You’ve completed a year’s worth of grants, appeals, social media posts, and e-blasts. Treat yourself for your hard work right now! We need it.
But if you’re working remotely because of COVID-19, you’re probably used to spending all day behind a screen. How can you write conversationally when you’ve gone days without face-to-face contact? Try borrowing some ideas from the art of speech writing!
Public speaking principles are useful because they’re designed to hook audiences, ignite emotions, and pack meaning into a limited time frame. Even if you never step on stage to speak (in-person gatherings? What are those?), your writing will benefit from these principles. Below you'll find some core ideas, how they apply to nonprofit writing, and inspiration from skilled public speakers.
NOTE: This blog is an expansion of a speech I gave at “5 Minutes in Hell,” YNPN-TC’s annual event for people who want to practice public speaking (my slides are available on Google Drive and a video of the full speech is at the bottom of this post or on YouTube). For those considering submitting a speaking proposal in future years, I highly recommend it! You won’t find a more supportive practice venue.
There is no one answer to what a communications job looks like, especially when it comes to nonprofits. While large organizations can have entire teams where each person has their own subject area or expertise, small nonprofit organizations often have only one staffer (or part of one) who is responsible for getting the word out about everything the organization does.
Communicators have all kinds of duties: writing, social media, websites, emails, graphic design, media outreach, among other things. For some organizations, the communications staff is also responsible for development and fundraising, while others house these duties in separate departments.
At our core, however, all communications professionals have the same goals: We want to make sure the people who need our organization’s information get it in ways they understand, and we want to make sure our organization looks good.
These goals can mean that communications professionals care about strange things like fonts and colors and images, and we sometimes say certain words should or should not be used.
In this blog, I am sharing some of the largest “pet peeves” communications professionals have in the hopes that non-communicators can learn and work more effectively with their communications staff, and we can eliminate the communications-programs-development divide.Read more
Lately, I’ve been doing something that scares me. And I don’t mean "scare" like the stress from taking on a new responsibility at work; I mean pupil-dilating, limb-trembling, tunnel-vision fear. My personal kryptonite is public speaking, and regardless of preparation, I quake and barely remember what happened when I walk off the stage.
For this blog post, I was hoping to inspire everyone with my story of joining Toastmasters & tackling fear head on. There are so many work-ready platitudes out there about fear — "do one thing that scares you every day" or "face your fears" — I was sure there would be research showing that fear is somehow healthy, that it fires up our brains, that the adrenaline forces us to achieve.Read more
We’ve all been there. You sign up for an info session at a conference or an event with a presentation that sounds intriguing and potentially groundbreaking. You sit down for the session, pen in hand, ready to take notes. Throughout the entire session you wait for something noteworthy – something so insightful you just have to tweet it, write it down, and take it back to the office to share with your colleagues or impress your boss. You wait, and you wait, and nothing. Turns out the session isn’t what you thought it would be. The information doesn’t apply to your organization or your job, or it covers information you’ve already heard a million times (social media 101, anyone??).
Recently I attended an event that left me feeling this way. So now what? Did I just waste an hour or two of my time?Read more
Are you planning to attend Five Minutes in Hell on October 23 at Honey? 2012 presenter, Naaima Khan, reflects on why she was thrilled to be a part of last year's event, and the rewards that came from sharing her inner musings with her nonprofit peers.
“If only nonprofit managers and staff understood how to inculcate and implement a culture of diversity and inclusion, there wouldn’t be so much conundrum and lack of action around the issue…” There again ran my crazy, rambling thoughts as I walked from the conference venue back to my car. If only there was a call to action that would jolt nonprofits out of setting up fancy conferences to talk about diversity into action on embracing it, wouldn’t it be so nice? Such inner-promptings gave rise to many inner-monologues, which, again, gave rise to more inner-musings.Read more
It’s conference season in Minnesota’s nonprofitland, and how to present at them is a hot topic at YNPN, such as at last month’s Emerging Leaders Networking lunch. A recent e-news piece of ours offers some great tips on how to make your presentation shine once you’re doing one, but how does a young nonprofit professional secure a gig like that in the first place?Read more
Have you ever seen a request for conference proposals and thought, “Hey, I should do that,” only to find a million excuses to miss the deadline? I’m a terrible public speaker. They wouldn’t accept me anyway. What could I teach a group of experienced professionals?
You’re not the only one. Presenting at conferences or seminars can be a daunting task, particularly for young professionals who may be addressing a more experienced audience. But, fortunately, there are brave souls who have gone before us and – despite being younger and less experienced than some of their peers – presented at a professional conference.Read more