Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Spirit of Cavett Robert

It was my first National Speakers Association convention and the luncheon speaker asked us to turn to someone and tell them about one of our heroes. A kindly gentleman extended his hand to me and I told him about my Grandma. After he told me about one of his heroes, he took my hand once more and said, "Tell me again what your Grandma said." Through tears I told him what she often said, "I love you darling. How would you know unless I told you?"

I discovered later that I was talking with Cavett Robert─the founder of NSA. He was one of those rare people who made you feel like you were the only person in the room when you talked with him. And I'll never forget that luncheon exchange. When I unpacked after the convention, I pulled a silk jacket out of the suitcase and discovered spots all down the front. They were tears, of course, and the cleaner was able to get them out. The impact Cavett made on me─and all of us in NSA─will always be there! The Cavett Award is bestowed annually to a member whose actions─in terms of sharing, guiding and inspiring other members─most closely parallels his illustrious career.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Danger! Many don't─or can't─read

How many of those you write for or to can't read? Or don't take the time to read? We have turned into a nation of scanners. That's not a bad thing─too much is coming at us and we just don't have enough time to read. But time is just one issue. Another is the issue of adult literacy. When you have the time, you can read all the statistics gathered by U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics in the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). Here's just one startling quote:

"One measure of literacy is the percentage of adults who perform at four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. In each type of literacy, 13 percent of adults were at or above Proficient (indicating they possess the skills necessary to perform complex and challenging literacy activities) in 2003. Twenty-two percent of adults were Below Basic (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills)."

When I lead workshops on writing, I stress three key issues:
• Make sure your audience can see the relevance to them─quickly!
• Make it easy to scan
• And edit, edit, edit

Do I dare say it? Write on!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moments of Truth

From bullfighting lexicon, it's also the title of a classic book by Jan Carlzon. Brought in as CEO to turn around Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), his famous quote started the First Wave seminars: "We have 50,000 moments of truth every day."
Carlzon defined a moment of truth as "An episode in which a customer comes into contact with an employee of a company and thereby has an opportunity to form an impression." He turned around the company within one year.

How many moments of truth does your company have every day? How many moments of truth do YOU have every day?