NETSHEILA Has Blog Inside

From now on, NETSHEILA the blog will be on NETSHEILA.com. NETSHEILA is proud to announce the launching of its new website, where local writers, designers, web folk and other entrepreneurs have joined forces. We feel the new website reflects NETSHEILA's values of freedom, exploration and plain old courage, promoting dignity and respect for all people.

From now on, go directly to the NETSHEILA blog  for tips and tricks on how the people you know can contribute to your business, organisation or project.

And call NETSHEILA to talk about how we can support you with a tailor-made offering.

Lin McDevitt-Pugh

Is Your Fantasy Cow a Horse?

Ever wondered what modern drovers do? And what this has to do with towns in transition?

Drovers fired my imagination when I was a girl. They are the horse riders in outback Australia, who herd vast numbers of cattle from the outback ranches to the sale yards in urban areas. It took weeks if not months to drive the cattle through the vast Australian outback, a perilous trip that relied on finding water before the cattle died of thirst, and finding grass for the cattle to eat on the way. This is my Australian culture, one built on stories of one-armed cooks who made beef patties with one hand, of lonely men who chose solitude, billy tea and cows above the sweet life of a country town. I can smell the bushland they traveled through, I can hear the crackle of dried gum leaves under their feet, I can see the camp fires burning at night. It’s all in my imagination. Its part of why I like being Australian and why, despite my years of absence, I would never want to give up my Australian citizenship.

And now, in Europe, where a beef steak is possibly a juicy slice of horse rump, I watch the news and notice how disturbed people are at their loss of innocence. They too have a cultural identity in their beef eating. In their imaginations, while biting into a burger, they are biting into an animal that was once on the hoof, eating grass in a meadow, paddock or field. OK, so research has brought some of us eye to eye with the truth: the beef industry in the US is corn-fed, factory produced, and hormone inflated. In Europe we can read on the packing of the food the TV is flashing at us that this ‘food’ is full of emulsifiers and lots of E ingredients that make it look more like poison than anything else. All this information is not enough for the consumer. Now that we are discovering that this package contains not beef, but horse, we are upset.  

HORSE. A thing of beauty. Many little girls dream of owning a horse.  Dashing knights ride on them. You don’t EAT them.

So here lies the clue, documentary makers and food activists. This is how you catch the imagination of the consumer. Take away the innocence, the dream. They don’t want to hear that vast areas of forest are cut to make beef farms, and that the cattle live in windowless retreats where their stomachs are opened up to feed them corn (which they can’t digest) and the farmers are getting below survival wages from the wicked fast food stores that own the farm.  No, they want to hear that the thing they thought they were eating is not a cow, but a horse. That gets them sitting up.

And in Australia, where beef is beef, the drover has given way to the cattle train. This train consists of 17 trucks with 3 trailers and 2 decks per trailer; that’s 102 decks of cattle, with 28 cattle per deck. A total of 2,856 head of cattle are streaming their way to the cattle yards in this picture. When one of these vehicles passes you as you are cycling on a back road, in another one of your lifetime fantasy experiences, duck for cover. Otherwise you will be splashed by the excreta that slops out of each deck in a constant shower. I’ve been there.

Cry if you like that your fantasy world doesn’t exist. Or get real. Eat the food you know. Grow your own vegetables. Eat local meat. Join the transition towns network. I will be going to my first meeting this month.

Lin McDevitt-Pugh

Lin McDevitt-Pugh is the founder and director of NETSHEILA, a company dedicated to working with organisations and individuals to expand their ability to transform the networks of relationships they already have into resources to improve the quality of the workplace. Call +31 6 150 68468 to discuss how your organisation can benefit from working with NETSHEILA  or write to info@netsheila.com.


Business Cards Can Be Useful

I seem to have a lot of conversations with people who are scared of networking. A friend doesn't like the idea of talking to strangers.  She says she doesn't know how to begin a conversation - even if she is at a demonstration with thousands of other people marching up a road to parliament house with the same intention she has. Another friends says she doesn't know what to talk about, at an event that is set up for people to talk with each other. And a business acquaintance is sure that if she fails to hand out business cards she is failing at networking, and if she fails at networking she will never broaden her client group.


Then I look on the blogs of networking experts and they talk about networking as if it is all about handing out business cards and smiling while you do it. I despair! A message is getting sent out to the population at large that fake smiles and business cards are part of you business package. If people listen to them, no wonder they invert and become dramatic. So I invite you not to listen to them. Fake smiles are never useful. Business cards are often useful, but not in this way.

There are 4 secrets to networking. I expose them wherever I can.

First, acknowledge that you need other people for your projects. If you don't, your projects aren't big enough.
Second, know what you need. Think about it. You must need a lot of things. You may need someone to introduce you to someone. You may need to pick someone's brain because they now things you need to know. You may need someone to help you make photocopies, or pay bills, or advise you on when to plant summer vegetables in your back garden. If you think about it, you need a lot. You have no end of things you can ask people. And if you don't know what you need, inquire into what the other person has. You never know, you may need what thy have.
Third, tell people what you are up to. They can provide things you need if they know what you are up to, without you even having to ask.
And fourth, give generously when someone asks you for your input, ideas or thoughts.

Yesterday I used the 4 secrets of networking and had a lot of fun while working. It is fun. It has all the ingredients of fun: you talk, you share ideas, you engage in someone else's life, you get beyond surface chatter.

I was at a viewing of the Super Bowl with a crowd of Americans. I sat next to someone I have spoken with on a number of occasions, all of them related to the politics or culture of the United States. We have shared exciting and moving moments and I have always admired her spark. Our conversation was always about the event at hand. But last night I was inquisitive and wanted to know more about this woman. So I quizzed her, and I found out she teaches business at our local university, and that her research project is on a topic dear to the interests of one of my clients. I had recently met a researcher from a sister university that I thought she would like to know. I promised to send her information. She didn't have a card on her but I did, and I gave it to her.

Since then, she contacted me and I sent her the information she wanted on the researcher. I passed on her contact information to my client.

Was this exchange good for business? I think so. I have created trust and relationship, with my client as well as with my new contact. People do business with people they know, like and trust. By linking people with each other, I am creating a web of people who know and trust each other, and me.

So what does this have to do with the friend who doesn't know how to talk to people at a demonstration? My invitation to her is to stop thinking any of this is difficult. If you don't know what you need, be inquisitive. Find out what other people need. And be generous.

Its all good. And fun.

Lin McDevitt-Pugh
Lin McDevitt-Pugh is the founder and director of NETSHEILA, a company dedicated to working with organisations and individuals to expand their ability to transform the networks of relationships they already have into resources to improve the quality of the workplace. Call +31 6 150 68468 to discuss how your organisation can benefit from working with NETSHEILA  or write to info@netsheila.com.