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'Listening' vital to business success 24.09.08

A NUMBER of Inishowen companies have heard that the biggest skill to business success is 'listening'. That was the message from communications guru Terry Prone when she launched the Donegal Design Directorate Skillnet in Letterkenny recently. Michelle McLaughlin, Interior Design, Carndonagh; Trish Hegarty of Inish Communications in Greencastle and Rosemary Lyons, enterprise officer with Inishowen Development Partnership were among those who attended the breakfast seminar. It marked the start of a new programme promoting the value of design to local businesses, including how they package and communicate their products to maximum effect. Ms. Prone was joined by Philip Carder, chief executive of Magee Clothing, and Garry Cohn, creative director at Douglas Wallace, a top architects firm.
The key message delivered by Terry Prone, who has advised almost every Taoiseach since Jack Lynch, was that communication becomes more, not less important during tough times.
She said the two essential elements in that communication were the ability to listen to 
Among those who attended the recent Directorate launch were from left Rosemary Lyons, Inishowen Development Partnership; Michelle McLaughlin, Interior Design, Carndonagh, Danny McEleney, Donegal County Enterprise Board and Trish Hegarty, Inis Communications, Shrove. Photo: Clive Wasson.
customers, and to treat every phone call, email and conversation with customers as a chance to build a stronger relationship. Garry Cohn told the gathering that "anyone could be boring".
"Design has to break boundaries, set trends and meet real-life needs," he said. ďHave fun in your work. If itís not fun for you then itís not fun for others."
Philip Carder described how Magee's had revitalised itself through the effective use of design and branding and the successfully management of the changes to their core brands.
The Design Directorate announced details of its new 2008 to 2009 programme including the start of the first subsidised design training programme in mid-October specifically tailored for small businesses in Donegal. A trip to Dublin for the Furniture Design and Markets Trends event will take place in November. To find out more about the Design Directorateís programme, please contact Donna McFadden, design programme manager on 074 9160735 or email
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