Happy holidays & All the Best for 2016

Dear blog friends,

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Doors of Summer

I love that we are getting very hot days in Scotland this week – up to 27 degrees celsius (roughly 80 deg Fahrenheit). You will notice that my door entry is full of colour as a result. I hope you are having a hot, glorious summer too! Enjoy!

Image from flickr users:

Mary – door 101, see license here

Tim van Kempen – door of colour, see license here

Tim Green – red door, see license here

Martin Konopacki – Door Kuldiga Latvia, see license here

Rodney Campbell – church door, see license here

New Journey. New Blog.

I’m excited to let you know I’ve started a new blog. As I wrote in my last post, a new journey has began as I embark on my doctorate degree and take a break from corporate life. The new blog will follow my research as a main theme with secondary themes on photography. I plan to write more personal posts here from time to time.

It would be great if you could continue to follow me on the new blog. You have been so supportive over the nearly 5 years that I started blogging here. Things change and I’m hoping you’ll support that. Thank you so much! I appreciate every one of you.

Lights of the Quay side: Photography on my mind

In the past year, I have visited Newcastle at least once a month. There are breathtaking views to be seen. I have said that I need to be in the city with my camera one day. The day finally came last week. Here are the best shots of the Quay side area where I normally stay.

Amazing view on the Quay side (Newcastle, UK)

I don’t really know what people do in this building but there were many heads moving about….this was around 8pm at night. I hope they weren’t working!

Looks so ancient! Perhaps how the Quay side would have looked to Dracula...

This picture above is grainy but I’m pleased with the 1800s feel to the view. It is perhaps how Dracula would have seen the Quay side back then…

Baltic, Quay side

One of the popular places to go along the Quay side in Newcastle. I love the lights and the “calling” of the sign: BALTIC. Baltic is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world. It is located on the south bank of the River Tyne, where the Quay side faces. https://www.balticmill.com/

Photos taken by Yekemi Otaru (aka the Task Mistress)

From drawing blanks to making conversation

October has been a really good month for me. I learned quite a bit this month, I made some solid decisions and I went on a relaxing holiday! Part of the result of my learning is that I’m more confident about starting conversation with important people.

Drawing blanks

It’s rather embarrassing but when I have an opportunity to chat informally with important people e.g. a CEO or celebrity etc, I cannot for the life of me think of anything to say! I’m normally really chatty with people I know and even those I don’t know but if I was ever in an elevator with Bill Gates, I’d totally freeze up! What’s up with that? I’ve often heard people talk about the “elevator pitch” and how everyone has something like 10 seconds to describe themselves in a way that sells. I swallow when I hear that. There! My secret is out. I’ve heard one of my managers who noticed this describe me as “shy” – laughable, I know. Anyway, I think I’m on my way to overcoming this weakness of mine. I just need to breathe (in a non-obvious way, of course) and then think of something intelligent to say, right? Oh dear.

Making conversation

I once wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, “How to Befriend Almost Anyone At Work”. It’s more for building relationships with colleagues. For me, building rapport with people that I feel are on my level is pretty easy. Some executives can be easy to start a conversation with. They make it seamless and relaxed but more and more, executives- and indeed anyone in an important position in the corporate world – are getting inundated as pressure grows to improve business performance. They just don’t have the time or patience to make it easy. This is why I think I need to try harder (since I unfortunately care about this kind of thing!) even if the executive gives me little or nothing to go on. Gulp.The fortunate thing is that a guy called Bernard Marr recently wrote an article, “How to Start a Conversation with Absolutely Anyone”. It is a great guide and I felt a glimmer of hope after I read it. Unlike my article, it is more about what to SAY or bring up rather than how to befriend someone. Afterall, I’m unlikely to become Bill Gates’ best friend just because I impressed him with a interesting conversation in an elevator. Well, maybe.

Some of what Bernard mentions are (in my own wacky words):

  • Looking for something in the environment to talk about e.g. the food, the guests, the venue
  • Skipping small talk – don’t mention the weather for goodness sake, unless of course there’s a hurricane outside and you are under the table together. I’d imagine it would seem insensitive not to mention it!
  • Ask open ended questions. If you ask yes or no questions then you’ll get a “yes” or a “no”. At this stage, the only way to get more is to ask “why?” There’s only so many times you can ask why before you sound like a 3-year old on speed.

And so on. The article is worth reading if this stuff is of interest to you.

Do you have any other tips for starting conversations? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy Weekend!

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