Speechwriting & Public Speaking
Speechwriting & Public Speaking
National Speakers Association, Northern California, January Chapter Meeting
People try to put us d-down (talkin' 'bout my generation)Just because we get around (talkin' 'bout my generation)Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin' 'bout my generation)I hope I die before I get old (talkin' 'bout my generation)
-- The Who, 1965
Over 50 members and guests of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association gathered in Lafayette on Saturday to hear NSA National President Anna Liotta, CSP, deliver a program titled What's Stopping Millennials/GenXers/Boomers from Hiring You, And What to Do About It.
She previewed her talk with a custom video addressed to the chapter:
Talkin' 'bout my generation
For those Baby Boomers who didn't die before they got old--and learned the value of trusting anyone over 30 a few decades back--Anna's talk had particular poignancy. She explained how the recent OK Boomer meme is the equivalent of the advice not to trust anyone over 30. What goes around comes around. Here's why...
Anna Liotta has studied generational dynamics for over 25 years. Indeed, she wrote the book on generational CODES™.
What's more, she’s lived the research. As one of 19 (!) children, her entire life has been a Ph.D. in generational dynamics. Her presentation addressed the question: What makes this age-old conflict of generational collisions and biases so important to us in business today?
Her concept of generational codes helps explain:
What defines each generation, including pivotal events and experiences that shaped it. The truths and lies behind generational stereotypes. How various generations define their work ethic. How technology can bridge or break down generational communication. The secrets of selling products and services to different generations. What you need to know as a manager to find and retain new talent.
Anna demonstrated how, as speakers, we should develop savvy messages that appeal to the different generations.
This task is often confusing, as each generation has unique needs and motivators. Each brings its own set of attitudes, values, and beliefs to the workplace, and the way they do business. They make choices of who to buy from and who to work for, based on these values and beliefs. Understanding what shapes and forms each generation is vital.
Interestingly, each generation is sure that their values, attitudes, and beliefs are the right ones.
Her insight is that each generation is significantly influenced by what was happening in the world around them during their formative years. The ages of eight to 18 are when each generation is making decisions about how the world works and what’s possible. The events, icons, and leaders they see, experience, adore, and dislike are shaping their world. These influences set the paradigm for decision making, purchasing choices, and job selection for years to come.
Anyone doubting this can see the trajectory of individual lives play out in director Michael Apted’s films about a cohort of British Boomer children, the most recent of which--63 Up--opened in the US last month.
My own rather self-satisfied response to the generational divide was to tweak the noses of the younger members of the audience who were strangely absent from the social media channel the chapter had promoted.
In her own words
I caught up with Anna after the event, and she shared her message with me,
Interview: Dr. Gail Ferreira – Agile Leader
Gail is an executive level expert and thought leader driving the vision and tactical decisions for large-scale transformation programs, from the C-Suite to the team level. Gail excels at leading complex, multidimensional transformations, managing client and vendor relationships. Additionally, Gail manages complex client challenges that require deep and specialized IT operational knowledge to achieve maximum impact for projects and transformation programs.
Her specialties include Enterprise Lean-Agile Coaching, Lean-Agile Transformation, Scaled Agile consulting, business strategy & development, Innovation Accounting, Kanban, Scaled Agile Framework Enterprise Consultant (SAFe-SPC), LeSS, and lean methods.
She is currently an Expert Principal for the Boston Consulting Group, leading knowledge management and IP practices for their Agile At Scale organization. She tweets as @LeanAgilist and is on LinkedIn. Her Enterprise Agile Leader website has resources on Agile Coaching, Leadership and Training
Among her many publications is one noting that even the most sophisticated companies still use an old-fashioned suggestion box to generate new innovations and ideas. She notes the importance of communications:
Ensure you make it clear that you welcome any and all suggestions. Corporate communications can sometimes be boring, so instead start ‘organizational conversations’ that you think of as dialogues rather than monologues. The idea is to make the conversation more effective by developing relationships with your team, and then following up with the communique.
Gail is part of the National Speakers Association Northern California 2019 Speakers Academy program. This is the program previously known as Pro-Track. I participated back in 2006 and although the program now has another name I am sticking with the alliterative "Pro-Track Profile" moniker as I interview participants and add them to the roster of past interviews. I'm volunteering as an adjunct faculty member in support of the program this year, and took the opportunity to catch up with Gail. To hear what she told me about how she found out about the program and what she hopes to get out of it, click on the podcast icon below.
Interview: Resolving Public Speaking Anxiety with Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W., A.C.S.W
Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W. has pioneered treatment for performance and social anxiety since 1978. A certified psychotherapist, he has worked with thousands of individuals of all ages in individual, group, and family psychotherapy. He has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Sally Jessy Raphael", "Joan Rivers", "CNN Medical News" and many other TV and radio shows.
His Social Anxiety website is a premier resource for resolving social anxiety disorder. A primary area he addresses is public speaking anxiety. His proven methodology channels anxiety into high performance. He resolves the emotions of embarrassment, shame, and humiliation that many who are anxious about public speaking suffer.
We interviewed Mr. Berent to learn more about the issue and his solution.
Terror in the C-Suite
There are successful C-Suite executives who admit they'd rather get into a car accident on the way to a conference than show up and face the crowd for their presentation. One real estate executive who easily closed $3 billion deals fell into a state of terror when faced with talking about this to a group of students on career day. Panic at the podium—and embarrassment over the obvious symptoms—is debilitating for many executives and entrepreneurs and can include symptoms such as erythrophobia (Fear of Blushing), hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating) and voice paralysis.
Fear of public speaking is not simply an inconvenience; it’s an income inhibitor, career killer, and an insidious anxiety disorder that most mental health and medical professionals do not understand.
More than a quarter of the population reports a fear of public speaking, according to a recent Chapman University survey of American's top fears. While countless programs attack the problem on the surface through coaching, skill building and practice, almost none focus on the underlying causes.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer this unwelcome anxiety anymore. His book, Work Makes Me Nervous, empowers people to transform stress into positive energy using an evidence-based, step-by-step method. This down-to-earth resource combines practical psychological techniques and exercises with real-life stories. He explains how everyone from entry-level workers to seasoned executives and famous sports and media figures have encountered and successfully dealt with workplace anxiety—and how you can too.
If you, or anyone you know, suffer from anxiety about public speaking, I highly recommend this book. As he says "Don't wait! The time to change is now!"
To hear more about the issues he's encountered in over 40 years of clinical practice, treating over 10,000 patients, and the steps you can take, click on the podcast icon below.
A Conversation with Ian Griffin on Speechwriting, Social Media & Blogging
On Thursday, December 13 the Silicon Valley Speeechwriters Roundtable hosted Ian Griffin in a free conference call.
I'm usually the one doing the interviewing. However, Barbara Seymour Giordano suggested she turn the tables and interview me. Barbara had been my guest back in May.
Barbara and I discussed my career as a freelance speechwriter, corporate employee, and blogger. We reviewed how I got into speechwriting, my experience in Silicon Valley companies, my Professionally Speaking blog as well as my new Booch News venture, and more.
To hear the full discussion, click on the podcast icon below.
A Conversation with Jeff Davenport on Speechwriting, Screenwriting and Delivery Coaching
On Thursday, August 30th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable hosted Jeff Davenport in a free conference call.
Jeff serves as an executive speaker coach and senior content developer at Duarte, the well-known communication design and consulting firm based in Santa Clara, founded by Nancy Duarte.
Using his background as a screenwriter and professional public speaker, Jeff helps clients communicate powerfully and persuasively by infusing story, dynamism, and empathy into their presentations. Whether he’s coaching high-level executives or thought leaders taking the stage for conference keynotes or commencement addresses, Jeff brings a thoughtful, personal touch to his roles, tapping into speakers’ personal passions and helping them create lasting connections with their audiences.
Jeff is a 2017 Cicero Award winner in the Public Policy category for his speech ‘Someday is Today’ delivered by Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor at CADE in Lima, Peru.
The call covered a wide range of topics including:
How he went from a wallflower in high school to a premier public speaking coach.
The secrets of the "Duarte Method" that any and all speechwriters can employ (Hint: read Resonate and Illuminate).
The value of the DataStory training workshop available from Duarte that helps speechwriters structure a compelling argument based on analytical data.
The three books on screenwriting he recommends speechwriters read:
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, by Syd Field
Save the Cat!, by Blake Snyder
Into the Woods, by John Yorke
What you'll learn by watching the directors cut of Toy Story 3 on Blu-Ray.
Jeff's parting words:
I would encourage anybody to do more public speaking, especially if you are writing for other people. We all had PE teachers who we realized never once played a sport. They were terrible PE teachers. So get out there and know what it's like to play. Take a public speaking class. It doesn't matter what it's about. Do some sort of public speaking, writing for yourself and delivering yourself so you can get more in the heads of your clients and what know their true struggles are.
Otherwise, I would add, you're forever the virgin trying to write a sex manual, aren't you?
To hear the full discussion click on the podcast icon below.
A Conversation with Bob Sands on Sermons and Speechwriting
On June 19, 2018 the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable held a conference call with Bob Sands.
Bob is a speaker and speechwriter who has helped people and businesses tailor and tell their stories for the last 25 years. He has also been a Pastor, Entrepreneur, Coach and Radio Broadcaster.
Currently, he is focusing his time on helping individuals, businesses and organizations clarify and communicate their message. As the President of Sands Communications, Inc., he has given over 5000 presentations himself to every kind of group from Funeral directors to firefighters to CEO's. He has coached and written keynote speeches for executives, helped salespeople hone their speaking skills and developed communication strategies for both political candidates and elected officials.
The call covered a wide range of topics including:
Bob's techniques for crafting a sermon, most often delivered to a familiar audience.
The challenge of preaching to congregations where the common themes of the Bible known to earlier generations have been lost.
His segue intro speechwriting, and where he finds most of his freelance clients.
The relevance of the study of homiletics to speechwriting, especially the books of Alyce McKenzie.
Bob's use of social media to magnify the impact of his message.
What impressed him about David Murray's recent PSA White Paper titled A Provocation from the Pulpit: Dead Preachers Challenge Living Speechwriters.
Breaking News: David Murray announcing the creation of a companion to the well-known Vital Speeches of the Day -- Vital Sermons of the Day which David and Bob are launching. Find out more on their Facebook page.
To hear these and other topics discussed click on the podcast icon below.