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Welcome to the blog of author and speechwriter/ coach, Joan Detz.
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If you care about newspapers

Many hotels offer free digital access to newspapers during your stay. Other hotels across the USA offer print copies of local newspapers and/or national newspapers, maybe USA Today.

Don’t take any of this for granted.

Let your hotels know you value free/easy access to newspapers.

In particular, let hotels know you value local newspapers. Speak up for local journalism while it’s still here.

Local journalism matters – everywhere.

Philadelphia’s “Cellicon Valley”

Monday, June 3 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Philadelphia has become an epicenter of novel medical research, and it is now known as “Cellicon Valley” based on its historic and innovative R&D activities and milestones.

The Monday June 3 tour will visit some of the leading R&D-focused organizations in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood, located just 15 minutes from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Explore Pennovation Center, Schuylkill Yards, and the uCity Square: University City Science Center, CIC & BioLabs@CIC. Pennovation .

Science, bio, and tech writers: Learn about “Cellicon Valley”  – and keep on top of new developments in your own city, as well.

Writers write

Quote from poet Donna Hilbert:

“One of the most annoying questions I field from non-writers is ‘Are you still writing?’ Might as well ask if I’m still breathing.”

Writers write. That’s what we do. And many of us pretty much want to do it forever.

It’s who we are.

Was your speech successful?

Measure the success of each presentation. You have many options:

  • Use audience evaluation forms
  • Ask a trusted colleague to observe
  • Record yourself
  • Create a twitter hashtag for your program – and check the activity
  • Post a summary of your message on LinkedIn – and note the interest
  • Did the host ask you to return?
  • Did audience members ask you to speak at their meetings/conferences?

Do not bother people on Mondays

Joan’s Tech Tips: an occasional series of quirky tips for anyone who has to communicate

Mondays are not a good day to bother people. Monday mornings are the worst. People feel overwhelmed with the tasks already in front of them. Many wonder how they’ll manage the week’s deadlines. Some wonder how they’ll make it through the day.

It doesn’t  matter what technology you use to communicate – the “Avoid-Monday-hassles” principle stays the same. Before you reach out to colleagues with a text, an email, a tweet, a request, a demand, a long report, a phone call, an impromptu “drop by”, or a paper airplane with coded messaging, think. Ask yourself, “Does this person want/need this message [read: “intrusion”] right now? Could it wait a few hours? Would I get a better response if I waited until tomorrow?” The answer is probably yes.

Whatever you do, don’t initiate networking suggestions on a rushed Monday morning. (“Hi, I’m looking for a job in your field, and I thought it might be great to get together for coffee an hour  this week.”) Bad timing. Don’t initiate philanthropy requests on Monday morning. Bad timing. Don’t ask someone to make a two-year commitment to chair a big committee on a Monday morning. Bad timing.

What works best on a Monday? A short bit of one-way communication (text, email, vmail) that gives the recipient some good news and doesn’t require a lengthy reply.  Acceptable examples: Your proposal  was accepted … Your grant has been approved … Your new desk will arrive on Thursday … Your department will get a summer Friday schedule, with work ending at 1pm.

Communication works better when you think about the other person’s needs/wants. Timing matters.

March is #WomensHistoryMonth … ALL of March (not just the first few days)

When the calendar goes from February to March, Women’s History Month gets a lot of attention. But as March progresses, the attention drops off.

A presentation tip for speakers wanting to honor Women’s History Month:

Include visuals – not just in your presentation, but also in the announcements for your presentation and in the follow up social media.

Libraries offer terrific visual collections – diverse and inclusive. Tap into these images. Give your audience fresh images to convey the wide range of women’s achievements.

Consider the Library of Congress. Download photos, posters & more from their Free to Use and Reuse site: loc.gov/free-to-use/?l… #WomensHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/FinKQIH2Jv

March is National Essential Tremor month – How do tremors impact public speakers?

Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary shaking – often of the hands or arms.

Speakers with essential tremor (ET) might gesture to the audience and notice that their extended arm begins to tremble. Or they might use a pointer to highlight something on a slide and find their hand begins to shake.

ET can also impact a speaker’s voice.

I’ve known speakers who became self-conscious of their tremors and avoided public speaking assignments. Some avoided asking questions during meetings. Others sought jobs where they didn’t have to present.

Everyone has the right to speak. Everyone has the right to convey their expertise. It’s called inclusion.

If  you have a colleague/relative/friend who deals with tremors, maybe now’s a good time to discuss National Essential Tremor month. Information is power. Don’t let essential tremor derail a career.

Joan’s tech tips: Don’t introduce a speaker by reading from your phone

Perhaps you’ve seen people introduce speakers by reading from their phones. Perhaps you think it might be okay for you to do, as well.

It isn’t okay. It isn’t okay at all.

I’ve seen phone-readers lose their place, scroll nervously, mispronounce names, fumble with phrasing, bend their head down to see the screen, squint to read the small type, forfeit all eye contact, miss what’s going on in the room.

Audiences don’t like any of this.

Phone-reading might be easy, it might be fast. But it isn’t okay.

Your audiences deserve better. So does your speaker.

An occasional series of quirky tech tips for writers, speakers, teachers, entrepreneurs, execs … and pretty much anybody who has to communicate for a living (which is to say, almost all of us)

Can You Say a Few Words? by Joan Detz

Includes: How to introduce a speaker

How to cut a speech – when you don’t want to cut any of your favorite points

A colleague wrote that he was having a hard time cutting a too-long presentation. He had put in all the points that mattered to him – and he didn’t want to cut any of them.

Later in his speechwriting process, he read It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It  (St Martin’s Press), and he began to look at the topic from the audience’s point of view. What would they want to hear? What would they expect to learn?  What would they need to know?

Most especially: How long would they be willing to sit for an after dinner lecture?  

Once he looked at the topic from the audience’s viewpoint, it was pretty easy for him to cut away the unnecessary material.

 It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It by Joan Detz

“I’ve found all of Joan Detz’s books to be highly useful, but this one may top the list because it has a few topics not covered in her other books.”

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