1. I’ve found that all you really need to be of value is to be able to offer something, anything, which your audience may not have thought of before, as long as you don’t take credit for doing anything spectacular. There’s a great scene in “The West Wing” where the Chief of Staff character tells of one being trapped in a hole, asking passers by to throw him a rope or a ladder or something. A friend comes by and jumps into the hole. The victim says “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck”. The firend says, “yes, but I’ve been here before, and I know the way out.”

    As far as backpacking goes, refer to Colin Fletcher…

  2. Oh…here’s a corollary thought… Never assume someone with whom you are conversing does not know what they are talking about. I remember making some huge gaffs like when I criticized a book on Paul’s “Gospel”, because Paul wrote letters, not gospels. Turns out Paul used that word far more times than the Gospels did (just once). It is just possible they may know something you do not. On the other hand, it is probably wise to ask them to offer support for a fact to verify that it is not pure opinion, dogma, speculation, or fluffery…like most of what I write.

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