From the PR News Blog — 9 Tips for Public Speakers Who Hate Public Speaking

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The following was carried “The PR News — the Skinny on PR:

Butterflies in your stomach. Dry mouth. Fantasy of escaping through the back door. It’s inevitable: at some point in your career, you’ll need to speak in front of an audience. Whether at a small meeting, a conference, a general session, on a panel, or on your own. For most of us, it’s about getting out of our comfort zone. If it’s any consolation, the number-one fear of Americans is Public Speaking. Death is the number-2 fear. So you are not alone (until you die). Based on my own experiences and interviews with countless public speakers over the past year, I offer these nines tips to help you get through your next speaking gig with flying colors:

1. Research your audience: why are they there, what are their job responsibilities, how knowledgeable are they of the topic you’ll be speaking about? If possible, ask the event producer to survey the audience in advance w/a few questions that will help you tailor your presentation.

2. Avoid death by PowerPoint. Put another way, don’t talk them to sleep. Slides are important but they should be springboards to your speech and not littered with words and cheesy clip art. Large point size, consistent style and about half the slide blank are the rules. Show some video if you can – but not of cute puppies or kittens, unless you’re speaking to an animal rights group.

3. Master your content:. a corollary to tip #1, speak of what you know. You’ll be more relaxed and confident if you know your material. If you’re asked to speak about a topic that is complicated and not in your wheelhouse, decline the invite.

4.  Interact with your audience. Build a quick community with the attendees and encourage questions.

5. Limit talking about yourself. You know the speaker bio provided to the audience in advance? They already know who you are. Make it about them.

6. Wear your storytelling hat. There’s nothing better than a story to illustrate your point. That is what the audience will remember. Bring one great story to your speech – not 3 mediocre ones – and you will connect with your audience.

7. Own your content. I was listening to a speaker recently whose entire presentation was about quoting other authors and experts and not sharing an original thought. Find something unique and original to say to your audience. There’s a reason you were asked to take the stage.

8. Remember social media. Be careful what you say and how you say it. One off-color quote can go viral on social media and affect your reputation and your organization’s.

9. Don’t picture your audience naked. This is an old bit of advice predicated on the notion that the naked attendee is more vulnerable than you and so you have the upper hand. This advice doesn’t hold true — better to picture your audience thinking positive thoughts about you, and cheering you on. The crowd wants you to succeed, they are rooting for you. That‘s the naked truth.

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Flu — Take Precautions

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Wilmington Universoty sent this to its students, staff and other supporters. Please take heed:

In recent weeks, Delaware and much of the area has experienced an outbreak of influenza. Following the guidance of public health officials, we ask that everyone take the actions below in order to help prevent the spread of influenza and to minimize the impact of influenza on our community.

*  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. When a tissue is unavailable, cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow or shoulder instead of your hands.
*  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
*  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
*  Monitor yourself for the symptoms of influenza-like illnesses which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
*  Avoid contact with others if you are sick: stay home from work, classes and public places.
*  If you have been diagnosed with the flu or are suffering from flu-like symptoms please contact the University Information Center<> at (302) 356-4636<tel:+13023564636>.

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Larry Litwin inducted into Parsons College Wall of Honor

[To comment:] (See Nancy’s remarks on last week’s blog)2013-10-11 (15)

(Hand Nancy her dink)

     Hello, Sports Fans! That greeting started at KMCD radio almost 50 years ago…and I’ve been using it ever since.

To all who made this day and weekend possible. To all previous honorees … and to my follow honorees… and our many friends who share this day with us: I dedicate my remarks to all of you – and to my late dear friend…Dr. John DiFazio, who, with his wife Carol, spent many years teaching in the Fairfield Public Schools …and to my former roommate Doug Pocock who had planned on introducing me but was not able to be here this weekend. Doug was photo editor of our yearbook Peira and The Portfolio. In fact, during his years here at Parsons, Doug…photographer extraordinaire…was Parsons official photographer.

Today is about overcoming adversity, getting a second chance, life-altering events and other turning points. The enormity of this honor is beyond measure. It would be a huge understatement to say…I was speechless upon receiving Dave Neff’s phone call. And, as my family can attest, I am rarely at a loss for words.

Many times they accuse me of talking way too much. That will not be the case today as I, we, for Nancy and I…look back on what brought Parsons College and Larry Litwin…and Larry and Nancy Perris together.

My highest professional honor – and personal honor, too – is when one of my students is recognized with a major award. Several have told me…THIS will be the best and I wouldn’t fully realize it until this very moment. They are correct.

As Student Number 655280 – Nancy was 656997 – I look around this vast room and know I am not alone when I say…I have experienced many…life-altering events. But without question, THEeee … shall I say, FIRSTturning point in my young adult life was when I recognized being in pharmacy school… was not for me. So, in Fall1964 I visited my high school baseball coach, who, coincidentally…I had dinner with just two weeks ago after not seeing him for many years.

Back in 1964, coach advised that I look for another school – one more geared to my interests and one in which I might be able to play baseball. When I got home, I opened a small paperback book I had been reading by Herbert Tarr called, “The Conversion of Chaplain Cohen.”

In addition to being humorous, it contained advice –

first-hand – from the Chaplain who wound up at an air base in Mississippi. Chaplain Cohen’s story and Coach Minnick’s advice led me to “Lovejoy’s College Catalogue”…and the rest…as they say…is history.

I soon accompanied a friend to meet with a Parsons College recruiter. Remember them? My friend did not apply, but I did. I got accepted, received a partial baseball scholarship, thanks to the Philadelphia Phillies, and arrived …steamer trunk in tow…at the Fairfield Train Station on Thursday, February 4th, 1965.

It seemed like 25 degrees below zero – maybe even 40 below — but I am often reminded…I do exaggerate. Like many others, I left the trunk at the station and took that long, cold walk to the campus – my new home away from home.

Early the next morning – 5 a.m. to be exact – I  reported to Coach Joe Lutz for baseball practice in Fry Thomas Field House, faced a pitch from Dick Mills and immediately knew, I’d better study hard…because…playing baseball would not be my future. Coach Lutz’s words have stayed with me all these years: Sacrifice, respect, discipline and desire. Add: commitment and responsibility. Coach Lutz’s defined luck as preparation…meeting opportunity. Coach Lutz and Parsons did their share.

Another turning point, luckily, came soon after I injured my right knee playing ball. KMCD radio was broadcasting the game from Legion Field. I knew one of the announcers, Terry Shockley, was leaving the next day for a new job in Madison, Wisconsin …so I asked his partner, Dave Spilman if I could fill in. Dave asked if I had ever announced and I responded yes…a little white lie…not saying it was as a public address announcer…rather than play-by-play.

Thanks to that stretching of the truth – and a little luck – I have been in radio – in one form or another – ever since.


        The most important turning point – life altering event – occurred on the first day of the Summer 1965 trimester in Student Center One. That’s when I sat down in Sydney Spade’s Drama Appreciation class. Next to me was the cutest little blonde I had ever seen. She is still cute, and still blonde…and I’d better say…still little.

We were married two- and- a half years later in September 1967…just a few months after graduation…and are the proud parents of second grade teacher Julie Beth Kramer, her husband Billy, and our son, Adam Seth, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his wife Claire. Julie and Billy have a 10 ½ year-old and 7 ½ year old Aidan. Adam and Claire have a  6-month old.

My Rowan University students often asked about my teaching style, why my office was adorned in green and white…or…Iowa rose, why I wore green and white during academic ceremonies (hold up academic hood), why the covers of the two books I’ve written are green and white, and why my favorite mascot is…the Wildcat. Two words: Parsons CollegeParsons College.

Among the most fortunate days of my life are my high school baseball coach’s advice, my co-incidental meeting with that Parsons recruiter, getting into Parsons, injuring my knee, totally embracing the “Parsons Plan”…graduating from Parsons and…meeting… and marrying Nancy.

If it were not for Millard G. Roberts’ vision…Doc Bob… the incredible professors, preceptors and tutors, I would never have achieved the successes I have. I owe so much to so many – not only from Parsons, but from the people in Fairfield.

You may find this hard to believe: a day does not go by without my thinking about Parsons. I don’t even want to consider where I would be without “Doc Bob,” and what I observed and learned from Parsons College. It was much more than academics.

        My total education included the brilliance of my dedicated professors and other faculty – plus learning a work ethic that my parents already possessed, what it meant to be a committed teacher and coach…and… social skills, which led to many incredible life-long relationships. We were constantly encouraged to succeed.

        I promised myself back then, if ever I became a college instructor I would emulate Drs. Baird, Russos, Robertson, Rodner, Dr. Tree and so many others. (Hold up “Scholars Who Teach” from Parsons 1966-67)

As a 1999 Rowan graduate recently posted on Facebook, you, Professor Litwin promised to Pay it forward – and now my husband and I are, too.

        In many respects, February 4th, 1965 seems like only yesterday, but I do ask…where have the years gone?– from that snowy, Thursday…flying from Philadelphia…looking out the TWA Jet window at my father, Eddie… crying like a baby while my mother hugged him…arriving in Chicago and taking the Aksarben/…a slow milk train – oh, it WAS a cattle car – getting into Fairfield and…thanking the good lord for putting off getting drafted for a couple of years. And I did get drafted right after graduation. What a commencement ceremony it was:…It was interrupted by a violent thunderstorm that knocked out the power, ironically, during the singing – of… “When you Walk Through a Storm.”

        Yes, we ask, “Where have the years gone?” (pause) … The years have brought us here today – Fairfield, Iowa 52556 – just a stone’s throw from the campus whose administration, faculty and staff, …staff like Chefs Mike Young and Captain John Bailey, of “The Old South Room” and cafeteria server, Irma…they made sure we ate well…and Doc Bob and Mrs. Louise Roberts and so many others who taught us to overcome adversity, work hard, get up when you get knocked down, turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and – like my mother – Jeannie – always said, “Larry boy, If you dream it, you can achieve it.”

One more quick, true story: Many years ago, when I was teaching a graduate course, one of my students – a teacher –  shared her thoughts at HER school…about my teaching style and my approach. One of her fellow teachers, asked, “Did your professor attend Parsons College?” He sounds so much like the professors who worked with my father – Parsons Campus Minister, The Reverend Jack R. Steele. When the student shared that story with the class, I filled with emotion.


        My life has come full circle. No matter what happens from this day forward, as my mother promised, I have achieved my dreams. Thank you Doc Bob,…thank you Nance, …thank you everyone here…and ESPECIALLY, thank YOU Parsons College – Go Wildcats!!!

Larry Litwin
(L-r) Julie Litwin Kramer, Nancy Litwin and Larry(L-r) Julie Litwin Kramer, Nancy Litwin, Larry

 [To comment:] (See Nancy’s remarks on last week’s blog)

(L-r) Larry, Dr. Robert Tree (Larry's history professor) and Dave Neff, classmate andWall of Honor co-chair.
(L-r) Larry, Dr. Robert Tree (Larry’s history professor) and Dave Neff, classmate andWall of Honor co-chair.

Nancy Litwin’s intro — Parsons College Wall of Honor

Nancy Litwin delivering Parsons College Wall of Honor introduction.
Nancy Litwin delivering Parsons College Wall of Honor introduction.

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I remember it well – my first day of classes at Parsons College. It was on Monday, June 14th, 1965. I was 18 and freshly graduated from high school, although I had to miss the ceremony to get here for the summer trimester.

My early gym class preceded Drama Appreciation with Sydney Spade. With gym clothes tucked under my arm, I entered the lecture hall and found my seat. At that moment, one of my sneakers dropped on the foot of the person sitting next to me. Yes, it was Larry’s foot. We started a brief conversation, went for coffee after class and from that moment on Larry and I started dating…and still do.

Once I found my way around the campus, it was apparent, Parsons was such a nurturing place. Most important was the accessibility, empathy and sensitivity of the instructors.

Because of Larry’s radio career, we moved a lot, so my schooling did not end here…and…unfortunately, I didn’t find those qualities at the other three colleges I attended. I regret…to this daynot having Parsons on my diploma.

It is great many of you who made Parsons what it was are here, today.  Thank you for getting us here, today.

And now my husband of 46 years: Larry

[To comment:] (Next week, Larry’s remarks)