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Five tips on boosting your professional impact

By Toby Trueman, Creative director

May 17, 2016 | 4 min read

Toby Trueman, creative director of Edinburgh based video production company Heehaw, recently lifted the Young Business Person of the Year at the Edinburgh Business Awards. Here, Toby shares his top five tips on how to make an impact professionally.

Toby Trueman of Heehaw

Toby Trueman is creative director of Heehaw.

Be human!

It’s an old saying, but it’s very true; people buy from people. If you are warm, welcoming and receptive then you are going a good way to ensuring your projects run smoothly. You are better equipped to deal with problems, as your client is more likely to respond empathetically, and they’re more likely to return to work with you again after the fact. It costs nothing to be friendly and polite, and it still astonishes me when I come across people who are arrogant and rude in person and emails. People talk; respect and reputation are everything.

Try to experience what everybody else is doing

I came up through the post-production side of the business, so now that I’m working in production I have a good idea of what the guys are up against. I think it helps to have a little knowledge of every aspect of your process; not only does it make you more efficient in your planning and execution, but it makes you an invaluable member of any team.

Always do the best you can, but know it wont ever be perfect

Of course you need to make each project as good as you possibly can within the parameters of the brief and budget, as well as recognize and reward yourself for successes, but it’s worth remembering absolutely everything ever created can be improved upon in some way, no matter how minute the detail. Identifying how your work can be improved and then taking that knowledge into the next project will keep you moving forward.

Have hobbies

Work should never dominate your life entirely. It’s important to have an escape, some way to switch off from the pressures of work and focus on something else for a time. Personally I like to mess around with photography; it’s intrinsically linked to my line of work, but I can use it as an excuse to dump the phone and get out into the Scottish countryside to work on conceptual projects of my own. Having a hobby refreshes you and keeps you creatively inspired.

Never stop learning

Take some time to study your craft. Every aspect of the creative world is constantly developing, and by learning new techniques, processes and skills you continue to push yourself and your work. Learning on the job is great of course, but this will have its limits. It helps if you have a bit of a commute you can use to bookend your working day with some study, but try to set aside 30 minutes in your evening to get your head into a book, lecture or tutorial. It will keep you motivated and confident in your approach.

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