Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
October 2010

In This Issue
Effective Presentations
Professional Development
Life Balance for Emergency Managers
From the Bookshelf
Speaking Engagements

Featured White Paper

Effective Presentations

Insider Tips for Improving Your Skills


e've all been there. You spend money to attend a conference, select a session from a long list of competing topics, and walk into the room only to walk out several minutes later because the speaker is so boring that even she is falling asleep. Sound familiar?

As both an attendee and a frequent speaker at conferences, I'm amazed at how universally bad some presentations can be. It doesn't have to be that way. Preparing a good presentation can actually be easier than developing a bad one.


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Welcome to the November issue of Emergency Management Solutions.
Apologies for the last minute delivery but between the holiday, the IAEM conference, speaking commitments and a brief family vacation, time has just slipped away this month.

Having just attended a number of conferences, I was struck once again at what a really bad job a lot of us do in communicating ideas in our presentations. Consequently, I've devoted this month's white paper to the subject of building effective presentations. I hope you'll find it useful!

If you are having trouble viewing the white paper, try clicking on the link at the top of the page. Alternatively, you can always find my white paper on my blog site.
Lucien Canton

Professional Development

This month has been one of almost constant travel for me, between speaking engagements and the IAEM Conference in San Antonio. However, the high point of my month was the opportunity to address a group of emergency management students at Dublin City University's School of Business. DCU has the only emergency management program in Ireland and the students were all seasoned veterans of emergency services organizations. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from my Irish colleagues and it's comforting to know that we all share the same problems and the same concerns.

As we advance in our careers, I think it's important that we give back to the profession by helping to educate those who will follow us. When is the last time you volunteered your time as a guest speaker in an emergency management education program? It's not as daunting a task as you think if you keep several concepts in mind:
  1. Recognize that some of your students may actually know more than you about our profession. They are enrolled in formal programs that we did not have when we started out and have been more exposed to research literature.
  2. Don't portray yourself as an expert in all things. Rather approach the opportunity as a colleague who wants to offer a point of view for the students' consideration.
  3. Encourage students to disagree with you if they wish and use that as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue. You're there to make them think, not to score debating points.

Speaking to a group of students brings you a number of benefits:

  1. It's an opportunity to practice your presentation skills in a low-risk environment.
  2. It's an opportunity to get fresh ideas from people who don't necessarily carry the baggage we do.
  3. It counts towards professional certification.
  4. It's just fun!

Life Balance for Emergency Managers

This month's Life Balance article is by Jim Cheek, Florida Operations Emergency Management Coordinator for United Space Alliance:

I remember a management class I attended many years ago when the instructor asked the class who thought their job could not do without them. Many raised their hands. He then asked how many people had worked with someone who died while employed by the same company they worked for. Several again raised their hands. The instructor then asked "What was his name?" No one could remember. Sort of puts things in perspective. When you leave your job for whatever reason, it's just like pulling your hand from a bucket of water.

From the Bookshelf
The Thanksgiving holiday is very much centered around food, so this month's offering is Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat Well When the Power Goes Out by Jon Robertson. Despite it's humorous title, the book offers a lot of good ideas for eating well during a crisis. Robertson covers a lot of ground with suggestions as to how to select non-perishable foods, building cooking kits, and food safety. He also includes a number of vegetarian recipes that can be prepared over a single burner stove. The last chapter of the book suggests ways to deal with stress and I found it a lot of fun: his first suggestion for reading material during a disaster is The Donner Party Chronicles.

Speaking Engagements
Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops. You can find more details on my website.