366 days of gratitude

March 9, 2016

The home in which I grew up had one telephone.

It was attached to the wall in what we called the sun room.

As its name suggests it was warm on a good day but in inclement weather or at night it was cold.

If you didn’t need privacy or quiet you could stretch the cord far enough to converse in the kitchen which was always warm. But if you wanted to hear properly or keep your conversation to yourself you had to stay put regardless of the temperature.

How much easier it is now when most phones are cordless and many are mobile.

Today I’m grateful for portable and mobile communication.

 

 


366 days of gratitude

February 25, 2016

Phone calls, emails, texts and a variety of social media make keeping in touch with friends and family much easier, and more instantaneous, than they’ve ever been.

But there’s still something about a handwritten note on paper or a card that comes in the post.

Today I’m grateful for hand-written correspondence, all the more so for its rarity nowadays.


366 days of gratitude

February 22, 2016

Many years ago at a parent-teacher meeting for a three-teacher country school, someone raised the desirability of the school having an answerphone.

The principal wasn’t in favour because he’d have to listen to the messages in his breaks.

One parent pointed out that would be preferable to fielding a lot of calls and many of the messages would not require a call back but he wasn’t persuaded.

Answerphones were fairly new back then, now they’re common place for land lines and part of the package for mobiles.

They have their disadvantages – when you leave a message you don’t know if, or when, it will be listened to; and not everyone listens to every message.

But providing the messages left are clear, concise and provide the name and number required for a response, they serve a useful purpose.

Today I’m grateful for answerphones, and to the people who give their name and number clearly at both the start and end of their messages.

 


Wills Ag Communciator of the Year

June 14, 2014

Federated Farmers’ president Bruce Wills is the 2014 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

 . . .In the three years he has led Federated Farmers, Bruce has been an outstanding communicator, successfully representing the interests of farmers with his open, friendly and enthusiastic manner, helped by his willingness to listen to people.

Ahead of several other very worthy recipients, Bruce was selected by an independent panel of judges to receive this prestigious award, announced at an awards dinner in Hamilton last night.

Bruce farms with his brother at Te Pohue, on a sheep and beef operation carrying 7500 stock units. The farm is 1134 hectares, of which 800 hectares are farmed and the balance is in trees and 110 hectares which are protected through the QEII National Trust. He left a career in rural banking after 20 years to return to the family farm and has invested heavily in the long-term sustainability of the farm.

In its 28th year, the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year Award is administered by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, and recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues, events or information.

 Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, it is also the most valuable prize on offer. Landcorp provides a prize of $2500, which is part of a funding package of $7500 in sponsorship for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs, including the Awards dinner.

Bruce was also presented with a greenstone and timber trophy, which features a roll call of previous winners engraved on the back.

Guild President Graeme Peters said Bruce is a very worthy recipient of this year’s award.

“He is widely respected for his role in bridging the gap between rural and urban people, and has spent countless hours talking not only farmers to but also urban people, selling the importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy.

“His communication skills at all levels and covering all aspects of rural life are recognised by this award.”

Federated Farmers has had a much improved public profile under Wills’ leadership thanks in no part to his willingness and ability to communicate clearly and honestly.

He’s given praise when and where it’s due but has also been willing to accept criticism without being defensive.

He has been a strong advocate for farmers, farming and wider rural issues and has earned this recognition.

 

 

 


Communication better and worse

December 26, 2013

Through one of the marvels of modern Science, I am enabled, this Christmas Day, to speak to all my peoples throughout the Empire. I take it as a good omen that Wireless should have reached its present perfection at a time when the Empire has been linked in closer union. For it offers us immense possibilities to make that union closer still.

These are the opening lines of the first royal Christmas broadcast, made by King George V in 1932, the background to which you can read here.

Illustrating how far communication has come since then, this year’s royal Christmas speech is on YouTube.

Technological advances have made it much easier, and relatively cheaper, to communicate with people all around the world.

When I went on my OE in the early 80s, I made two phone calls home in 11 months. Our daughter’s on her OE now and we chat several times a week via Facetime or skype.

It is much easier for politicians to communicate through their own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, how much of these messages go much beyond those already supporting them or political tragics keeping up with the other side is a moot point – at least until they make a SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) when the message is likely to go far further than they’d like.

There is a downside to this easy communication though and that sometimes people ignore the people they’re with while concentrating on phones or other mobile devices.

As Einstein said:

I fear the day that technology will surpass our interaction the world will have a generation of idiots.


Time to get multi-lingual

June 23, 2013

A few years ago I was farewelling a young Argentinean visitor at Christchurch airport and waiting while he paid his departure tax.

Two young Asian women at the next window obviously didn’t understand English.

The teller was trying to explain they needed to show her their passports but they didn’t have a clue what she was asking of them.

I showed them my friend’s passport and the light went on.

I wondered then, why there weren’t signs in several languages to help travellers who didn’t speak English.

At last there will be.

Christchurch Airport has issued a media release saying it’s getting multi-lingual:

Christchurch Airport is ensuring Asian visitors feel welcome through installing signage in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean – a first for any international airport in the country.

Christchurch Airport chief executive Jim Boult says the new signs are part of on-going work to make the airport environment even friendlier for international visitors.

“As a leader in the tourism industry, we’ve taken a proactive approach to rolling out multi-lingual signage through our terminal,” says Mr Boult.

“Providing Chinese, Japanese and Korean language versions of our signage throughout the airport reflects the changing nature of tourism to Christchurch and the South Island,” he says.

Mr Boult says the multi-lingual static and electronic displays are part of a broader strategy to encourage greater engagement with key visitor markets. Alongside business development initiatives for the Asia Pacific region, airport staff will soon learn a few basic phrases in other languages to help them communicate with a wider range of visitors.

“This work reflects where future growth in visitor volumes to this region will come from,” he says. “We’re seeing steadily returning numbers from both Japan and South Korea, while the Chinese market is growing significantly.” . . .

It’s a good initiative but why only Asian languages, why has it taken so long to realise the importance of communicating with people who don’t understand English and when will other airports get multi-lingual too?

If we’re serious about welcoming visitors from other countries we have to be prepared to communicate in other languages.


Nessie dead – internet to blame?

June 2, 2013

Have you come across recent sightings of the Loch Ness Monster?

Phillip Hoare hasn’t and is blaming the internet:

Each era creates their own monsters. . .

Whether these creatures were basking sharks, baleen whales, or unidentified new species, or whether they were what people wanted them to be, it is notable that they conformed to the culture and fashion of their times. Does that explain why the Loch Ness monster has been quiet of late? Have we, in our plethora of computer-generated images, become cynical about such monsters, now that we realise how easily we can create them ourselves? Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the Cottingley Fairies (and in ectoplasmic spirits) because the manipulative art of photography was still a mystery. . .

Now, thanks to YouTube – where there is a new cryptozoological sensation every day. . .  we’re attuned to duplicity. Our innocence is gone, along with an era that was trusting, gullible, even. It may be far-fetched to suggest that those 1930s monster-believers were contemporaneous with fellow Europeans who placed their faith in real-life monsters – the totalitarian leaders who offered darker and more dangerous fantasies – but it is undeniable that in the internet age, it is much more difficult to fool us. Or at least, that’s what we think.

I’m not sure that it is any less difficult to fool the gullible and the ability of computers to manipulate images makes it easier to do so.

But perhaps the speed at which the internet enables information to be transmitted means we’re likely to be fooled for a shorter time because it won’t be long before someone lets us know we can’t always trust that seeing is believing.


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