All in this together for our mental health and wellbeing

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated a number of trends for our communities and businesses including working from home, shopping online and the overall rise of the digital economy.

It has also accelerated another, more concerning trend: the increased prevalence of people feeling stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns.

Read on to explore 7 key insights from an IABC Gold Quill Award-winning case study on mental health communication from Ambulance Victoria.

Continue reading “All in this together for our mental health and wellbeing”

Why Pinch Yourself?

That’s a question I’ve often been asked since Pinch Yourself Communication was launched, so here’s the story behind the name and some of the core beliefs it’s based on…

It was the lowest point in my career. In a moment when I found myself ejected from a redundant global executive role and suddenly unemployed, I decided to share my story and I needed to find the right name to call my personal blog. Continue reading “Why Pinch Yourself?”

Build trust and protect reputation by doing what you say

Part of the Effective Communication series from Pinch Yourself Communication

A telecommunications company with dropouts in its broadband service; a grocery chain that accidentally charges customers twice for the same groceries; a big bank that fails to detect and stop money laundering transactions; a CEO who continues to fly first class while saying everyone must tighten their belts to cut costs; and a colleague who fails to meet an agreed deadline.

These issues have more in common than might appear at face value. Continue reading “Build trust and protect reputation by doing what you say”

Holiday wishes for a year unlike any other

This year we’ve all faced so much disruption and isolation, and my biggest challenge came when my elderly mother suffered a life-threatening illness and was hospitalised in another state with its borders closed to me.

Once I secured permission to enter Western Australia from Victoria, and completed two weeks of hotel quarantine, I really appreciated being able to spend a few months caring for Mum after months of strict lockdown in Melbourne and thankfully, she is now well on the path to recovery.

A heartfelt thank you to my clients for your ongoing support and flexibility which helped make it possible for me to spend this time supporting my mother back to health. The lines between work and home life became more blurred for all of us this year as we honed skills in remote working. In addition, I really appreciated being able to continue delivering your important projects while working across Australian time zones.

Thank you also to the clients who entrusted me to help you plan and prepare for issues and crises, and to navigate the pandemic by putting in place communication strategies and implementation plans to help people in your organisation and networks manage through uncertainty, isolation and change.

Amid the trials of the year, 2020 has also brought a good reminder about what’s most important. Top of the list for me is the people with whom I am connected – my family, friends and clients – the opportunity to spend time in our natural environment, and maintaining good health.

This festive season, I’m planning to savour the simple joy of spending time with people, while supporting local businesses and enjoying the diverse beauty of Melbourne and Victoria.

Our office will be closed from 24 December to 6 January 2018, reopening on Thursday, 7 January – but please don’t hesitate to reach out if it’s an emergency.

I look forward to continuing our conversation in the new year about how effective communication can help you achieve better business and community outcomes.

Whatever your beliefs and circumstances, I hope the festive period brings you an opportunity to stop, refresh and reconnect with people who are special to you, and with our community and natural world. Above all, please stay safe and well.

Best wishes

PS: Thank you to my talented sister Janet Robertson for the use of her beautiful hand-drawn mandala on our Christmas card this year! 🙂

Digital communication award memorably delivered by mail amid COVID-19

A digital communication project led by Pinch Yourself Communication has been recognised with a Bronze Quill Award in 2020 by the Victorian chapter of the International Association of Business Communication.

It’s a mark of our socially distant and disrupted year that the award was conferred by mail in recent weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our thanks to IABC Victoria for their significant effort to ensure winners received the recognition they deserved despite challenging times.

The project for which Pinch Yourself Communication was recognised – with both a Gold Quill and Bronze Quill in 2020 – was delivered for a wonderful non-profit organisation that’s also been grounded by the pandemic this year.

Our Bronze Quill award was presented for the Fearless Flyers digital hub, an integrated digital and social media strategy and channels including a new website:, developed in partnership with our Fearless colleague Vicki Huggins. This has given Fearless Flyers a low-cost, resource-effective way to connect with potential new clients and foster a community among inspirational course graduates, backed by the digital processing of bookings and payments.

The Bronze and Gold Quill Awards are presented annually by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in recognition of communication excellence.

We hope circumstances will enable our pro bono client Fearless Flyers to find their wings again soon and in the meantime, we send our best wishes to all their volunteers and to everyone in the aviation sector who continues to do it tough due to COVID-19 impacts.

It’s been a year that has also mobilised and tested the communication profession globally, and as communicators rose to meet those challenges and help people navigate uncertainty, isolation and change, they have undoubtedly laid down the foundations for some stellar entries for the next Gold Quill awards.

All the best to all our fellow communication professionals who are working on their Gold Quill entries over the next month and congratulations to all our fellow winners for 2020 – Bronze and Gold – from here in Victoria and right around the world.

These awards reflect a standard of innovation, impact and excellence in communication that makes a real difference for our profession, for the organisations with which we work and for our communities.

Gold Quill Award recognition for our Fearless work

Pinch Yourself Communication’s Mairi Barton has been recognised on the global stage today with a Gold Quill Award in 2020 for her pro bono work with client Fearless Flyers Inc.

We are delighted to share this honour with our Fearless colleague Vicki Huggins – a dedicated and skilled volunteer, communicator and stakeholder manager – and all the aviation expert volunteers who make Fearless Flyers so special.

Fearless Flyers is a non-profit organisation staffed by expert aviation sector volunteers and we’re proud to contribute to their mission to help people overcome their fear and enjoy the freedom of air travel.

You can learn more about their great work at: – including the history of the inspirational female aviators, such as Nancy-Bird Walton, who helped pioneer the organisation’s courses.

It’s a bittersweet time for this award given the disruption to the aviation sector, with so many aviation companies and workers facing uncertainty, and Fearless courses on hold for now. We will get through this and Fearless will get back to helping people overcome their fear of flying.

The Gold Quill Awards are presented annually by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in recognition of communication excellence.

Gold Quill Award: Website – Fearless Flyers Digital Hub

Our award was presented for the Fearless Flyers digital hub – an integrated digital and social media strategy and channels including a new website. This has given Fearless Flyers a low-cost, resource-effective way to connect with potential new clients, foster a community among course graduates, and process bookings and payments.

It is an honour once again for Pinch Yourself Communication, and another of our wonderful clients, to be recognized among so many outstanding communication professionals and organisations globally.

Congratulations to all the winners, including all those from here in Victoria!

The importance of self care for communication professionals

March 2020

In a world prior to the disruption and devastation of the coronavirus (COVID-19), this week Pinch Yourself Communication’s Mairi Barton was due to present on mental health communication at IABC Asia Pacific’s Fusion 20 conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

This heart graphic is one Mairi planned to share as part of a conversation about the known mental health impacts for business communication professionals from being at the frontline of crisis and issues management. The research findings related to the mental health of communication and other creative professionals from the United Kingdom (2019) and Australia (2018) are significant cause for concern.

‘You can’t help others if you don’t look after yourself.’

This message of self care feels more relevant than ever as communication practitioners – and other professions and trades, none more so than health and emergency services staff – work tirelessly across the globe in response to this unprecedented and rapidly-evolving pandemic and its health, and economic impacts.

Strategic communication plays a key role in helping organisations to plan and manage through a crisis, and there’s no doubt communication folks are working their hearts out right now.

Please look after yourself both physically and mentally, which we know are intrinsically linked. beyondblue, an Australian independent non-profit organisation working to address issues associated with mental health, has some simple tips on staying well.

At times like these communication practitioners – and other members of staff – rightly get swept up supporting our organisations and ensuring management, staff and stakeholders have what they need.

But you can’t maintain that, if you don’t look after yourself. Stay safe and well.

A promotional tile for the Fusion conference, which has been postponed to February 2021