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Welcome to the blog of author and speechwriter/ coach, Joan Detz.
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What will you do this week to get involved in a professional organization?

I rejoined the International Association of Business Communicators – Philadelphia Chapter. I started my career as a member in the New York City chapter – seldom missing a meeting.

Keep in mind:

You don’t have to join a professional organization to start getting involved. You can follow an organization on Twitter (IABC has great #commchats), get practical info through the group’s website, go to a local chapter meeting, grow professionally by attending the annual conference (I’ve presented on speechwriting at several international conferences and can vouch that IABC provides a well-run learning experience), or visit a distant chapter when you’re traveling.

Did you know, for example, that Toastmasters has chapters around the world? If you take a business trip to Singapore or vacation in Ireland, why not attend a nearby Toastmasters meeting? You’ll get a warm welcome – and boost your global network.

Each week, I do one thing to boost my engagement in a professional organization. I look forward to becoming more active in IABC again.

How will you grow this week?

Foreign Book Covers

NAGC webinar: What internal communicators can learn from the contact center world

E-mailing Customers and Colleagues: What Internal Communicators Can Learn from the Contact Center World

Wed Oct 18 Webinar (1-2pm, ET) from the National Association of Government Communicators

With Leslie O’Flahaven of e-Write

So much e-mail, so little time. You need to get critical agency information into the hands of your colleagues, but their inboxes are inundated. When your messages arrive, they’re rarely opened, let alone read.

What if you took a different approach to your writing? Could you craft messages that will be opened, read, and (hallelujah!) responded to? Yes! By using lessons learned from contact centers, where customer service representatives deal with questions and complaints by using effective subject lines, empathy, integrated online resources, and templates that don’t sound like form letters.

Leslie O’Flahaven will walk us through the steps in NAGC’s October 18 edition of Webinar Wednesday.

Can’t wait ’til then? Check out her online training on lynda.com.

Register now

National Association of Government Communicators offers crisis communications presentation

Join NAGC this Friday October 6th for Encore!

Uprising: A City Divided With Mark Basnight Senior Public Affairs Training Specialist, National Public Affairs Academy, Argonne National Laboratory

In crisis communications, you can’t know what’s coming. But you can look ahead to prepare for the unexpected. And you can look back to learn from what others have been through. At our next Encore! presentation, emergency management communications expert Mark Basnight will walk us through Charlotte, North Carolina’s public response to the riots that broke out just a year ago following the officer-involved death of a local man.

Why was the situation extraordinary?

How did two different narratives emerge?

When did officials begin to respond?

What did Charlotte learn from the division among its citizens?

Mr. Basnight’s session was standing room only at the June Communications School. This is your chance to hear his riveting story and why the lessons learned in Charlotte will be critical to other government communicators in the future.

Register now

Boost your clout as a writer or speaker: Develop strong research skills

September is Month. If you don’t already own a card for your local public library, get one now.

Then get cards for major libraries throughout the country.

You don’t have to be a resident of Philadelphia to apply for a card at Philly’s terrific Free Library. While you’re at it, follow @FreeLibrary to learn about all the digital resources available to you.

You don’t have to be a New York City resident to apply for a card at the NY Public Library. Getting your NYPL card this is easy – and so worth it.  Be sure to follow @nypl on Twitter to get up-to-date info on reference sources (from podcasts to lists to Ask The Librarian).

Check this blog space in the days ahead for more reference tools.

Remember: Your speeches and presentations can only be as strong as the research you put into them.

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IABC regional conference: Heritage Region

The 2017 IABC Heritage Region Conference is fast approaching You can now download the complete conference brochure to review the schedule and learn more about the speakers for this year’s 4 KEYNOTES and 21 BREAKOUT SESSIONS.

Be sure to check out the schedule and explore the complete list of speakers. Join us in one of the “17 Best Places to Travel” in 2017 according to Harper’s Bazaar to:

  • LEARN from some of the best in the field
  • CONNECT through networking opportunities
  • COMMUNICATE with speakers and fellow attendees

There’s still time to register! Visit iabcheritageconference.com to take advantage of low early bird pricing through October 2.

Speechwriters: Are you working on more than one speech at a time?

Since September 1st, I have accepted seven speechwriting assignments – most due in late September or October, with one due in November.

This is a demanding load. How do I juggle seven speechwriting assignments? I don’t. I set priorities and I only work on one speech at a time.

The other speeches? I never multitask with my speechwriting research, and I even keep hard-copy files of the other speechwriting assignments completely out of sight – no distractions. That’s what desk drawers were made for!

FYI: Since September 1st, I also received other requests to write speeches on a wide variety of topics: energy, motivation, China, etc. I declined those speechwriting assignments for a range of reasons, and instead I referred those leads to experienced freelance speechwriters whose work I know well.

Look for a blog post in the coming weeks on “why I have to decline certain speechwriting assignments”.

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Are you ready to take your speechwriting to a higher level? Consider one of my individual speechwriting tutorials: Basic, Advanced, and Master levels. I custom-design the course material to meet your specific speechwriting needs/goals.

Media training: More words to avoid (Let’s shut the door on “open the kimono”)

I’m not sure why some executives say “Open the kimono” during a media interview.

I really have no idea why they use these words. But I wish they would permanently drop the phrase from all future interviews, Q&A sessions, and presentations.

In fact, it would be nice if they never uttered this phrase again. It’s so overused and so unsettling.

Think – just please think for one minute – about what they’re saying. “Open the kimono”? Of all the words in the English language, they’re choosing these three words to express their thoughts?

Enough said.

Media training: Words to avoid

Avoid repeating the host’s name.

You can say, “Thank you Jake” once – but that’s about it. Jake is not your audience. Jake’s audience is your audience. Every time you interject the host’s name, you’re weakening your connection with the real audience.

Make every second count. Sell your key messages and don’t waste a syllable.

Focus on connecting with the viewing/listening audience. Ditch time-eating, distracting interjections:

  • Well, Jake, that’s a good question
  • No, Jake, that’s not how I see it.
  • Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you this evening, Jake.
  • Here’s the number you want to remember, Jake [No.Jake isn’t the one who needs to remember this number. It’s the viewing/listening audience who needs to remember your key messages.]

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