Tag Archives: guest blogger

Hiring IT Consultants – What Are The Benefits?

With economic pressures bearing down on both large and small firms, the pressure to change the way in which things are done is mounting. Times are changing and the way in which a modern business works is constantly evolving and moving forward, especially when it comes to technology. So why does it now make more sense to hire IT consultants for projects instead of using your in-house tech department?

IT Consultants

Expand Your Base

Some business owners may be sceptical about the idea of hiring consultants to come in from outside their company and essentially ‘tell them how to do things’. However, this view can sometimes be ego-driven and is often proved not to be the case. Consultants hold their positions because they know what they’re doing. Besides which, it can often be crucially beneficial to projects, especially creative work, marketing, or system planning/redesign, to have a fresh opinion from the outside. Consultants are there to help you and your business, not just to come in and get paid to tell you the time with your own watch.

Even if your internal staff have come up with amazing ideas and possess a vast understanding of your business and how it works, the consultant can bring proven, tried and tested methods to the table and re-work these into successful ways to help your particular project. They have used these methods before and have learnt what works and what doesn’t, as well as how and why these methods have proven to be successful. Working together, you could come up with something twice as good as you could on your own.

Cost Savings

Most importantly for many businesses, it costs a lot less to call in consultants as and when you need them instead of paying to maintain an entire department. This is especially true for SMEs who lack an IT team entirely, but is also true for those who wish to keep a small team in-house but expand capability for larger one-off projects. As well as saving on salaries, employers are able to avoid paying secondary and hidden costs such as pension contributions, payroll taxes, and sick pay.

Gain Skills As You Require Them

As we all know, IT is something that can be hard to keep up with. New technologies are released constantly, and with these come new methods of working. This leads us to another reason as to why IT consultants could be the best choice for your your business – managers need not worry about having to get too involved in the IT project and can utilise valuable time elsewhere in the company. You don’t need to train an external consultant as they already have the skills and knowledge that businesses need; some skills that may not currently exist in-house.

Another perk is that IT consultants only need to be hired and brought in when a big project is coming up, offering businesses more flexibility and giving them a little extra money to play around with. This extra revenue could mark the difference in being able to really push the limits of the company and can make that extra room needed for sustainable growth.

Katie Barnes writes for Penman, a specialist Cloud Computing IT consultancy based in London.

Five Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Over the course of your studies there tend to be countless public speaking opportunities, whether it be in assemblies, presentations, acting or accepting awards. Mastering being heard, listened to and informative is a skill which will not only get you through school, college and university with good grades, but also through your career and social life, too.

Being a great public speaker is a gift very few people have innately. The poise, the charisma and the connection with the audience are things that can be learnt and honed. Whether presenting a finding from your BTEC or A Level to your teachers, in a job interview, speaking at a friend’s wedding or reporting to your boss, here are five ways to improve your presentation skills that will see you through your life…


Whether your audience is 2 people or 2 hundred, connecting with them is vitally important. It’s essential to connect through body language and eye contact and using open, friendly gestures with your arms and hands. Likewise, moving (if you’re not sitting) confidently and freely, keeps the audience’s attention on you. Also, the use of eye contact, and frequent questions (and listening to the answers, of course) maintains engagement. Feed off your audience – involve them if you can.


It’s never a bad idea to have notes to give you guidance, but by the same token it’s important not to try to not read from them. While preparation is key, too many notes can be a hindrance, particularly when used as a crutch. This goes for interviews, award ceremonies and exam presentations.


As your own worst critic, practising in front of a mirror can help enormously to hone your presentation skills. Practice does make perfect – and timing yourself and owning the information you are going to portray is crucial. Practising in different environments is also important – that way you are more likely to be prepared for any eventuality. You are there to deliver something: make sure you really get through to your audience, think about how you are going to do that and practise that method.

The Message

Message is everything. Ensure what you are saying is actually relevant, interesting and concise. If humour is appropriate, add it. What do you want people to take away from your presentation? Identify it and ensure it comes across clearly in your speech. If you are presenting at the end of your course or part of an interview, ensure your conclusion or your findings form the focus of the presentation.

Be Memorable

Using aids or props such as PowerPoint, PDF presentations or music adds interest and can make the presentation more memorable to your audience. If you want audience participation and are worried about them not coming forward, have sweets or things to throw to get them to lighten up, relax and realise it’s a bit of fun for them.

Sarah Spencer is a teacher and guest blogger who is passionate about education.