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Apr '09

 Volume 22, No. 7                                        
This issue edited by Don Grant & Vern Hall

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009

Handling Difficult Conversations

Mark Weber

Our speaker, Mark Weber, is a professor at The Rotman School of Management, Unversity of Toronto.
For most of us, many of our social interactions - professional and personal - have the potential to create significant anxiety and/or blow up and undermine desired outcomes (e.g., addressing performance problems, dealing with the failure of others to deliver on their promises, explaining why you can’t follow through on a promise of your own). Meanwhile, human beings are generally highly conflict avoidant. The deep-seated desire to avoid anxiety-producing situations often leads to deep dysfunctions: avoiding conversations that should not be avoided and botching conversations that you cannot afford to botch.
Mark’s presentation offered practical approaches for dealing with this and his presentation was peppered with many humorous, real-life examples.
Key points related to difficult conversations are:
1.Difficult conversations are anything we find hard to talk about because we fear the consequences.  We think having the conversation will make the situation worse.
2.Human beings do not multi task well so it is important to stay focused during a difficult conversation.
3.During a difficult conversation we tend to focus on what we are saying and how the person is reacting.  We do not listen to the other person and the result is the conversation is often closed before the issue is resolved.
4.People feel something is fair if they believe they had a say in the outcome – they need to have voice in the process.
5.It is impossible to be totally unbiased.  Biases are present in difficult conversations and we need to be conscious of this.  We don’t notice things that are inconsistent with our point of view and tend to oversimplify.
6.The other person’s self esteem is critical in difficult conversations.  People need to feel that they are competent; a good person and worthy of being liked.
In summary, key points Mark said we need to remember are:
1.Most of us aren’t particularly bright.
2.None of us are very good looking.
3.Let the other person talk first
4.Shut up and listen - it is critical to understand the other person’s point of view
5.It is impossible to not be biased.
6.Self esteem is critical.

Club News

 We regret to advise the death of
Art Hodgins
17 March 2009

His widow, Kay Hodgins, has responded to our  sympathies... “Please convey to all members of the Probus Club, with particular emphasis on the Book Club, my grateful thanks for the very kind sentiments. Art thoroughly enjoyed his time with Probus particularly the challenge of putting out the newsletter, and selling 50/50 tickets which gave him a chance to talk to many members.”

50/50 Draw

First prize winner was Norm Hannigan, second prize was won by Norm Dougall.

Attendance & Membership.
There were 90 members and 4 guests at the March meeting. Doug MacKeller has been nominated for membership. Please make your comments to John Williams at 619-579-6571. There remain 4 others on our wait list.

Bell Ringer
Don Foell for his reported skills in rebuilding a Ford Model T in his youthful past.

Book Club
Will meet at 2PM on Wednesday, 22nd of April at the home of Dolf Bogad.

Duty Roster, April Meeting
Introduction: Bill Kerr         Thanker: Ray Millard

Editors' Notes
Dolf Bogad provided excellent photography of the Toyota Tour and March meeting for this issue.

Wellness Report

Ron Hustwitt advises...
• Gord Ferguson has recovered well from surgery last month
• Bron Hausman has experienced heart problems and is now home following a brief stay in the hospital. Calls would be appreciated 519-886-1018.

Members are reminded to call Ron Hustwitt 519-746-1282 to advise of any medical concerns or transportation difficulties prior to a meeting.

Blyth Festival Daytrip

Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott
Revival of 2008 smash hit - In Clinton Ontario, on June 12, 1959, Steven Truscott was arrested for the murder of Lynne Harper, a twelve year-old child. After a trial that lasted only fifteen days, Steven Truscott was sentenced to death. He was fourteen years old. Forty-eight years later, Steven Truscott’s name has been cleared, but the question remains…how could such a thing happen in Clinton, Ontario? Playwright Beverley Cooper tackles this delicate subject with great sensitivity to the past, present and future, as she explores the far-reaching effects of crime and punishment. In the tradition of The Outdoor Donnellys, the Blyth Festival leaves judgement to the courts, but trains a spotlight on human nature in this compelling chapter of local history.

Toyota Tour Pictures

A Hearty Lunch

A Happy Group
"...Lexus Drivers are the worst"... (Mrs. Mark Weber)
Hmm...That's a  nice one!

More Meeting Pix

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Who Am I?

Ken MacPherson

I was born on April 16 in 1934 in London to two wonderful parents, Hugh and Marie Macpherson.  My Father worked as the Divisional Engineer for the Department of Highways. I had an older brother and sister. I was schooled in Stratford until 1949, when the family moved to Toronto. I had competed successfully as a boy soprano but my voice changed at the time of the move to Toronto, so basketball and football became my pastimes.
I finished high school in 1954, then clerked for a year with the Bank of Nova Scotia before enrolling at Queens University in Civil Engineering. I differed with the professors at Queens over answers on examination papers. I gave them a couple of chances, but found a better life with McNamara Construction in Muskoka, Kapuskasing and the Soo.
I joined Algoma Steel in 1959 selling wide steel plate to customers in the United States. I took courses offered by Algoma to expand my knowledge of the steel industry and with no exams to write I began to absorb as much as possible.  
While in the Sault I joined a group of men who were starting a chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. In 1961 I met Arleen Devlin who was a nurse in the Sault General Hospital and life got better.   In 1963, on a beautiful sunny 
Thanksgiving Saturday we were wed.

I became a Metallurgical Customer Service Representative commuting between the Soo and Toronto assisting our sales team covering an area from Yonge Street in Toronto to London. In June of 1967 we moved to Kitchener.

In the 1990’s Algoma Steel encountered some financial troubles. .   In downsizing they offered a full retirement package including indexed pensions for employees whose years of service and age equaled 90.   I was 57 and had 33 years of service so I jumped at the chance and retired from Algoma in June of 1991.

In the last 17 years I have kept busy doing a large number of diversified things.   I supply taught in the separate school board for 3-4 years until Bob Rae said that you had to be a qualified teacher, Arleen and I have traveled in Europe and the British Isles, we have travelled quite extensively throughout Canada, I have spent many hours in my workshop building children’s toys, I spent 11 years as the camp coordinator for the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp, volunteered at Columbus Boys Camp in Orillia, a camp for underprivileged boys in Toronto, and 15 years ago I started my own business called the Tax Pro’s.    Each year in February March and April I prepare and electronically file approximate 1000 personal tax returns.   I am, however, in the process of selling this business.    With the advent of the digital camera my old interest in photography has been rekindled and selling the Tax Pros will give me more time to pursue this hobby.  I belong to 2 separate camera clubs in town and have been awarded several awards for my photography, one being Photographer of the Year on 2 occasions.

About the same time as I retired, Arleen started a new career with the Working Centre.   She was the coordinator of St. Johns Kitchen, one of the many projects organized and run by the Working Centre,.  The Kitchen was located in St. John’s Anglican Church and at noon, provided a hot meal to over 250 patrons.  After 11 years she also retired however she maintains her connection with the Working Centre as a member of their Board of Directors.
Last summer I joined the Heritage Greens Lawn Bowling Club and I highly recommend this activity to any members of PROBUS who are looking for some way to pass a warm sunny afternoon with a group of friendly people.  PROBIANS Ed Edwards, Ted Harris, Frank Miller, and John Ready are also members and we will all be happy to talk to you about this alternative to winter curling.

We have four sons and a daughter.
Andy, Ian, and Bruce are graduates of the University of Waterloo. Andy and Ian, are high school math teachers, Andy at St. Marys and Ian at Centenial High School in Guelph..   They both married teachers.     Bruce  married a teacher, and now works for PCL Construction as the Construction Supervisor, building the new Hospital in North Bay.     Dave graduated from the University of Windsor and teaches physed at St. Marys High School.  Kate, graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, continued her education at Connestoga College, graduating in Business.   You met Kate last year when she was here representing Homer Watson House and Gallery as their Development Officer.    Andy Ian and Bruce and their wives have given us 9 wonderful grandchildren 8 boys and one girl. 

Arleen and I are both in good health, enjoy spending time with our 9 grandchildren and enjoy travelling.  We plan to continue to explore this great land of ours in the months and years to come. 
I joined PROBUS in 2006 and am thoroughly enjoying the meetings and the meeting of new friends. 

17 September

Pickup at Waterloo Rec Centre west parking lot 10:15 AM

Lunch 11: 45 at Fireside Café, Wingham

Return about 6 PM

Cost $75 per person
[includes bus, lunch, show]

Tickets on sale at May meeting

Contact Jim Bowman to reserve
519-747-2401 or

March Meeting Photos

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Subpages (1): Print edition Apr '09