Remembering a Faithful Reader

Not many people comment on my blog posts. One reader, though, was great about writing a short comment every now and then.

I met this reader years ago at the annual communications conference for NFPW. I was thinking I might see her at this year’s conference. Sadly, that was not the case.

At this year’s In Memoriam service her name appeared on the screen. Mary Lou Hinrichsen of Iowa was 90 years old when she died on Feb. 5, 2017. She embraced her roles as a journalist, farmer and musician. She was a former Iowa Press Women president and Communicator of Achievement.

I didn’t know she had passed away until her name was read at the service. I didn’t know her well, but when I heard her name, I realized I had lost a friend.

We always said hello at conferences and had brief conversations. I looked forward to her occasional comments on the blog.

She made my day when she did that. I doubt she knew that often she would leave her comment on the day I needed encouragement about continuing my blog.

We may not always know when or how we touch each other’s lives. Mary Lou Hinrichsen and I touched each other’s lives thousands of miles apart through a blog.

“You do a great job of keeping me up to date out here in the cornfields of Iowa on what’s going on.”

~ Mary Lou Hinrichsen

Here’s one of her comments: “Count me as a faithful reader, even when I don’t comment. You do a great job of keeping me up to date out here in the cornfields of Iowa on what’s going on.”

I always keep that image of Mary Lou out in the cornfields of Iowa in my mind as I write a post for my blog. I’ll continue to do that in her memory.

When You Are the Speaker

When I first started speaking to groups, I always assumed the organizer would have everything I needed. Keep in mind, this was long before we had laptop computers. In fact, I know I presented a few times using an overhead projector. Later, I would bring my presentation on a thumb drive. Sometimes, though, my file was a much newer version of the software program and the organizer’s computer couldn’t handle my presentation.

One time I was dinged because I had to stand near the laptop so I could advance my slides. Yep, the organizers didn’t have a wireless remote. And then there was the time, the organizers didn’t provide a glass of water.

By now, you probably have figured out where I’m going with this. I’m fully prepared as a speaker to be self-sufficient with the exception of the projector. Here’s what I take with me when I am presenting:

  1. Personal laptop with my presentation stored on the desktop and in the cloud (just in case!).
  2. Cables to connect my laptop to a projector. It seems that more and more every computer has a cable that is a slightly different size than what you need to plug into. I now have a few combinations to ensure that I can connect.
  3. Thumb drive. On the off-chance that I can’t connect to the projector and the organizer has provided a laptop or has a smart classroom, I can simple insert my thumb drive with my presentation, and I’m ready to go.
  4. The cloud. Technically, I don’t take this with me, but I always store a copy of my presentation in the cloud. If all else fails, I can access it via the web.
  5. Wireless clicker that allows me to advance my slides from most anywhere within the room. I don’t like to stand behind a podium because I prefer to engage with my audience. That means I need to move around the room.
  6. Bottled water so I can clear a tickle in my throat before it becomes a full-on coughing fit.
  7. Hard copy of my presentation. Sometimes technology doesn’t work no matter what you do. I’m always prepared to give a presentation without any technology.

Creative Take on Conference

When I go to conferences, I fill a notebook with key points I want to remember. I slip in the business cards of people I’ve met. Sometimes, I even go back and review my notes.

About a year ago, though, I was inspired to be a bit more creative. It came about when I took Shonali Burke’s Social PR Quiz. That was followed by three helpful webinars and homework assignments.  I decided it was time to see if I had learned anything.

At the recent NFPW conference, I summarized the week by creating a document with photos, inspiring quotes and key takeaways.

What do you think of my creative conference summary?