My Personal User Manual
In my workshops I like to let people write their personal user manual. But I have never done that myself. I would like to change that: Welcome to my user manual „How to work with Merle!
I am an experienced TV and event host as well as a workshop facilitator with an academic background in Peace and Conflict Resolution. I do have my focus on complex future issues with a special interest in sustainability – in German, English and French.
I am the founder of two NGOs (2009 and 2013) as well as of WERTSCHATZ Kommunikation (2018).
My Mission: To create sustainable visions for the future through facilitation, moderation and communication. By building a global community of future makers, walls are torn down and bridges are built – towards a socially just, sustainable future.
Some honest, unfiltered things about me
- I am very purpose driven and have huge a desire to make a difference.
- I float in possibility and am most motivated when I connect dots/people/resources that turn challenges into opportunities.
- I am a generalist: I absorb new information and connect it with existing information. In doing so, I attach less importance to details than to the big picture.
- I have very high expectations of myself – but also of others. I believe in giving people freedom and flexibility and equipping them with the tools they need to discover and develop their potential. But that also means I expect a lot personal responsibility.
- I’m obsessed with efficiency.
- I do not believe in a 8 h/day and 5 days/week-work schedule when it comes to knowledge work as well as creative work. For me it is often way more effective to work for a shorter time, but in a more concentrated and productive way. Or to think about certain topics outside of traditional working hours (like when running).
- I most enjoy working at pace, with lots going on. Conversely, I lose energy in long-turnaround times/ extended deadlines where there is no sense of urgency.
- I love to question the status quo and I get energy from thinking about how we could do things differently. This can make me seem impatient.
- Networking and enabling people to interact more effectively are what I do best. Please introduce me to your network – I will do the same for you.
- I am always full of ideas for a better future, better events and projects. I thrive in situations where I can advocate an entirely new approach. Feel free to always contact me for a brainstorming or sparring session.
- I love to communicate empathically with a focus on inclusion: My strength lies in building better communications with others.
- I am a generalist with a lot of knowledge from very different fields that I love to connect to get a bigger picture. I relish taking responsibility for promoting new routes.
I’m at my best
- When I’m trying to solve a challenging problem with other people I trust and admire
- In the morning (I often find it harder to concentrate in the afternoon)
- When preparing for events: Alone in a peaceful environment
- At events: When having a place of retreat, good technic and a trustworthy communication with the organisers
That drives me nuts…
- People putting their interests over our collective ones. I always think in terms of community.
- People who don’t value the time of their fellow human beings and are unpunctual, or schedule overlong meetings with people who don’t actually need to be present. Let’s get to the point and be punctual.
- Overlong discussions and analyses. I focus on solutions and actions.
- Making excuses or blaming others.
- Finding problems and not taking responsibility for finding solutions.
- People holding back ideas, trying to perfect things, rather than engaging early for thoughts and feedback.
- People who simply write the message in the subject of the email and not in the actual text field. Please take 30 seconds to be respectful.
- Professional people acting like victims of change and not seeing & using their own power and agency to lead change.
- I can worry about my reputation and brand a lot.
- When I don’t exercise I can get grumpy.
- I don’t like to be in meetings where I’m not needed at all.
- I don’t like being called on the phone unprepared. Please write me an email beforehand.
- On stage and in meetings I am in the role of someone extroverted. In real life, however, I am actually shy. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to connect with people and I come across as arrogant. Please understand that this is just my introverted streak. Please talk to me anyway, I’m happy about it!
- I need time for myself every now and then. That may lead to me canceling team lunches and the like sometimes. Please keep inviting me anyway, when my batteries are recharged I’m very happy to be there.
- I may sometimes seem unfriendly or offended, but it is most likely just stress. Please get in touch with me whenever I offended or annoyed you. I am like a Labrador and really do not want to offend anyone – let’s talk.
How I communicate
- Phone: Please do not call spontaneously. I am usually in meetings, on stage or concentrating on texts and research. Write a short email and we’ll make an appointment. Or book one here.
- Zoom: I’m happy to talk to you via ZOOM, but think about whether you can do it by email first. I am also happy about a regular Jour Fix, so that the personal connection does not come too short. In general, I appreciate working asynchrony.
- Mail: I take the time to structure my communication to help the reader/listener understand as easily as possible, and I appreciate it when others do the same. E.g. using lists and bolded words in emails, and spending a couple of minutes to redraft any piece of communication longer than one or two sentences. Set the subject header to something descriptive. Start the email by telling me what the email is about. Only then go into details. Don’t mix separate topics in the same email, it is perfectly fine to send two emails at almost the same time.
Some fun facts
- I am a groupie. When I love music, films or people, I do this completely and eternally. I spent a lot of time waiting for stars at the rear entrance of concert halls at nights in my 20s.
- I know everything about Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys (feel free to challenge me)
- Music is my life and I do listen to a broad spectrum from Funk and Soul to Hip Hop and R&B over Folk and Rock to classic Pop.
- I used to be a (more or less) professional actress
- I used to be a licensed personal sports coach.
- I run a semi-marathon in less than two hours
- I have seen all the King of Queens – seasons (several times)
- I am a geek for popular media science and do have a faible for analyzing, discussing and comparing gender roles in movies.
- I only have 9,5 fingers, because I lost half a finger in an accident when I was 11.