Penny Pullan: Graphics Made Easy, Music, How to Have a Good Day, Mindfulness and Learning from Teaching 

Graphics Made Easy, Music, How to Have a Good Day, Mindfulness and Learning from Teaching with Penny Pullan of Making Projects Work Ltd.

Listen Below and Here’s What We Recommended:

Tools & Apps

Using Graphics to Simplify: “I found that by using very simple graphics, it helped me to understand the complexity. It also helps my client understand what’s going on. I use visuals, and I use pictures to understand the incredibly tricky and complicated situations that my clients are in, and the sort of complex elements that they’re working with?

Then it turns out that it has some really powerful other things as well. It really helps people to remember the different aspects. When I draw things out, it helps me to remember, and it helps the people that I’ve drawn that out in front of remember what it is that I’ve drawn. It sort of sticks. You don’t have to concentrate and think really hard to put something into memory as you would need to do with a long list of words. Pictures just pop back into the brain. That’s really powerful.

The other thing I find just going back to virtual leadership is that, if you do drawings when you work with people virtually, they actually find them incredibly engaging and they stay on the line. They can add in their own drawings as well even better. That’s something really powerful because it’s virtual groups and virtual teams, one of the hardest things is to keep people interested and engaged.

I actually, a few years ago, set up a side site called which gives three months’ worth of once a week tutorials. Just simple stuff that you can use for a business.”


How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb – “I met Caroline at the end of last year and found out about her book. She is an ex-McKinsey consultant who ran their remarkable leadership programme, or at least was very involved in it, and during that time tapped into research around what is it that makes people really incredibly effective. “

“There’s a book that I read years ago by Benjamin Zander which is around the time that I was thinking about setting up my own company. Absolutely transformational – It’s The Art of Possibility, Benjamin Zander.”

“In fact I do use music in my workshops. There’s a very good little book called Choosing and Using Music in Training”.


“I quite like musical theatre. I’d sing along to Les Mis. I’m not really massively into anything else.”

“Music is a very powerful hook. If you know something, it will hook you back into the emotions that you felt the last time, or perhaps the first time that you heard it, which isn’t always the emotion that would be most productive at the time.”


Doctor Zhivago

The Shawshank Redemption is probably my favourite.”


On playing the violin as an adult – “I realised that when you’re learning something that complicated and you have to think about all the different elements, the music, how you’re making the sound, what your left hand is doing, what your right hand is doing, no tension anywhere. There’s just so much to think about. The business stuff that tends to go right around my head all the time has no place. It gets pushed away and my brain is completely occupied by this.”

Comment from Jo “I was reading an article about learning things including musical instruments the other day. It was saying how important it is to learn instruments that you haven’t played before as well because you need to have multidimensional learning going on for it to be really, really valuable.”

Standing Desks – comment from Jo – “I was really lucky to be at a conference and exhibition and got chatting to somebody from a company called Ergotron. They have very cool contraptions that you put on top of your desk. I don’t think they call them contraptions! I was describing my homemade stand up desk made of a book shelf, some books, and lots of bits of wood, and how Heath Robinson that was. It’s interesting. You think that even if you’ve made it easy which is what I did – I had two power supplies and two screens and everything – you think that there’s not a barrier, but I found out there was a barrier. Actually now, I stand the majority of the time, which is really interesting.

Exercise and Mindfulness – “I like, especially this time of year, walking in the woods. I’m lucky to live in the middle of the country away from a big city, so within 5 minutes I can be in beautiful woods; ancient oak trees, bluebells carpeting the floor and so on, very lovely, de-stressing. It doesn’t feel like running on the treadmill or anything, but it is brisk walk round the woods.

Learning from Teaching – “I learn so much when I run my own courses.”

When it all goes wrong – “Tomorrow is another day” and “What can I do differently tomorrow?”

On feeling sad – “if I’m feeling really sad about something, I will go and play laments on my violin. All the feeling will pour out and then I feel a lot better afterwards.”

To Contact Penny

@PennyPullan on Twitter

“If you type Penny Pullan into Google, I pop up all over the place because I do seem to have a fairly unique name which is quite a good thing in internet days. I’d be very happy to speak to anyone.”

“My book ‘Virtual Leadership’ – I hope will make a real difference to people who can’t be with all the other people that they’re working with at the same time. Available on Amazon or via with coupon for 20% off VLF20”
NB We said this podcast was being published after the book but it’s turned out to be the other way round!

Tweet: “I suppose the real thing is actually, we’re all a little bit different and we need to know what works for us” @pennypullan

Tweet: “When it all goes wrong – ‘Tomorrow is another day’ and ‘What can I do differently tomorrow?’ @pennypullan

Tweet: “If you do drawings when you work with people virtually, they actually find them incredibly engaging” @pennypullan

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