Closing comment – Chim Chim Cher-ee, Mary Poppins turns 50

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This week, Mary Poppins celebrated her 50th year on the silver screen. Fifty years since Dame Julie Andrews flew in on her umbrella and brought the loveable Mary into the homes and hearts of millions of people around the world.

Mary, the magical nanny with the perfect British accent and a bottomless carpet bag, has a unique ability to walk the fine line between merriment and earnestness, and the gift of teaching without people realising they’re being taught – perhaps it’s that “spoon full of sugar”.

While the movie is as feel good as they come – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – it has also played a critical role in many people’s lives and this week TIME described Mary as the original Disney feminist.

Half a century later, Mary continues to teach children – and adults – many important life lessons. For communicators we can learn a few lessons from Miss Poppins too.

  1. Respond in person (even to ripped up letters) – when Mary wants the job she responds to the children’s advertisements in person proving face to face communication is always best
  2. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down – when communicating change, lead with the positives and benefits
  3. Know your audience, and listen before you communicate – Mary watches and listens before communicating with the children, the mother, the father, and countless other characters in the movie
  4. A good song, laughter and perhaps a dancing penguin can make or break a presentation
  5. Never give up – some advice from Walt Disney himself who spent years in pursuit of the film rights and also Mary who knows she can win her audience (the family) over!

Time for a jolly holiday or at least a weekend!

Cheers,
Jack & the c word crew

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