Best day this week
Unusually, it was a weekday: Tuesday.  It was a varied and busy day, but very enjoyable.   I was at a conference in London, covering for my boss.  Nothing much to do except be available to answer questions, so I found myself somewhere to camp out, and was able to meet people and answer questions during breaks, and get on with some work while the delegates were in sessions.  There were plenty of questions and interest in our system, so I felt like I was being useful at least.  In the afternoon my boss finally sent me the slides he wanted me to present at a meeting on Wednesday, and we had a quick phone call about them – from his sunbed in Australia!  I got away promptly at the end to walk down to Holborn for my school’s old students’ carol concert.  I’d arranged to meet a friend, so it was nice to see her, plus I also caught up with a few other old friends.  I’d hoped to be able to go on for dinner, but I had to get home and prepare for a meeting the next day.

Favourite meal of the week
Kung Po chicken and vegetarian Singapore rice noodles at our local Chinese on Wednesday night.  There was enough to take home and have for Thursday lunch too.  Dinner with friends on Friday night was good too: chicken in a dijonnaise mushroom sauce with sauté potatoes and lots of interesting vegetables.

Favourite Mensa activity this week

By rights it should have been T@3 at Dobbie’s Garden Centre, which we only do every three months and I always really enjoy.  This time, however, the weather had other ideas.  We gave it our best shot and set out despite the snow, figuring that the main roads would be ok, but we were wrong.  Nowhere had been gritted, traffic was moving painfully slowly (with good reason), it was frankly silly to be out when it wasn’t absolutely essential, and worst of all, the snow was still coming down thick and fast, meaning that coming home would be even worse.  We turned round after half a mile or so and I emailed and texted all our regulars.  Most of them replied saying they hadn’t even chanced it, and thought we were quite right to cancel.  Shame, but the right decision in the circumstances.

Favourite moment of the week
Getting home on Wednesday evening after my final meeting of the year.  I’ve got plenty of work to do, and conference calls, webexes, etc, but that was the last meeting I had to go out to

Favourite TV programme of the week
Miranda was unusual this week.  Not sure – I think it was enjoyable as a one-off, but looking forward to a “normal” episode next week.  QI and Have I Got News For You were also entertaining, but for something a bit different I enjoyed Howard Goodall’s documentary on BBC4 about the history of Christmas carols.  Howard Goodall has done some excellent programmes about music in the past.  We ought to see more of him.

Progress on last week’s objectives
Buy remaining Christmas presents – Mostly done.
Develop evaluation questionnaire – Not done.  Will tackle it this week.
Get ticking noise in car checked out – Done.  Ah, this is embarrassing.  It was dangerously low on oil, and the noise miraculously disappeared when I topped it up.  Still, at least I worked it out for myself before I took it to the garage.  It took 2 litres though, out of a capacity of around 4 litres…..oops.

Key objectives for the coming week
I think I might just give myself a break over Christmas, apart from the one that I failed on last week: developing an evaluation questionnaire.

Least favourite moment of the week
Trying to drive in the snow on Saturday afternoon. Actually, Chris was driving, but either way, I just hated being out in it, and was glad to turn back.

‘Oooh’ moment of the week
Seeing my article about presentation skills in the new Mensa mag.  Brian’s made a nice double page spread of it.  It started life as a small piece about coaching, with a few tips thrown in for good measure, but Brian asked me to expand it into a full article.

Most frustrating work meeting of the week
Not a whole meeting, but a specific agenda item in one particular meeting which made it clear the other participants had a fundamental misunderstanding about an issue that they really should have understood.  I sent my boss and his boss a ranty email, and rather satisfyingly, had a reply saying my feedback was very useful and here was what they were doing about it.

Most unusual activity this week

Possibly having a phone conversation with my boss in Australia (him not me, sadly!).  Closely followed by stomping through the snow on a five mile round trip to the pub for lunch.  It wasn’t cold, but the snow was horrid and difficult to walk in, and by the time I got home I felt like I’d walked twice as far.

What have I learned this week
The older I get, the more people I talk to, the more misapprehensions I encounter, the more I keep realising that communications have to be very clear, very concise and very repetitive.  Not because people are stupid, but because we all have far too much information competing for our attention, and we simply don’t have the time to wade through detailed messages.  I commented to this effect earlier in the year about Board communications within Mensa, and I had another reminder in a different context at a work meeting this week.  It’s a fine line to tread, because patronising people is also counter-productive, but I am learning that when you think you’ve communicated enough (and clearly enough) – if in doubt, communicate some more.  But be consistent, and reinforce earlier messages; contradiction or new information not properly introduced just confuses people.