Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why I Provide Personal Coaching for Clients

What really excites me about my profession? Fortunately, everything I do.

Sure, I get a great kick out of speaking to a live audience, especially when the applause and comments afterward tell me I met the organization's needs. There's superb satisfaction, too, when something I have written appears in a prominent publication. Occasionally I get opportunities to appear on radio and TV, and that provides a thrill. And I welcome every invitation to spend a couple of hours as Master of Ceremonies for significant events--where I enjoy the challenge of keeping attendees interested and entertained.

Yet as nice as those highly visible experiences are, I get just as much satisfaction from the private personal coaching I offer clients. Not long ago an executive worked with me for two intensive afternoon-long sessions, concentrating on Presentation Skills, so he could be at his best when he spoke to his industry's national convention. When he called me after the event to say he had received highly positive feedback at the convention and afterward, his report was as stimulating as any public response I have experienced.

Another factor inspired me to become a coach to executives and aspiring professionals: Coaches have made a major difference in my life and career. One coach in California and another in Georgia gave valuable advice about marketing my speeches, seminars, coaching and consulting. Terry Brock, an internationally known technology expert based in Orlando, Florida, has helped me understand digital photography, blogging, RSS Feeds, audio/video recording for the Internet-- and so much more that I could not have learned independently. Truly, every dollar and hour that I have invested in coaching has generated lasting dividends.

To learn more about my coaching, check this page on my Web site:

Remember my motto: "Helping You Finish in First Place!"

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vince Dooley: A Great Communicator, A Superb Host

Vince Dooley, who spent four decades as football coach and Director of Athletics at the University of Georgia, ranks very high among the most effective communicators I have ever known. I met Vince when I was teaching speech communication at the university, and I admired his poise and command of language when he hosted his own radio and TV shows. He remained as unshaken in defeat as he did in victory.

Soon after I started my company, Championship Communication, I had the privilege of working with Vince Dooley. He had me direct a Customer Care seminar for the Georgia Athletic Association. Not surprisingly, he was a superb host. In addition to providing a sterling introduction, he participated energetically in the ninety-minute session.

Here Vince and I are smiling about the release of his latest book, Dooley: My 40 Years at Georgia. I recommend the book, as a highly interesting account of his life and career. He writes as compellingly as he speaks.

For more information, please visit my Web site:

Friday, November 11, 2005

Those Candles Don't Mean a Thing!

Not long ago my family helped me celebrate another birthday. The occasion was very enjoyable.

Yet I did more than open presents, smile and laugh. I did some serious thinking,too, because birthdays really trigger my thought process.

One of the main things I said to myself when I blew out the candles on the cake was this: "Those candles don't mean a thing."

What was I feeling when I said that? Well, candles can't communicate. All they do is light up the place for a minute or so. Strangely enough, though, people act like those candles say plenty.

Examples: If you have had only 30 candles on your cake, your supervisor might assume you are too young for a managerial post. If your cake has held 40 candles, younger neighbors might consider you something of a fossil already. If you have blown out 50 candles, you will find that the job market does not seem to be as receptive as it once was. And when you have extinguished 60 candles, well-meaning people start asking when you are going to retire.

In other words, our society has established behavioral patterns we think everyone in a certain age bracket fits--and we communicate our expectations repeatedly.

I will offer this simple illustration to counter that baseless assumption. When I was vice president of a college in Kentucky, a 94 year old lady returned to finish her degree. When a sudden January snowstorm cancelled classes, she said her biggest regret was that she had to miss her bowling class!

She was right on target. She had blown out lots of candles, but that did not stop her from an energetic life style.

As a favorite saying goes, "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

For more information, please visit my Web site:

The Eyes Have It

In my cruise ship lecture about the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon TV Presidential Debates, I
noted that Nixon--according to observers--made the mistake of looking at the panel members who questioned him, rather than looking at the camera. Kennedy, on the other hand, looked into the camera, so viewers would think he was talking with them directly and individually. Several writers believe this subtle difference helps explain why Nixon seemed the victor on radio, while Kennedy scored higher among the TV audience.

In fact, throughout his career, Nixon earned the description "shifty-eyed," not a complimentary reference.

Frequently, social scientists identify lack of eye contact as an indication of dishonesty. So when you are doing any of the following, make sure you maintain eye contact with your listener or listeners:
Selling a product or service
Reporting on what you have accomplished
Telling someone how much you care
Saying why you should get a raise or promotion

In Cicero's words, "The eyes are the windows to the soul."

For more information, please visit my Web site:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Me With Celebrity Cruise Lines Activities Manager Paul van Horne

Whenever I make a presentation, I work very closely with my host or hostess. It's so great when my host helps with technical arrangements such as sound and Power Point, gives a stirring introduction just before I start my speech or seminar, and takes care of dozens of details that accommodate the audience.

I am proud to share this photo, which shows me with Paul van Horne, Celebrity Cruise Lines Activities Manager. Paul truly defines the word hospitality. We worked together for a week, and I felt so privileged to have his highly professional services, along with his immediate friendship. He exemplifies the Customer Care that I encourage my clients to practice.

For more information, please visit my Web site:

Sometimes I Work at Sea

I'm glad to say that all of my presentations are not landlocked. In the past three years, I have had the opportunity to speak aboard wonderful cruise ships--the Radisson Diamond, The Regatta with Oceana Cruises and most recently the Horizon, which at that time was with Celebrity Cruises, but has moved to new ownership.

This view shows the top deck of the Horizon. I used that track regularly to walk off the many calories I consumed when I wasn't giving my three lectures:

"Orson Welles'1938 War of the Worlds Broadcast"
"Edward R. Murrow: Father of Radio/TV News"
"Kennedy/Nixon 1960 TV Presidential Debates"

My next cruise outing will take me through the Caribbean in February, and will bring warm relief from the north Georgia winter.

For more information, please visit my Web site: