A friend of mine from ASTD-Orange County, Geri Girardin, asked me to be a guest speaker for her Organizational Communication class at Cal State Dominguez Hills. It was a new experience for me, as this course is a distance learning course, so I spent my entire time in a television studio. There’s not much of a leap from webcam to TV camera, but there’s a leap (for me) from home office to TV studio.
Geri game me several topics to choose from. The topic that appealed to me most was about rewriting your work (even though it’s something I’m better talking about doing than doing myself). Once I selected my subject matter, Geri sent me several questions in advance, for which I spent considerable time and effort crafting thought-provoking responses, weaving in real-life experiences, and rehearsing the stories I would tell. I was prepared! I was ready! I was nervous!
In the end, the session went way too fast. Geri had slotted 30 minutes for me, and I probably had an hours’ worth of rambling anecdotes and soapbox speeches. I hope her students got something out of it, if only to consider what one should put into one’s emails before sending them out.
At the end of the day, however, I can’t seem to let the work I did go. I’m falling victim to that self-analysis that comes after any presentation or performance, wondering what I could have done to ensure that the content was as valuable as possible to Geri’s students. I had some truly worthwhile (in my mind) comments about rewriting skills, comments which we never really got to.
So I figured: what better way to get them off my chest than to blog about them? Sure, this blog discusses training and instructional design, but let’s face it. A few tips on rewriting and organizational communication couldn’t hurt us, either. So the next few posts will be my planned responses to Geri’s questions. Hope you’ll find them informative.
And should someone from DHTV’s COMM300 course stumble upon these posts, I hope you get an “A.”
I’ll start with Geri’s first (prepared) question: “Tell us about your ‘adventures in writing.'”
I am primarily a storyteller. Not a professional one, strictly amateur.
I was a more prolific story writer when Geri had first met me, when I’d had a few stories published in the Orange County Register. Since then my writing became more focused on training materials, and later blog posts. I write two blogs now, a professional one about training and instructional design, and a family blog, where I wax poetic about my family. I’ve only recently gotten back into story writing, mainly because I want to be able to tell my boys stories when they’re able to understand the worlds I’m sharing with them.
It’s the story-telling that connected me with Geri and ASTD-Orange County. The ASTD-OC Communications Manager had met me at a Chapter Event, and thought: “Paul can tell a good story,” so she recruited me to be the managing editor of the chapter newsletter.
Editing a newsletter is a bit different than writing a story, but my role quickly shifted to managing most Communications and crept over to marketing Chapter Events as well. After all, I could tell a story, and for me, marketing a Chapter Event was, in effect, telling the story of what will happen, rather than what did happen.
That’s a role that I haven’t completely let go at ASTD-OC, because I believe in the power of the written word, of a compelling message. I believe those who participate in our community can do great things, but that those great things won’t bear fruit unless someone takes the time to communicate what they’ve done.
So I write.
I even wheedle a bit.
But mostly, I tell stories.
This is one of a series of posts inspired by question prompts from Geri Girardin, the instructor of DHTV’s Organizational Communication course. Other posts in the series were:
- Our text stresses the “you” attitude. What is your perspective on this? Any illuminating stories to illustrate your point?
- In your writing, do you grapple with ensuring that you incorporate “positive impressions”. What does that look like?
- In the 3P’s section of the text, focus is directed towards unbiased messaging. Can we really get away from this in today’s world where there are so many differing points of view?
- It seems to me that having a writing ‘style’ is all about finding your voice as a writer. What thoughts do you have about this statement?
- How can I (or anyone) become a better writer thru revising my writing?
- What about texting in terms of today’s topic of revising one’s writing?
- Do you have any good resources you can share?