Captioning event marks Good Deeds Day

WMAR, Baltimore, Md., aired a story on April 15 about a closed captioning event held in honor of Good Deeds Day at the Center for Jewish Education.

Read more.

Deadline for nominations for NCRF Board of Trustees is April 23

The National Court Reporters Foundation is accepting nominations for its Board of Trustees  through April 23. The Foundation seeks people who want to support its good work by helping to raise funds, develop and implement NCRF programs for which those monies are committed, and further the organization’s mission. NCRF serves as the charitable arm of NCRA and raises funds throughout the year to support an array of programs created to benefit the court reporting community. Among those are the New Professional Reporter Grantstudent scholarships, and the Oral Histories Program.

Service on the Board of Trustees is open to any NCRA member or a member of the public who meets specific criteria. Click here for the nomination form and more details.

Career Day at Foothill Technology High School

By Irene Abbey

What had my daughter gotten me into now? As a staff member at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, Calif., she had signed me up to present at the school’s career day. Yes, I had been talking about how badly reporters were needed and might have even mentioned that I’d like to have a chance to talk to the high school students, but now I was going to have to make good on my intentions.

The first thing I did was go to NCRA’s website, hoping to find some helpful material for presenting court reporting as a career. There were several helpful resources at www.DiscoverSteno.org, including flyers, a PowerPoint presentation, and a short video about the many ways reporting skills can be used for employment. [Ed. Note: NCRA maintains www.DiscoverSteno.org as a website for prospective court reporters.]

Next I made some notes about some of my more interesting experiences as a reporter. I hadn’t taken the depositions of any really famous people, but I did have some interesting court cases to talk about, as well as some CART jobs. I edited the PowerPoint a bit, embedded a link to the online video, and put it on a flash drive. Fortunately, since this is a magnet high school with an emphasis on technology, they had computers and projectors available for showing my presentation. I thought it was the perfect venue for presenting reporting as an IT career.

I made a two-sided handout and made sure I had plenty of my business cards on hand.

The school had provided a few questions that should be answered during my presentation, so I wrote up a one-page narrative answering those questions, and I was set to go.

On Career Day, I packed up my computer, steno machine, browsers, and headed to the school. I was sent to a classroom supervised by a teacher, and I set up my equipment. I had been asked to talk for 20-25 minutes and allow time for questions. The total class period would be one hour.

There are different ways to set up Career Days, and at Foothill High, the students rotate through four presentations during the day, and they are assigned to them by the staff. So no one came because they wanted to hear a court reporter. In fact, in each of my four class periods, only one to two students of the 10 to 15 there had ever heard of a court reporter.

I thought everything went very well. I went through my PowerPoint, played the video, gave my talk, and did a realtime demo. I had brought some samples of interesting transcripts, some of which I’d found on the internet and some personal. For the realtime demo, I had two student volunteers read the transcript while I took it down. I used internet-based realtime streaming, Trialbook by StenoCAT. This meant the students were able to follow my realtime on their phones or tablets (as could anyone anywhere in the world with internet access as long as they had the password). Because the Foothill mascot is a dragon, my password for the day was “Dragons,” adding a little personalization for the students. In addition, the teacher projected my realtime feed onto the large screen at the front of the classroom. Everyone agreed this was pretty cool technology, and they were amazed I could keep up while they were reading fairly fast.

I was pleasantly surprised that the students were very attentive and asked intelligent questions.  The teacher who was supervising our sessions said he was thinking of changing careers. I believe I had several who were very interested in pursuing court reporting, and I heard from school staff that the two sessions the students were buzzing about were the court reporter and the lawyer. I would gladly participate in a career day event again. The day turned out to be really fun and rewarding. In my opinion, court reporting as a career option is the best-kept secret that needs to be a secret no longer.

So what will you do to get the word out about this great job opportunity? Please consider giving some of your time to talk to a group of students or even give a talk at a service club or other community organization. It doesn’t take any special skills. Just talk about what you do. People are interested, and you can be a part of helping to mitigate the shortage of reporters.

Irene Abbey, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter based in Ventura, Calif. She can be reached at abbey.csr@sbcglobal.net.

Give back to the profession: Volunteer to serve on an NCRA committee

Don’t miss this chance to get involved. Each year, NCRA members dedicate their time and expertise to shape the future of the profession through committee service. You could be one of those individuals: individuals who are committed to sharing their time and talents; individuals who have specialized skills and expertise; individuals who are willing to be enthusiastic advocates for NCRA and encourage others to get involved.

NCRA currently has more than 20 committees and task forces composed of more than 175 individuals working to advance the goals of the Association and to meet the needs of the membership. NCRA succeeds only because of its member volunteers.

“Through many years of volunteer service to my professional associations, I’ve found that the time investment required is always, without exception, offset by the knowledge and friendships I’ve gained,” says President-Elect Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC. Terry is seeking volunteers for NCRA’s 2018-2019 committee appointments.

“Please consider lending your expertise and talents to help us grow and strengthen your NCRA,” Terry adds.

Not only is volunteering fun and rewarding, but volunteers meet fellow committee members, forge new professional relationships, and give back to the profession. NCRA has a committee for you whether your interests lie in governance, education, or technology.

Explore the opportunities and then sign up to volunteer at NCRA.org/committees. Some committee assignments are short-term or project-oriented. Please be specific in your interest areas. A committee assignment can’t be guaranteed for everyone, but an earnest attempt to match your background with the 2018-2019 committee needs will be made.

Please consider volunteering your time to serve your profession. Committee work is an amazingly fulfilling personal experience, and your skills and talents will greatly benefit NCRA and the profession.

For more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit NCRA.org/committees.

Connecticut offers NCRA’s A to Z with help from ProCAT

Kendra Jenkins, Jessica Lynn Sekellick and Megan Speed (yes, Speed!), Connecticut A to Z participants discovering the joy of steno

Kendra Jenkins, Jessica Lynn Sekellick and Megan Speed (yes, Speed!), Connecticut participants in NCRA’s A to Z program discovering the joy of steno

Andrea Kingsley, RPR, of Easton, Conn., first learned about NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo in Chicago when Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a firm owner from Worcester, Mass., presented the idea during a seminar. “I signed up [as a leader] right away,” says Kingsley. “It’s a brilliant idea.”

The A to Z program is a six-to-eight week presentation to a small group of participants considering court reporting as a career. During the program, the participants learn to write the alphabet and numbers in steno on an actual steno machine. The presentations are led by court reporters and captioners who have signed up with NCRA to volunteer and offer these sessions.

So far, Kingsley said she has had 11 people interested in her A to Z program. “I found people through the NCRA listserv that sends out contact info of interested participants by state. I sent out an announcement to our state membership, and I posted it in the library where I held the sessions,” says Kingsley, who just wrapped up a session earlier this week.  “The students all received a certificate and letter of recommendation. They all plan on attending an online school.”

The A to Z program is a unique way to give participants the experience of using a steno machine without investing in schooling or the cost of equipment, although becoming a court reporter will require a greater commitment. For the Connecticut-based A to Z program that Kingsley led, Tracy Gow, RPR, an official and freelance reporter from Middlebury, and a past president of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association (CCRA) reached out to ProCAT about providing machines for program participants. ProCAT offered to donate the machines; CCRA only needed to pay for shipping.

“We got 10 machines but didn’t need that many,” says Kingsley. “When I saw Renee Leguire’s request for machines on the listserv, I got in touch with her, and we were able to provide five machines to the Albany area A to Z.  Renee kindly split the shipping cost with CCRA.” Leguire, RMR, CRR, a firm owner from Latham, is hosting an A to Z program in New York.

“A huge thank you to Grace Molson and ProCat for lending the Connecticut Court Reporter’s Association 10 steno machines for use in A to Z Discover Steno programs,” says Kingsley.

What did you do to make a difference for Court Reporting & Captioning Week?

By Debbie Kriegshauser

I must share with you all that I had a “peach of a time” visiting the Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. I was beyond impressed with the school. The classroom layouts, the labs, the faculty, and the administration were just amazing – not to mention the best students in the United States. There are 41 daytime students, 32 evening students, and 125 online students. That is phenomenal! We certainly can’t take a chance of losing this program.

We all remember those days of the dreaded “guest speaker” when we were in school, but I must say we had a fantastic time. Several of the students who chose to sit in the back of the room were dancing in the aisles and happy-go-lucky when they left. Oh, yes, we had attendance prizes, Valentine’s Day candy bags, and some good ole fun and enjoyment. They love those wonderful reference books the NCRA Store has for sale, plus I rewarded the student I mentor there with a convention registration for being the main reason I went to Brown College of Court Reporting in the first place. Thank you, Kimesha Smith Stallworth, for arranging this opportunity!

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my life and work experience with the students. I’m currently a federal official in St. Louis, Mo., and have been for 15 years. But I had done 25 years of freelance work before that, not to mention two years of CART reporting for a deaf student studying Agricultural Science, some dabbling in the captioning side of life, and providing media coverage for a Senior PGA Tournament on top of the freelance work. Needless to say, I had a lot to share with the students. I could have consumed the entire day. I also went into my professional memberships and covered an array of committees I have served on to show the students that involvement in your professional organizations is priceless!

We all have some experiences we can share with students as well as prospective students across the country. I challenge each and every one of you to share a bit of your court reporting or captioning experience with our schools. You can make a difference. You have to “just do it!” Did I mention the school YouTubed the entire evening presentation while it streamed it to the online students?

And the best part of this college visit: I got invited back! I also received the nicest “thank you” card. Thank you, Brown College of Court Reporting, especially Mark Green, Jr., director of career services, and Marita Carey, director of administration!

Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CLVS, is an official court reporter at the federal level from St. Louis, Mo.

Support NCRF and consider serving on its Board of Trustees

The National Court Reporters Foundation is currently accepting nominations for its Board of Trustees. The Foundation seeks people who want to support its good work by helping to raise funds, develop and implement NCRF programs for which those monies are committed, and further the organization’s mission. NCRF serves as the charitable arm of NCRA and raises funds throughout the year to support an array of programs created to benefit the court reporting community. Among those are the New Professional Reporter Grant, student scholarships, and the Oral Histories Program.

Volunteering to serve on NCRF’s board is a way to leave your mark in the court reporting profession as well as your legacy and help make a difference for others, said Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, a retired court reporter from Battle Creek, Mich., and NCRF Vice Chair.

“The Foundation funds scholarships for students, the oral histories project, programs that support the deaf and hard of hearing community, and educational efforts to ensure attorneys and judges understand the important role a live court reporter plays in the courtroom. NCRF helps to ensure the profession’s future, preserve history, and through the Corinne Clark Professionalism Institute, helps to ensure success among new reporters just entering the field,” said Keenan who is also a past president of NCRA.

“The Foundation needs people who can appreciate the future, past, present, and success – we need you. Your time is the most valuable asset you have. Leave your legacy by making a mark and a difference by volunteering to serve the Foundation. I promise it won’t hurt you at all; it will actually feel good,” said Keenan.

Service on the Board of Trustees is open to any NCRA member or a member of the public who meets specific criteria. The deadline for nominations is March 31. Click here for the nomination form and more details.

Two NCRA Members Tie for First Place in 2018 NCSA Challenge

For the first time in the past four years, the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning has ended with a tie for first place. Earning first place honors were Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official from Olathe, Kan., and Kristen Wurgler, RPR, a captioner from Cottage Grove, Wis. Isaacsen and Wurgler will receive free webinars from NCRA. The challenge ended with the culmination of NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which was celebrated Feb. 10-17.

NCRA member Lisa Wagner, RPR, an official court reporter from Highlands Ranch, Colo., earned top honors in this year’s challenge. She hosted 10 school career fairs. As grand prize winner, Wagner has earned a complimentary registration to the NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

The JCR Weekly reached out to learn more about what motivates this year’s first prize winners to promote the profession.

Build a network

To help promote the profession, Isaacsen attended a number of career fairs in the Kansas City metro area and was interviewed by her local television station.

“I have been attending career fairs and talking about court reporting for a long time, so a lot of the same schools I have been working with contact me yearly to attend their fairs,” she said.

“The television interview is an interesting story. The TV anchor of our local station was a victim in a criminal case, and I was one of the reporters assigned to the case. I made contact with her. We built a relationship through that contact and we have stayed in touch. So when Court Reporting & Captioning Week came around, I asked her about doing a television spot about the shortage of reporters.”

The news reporter also noted in the interview that Isaacsen was offered a freelance job as a result of the research she was doing in preparation for the story about the number of openings available for court reporters in Kansas and Missouri.

Another added benefit of Isaacsen’s television appearance was that, once the piece aired, participants in the local A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program jumped from three participants to more than 20, and a second television station also aired a piece about the shortage of court reporters. That story was filmed at the local courthouse, Isaacsen added.

To help round up volunteers to staff career fairs and step into media interviews, Isaacsen said you need to just keep asking people around you. She also advises taking a friend as well as your computer and steno machine so you can feel comfortable just talking about what you do and demonstrating how you do it.  Students love to see their words come up on the court reporter’s laptop, and while they will pick up handouts and candy from your table, they really like to just touch the keyboard on the steno machine, she said.

“Teenagers need to have another option when it comes to careers. The idea of attending a four-year college and walking away with huge debt and a low-paying job is scary to them and their parents. They need options and they need to know that there are other jobs available, and I think court reporting provides them so many opportunities. I always hear students saying, that is so cool, when they see what I do. They also say they have never heard of court reporting or if they have, that they didn’t realize it was the computer doing all the work,” she said.

One of the school career fairs Isaacsen attended this year was held at a middle school. To help students feel more comfortable, she ditched the traditional suit for a younger look.

“I get so excited about what I do, and it shows. The last career day I did was at a middle school, and I decided that they would listen better if I looked more like them. So I wore Converse sneakers, skinny jeans, and a sweatshirt that said ‘Court Reporters always get the last word.’ And they asked more questions, approached me more, and were more interested in what I had to say when I looked like them,” Isaacsen said.

As for the future, Isaacsen said she would like to reach out to more high school students since they are the group beginning to research their future. She’d also like to spend more time getting in contact with high school counselors and making an impact with them.

“Counselors have a lot of challenges these days, but I would really like to get in with the local counselors’ organizations and have them identify some specific students who they feel would be perfect for this career,” said Isaacsen.

Showing off captioning

Wurgler, who tied Isaacsen for first place in the NCSA Challenge, is one of several staff CART captioners at the McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She and coworkers hosted a CART trivia contest, among other activities. Each day a different question was posted on a whiteboard, along with several hints regarding the answers. The McBurney staff member with the most points on the scoreboard at the end of the week won a gift card to a specialty grocery store on the school’s campus.

During the week, Wurgler also gave a brown bag presentation to the Division of Student Life entitled “What is CART at UW-Madison?” The topics discussed in the presentation included delineating broadcast captioning from CART, some information about the student population who receives CART services on campus, a tour of the machinery including all hands on the steno keyboard for participants as they learned how to stroke ‘Bucky,’ staff qualifications, and when CART should be provided for a division event.

“Overall, our staff and division felt a greater understanding and appreciation for the complexity of CART here at UW-Madison. So even though we were not directly involved in enticing new students into the court reporting, broadcast captioning, or CART professions directly, it was an educational moment that drew attention to how CART can benefit an entire campus community.  Even more important, we all had fun while learning how CART benefits students at our beautiful campus,” Wurgler added.

Wurgler said her goal for next year during Court Reporting & Captioning Week is to ensure that captioning is always turned on at every television on the campus, including in the dining halls, the residence halls, and the educational buildings. The captions, she said, will not only benefit the school’s deaf and hard-of-hearing students but also the many international students on the campus whose first language is not English and who may find reading English captions easier than hearing the language initially.

“Imagine an extraordinarily loud environment like a dining hall on a college campus of 50,000 students with glassware, silverware, and trays clanking all the time, let alone the conversation levels. You can imagine the important safety messages that students will have the benefit of seeing on the TVs even before they can hear them. Unfortunately, receiving these important safety messages is a vital issue for schools of every level in our country during these sad times in our country,” Wurgler said.

Giving back to give others hope

Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, (in blue jacket) with other participants in Pittsburgh's Light of Life walk

Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, (in blue jacket) with other participants in Pittsburgh’s Light of Life walk

Since 2004, long-time NCRA member Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, a freelance captioner and court reporter from Pittsburgh, Pa., has volunteered for Light of Life Rescue Mission, a local organization that supports hungry and homeless men, women, and children. She does it, she says, because she needs to know each morning when she gets up that what she is working for is beyond herself.

While the Light of Life Rescue Mission provides a hot meal and a warm bed for the people it serves, Peters said the organization also offers programs and education to help people become independent again.

“Light of Life teaches people to fish. Light of Life keeps families together. Whether they are addicted, in recovery, or through tough life circumstances find themselves homeless, Light of Life makes it a mission to get them back on their feet, living with independence and pride again. They must commit to the program, and so Light of Life brings support, accountability, and hope,” says Peters.

Her commitment to supporting Light of Life began when she met the organization’s head of fundraising. “I said: ‘Don’t send me your pamphlets!  You’re wasting paper on me! I will support you significantly every year.’ So, we started meeting to discuss programs; and by the goodness of God, I hold up my end of the bargain,” Peters said.

Peters said she and her family understand the impact that difficult circumstances can have on people of all ages. Her mother passed away when she and her siblings were in their childhood, and though her dad was great, she said everyone in the family struggled in their own way with that significant loss.

“My younger brother dealt with addiction for many years and at one point did go to jail. I remember buying him new clothes so he could look for a job as he struggled returning to society.  Eventually, I am proud to say, he did win his battle and was a hard-working, independent husband and father.  He took responsibility and worked.  He was respected by the workers he eventually supervised in his shop,” Peters shared. “Sadly, he passed of a heart attack five years ago, while he was still too young. But his story is so powerful, and those co-workers were as devastated as we were. He was a real leader to them because they knew he overcame the struggle. He led by example.”

One of the activities Light of Life holds each year is an annual 20-mile walk through Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods to raise awareness about the mission and its work. Peters said joining her and other volunteers for the event are former NFL Pittsburgh Steelers players Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley, who also work tirelessly with Light of Life.

“Why walk? Because that’s what the homeless do — all day, every day,” Peters explained. “While we are on the Walk, we see the homeless, and wouldn’t you know, Tunch and Wolf often know them by name!”

One of the highlights of working with Light of Life is watching people succeed on graduation day from its programs, Peters said. “It is a fantastic day. I know that every time I help a client at Light of Life, my brother is smiling somewhere, and when my feet hit the cold, hard wood in the morning, it means something.”

Peters, also a long-time NCRF Angel, is active in other areas of her community as well, including supporting Dress for Success and Treasure House Fashions, organizations that help women get back on their feet, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, which raises funds for Autism research.

“It’s a week-long endeavor of classic and antique cars every year that starts with a race, followed by a gala, then a car show mid-week, and culminates with a two-day race on the weekend at a park. Proceeds benefit the Autism Society. I support the car show, and in the past I have sponsored a tent,” Peters said.

The JCR Weekly will run a series of interviews featuring NCRA members who are giving back to their community in addition to an article in the April issue of the JCR.

 

Q&A: The art of presentations, with Steve Clark

Steve Clark, CRC

Steve Clark, CRC

Captioner Steve Clark, CRC, based in Washington, D.C., recently visited NCRA headquarters to demonstrate realtime and captioning skills to staff. Steve has an engaging presentation style and lots of experience sharing his story with various audiences, so the JCR Weekly asked him to provide some insight and advice for other captioners, court reporters, and legal videographers on the keys to successful group presentations.

JCR | Can you tell us a little bit about your presentations and what they are used for?

SC | I have about six slide shows that I can choose from, depending on the group I am presenting to and the length of time for which I am asked to present.

One slide show, for example, is a basic “What is CART Captioning?” presentation. This presentation has about 15 slides and introduces potential clients to the basics of onsite and remote CART captioning – how it works, who it benefits, and steps to take to request and set up CART captioning services.

Another slide show is geared toward students and explains how the steno machine works, what CART captioning is, who is a good candidate for this career, and the necessary steps to get started as a student. This slide show can also be used when speaking to civic groups or deaf and hard-of-hearing groups about what we do and how we do it – in other words, answering the common question of “How does that little machine work?”

I have a slide show that I use when speaking to professional court reporting and captioning associations, particularly focused on writing theories and shortcuts for briefing. This slide show can be used for a shorter presentation of 60-90 minutes. I also have created an expanded version of this last slide show. This expanded version is for an all-day presentation to fellow professionals. And I have specialized presentations when speaking to a group about, for example, sports captioning or stadium captioning.

JCR | What are the most important points that you feel you need to cover in your presentation?

SC | It really depends on the audience. If my goal is to help a general audience to understand what we do and how we do it, it is important to explain the basics of the steno machine and why we still use it, particularly why I feel it is the best and most accurate way to produce realtime captions. If I am presenting to a group of fellow captioners or court reporters, I can move more quickly, but I feel it is always important to leave plenty of time for Q&A, which the group of fellow professionals will surely have.

JCR | Do you get nervous about presenting to people? Do you have any suggestions for getting over being nervous?

SC | Now when I present, I don’t get nervous. When I first started presenting, I certainly did get nervous. My three suggestions for not getting nervous are:

  1. Be yourself, but be professional, courteous, and make everyone feel welcome. Speak naturally, but slowly enough that your audience can really absorb what you are saying. And try to speak properly – no “like” and “you know” or other filler words. Having been an audience member, I find that concise speakers are the most attractive speakers.
  2. Know your material. Practice, practice, practice. This means practicing your presentation out loud at least five times. Practice makes perfect.
  3. When I first started presenting and felt the nerves coming on, I would remind myself: “I am the most qualified person in the room to be doing this presentation.” That isn’t meant to sound arrogant or cocky, but rather to remind me that I have worked hard to get to this point; I have worked hard on this presentation and these slides; and I have the ability to present and to present well.

JCR | How does giving presentations help you or your business?

SC | Giving presentations has been a tremendous help to me personally as well as to my business. Whether I am giving a two-minute explanation to a client or audience member during a break at an onsite job or I am presenting to a room of perhaps 100 people, I am representing me, my business, this career, and anyone who counts on the service I am providing. Therefore, it is really important to develop good communication skills, but likewise good listening skills.

JCR | As a captioner, you probably see a fair amount of presentations yourself. Have you seen anything – other than captioning – that sets off a really great presentation from a mediocre one? Have you learned anything from them that you’ve been able to incorporate into your own presentations?

SC | As stated above, the best speakers, in my opinion, are concise, well-spoken, and well-prepared. A good speaker is also a good listener. When I am presenting, if there is a question or comment, I always try to do what I have seen many outstanding speakers do over the years – allow the question or comment to be stated, wait patiently and respectfully, thank the person, and then answer the question as asked. You always want your audience members to know that you value them and that you want them to be a part of this presentation, too.

I also learned from a seasoned member of the court reporting association I belonged to early on in my career that it is important to be deferential. Don’t be afraid to recognize the expertise of others and the tremendous things that the younger, up-and-coming professionals are doing in this field. Give credit where credit is due.

JCR | Do you have any advice for other court reporters or captioners on how to give presentations? Is there a good place to start?

SC | The first few times I presented, I was part of a panel. I was the junior member of the panel, meaning that all of the other panelists had 10 years or more of experience. I had only a year or two. Working on a panel allowed me to hone my skills as a presenter and to improve my slide-creation skills. Listen to how others speak, copy the formatting of others’ slides, and emulate the speakers you like. It is true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

HLAA or similar groups are really receptive and are good places to begin. State or local court reporting associations are also great audiences for someone just starting out as a speaker or presenter.

JCR | A few days ago, someone sent an email about how being a speaker at an event is good for introverts because it gives them something that other people can approach them about and gives them something to talk about that isn’t small talk. Do you find this true?

SC | I definitely agree. And for introverts, it focuses the conversation on a topic that they can have some control over and that they are prepared to speak about. Once you get the speaking bug, though, you stop being an introvert.

JCR | Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SC | Two years ago at NCRA’s convention in Chicago, I was walking through the vendor area, just looking at different products and services being offered. A gentleman approached me and said, “Excuse me, are you Steve Clark?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I’ve been hoping for some time that I would run into you again. I saw you speak to our state association in Massachusetts in 1999, and I want you to know what an impact you had on me.”

He went on to tell me how I inspired him to change his writing, to improve his realtime skills, and he wanted me to know that he even went on to present a few times to state associations and other groups.

That is why I love presenting and speaking. You don’t always know it, and sometimes you don’t find out until almost 20 years later, but you can make a difference, and you can influence someone, both professionally and personally. Anyone who is considering speaking or presenting – stop considering it. Do it! You’ll be glad you did.