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Guest Blogs

Knowitall.ch often invites local experts in their field to contribute to their own blogs on our site. This means not only you will benefit from the useful recommendations that we make on our News pages, but you can also profit from some of the great advice and tips that these experts have to make on their favorite subjects. Whilst each of these bloggers has been recommended to us at some point during the evolution of Know-it-all passport and  knowitall.ch, obviously we are not able to test out all the suggestions they make on their blogs, nor do we necessarily agree with all their opinions.  So if you do find one of their tips useful (or not!), do let us know!

To make these blogs more accessible to you, we have now decided to group them altogether in one section, entitled Guest Blogs, accessible from our main menu bar.  We will also post the most recent blogs on the home page of our site in the right hand column.

We are still building up this area of the site, and are looking for bloggers in a number of sections, including Your Home, Travel, and Leisure, so if you feel you have a useful contribution to make in either of these areas, and have the time to submit blog entries approximately every month, then please get in touch!

sunita 19 jan blog

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

“Mere repetition of an activity won’t lead to improved performance. Your practice must be intentional, repetitious aimed at improving performance and combined with immediate feedback from a coach.”

Have you ever thought you’re not cut out to do something due to a lack of talent? Karl Anders Ericsson would disagree and he has the data to prove it. Anders spent 30 years studying people who are exceptional at what they do, and trying to figure out how they got to be so good. His conclusion: in most cases, talent doesn’t matter but deliberate practice does. He and his colleagues provide new research that illustrates that outstanding performance is the outcome of years of measured or deliberate practice and coaching and not of any innate talent or skill. Ericsson, psychologist and author of “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise”, has dedicated his career to understanding how people become exceptional within one field.

Tell us about yourself. At a very early point in my life I found that I could improve my performance. I read biographies that focused on how people succeeded and tried to understand how and why and get into their mind-set. Even a genius like Mozart had to work for at least ten years before he produced something that became recognized as a masterpiece.

Take us back to the beginning. How did your research begin about being an expert? I have never seen an individual whose excellence was not the result of formal training. I had a lot of push back about that but all achievement we see is, in fact, the product of extended deliberate practice. I have yet to find attributes that cannot be influenced by training. Anyone can build proficiency in any field. The only reason most of us don’t build expertise is lack of the single-minded focus required to engage in deliberate practice over years.

CDC laughing compressed

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

Moderating a conference about the possible reclassification of a chemical compound as carcinogenic is no laughing matter. The revaluation of antimony, a substance found in many household and manufacturing products, would have severe repercussions for those involved in its trade and manufacture.

However, as you can see from the photos, we did raise a few laughs during the day. How? We made the conference as interactive as possible – quizzes, panel discussions, group brainstorming and feedback sessions. As a former TV and radio producer, I know that you have to keep on changing the pace and content of a programme to keep the audience engaged.

But our secret ingredient was to use a cartoonist to make everyone laugh. Floris Oudshoorn is a gem. A Dutch cartoonist, who is fluent in English, he recapped the main points with some of his very witty digital sketches.

Sunita blog Jan 2018
The Dalai Lama laughs with Richard Moore, director of Children in Crossfire, during a press conference in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in April 2013. AFP

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Richard Moore is the founder and Director of Children in Crossfire which is an International NGO based in Derry Northern Ireland.  He was born in 1961 and grew up during the conflict in Northern Ireland. He was the second youngest of a family of 12 children, 9 boys and 3 girls. The Creggan and Derry from around 1969 was at the center of the Northern Ireland conflict. Shootings, bombings and riots were a daily occurrence.

In 1972 when he was 10 years old whilst on his way home from school he was shot and blinded by a rubber bullet fired by a British soldier....

This is his story of loss, struggle, resilience and forgiveness.

Tell us about yourself.

I was compensated by the British Government for being shot and with some of the money I set up my own business. I also learned to play the guitar, played in local bands and set up a folk choir that sing in church every week. Eventually after 14 years of running my own business I decided to set up a charity to help children in Africa suffering from the injustice of poverty.

The charity, Children in Crossfire, was launched 21 years ago in 1996. I wanted to use my own experience as a child to help other children who were not as lucky as me. I was able to survive what happened to me because I came from a good family and a good community. I also was able to return to school and get a good education. In my young adult years, I became very aware of children in other parts of the world who might have had their eye-sight but didn’t have the same opportunities as me.  

"When I listened to the Dalai Lama speak I remember thinking he was describing how I felt. It was then that I realized what I was experiencing was forgiveness."

CDC Interacting with audience
Photo courtesy of Women's Forum for Economy and Society

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

The audience is king in communications. Whether giving a presentation, talking to the media, or writing a document, who matters most is the viewer, listener or reader. What do you want them to do, feel or say as a result of your communications?

How strange this is too often forgotten when organising a conference.

I am sure you have attended conferences where death by PowerPoint was a real possibility or panel discussions where the moderator runs out of time for the Q and A session with the audience.

Have a read of this article by Guardian journalist, Duncan Green, entitled "Conference rage: How did awful panel discussions become the default format?"

He says, "a badly run conference is not only a lost opportunity, but a waste of time. How can we improve them?"

He gives a lot of good ideas, but doesn't mention how technology can really make a difference, putting the audience back in the driving seat.

aaron balick

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Over the past decade, the very nature of the way we relate to each other has been completely transformed by online social networking and the mobile technologies that enable unrestricted access to it. Our very selves have been drawn-out into the digital world in ways formerly unimagined, giving us an immediate means of relating to others over a variety of platforms. In the Psychodynamics of Social Networking, Aaron Balick draws on his experience as a psychotherapist and cultural theorist to question the “unconscious drives” behind our online social networking use.

Aaron has a passionate interest in psychology because he knows it can revolutionise people’s lives as well as improve society as a whole.

I was very lucky to interview Aaron, who is not only kind and smart, but also an integrative psychotherapist and supervisor trained in a variety of different methodologies, from psychoanalysis to cognitive behavioural therapy.

Enjoy!