Win Up to $525 Sunday
As an effort to help raise funds for the Hampton Roads Alumni Chapter, the officers are hosting two Super Bowl Squares pools. Squares are available at for $2 or $5 with the $5 option offering a higher payout.
Payout for the $5 pool is as follows:
First Quarter: $75
Third Quarter: $75
Payout for the $2 pool is as follows:
First Quarter: $30
Third Quarter: $30
Squares are available for sale until the board is full and a person could win more than once. A portion of the funds raised will go to the chapter to help add more membership benefits. If you have questions or if you or someone you know is interested in purchasing, please contact one of the officers or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Join or Renew your Membership
Membership renewal for 2016 is here. Will you join us this year as we work to grow the chapter to make it bigger and better? We hope to offer some new membership benefits this year by partnering with the Chamber of Commerce, but we can't make it happen without you. Currently dues are $25 and provides membership through December 31.
In addition to being an official chapter member, your dues will allow you to attend special member-only events, give you voting privileges, provide you an opportunity to be an officer or committee member, and (once partnered with the Chamber of Commerce) offer free or discounted entry to events as well as retail discounts.
Dues may be paid in person or online by clicking here. Dues must be paid by February 15.
General Body Meeting & Elections
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us at the first general body meeting of 2016! This will be a very important meeting as we will hold elections for our 2016 officers. We encourage that as many of you that are able will attend this meeting. The meeting will be held on Saturday, March 12 on the Southside. The time and location will be determined at a later time. Please remember that you must pay membership dues in order to vote.
The positions open for elections will include: President, Executive Vice President, VP of Administration, VP of Finance, VP of Marketing, and VP of Inter-Chapter Relations. Please think carefully about the roles and if you or someone you know would make a good candidate for any of the positions. Please send your nominations to our chapter president, email@example.com
The Most Overused Word in Public Speaking
By Bill McGowan
If the headline of this pulled you in because you suspect you know the answer, then I'm going to make an educated guess as to which one you chose. After all, there are so many worthy candidates.
Innovation? That certainly is a contender but not the one I had in mind. "Innovation" has gotten a real workout in recent years as companies try to explain how they are going to stay relevant, grow their customer base and keep pace with rapidly changing consumer preferences. Unfortunately, it has also become the crutch of executives who are incapable of specifically articulating their current strategies and future vision. "Harnessing innovation as a growth driver" is the kind of empty nonsense that parodies are made of.
Disruptive? Although the intensity with which this has been misused and abused is virtually unparalleled, it hasn't been around enough years to win top honors. I always get a chuckle when companies, whose business model is decades old, talk about how they're going to "adopt a disruptive mindset and corporate culture." Of course, what they conveniently omit in their attempt at a new narrative, is the fact that their size and lack of modern agility makes them much more likely to be the disrupted rather than the disruptors. In fact, real disruptors wouldn't be caught dead using that word.
Focused? Given the frequency with which we hear executives talk about being "focused," it's hard not to declare this one the undisputed champ. But of course, to be truly exceptional, we know that it's no longer enough to be just focused - you have be "laser focused." It is way past time to retire this expression. The other worn-out use of this word occurs during Q & A when an exec is asked a question he/she doesn't want to answer. For instance, when a red-hot private company is asked when they plan to go public, how often do you hear, "we're just really focused on building a great company." Anytime you hear someone utter those five words: "we're just really focused on..." you know they've received paint-by-numbers communications coaching. Overused and ready for an update version.
Seriously? Perhaps not many of you selected this one, since on the surface it seem like a benignly functional word. But when I share the cliché context that makes it a chief offender, I bet you'll wildly nod your head in total agreement. How many times have you heard an executive from an auto company during a recall crisis say, "we take the safety of our consumers very seriously." Any tech company that tracks the actions of its users has at one time undoubtedly said, "we take the privacy of our users very seriously." I'm sure the soft drink companies have insisted that they take the health of their consumers "very seriously." The grotesque overuse of this expression has rendered virtually meaningless.
Okay, give up? No, it's not "leverage" or "impactful" or "scalability" either. It's a word I used to love, and now, sadly I cringe when I hear it.
I would wager that 99% of all public speakers use this word at least once within the first 30 seconds of their presentation. It's as if "I'm really excited to be here today.." is on some kind of permanent cut and paste by the people who prepare these remarks. On occasion, I've heard some variation of excited said three times in rapid succession: "I'm so excited to be here today during such an exciting time for our company. There's no question that this is an exciting time to be part of our industry.." The declaration "I'm so excited" hasn't been on such a relentless loop since 1982 when it was the title of The Pointer Sisters Top 40 hit. It wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that the majority of presenters say how excited they are while wearing a stone-cold-bored expression on their face.
Why do I object to any of the above in the first place? Because saying them will make you sound like everybody else. There's no better recipe for being thoroughly forgettable than to verbally be a bird on a wire. Your goal should always be to stand out and be distinctive and I can't think of a better way to start than to avoid clichés and threadbare phrasing. Now that's a legitimate reason to get excited.
Bill McGowan was an on-camera television journalist for 15 years at CBS, ABC and Fox. He now helps clients prepare for upcoming interviews with TV, radio and print reporters. He also trains on-air talent on how to conduct more effective interviews and consult with producers on effective writing and producing techniques.