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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!

Irina June blog BBQ

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

BBQ season has started and, for the next 3 months. we are going to be enjoying this glorious method of outdoor cooking in the company of our friends and family. Sounds wonderful!

However, I would like to remind you that BBQ food, while delicious, has its own “dark” side. Luckily, by being conscious of it, we are able to minimise any harmful impacts and really enjoy the otherwise very healthy BBQ!

So, what exactly do we need to know?

Research clearly shows that cooking meat over a flame at high temperatures can cause certain carcinogens to form. For example, AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCA (heterocyclic amine) are all products that can cause oxidative stress, inflammation, damage to DNA and can, therefore, potentially lead to cancer. You may think this very insignificant and irrelevant to you. However, one specialised study has demonstrated that people who consume grilled, barbecued and fried meat regularly have 60% more chance to develop pancreatic cancer. The harmful chemicals produced when fat drips onto the hot coals, cause chemical reactions and toxic smoke which then contaminate the food and, through inhalation, affect our lungs.

Claire Doole EYCHModerating a Q&A style panel discussion for the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

After a busy month of moderating for the UN, European Commission and trade federations in Brussels and Geneva, plus running how to moderate workshops for public and private sector institutions, I wanted to share my top 6 tips for stimulating panel discussions.

The common theme is that while a professional moderator always adds some sparkle, it is difficult to wave a magic wand, if the event organisers have not thought editorially about the panellists and format.

Tip number 1

Select the right panellists for the topic. It sounds obvious, but too often panellists are chosen for political reasons rather than for what they bring to the discussion. Even the most seasoned moderators find it very hard to stimulate an engaging discussion with people who don't have opposing views or different perspectives.

There is nothing worse than a panel where everybody says the same thing. In this case, as the moderator you have no option but to play devil's advocate. I was once forced to do this during a discussion on refugees. Afterwards, a young student in the audience came up to me and accused me of not liking refugees. I told her that I used to be a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency but my role was not to like or dislike but to stimulate discussion.

elisabeth forest june blog
Photo credit: Gabrielle Ward

By Liz Forest, EMF Management

I recently read in a local expat group on Facebook a post by someone looking for a recommendation for an “honest carpenter”.

It turns out the person writing the post was actually looking for someone to install a custom wardrobe in their home. What ensued was a short explanation of the job (i.e., some shelves, a hanging bar, and a sliding door to hide it all) and the fact that the person had already received offers from two carpenters “for the same amount”. The person was clearly in search of a third offer significantly below this threshold. I read this to imply that both carpenters might be perpetrating highway robbery as the job was too simple for anyone to be paid such an exorbitant amount (NB: embellishment is my own).

These kind of posts are rife on FB. To be completely honest (in the spirit of the sought-after carpenter), they evoke in me a tiny bit of sadness followed in quick succession by incredulousness and a fair amount of frustration. Why?

Well first, as I run renovation projects for a living, I would normally be able to reply to such a FB post with the names of at least two or three truly honest carpenters with whom I have collaborated in the past and who do magnificent work.

Next, before replying, I have to ask myself if the writer means:

  • Honest = can be trusted when left alone in your home with your stuff
  • Honest = does not lie
  • Honest = does not cheat
  • Honest = performs the task as requested
  • Honest = does not try to take more of my money than I believe they are entitled to take for the job I want and need them to do

Sally Helgesen 500

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Sally Helgesen’s mission has always been to help women recognize, articulate and act on their greatest strengths. Her previous books include The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work and the best-selling The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as “the classic work” on women’s leadership styles. Her ground-breaking The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership ever and is credited with bringing the language of inclusion into business.

In addition, Sally delivers workshops and keynotes in corporations, partnership firms, universities and associations around the world.

With Marshall Goldsmith, she co-authored the new book, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion or Job.

Sally Helgesen successfully shows how female professionals can change self-limiting behaviours. For me, the quote from Maya Angelou sums up the essence of the overall message.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within”

I was so very fortunate enough to interview her. Enjoy!

wiser humans life crisis

By Hiba Samawi, Wiser Humans

As a Psychologist working mostly with 35-45 year olds and being myself in this age group, I have noticed a paradox that seems to illustrate this life stage:

There is time and there is also not a lot of time.

We are no longer at the beginning of adulthood nor are we at the end of it. With this comes a particular pressure: Dreams still feel possible but may not be possible forever. There is still so much we can and want to achieve, to do, to experience - and yet possibilities may no longer seem limitless like they did in our 20’s.

And even if we are quite happy with our life as it is right now, some choices suddenly start having a ‘now or never’ feel to them.

Many choices at this time are more choices about a potential future than they are about what we want right now.

We may wonder: Is it too late? Too late to change career, to leave this relationship, to have children, to start anew in some way?

We ask ourselves questions like:

Do I want children?

How can I act responsibly for my future health?

Should I start thinking of saving for retirement?  

If I don’t change careers now, will it be too late in a few years?