His stories painted a picture of a life lived completely through images. He thought and spoke in Technicolor… make that 3D animation!

Peppered throughout his impassioned talk were golden nuggets of advice that we mined and treasured. He pleaded with us to be more lateral, not to lead with words but to create a “wow” moment in our client’s minds. Let’s be “inspirational not informational” he declared animatedly. And that he was; whether it was his work with Jim Henson on The Muppets, Spielberg on Raiders of the Lost Ark which starred Edge’s pet monkey Snuff (as you do!), George Lucas on the Star Wars set design, or the 4 months he spent with Salvador Dali, we were constantly picking our jaws up off the floor. Belly laughter and wow declarations showering the audience from this wonderful character bouncing around in front of us.

But for me the lasting impression that I’ll take from Steve’s talk was his heart. He urged us to look after each other, help our fellow colleagues because “what goes around comes around”. He rounded off the Talk by telling us the story of his “rich Aunt” (apparently every family has one somewhere) and her untouched collection of posh plates and glassware. When questioned by a nine year old Steve when she used them, her reply was “on special occasions”. She died the following week. It was that life changing moment that propelled Edge into wearing his Sunday best every day of the week; dressing like it is always a party because that way, the party always comes to you. It enables you to create a moment of connection, conversation and discovery with others and who knows where that road will take you (perhaps into the snake filled pits of an Egyptian desert).

60 minutes later at the fairground attraction with our big-top host Steve Edge, our journey was over. Our ticket had expired but our excitement for another Edge tale kept us hanging around the stage door a little longer than usual. Goodness, our next Tuesday Club Talk speaker has spectacularly sparkly boots to fill!

By Rubbi Bhogal-Wood, Primesight and 2014 overall winner of the NABS Centurions

Judi James: The Importance of First Impressions

On 10th March, we had the pleasure of welcoming body language and behaviour expert Judi James to host the latest in our Tuesday Club Talk series at the Posterscope London HQ.

James’ talk, titled ‘You Had Me At Hello’, delivered a detailed look into how body language can affect someone else’s perception of not just our confidence, but our status and skill-set too. Her talk spanned a large variety of scenarios, from how we greet others to how to sell yourself. We’ve pulled out some of her best bits of advice below.


Charisma and Presence
First impressions are made within the first three seconds of meeting someone. Those three seconds are integral. We need to relish the way in which we make entrances.

As humans, we automatically begin analysing a new person based on the information we are presented with in their entrance. So, how do we ensure that our entrance gives a good impression?

Rule one: think before you walk into a room. Take a moment to reboot and get into your ‘power pose’. Confidence comes from the feet, so stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight balanced, legs straight and aim to look as tall as we can. Follow this by rolling your shoulders back and down, along with a relaxed facial expression while smiling with your eyes. This shows you to be interested, alert and defines you as being full of confident power. Most importantly, we should avoid any pseudo-infantile gestures. This can be anything from crossing your arms for protection or appearing to withdraw into yourself; these gestures suggest weakness and a lack of knowledge.

Greeting Rituals
As anyone will know from awkward board room greetings, how we say hello and greet one another can impact the whole meeting. The host should always put their hand out first, as it is an action of welcome to the person entering the space. This should be done with intention, rather than waiting until the last minute to throw your hand out to the person you have invited along, catching them off-guard and immediately putting them off.
The perfect handshake, as James explained, is dry and mirrors the other person’s strength. No one wants to shake a wet fish or have their hand broken in the process!

When introducing yourself, you should have intent behind what you’re saying, introducing yourself clearly while helping the other person. James explained that simply saying ‘Hi I’m Jane Doe, obscure job title with no description’ doesn’t help anyone. Instead, we should introduce our name and position, followed by a brief explanation of what it is we do, such as ‘my job is x which means I do x, x and x.’ One thing to definitely avoid is the phrase ‘it’s boring’. This automatically adds a negative spin on our status, skills and confidence.

The Art of Pitching
When it comes to selling something to another person, the first thing to do is to sell to yourself. If you don’t believe your own pitch, how can you expect someone else to? During this phase, we should also work out our body language and choreograph our moves a little to help us feel a little more comfortable.

Once in the pitch, we need to be sure that the client can see everyone in the room. This will put them at ease and allow them to focus on you, leading to better judgements. If you are in a sit-down meeting, the best place to sit to persuade the client is opposite but diagonally across. Sitting directly opposite is confrontational, while on the periphery gives you a weak positioning and directly next to them is the ‘suck up seat’.
We also need to demonstrate authenticity. To do this, James explained that we need congruency in our speech. This is achieved by ensuring that our body language, tone of voice and the words we use work together. If we stand arms folded and appear inverted while talking about an exciting new idea, the lack of congruency will suggest to the client that you are either lying or don’t truly believe in what you’re selling.
If there is anything that we took away from James’ talk, it’s the fact that your stance can have a massive effect on how you’re perceived. As for charisma; we can all fake it until we make it.

Our next Tuesday Club Talk will be hosted by Leon Taylor, former competitive diver, Olympic Silver Medallist & performance coach, on 7th April at Google. Book your place now.

Watch Judi James’ full Tuesday Club Talk session here – definitely not to be missed. Check out our photo gallery from the night over on the official NABS Facebook page.

NABS Centurions nominations open for 2015

Now in its third year, the NABS Centurions Award, set up in NABS’ centenary year seeks to reward the industry’s unsung heroes, is now open to nominations. Placing extraordinary strength of character, team building and remarkably infectious enthusiasm at the centre of the initiative, the NABS Centurions Awards looks to crown the industry’s unsung heroes.

The initiative stands apart from any other industry award. We’re not just looking for tomorrow’s Sir Martin Sorrell or the next team to win a Cannes Lion, but individuals, without whom, would enable the collective brilliance of our companies.

We know the next Centurions are out there as we meet them every day, but now it’s time to officially recognise them for what they do for our business and how, in their individual ways, they help celebrate the spirit of our unique industry.

So we’re asking you, people of adland, who do you think deserves to be named as one of our ten NABS Centurions? Who constantly goes that one step further? Whose passion, infectious personalities and generosity shines through all that they do? Who will you nominate for their amazing and unique contribution? Who’s your unsung hero?

Why should I nominate someone?

The 10 NABS Centurions will receive personal publicity as well as recognition for your company as they appear alongside the other winners in a full page Campaign feature. They’ll benefit from one-to-one mentoring opportunities with one of our amazing industry leader mentors and win a place at this year’s ‘Stranger Than Summer’ event, as well as a £2,000 career grant – for the overall winner on offer.
The NABS Centurion’s Award 2015 is kindly sponsored by dmg media.

How do I nominate someone?

Fill out the application form here

Easy right? Make sure you get your nominations in by 5:00pm Friday 15th May!

Where Is She Now: NABS Centurion 2014 winner Rubbi Bhogal-Wood

Almost a year ago I was being propelled through the whirlwind that was NABS Stranger Than Summer, surrounded by golden centaurs, magical hedgerows, a beautiful merry go round and micro pigs just to name some of the fabulous oddities dazzling my eyeballs as I entered the marquee at the HAC.

Rubbi collecting her award

Fast forward to March 2015 and NABS has once again opened the doors to find the industry’s unsung heroes for their iconic Centurions Award. Winning the accolade last year gave me some added rocket fuel to showcase NABS’ great scope. Aside from the warm glow you get from being nominated and attending one of the best shindigs media has to offer, the overall winner is given a £2,000 grant (kindly donated by dmg media) with which to boost their career opportunities.

It took me a while to decide what to do with the grant as I wanted to invest the rare opportunity wisely; the Primesight Board were great at offering advice, most of which was geared around creating new experiences. In the end, I signed up to explore the world of future technologies and cultural trends on a course in London. I hope the skills and insight I’ll gain from the course will satiate my thirst for all things geeky, such as wearable tech and gamification; 3001 Odyssey watch out!

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New Year, New you: How to keep those difficult New Year’s resolutions

A symbolic time for many, the New Year gives us a chance to reflect on the past year and what we wish for the year ahead. After overindulging during the festive period and waking a little worse for wear on New Year’s Day, you may feel the need to detox and set yourself new goals. This time creates the perfect opportunity for many to reinvent themselves through New Year’s resolutions. Thinking of goals to set is the easiest part, however it’s keeping them that proves difficult for most.

New Year’s resolutions start off great but the lasting effect is likely to fail, demonstrated in a study by psychologist Richard Wiseman. Of 700 participants who were asked about the strategies they developed to keep their New Year’s resolutions, 78% failed to keep these resolutions; it was found that these participants focussed more on the thought of failing as opposed to achieving their goal. Does anyone ever successfully keep New Year’s resolutions? Why do we bother?

More positively, the study also found that those who did successfully keep their resolutions broke them down into smaller steps and goals, rewarding themselves along the journey. They also spoke about their resolutions to friends to gain support and many kept diaries to track their progress.

For a New Year’s resolution to work, we have to try to make a behavioural change and to do this we need to change our thinking to create new neural pathways to change habits. Therefore making your goal a habit is crucial to succeeding in gaining your end result. Resolutions require willpower and the area in the brain that controls that is in the prefrontal cortex (right behind your forehead). It has many jobs such as looking after your short-term memory and keeping you focussed to name a few. This area is like a muscle and a resolution is like a huge weight it has to lift, without any prior training. Turning your resolutions into new habits equates to creating new workouts for the brain; the more weights we lift, the stronger the muscles get.

So, if you are going to make a New Year’s resolution for 2015, here are some tips to making them stick:

1.       Make one resolution and focus on it; set realistic and specific goals. Focus your thinking on new behaviours and thought patterns.

2.     Set this goal early in the year so that it will have a long-term impact rather than short-term easy wins. Spur of the moment decisions tend to be less motivated by intent and we are therefore less likely to stick with them.

3.     Be positive in your language and approach.

4.     Make a plan as to how you are going to achieve your goal, with small milestones along the way. Reward yourself when you reach each goalpost.

5.     Discuss your goal with others; they may be able to help keep you on track or even join you in their own goals.

If you want to discuss your own career goals with someone, remember you can call on NABS’ career coaches. The career coaching service is for all levels, offering support and help to find new strategies in achieving your goals and resolutions. To arrange a session with a coach, call 020 7290 7070.

By Uzma Afridi, careers coach at NABS

‘Go back to basics’ – Jo Travers, dietician

In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, NABS is taking a look back at some of the best bits from this year’s various programmes, such as its Tuesday Club Talks and Resilience Programme, and  choosing the best piece of advice from each speaker and challenging you to take it on in the New Year.

As part of NABS’ role to increase the wellbeing of the advertising industry, we invited dietician Jo Travers to offer advice on how to ensure we have the energy to perform to our best. Many of us seem to forget how important food’s role is in keeping us going on a daily basis. We’ve all had those days where we simply miss lunch and require a ‘quick fix’, but what Travers advised was to simply ensure you had a set time to eat and ‘go back to basics’.

No foods are forbidden according to Travers, but what is important is to include as many varied food groups into your daily meal plan as possible: carbohydrates, protein, fat, fruit, vegetables and calcium. It’s about getting a balanced diet.

Diet can often suffer when we are troubled and under stress; due to the increased level of cortisol the “stress hormone” which stimulates feelings of hunger. What we need to avoid are “comfort” foods as they not only leave us feeling sluggish and tired but actually increase our stress levels.

It’s a known fact that well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. So this year, stock up on that Christmas dinner and make sure it’s balanced; no more plates full of turkey with no brussel sprouts in sight!

Click here for more advice from Jo Travers.

‘Pay attention to your thoughts’ – Graham Lee, mindfulness expert

In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, NABS is taking a look back at some of the best bits from this year’s various programmes, such as its Tuesday Club Talks and Resilience Programme, and  choosing the best piece of advice from each speaker and challenging you to take it on in the New Year.

Within any line of work, it can be difficult to pay attention to ourselves when we have a heavy workload and other people’s expectations to consider.  As part of the NABS Mindfulness workshops, Graham Lee explained the importance of appreciating each moment and how it differs to self-awareness.

The power of mindfulness, Graham advised, is that in can help you learn to value those transient instances that can be all too often fleeting, by being fully aware of ourselves. To really notice our breath, sights, smells, sounds; the things that we’d ordinarily take for granted. To let go of our distractions, not by ignoring them, but by gently accepting them (or as one participant put it, ‘quelling all the mind chatter’).

“If we pay more attention to our thoughts, feelings and sensations, we can begin to appreciate every moment, every sunset”.

So what’s the difference between Mindfulness and plain old self-awareness? Lee explained that to be self-aware is to say: “I’m feeling stressed”, but to be Mindful is to say: “there is stress”. The subtle difference is the way we observe, accept and embrace even the negative.

During this festive period and into the New Year, try to take some time to truly understand your thoughts and feelings; a well-rested and aware mind will help you advance further in 2015.

Click here to read more of Graham Lee’s advice.

‘Welcome your thoughts and emotions’ – Dr Guy Meadows, sleep physiologist and founder of The Sleep School

In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, NABS is taking a look back at some of the best bits from this year’s various programmes, such as its Tuesday Club Talks and Resilience Programme, and  choosing the best piece of advice from each speaker and challenging you to take it on in the New Year.

Sleep is an important part of our regular routine; we spend a third of our lives asleep and use the time to recover, rejuvenate and balance our hormones. However, many of us find it difficult to sleep due to daily pressures. Sound familiar? You’re a part of the 80% of the UK population who experiences some form of sleeplessness, or could potentially be one of the 30% who suffer from chronic sleep problems.

Sleep physiologist Dr. Guy Meadows took on the role of the Nabs Wellbeing expert, offering help with sleeplessness to  help people find ‘more energy and a richer and more meaningful life’ by promoting practical ways to get a better night’s sleep.

Dr Guy teaches us to welcome our thoughts and emotions. Be aware of them, but don’t let them overwhelm you, observe their presence objectively then learn to let go: “Fearful thoughts or strong sensations such as anxiety at night can make you more awake. Learning to change your relationship with them; by getting to know them and even welcoming them when they arrive will reduce arousal levels and lessen your sleep struggle.” Remember, if you think you won’t sleep well, the chances are you won’t sleep well.

Click here to read more of Dr. Guy Meadows’ advice

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