Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Good grief. The things some people do at the weekends. The bank holiday saw me breaking in a new pair of boots on Arenig Fawr, North Wales.
All was well until the top of this gorgeous mountain, where we found the wilderness besmirched by a twenty-foot portable radio aerial and the summit cairn occupied by a dominatrix of uncertain age barking an incessant babble of code into a handset.
Utterly preoccupied by her own self-importance, this harridan of the airwaves completely ignored every walker who arrived at the peak, leaving at least half a dozen of us irritated and in the dark about why this remote and tranquil spot had been so ruinously commandeered.
No eye contact was made, no smile exchanged. None of the mutual acknowledgement that is traditional among genuine hillwalkers. Now and again, a non-gibberish sentence: "Any stations out there wishing to make contact?" Well, ‘hello’ would have been nice!
We moved along to a quieter peak to contemplate the deeper meaning of this encounter, which was so symptomatic of communication today.
When the medium becomes the message, it is just irritating blather. You can twitter and text (yes, and blog) all you like, but don’t let it take over from actually talking to people around you, noticing their interest and responding in a human, normal, sociable way. Please!
Back at my desk I am writing a sustainability report for one of our clients. Here are engineers engaging with students, listening and learning, being good neighbours. It gives you hope. In our language, communication and community have the same root. These are the contacts that count, in business as well as in life.
Further research reveals alarmingly that there is an international society dedicated to broadcasting from mountains. SOTA – Summits on the Air – even offers an award for ‘mountain activators’. It’s called (you have to smile) the Mountain Goat award.
I know who would get my vote.
Thursday, 30 April 2009
The earliest May Day celebrations were actually about the festival of Flora, the roman goddess of flowers which may explain in a rather loose way the jump to fertility, may poles and men in ribbons and bells but possibly not the labour movement or the distress call! Internationally workers are celebrating the social and economic achievements of the labour movement, which may not be that clear in the economic gloom! But in its simplest form, May Day promotes 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation and 8 hours of sleep! Now we might not all enjoy that but it’s great to know the thought is there (personally I would love the sleep part!).
I often think how odd how things evolve and change in meaning; the ‘chinese whisper’ effect combined with the power of word of mouth and the subjectivity of opinion. There are lots of examples such as May Day, words with double meanings or that once meant one thing and then moved on to mean something else. A tale someone tells another, develops and grows in to something different – the power of communication in whatever form is one to be admired.
In our line of work it is something we harness to create a story to engage the customer, inspiring them to buy, refer or develop their loyalty – essential in today’s climate. This is something we all need to be clever about. We have to make sure our whisper is louder than someone else’s, that our messages mean the right thing to the right person. Those who succeed at this will be the businesses that emerge from the end of the tunnel.
For now whether you are the kind of person who sashays around a pole, bells jangling and hankies waving or you prefer other more conventional pursuits, enjoy a wonderful May Bank Holiday. Comments and pictures are most welcome, whatever you get up to!
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Sheep are certainly on our plate at the moment. Recently we've been trying to persuade engineering graduates from the southern hemisphere to hike north and put their knowledge to good use on the M25 and in the London area. Fortunately we had a very helpful sheep who spent 2 days tramping around the Norfolk countryside without so much as a bleet word. An interesting one this as I found my model (who incidently can dance to 70's hits) in a rural show in my back garden. Sometimes it's where you find the most unlikely opportunities.
Thanks Dean, Carl, Richard, Helen, Clare and Tim!
Monday, 20 April 2009
Monday, 6 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
I couldn’t help staring at him and felt a bit like a stalker, I thought if Lance saw me he’d think I was a bit weird. Just like I thought a 7-time Tour de France winner catching the 15.54 to Stansted was a bit weird.
To add to the madness, sat on the floor next to me and Lance was a huge ginger American about my age, stuffing his face with beef jerky. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt (quite normal) and had over his shoulder a tiny black leather bag with randomly placed silver studs on it (not normal). He also had an air rifle bag out of which two swords appeared to be peeping…
Anyway, here are some pictures I managed to take whilst pretending to send a text message…