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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!

CDC Gabor the coach
Photo by Deborah Berlinck

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

I know very little about classical music, but I was privileged to have a front row seat to a master class given by Gabor Takacs-Nagy. As I watched Takacs-Nagy in action, I realised much of what he said applied to public speaking – a world I know more about.

Takacs-Nagy, a renowned Hungarian violinist and conductor, is Director of the Verbier festival chamber orchestra. The festival, in the heart of the Alps, runs from 21st July to the 6th August, and is a key event in the classical music calendar.

CDC Verbier inthe mountains

Photo by Deborah Berlinck

So what does playing in public and speaking in public have in common?

Emotion is everything

Being a musician was like an emotional striptease explained Takacs-Nagy to aspiring professional musicians. The remark made the well-heeled audience laugh but resonated with me. Musicians he said needed to go beyond their technical prowess and convey the emotion of the work so that the audience connect emotionally.

It is the same principle in public speaking as Aristotle pointed out some 2500 years ago. If you want to persuade people, you have to not only have logos (facts) and ethos (credibility) but pathos (stirring the audience’s emotions).

The US author Maya Angelou goes even further: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you say, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

Context is vital

Takacs-Nagy painted a vivid picture of what it was like to be a gypsy musician in the 18th century to help today’s young musicians convey the emotion of Brahm’s piano quartet number 1 in G minor, which is inspired by gypsy music.

A Masterclass by the Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra from Claire Doole Communications on Vimeo.

If you are speaking in public the most effective way of getting a message across is to tell a personal story or anecdote. In both cases you need to explain the context – what is happening, where and when to whom, so that people care about the characters and the situation they find themselves in.

Show don’t tell

Tackacs-Nagy often picked up the violin and showed what he meant. He said he hadn’t played for many years so it was not about him showing off but helping the musicians hear what he meant.

In public speaking, it can be more powerful to describe a situation and let the audience form their own opinion, rather than telling them what to think. People in the professional world are often reluctant to show emotions as this can be seen as a sign of vulnerability. When I ask someone to share a personal story, I always share one first.

Light and shade

Too much emotion or too much of the same emotion is counterproductive as it will turn the audience off. Using the analogy of Da Vinci’s most famous painting, Tackacs-Nagy told the pianist playing Mozart’s piano quarter number 1 in G minor that he should see himself at certain moments more as the backdrop to the violinist’s Mona Lisa.

In public speaking it is vital that the speaker varies the emotional range – moving from “levitas” to “gravitas” to keep the audience interested, changing tone according to the message they are giving.

CDC Gabor demonstrating 2
Photo by Deborah Berlinck

The Master Coach

As a media/public speaking coach, I know how important it is to have good intent when helping people through transformational change. Earlier this year, I went on a course where the sole intent of the trainer – a doyenne in the acting world – seemed to be to knock our confidence.

How refreshing to see in the equally competitive world of classical music, a coach whose constructive approach helped the musicians reach new heights of excellence, even to my untrained ear.

CDC Gabor in full flow 3
Photo by Deborah Berlinck

Author's bio

clairedooleportrait 200Claire is a former BBC correspondent and international spokeswoman who is passionate about helping people communicate with confidence. Since 2006, she has successfully trained hundreds of professionals in the art of presenting and public speaking, talking to the media, managing communications in a crisis, and writing for the web. In addition, she has coached C-level executives and public figures to give powerful TEDx and TED style talks in Europe and the Middle East. A Swiss and UK national, Claire trains and coaches in French and English.

Claire is also a highly experienced moderator having facilitated panel discussions with government ministers, NGO activists, humanitarians and human rights specialists at major events.

www.doolecommunications.com

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dean glacier 2

Since living in Switzerland, I have acquired a taste for mountains that I could never have foreseen. Snow-shoeing has become a true passion, if not an obsession, and a regular winter activity. But what I have really discovered and experienced is the energising power that these majestic peaks deliver, not only in winter but in the summer months too.

Yesterday, we took our final cable-car trip, as Swiss residents, to an altitude of 2,971m and spent a rejuvenating afternoon at Glacier 3000. I don't need to remind you all how stressful relocating to another country can be, therefore, taking some time out to re-energise was a must in our schedule.

The cable-car journey to Scex Rouge (Glacier 3000) is in two stages, starting at Col du Pillon, just on the edge of Les Diablerets, about a 1-hour drive from Lausanne. There is plenty of free parking available. The return ticket costs CHF 79 for adults and CHF 40 for children or adults with a half- price travel card.  It includes the Peak Walk by Tissot, a Fun Park for children, the Ice Express chair lift to and from the Glacier and the Glacier Walk. The ascent takes about 15 minutes.

Fleur Heyworth 2

Fleur Heyworth began her professional career as a Barrister and spent 5 years advocating in court, representing government and private clients in family law proceedings. She also worked with NGOs during UPR sessions and drafted recommendations.  She organised a number of events hosted by Ministers and Ambassadors, including one on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Disasters and Emergencies, and another 'Gender Equality: what will you do?'.

Most recently, Fleur was Impact Director for Women@theTable and worked closely with the International Gender Champions.  She engaged male and female leaders as role models for change and had a particular focus on Change Management: promoting a culture of inclusion and diversity and addressing perceptions, biases and structural barriers within organisations.  Fleur has a Geography Degree from Cambridge University, and took her post-graduate studies in law at Nottingham Law School.

1.     Tell us about yourself.  I grew up near Manchester in the UK as the eldest sibling of 2 brothers.  I have always been keen on sport and community activities, and met my husband on the hockey pitch.  I began my professional career as a Barrister, specializing in family law, notably child protection and domestic violence.  My husband and I have 2 children aged 5 and 6 and we relocated to Geneva three years ago.  We love the outdoors lifestyle here and the fact that our children have become bilingual – although we are sad to say we cannot keep up with them!

St Jean d'Aulps

by Gareth Jefferies, Alpine Property

I've been asked a number of times recently about the current state of the property market in the Alps.

In brief the current market feels like a good balance between buyers and sellers. The French are buoyant but new British enquiries are hesitant. Long term British searchers are making the most of the good supply of properties and thanks to this we are agreeing plenty of sales. Swiss buyers in the French border areas seem to be largely unaffected by most of the events mentioned!

Some history.....I've been in this business now since the year 2000. Since then I have seen a steady rise in interest in ski properties in the Northern Alps up until we hit the top of the market in 2006/7. It felt like a bit of a bubble back then and with the benefit of hindsight it was! The Banking Crisis hit at the end of 2008 which brought everything to a grinding halt for 6 months, a slow recovery followed until 2015 which turned into boom time again. Brexit hit in June 2016 and the market has been taking stock since. It's not been like 2009 by any means but the interest has certainly ebbed and flowed somewhat over the last year.

There is certainly plenty of events that are giving pause for thought, Brexit, the economy (falling value of wages in the UK), terrorism and the exchange rate to name the biggest ones.

British PM Theresa May 500
Photo credit ©BBC Newsight

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

It amazes me that politicians still think they can get away with not answering the question during media interviews. Who are they hiring for media training? Certainly not me!

The web is full of examples of what not to do during a media interview. In my trainings I use an example of a Blackberry executive who is so on message but completely fails to hear the question.

Watch this as an example of a car-crash interview on BBC Breakfast News.