I am a graduate of our county's succession management program, and during the last few classes of that two-year-long course, I asked the facilitator if they needed any help in offering a class I had taken nearly 15 years ago called Giving Successful Presentations.
|Me and my big mouth...|
Now, what does this have to do with emergency communications?
I am glad you asked.
In the event of a large, catastrophic event such as a hurricane, the public information officers in our county are going to be overwhelmed. National media will descend on our area, citizens will be looking for information and it will take us a while to regain our footing and assess just how badly we have been hit.
|A Red Cross volunteer speaks with a resident who has lost everything|
Someone will have to do this speaking, so why not build a cadre of well-trained spokespeople who will be able to confidently get up in front of an audience and deliver a message?
What did we cover? Well, some of the key points included understanding that presentations require a five-step process, which includes:
- Plan: Getting the details for the presentation, understanding the audience and determining the length of the presentation.
- Develop: Gathering the information, building a solid introduction, developing key content points and building a killer close.
- Prepare: Beating the jitters, practicing the right way and learning how much appearances matter.
- Dazzle: Getting to the venue early, focusing your energy and delivering the best presentation possible.
- Evaluate: Discovering what worked, what didn't and how could it be improved.
How'd we do? Well, the evaluations looked good, and it looks as if only minor tweaks will be required to get the presentation into its final version.
All in all, I'd say it was a great opportunity to teach some valuable skills - something that doesn't hurt to have in your back pocket should the worst happen.
Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida