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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 061818 — Frances Cole Jones

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Today in the #sparkchamber, a story of being the best version of who you are, starring reluctant catalyst Frances Cole Jones. Frances is the president of Cole Media Management, a company that helps clients present their best selves in any situation, cultivating their inherent strengths to develop more powerful communication skills.

Her expertise on this subject came from her earlier work as an editor of commercial nonfiction at St. Martin’s Press, Viking Penguin, and Doubleday. The experience of helping authors translate their ideas into books that retain their unique voice contained the a-ha. “There’s no point in my writing a perfectly crafted sound bite that you have to strain to remember,” Frances says. “You need to sound like you. You on your best day.”

Her transition to media training came by way of a similar insight. While working as an editor, “watching media trainers prep my authors to go on television, I thought to myself, ‘I can do that — better.’ So I did.” It was eight years of media training by day and editing at night before she crossed over to media training full time.

And then the story comes full circle; one of her clients suggested that she write a book about what she teaches. “So I found myself a super-deluxe agent, did 16 drafts of a proposal over 9 months, and did.”

Frances wrote How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in any SituationThe Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World, and Wow Your Way Into the Job of Your Dreams. She also has an app for the iPhone and iPad called Interview Wow.

The moral of the story? As Frances says, “In short: nothing happens overnight. But it does happen.”

Her website offers a blog  — voted one of the top 100 websites for women by Forbes.com — and a TEDx talk — 10 minutes of insightful, accessible, practical tips on how to present your best self in any situation. Both are well worth the time!

1.] Where do ideas come from?

Usually they arrive during my daily walk to the Post Office... I think best when I’m in motion. On good days I feel like they are “instructions received” from someone far more clever than I. 

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

I want people to realize how easy it is — and what small changes are necessary— in order to present their best self. I was blessed to get this information early on: it’s a blessing to share it. 

3.] Early bird or night owl, tortoise or hare?

I do my best work first thing in the morning. I’m focused and clear. My afternoons are when I putter….I walk to the post office, I clean, etc. This allows my seemingly shut-down brain space to regain the creativity I lost being lunatic laser-focused lady in the morning. 

4.] How do you know when you are done?

I lose interest in doing anything more — it’s very different sensation from procrastination. There’s no low-level, gut-level dread