julie bentley picBefore joining Girlguiding I was something of a ‘Twitter phobe’. I had managed to duck requests to start tweeting, but my PR team wouldn’t let me off the hook!

So it was almost exactly two years ago at party conferences that I had my first lesson in all things Twitter (thanks @ladylaxton), and sent my first tweet. I was pretty sceptical about the value of working out how to say something meaningful in 140 characters. But I soon realised several things: the most important for me, as CEO of a large membership organisation, was that Twitter gives people a simple, direct route to me, to share their thoughts on Girlguiding – both good and bad.

It’s crucial for me that, as a charity CEO, I’m accessible and transparent – but importantly it also gives me an achievable means to share some important messages about Girlguiding directly and widely with colleagues in the sector, as well as Girlguiding volunteers and young women. I also realised about six months in that my 140 characters didn’t always have to be meaningful (check my Twitter feed for proof!), and that actually people also enjoy reading some of the more mundane or daft things I may tweet – it allows them to see I’m human.

One of the most common views I hear from my non-tweeting peers is that they don’t have time to tweet – but it only takes a few seconds. I do much of my tweeting on train journeys or when I’m waiting to go into meetings. I see it as communicating with our key stakeholders – and for me there should always be time for that. So if you are also a Twitter phobe – I encourage you to give it a go.

Tweet me hello @juliebentley – good luck!