Thanks to the folks at 24Slides and their amazing templates, I created this PowerPoint presentation on my job search!
Happy holidays, everyone!
As one of the millions of “older” Americans, I’m a small business owner offering content writing, marketing communications, and speaker training services to clients. I’m grateful to partner with my clients as a freelancer. However, I’m willing to work with a single employer who could benefit from the years of experience, business savvy and skill set I would bring to the table.
The Dallas Morning News recently shared my op-ed about the challenges of being a baby boomer in today’s job market. Employers, don’t pass us by.
Read the Dallas Morning News op-ed.
As a journalist and marketer I was shocked. I didn’t expect to receive this email from the Dallas Morning News in mid-February:
Congratulations, you have been selected for the Dallas Morning News Community Voices Class of 2018. I’m thrilled about this year’s class, a group of particularly strong writers and thinkers.
The note came from Assistant Editorial Editor Elizabeth Souder. I was among a group of 24 writers named to the Community Voices Class of 2018 based on a sample op-ed submitted at the end of 2017 (it was about my personal health care journey) along with my biography. As a Voices columnist, I can submit articles which will be reviewed by staff for possible inclusion in the paper.
Our group has already convened once to meet one another and pitch op-ed ideas. A diverse group of individuals with compelling stories and experiences to share, I look forward to learning more from these new associates in upcoming meetings.
Thank you, Dallas Morning News.
As an experienced communicator specializing in public speaking, I’m here for you.
Let me know how I can help. Give me a call at 214-693-7003. Or send me a note.
You’ve been invited to speak at a meeting. This could be something internal (within your organization) or external (for example, you volunteer with a not-for-profit organization and you’ve agreed to talk to a group of potential donors on their behalf). Following up on a previous post, here are some observations on audiences to help you become a more effective presenter.
Who are the people listening – or not listening – to you? Why are they there?
The event has been scheduled, the invites/notices have gone out, and you are the presenter. What do you know about your audience?
Audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting your presentation to them. This doesn’t mean “saying what they want to hear.” Audience adaptation should guide your content development and approaches to delivery.
Audiences can include reluctant attendees, indifferent visitors, agreeable supporters, and angry or fearful dissidents.
The “we have to be there” mindset.
For instance, I would contend that students in a public speaking class – and their motivation to listen to you – is somewhat mixed. (Hey, they’ve “got” to be there regularly, right? We refer to this as a “captive” audience.) In my experience, here are some of the reasons students are in class:
The “who cares” listeners – uninterested or apathetic.
Perhaps a friend or significant other dragged these folks to your talk. Audience members are asking themselves “Why am I here?” Your biggest challenge will be getting people in this group to even listen.
The “we agree with you” point of view.
Most audience members share your opinions. As a collective group, your listeners relate to you, connect with you, and endorse your contentions and recommendations.
The “we don’t agree with you” and/or we’re angry or frustrated attendees.
What if audience members don’t concur with your main points? This is definitely a challenge if you’re trying to persuade. Can you establish “common ground” with listeners if they aren’t inclined to listen from the get-go? This – this – is why knowing about your audience is so important.
Here’s an example of a speaker at a recent community Town Hall, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) at an event in rural Frost, Texas. These Town Halls are set up as open forums for constituents to ask questions and hear from representatives. In this instance, Barton seemed to be unaware of the level of “resistance” he would encounter from audience members opposing his policy positions.
Listen to a portion of the presentation where Barton shouted back.
The bottom line.
Every audience is different. However, consider the potential “makeup” of attendees who have come to hear you speak before you arrive to speak. Tune in for the next post in this series on audience adaptation, some recommendations on ways to engage with your audience/s.
In 1980 in Damascus, Arkansas a Titan II missile complex exploded as a result of human error nearly detonating the missile’s nuclear warhead, a weapon 600 times more potent than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. I recently watched a documentary about this event that brought back some childhood memories and changed my thoughts on “human error.” Check your local PBS listings for this Command and Control documentary on American Experience.
My connection to this story: as an Air Force brat, my Dad was in the 390th Missile Maintenance Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base when we lived in Tucson, Arizona in the late 60s. There were several Titan II missile sites in southern Arizona. The Strategic Air Command’s 390th Strategic Missile Wing and its 18 Titan II ICBM sites around Tucson were activated in 1962; the squadron was deactivated in 1984. Following this duty assignment my father went to Vietnam, and upon his return, we moved to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas where I entered high school as a sophomore.
The Damascus incident recounted in this documentary focuses on human error in a compelling way. Think about it – machine “errors” happen every day for most of us, big and small. Your coffee pot stops working unexpectedly on the day when you really needed that caffeine. On your drive to work, you run over a nail and your tire goes flat. Your newly installed computer software doesn’t work as promised.
Now consider nuclear weapons.
The thing is, nuclear weapons are just machines. And like all machines, sometimes they break, and sometimes, there’s user error. When the system that controls these civilization-ending weapons isn’t prepared for the inevitable technological and human screw ups, then we’re in real trouble.
According to American Experience Producer Mark Samels:
As safe, secure, well-designed, and well-operated as our nuclear weapons system may be, it’s subject to the X-factor—human fallibility. The most powerful weapons that we’ve ever created have a threat built into them. And that threat is us.
On another serendipitous note, in high school, I participated in local and state debate and individual events tournaments including oratory. This event required students develop a self-written, ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing, informative or persuasive in nature, delivered from memory.
My presentation focused on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during the final stage of World War II. I criticized our country’s decision to drop the bomb describing the utter devastation and loss of life and suggested that surely there were other options to bring the war to an end. Admittedly, remembering the point of view I asserted was naive in many ways, but seeing the pictures of injured children and reading about the loss of life was unforgettable even today. Something else I remember – my parents knew about my topic choice, yet neither tried to dissuade me from developing this presentation. Even my Air Force Dad.
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
If you’re like me, these are the “things I said I would do,” including my goals, desired accomplishments, behavior changes, and so on. Contemplating the bold new world of 2017 deserves some focused thought leading to action, right?
The challenge is the “leading to action” part. Wishful thinking and “desired” results will take us just so far.
What’s on your resolutions list for 2017? How do you plan to turn your intentions into reality? Are your commitments realistic and achievable, and what will you need to do to make them happen?
By the end of 2017, if we look at our list of unfulfilled resolutions, we’ll probably move them into the “items to trash” bucket. We might resurrect them for the “new” new year. Time marches on.
Perhaps we should create a smaller list of “to-dos.” Let’s identify the key ideas worthy of our attention. Things we can and should do – and actions that will make a difference to others.
At the top of my list is blogging more. I will continue to share insights with followers on ways to become a more confident, effective speaker, and offer some best practice tips for writing.
Stay tuned and welcome to 2017!