You will hear three different extracts.
You hear a consultant in communication talking about business meetings.
- What is the consultant doing when he mentions mobile phones at meetings?
- What advice does he give about talking at meetings?
You hear an ecologist, Todd Howell, talking about his new educational organisation ‘Green Adventure’.
- Todd believes that the public's concern about climate change
- When talking about introducing ecology to schoolchildren, Todd reveals
You hear a photographer talking about the art of photography.
- What approach is she advocating?
- Why does she mention globalisation?
Conducting yourself effectively at business meetings is about ensuring your presence is felt. Be aware of sitting up rather than slouching, but maintain a relaxed appearance. Spreading papers around looks chaotic, and there’s a tendency to suppose having phones on the table in front of you makes you look important and in demand. It hints more at a propensity to get diverted from the issues at hand. A notepad and pen will be more effectual in suggesting you’re on the ball, as will placing yourself in the eyeline of movers and shakers and looking focused.
Have a glass of water to hand, as this will keep you alert and will also check your urge to blurt something out without due consideration. You want your observations to be valid and articulate, so a well-judged sip before responding can ensure against anything too off-the-cuff. Do contribute in the early stages of the meeting as the longer you hold off the harder it gets to chip in, and you could get left behind. It’s best to come up with ideas that appear to demonstrate foresight and that you think others will deem sensible and go along with.
F: Why did you decide to start a green learning organisation to target schoolchildren?
M: We’re in a time now where everyone’s talking about climate change, but everything’s been refined to four words: carbon, energy, transport and offset. That’s all I ever hear and people believe that by focusing on these, our planet will be healthy again. So we need a concerted effort to introduce a programme that’s about investigative learning, not prescribed pathways. The challenge is how we market the message in a way that will resonate and compete. Because we’re bombarded by advertising messages 24 hours a day.
F: Are you trying to get your learning programme into the school curriculum?
M: I’m in two minds because it would be awful if it became just another class, like ‘Oh no, we’ve got ecology today!’ I love going to schools though, that’s the payback, sitting with kids. They have an amazing perspective on things. We grow more cynical as we grow older and have preconceived ideas about what’s possible and what’s not. Kids are like, ‘Why are we cutting down trees if it’s bad for the Earth? We must stop right now.’
Many people are hampered by what they think of as a fit and proper subject for the camera. But, it can be healthy for your creativity to apply the same kind of attention and effort you might to a so-called ‘important’ subject or spectacle, to instead, the mundane stuff that most people ignore. The idea of finding the extraordinary simply by giving the ordinary your full attention began with surrealist painters in the 1920s.
This has even more resonance now, with the onset of globalisation, which may homogenise things in one way, but also means that the remaining differences between cultures are often found in the simplest things. A henna stencil, used as body decoration for special occasions, may be unremarkable in Asia, but in the West it makes an image oddly intriguing. Even so, as has always been true, it’s not enough just to find something and make a snapshot of it. For the photography of the ordinary to work, it’s more important than ever to give the image your full imaginative and skilful treatment. The best photographers often do this instinctively.