06 December 2013

Teaching flood preparedness to Noah

I'm heading out for a couple of speaking engagements next week. Speaking with your peers is fun because it forces you to organize your thoughts strategically and make sure you really know your stuff. As a speaker, I'm positioned as the "expert" - but invariably, I learn more through preparation, comments, questions and follow-up than I teach in the finite time I'm forcing everyone to stare at a PowerPoint. Of course, it's also intimidating.

Senator Kennedy used to tell this great joke when he would speak on a topic in front of experts on that topic.  He would talk about a man who survived the infamous Johnstown Flood of 1889.  More than 2200 people died as a result of that flood - the worst loss of civilian life in a single event at the time. But this man was prepared and had supplies at the ready. After the flood he dedicated his life to teaching people about what to do in the event of a flood, and saved many lives as a result.  After living to a ripe old age, he died and met Saint Peter at the gates of Heaven.  Peter informed the man that since he led such a virtuous life, he would be admitted AND granted a wish.  The man said he'd like to do one last speech on flood preparedness, this time to all the souls in Heaven.

Saint Peter scratched his head, and said, "well, that's fine, but you should know that Noah will be in the audience."

With that in mind I'll be presenting "Effective New Trends In Digital Communications" to the Institute for Public Relations PR Leadership Forum on Wednesday.  The event is cosponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Council of Public Relations Firms. I plan to cover three things: digital PR, the greatest threat to humanity, and nail care.

I turn right around and sit on a panel at the PR News Media Relations Next Practices Conference on Thursday. I'm presenting with Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation and David Ringer of the National Audubon Society. Steve Goldstein of PR News is moderating. That presentation is going to be more tactical, so of course I plan to talk about Twitter, coffee, makeup, Gloria Steinem, and nail care again.

You know, the typical stuff.

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