Tracy Oyekanmi is a Communications specialist who is changing the way we see communication in Nigeria. She is an industry expert in the area of communications and she has given us, freelancers, valuable tips on how to make our communication and networking better!
You don’t want to miss this, enjoy this interview!
- Can you introduce yourself to us?
I am Tracy Oyekanmi, I help business owners and individuals use words to grow their business and improve their relationships, and I am also a tutor for the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK Learning centre in Nigeria, Simon Page College of Marketing. On the personal front, I was born, raised, and schooled in Lagos, Nigeria.
- How long have you been a communicator?
I could say immediately I learnt how to talk as a child! Professionally over Eight years as a Corporate Communications Specialist in my 9-5 job managing communications for companies across different sectors. Two years as a freelancer alongside my full-time job, then fully December 2016 as solo-freelancer. I was getting a lot of requests from business owners, SMEs and even family members who wanted me to manage their company communications, or project manage the vendors handling different creative processes for them and I saw an area of specialization to build on.
- Can you tell us about your business?
Although I am professionally a PR & Communications person, my business is mainly on training and consulting. For businesses, I prepare the CEO and organizational teams to IDENTIFY and ELEVATE their business message. I also train in-house content writers and digital managers in organizations on how to consistently sell that message in every aspect; whether dealing with clients’, or marketing a product/service. We are opening this training to more people from such teams and DIY entrepreneurs responsible for managing their communications next month. It would be announced shortly so we can accommodate other people apart from my existing clients.
It can be painful when you see people with great products/services and they cannot articulate it properly for people to understand and buy into it. I do not run a PR agency but my consulting is communication-based. I believe everyone has a story to tell but it needs to be crafted to capture the hearts of those that need to hear, see or feel it!
- What motivated you to start your business?
I started consulting because of a skill gap I noticed. A few friends in business would always call me up for communication tips whenever they had an interview opportunity or presentation with high profile investors. After some research, I knew there were more people that needed such training and that was how The Communicator Nigeria was born officially in December 2016. A clear case happened when a company needed to send a corporate video alongside their financials to get a loan for expansion. I had One-on-One sessions with the directors and prepared them to speak the company’s unique core values in their own words. Then I sat with the cinematographers to edit what was previously done and make it speak to the investors in a concise manner. It was condensed from a 1hr piece to a 4-minute video and it communicated the right messages and visual appeal for the investors to make up their minds. Of course, they got the money- 6 figures! And the feedback about the core message from that video was amazing.
- What are your favourite tools for working?
Any cloud-based tool! Google Drive, Evernote for writing
Dropbox and Box for storage (files and pictures)
My good old sticky notes and jotter (I still love to write by hand; I’m always scribbling stuff, ideas, Aha moments)
Hubspot and Planoly for posting
- How do you motivate yourself to write?
I remind myself of the result that writing would bring for me. Another opportunity? Money, and peace of mind that this albatross would be off my neck!
- What is something you’ve learnt about writing that others can also learn from?
Your writing skills will only improve when you write more. You use, you grow it, you don’t, you loose it.
- What is your best writing tip?
Start with the end goal of your story in mind. Then build the plot gradually.
- What is your best communication tip?
Communication is not just verbal. It is also non-verbal. If you are getting a different non-verbal vibe, then switch things up to be at par with whoever you’re communicating with. Be sensitive to catch what your audience is saying and not saying. LITERARILY!
- How can freelancers network better?
Never assume that people should know what you do. Speak about it! Go out! Of course, to events that are in-line with your freelancing goals in that season. Get fillers on who’s there and genuinely listen to people when they talk, don’t just feel the need to keep pushing your service in every part of the conversation. Introduce yourself, the pain in the world that you make better through your work (no matter how small), then allow the other person to speak. People love to talk about themselves! Depending on how the conversation goes, you could ask for what pain they face in their work. If they are willing to share, you suggest solutions (SEVERAL OPTIONS to alleviate their pain but DON’T RECOMMEND anything or anyone in your first meeting unless you are asked.
- How does your business impact the lives of self-employed people in Nigeria?
I can’t deny my business impact when I see a self- employed person have a change in attitude because of a new-found confidence when they speak or write and they get their desired result. The joy is unquantifiable.
- What does your typical day look like?
Unpredictable! Early morning calls, meetings, more meetings, plenty writing in – between, editing and proof-reading. I stop for a few breaks, then get my cape on for night writing!
- What advice would you give to a budding freelancer or writer?
Just start. No more procrastination. Have 2 or 3 accountability partners on tab about your freelancing gig and writing. Let them be people you look up to so when the reminders from them come in, you’d be fired up to deliver. Remember, excellence is a global language. The choice is yours from the start.