Communication Matters Newsletter
MillsWyck Communications - April 2018
What a tangled Web we weave…
What does a hacked website have to do with speaking?
Our website was hacked. Again.
It was the fourth major attack since January. Each time it rendered the website an alarming (literally) mess of malware and phishing links. It was annoying. Embarrassing. And it hurt our business because prospects and clients couldn’t reach us and it sucked resources away from other tasks. 

The root cause was likely negligence on our part – long-term failure to update plug-ins, sporadic monitoring, and a commitment to frugality that perhaps borders on cheap at times. It showed up with SQL injection and hidden tags, re-formed index.php files, VBS scripts and bogus Javascript calls, and readme files with semi-veiled threats and ridicule. If that’s all confusing to you, please don’t click the “update Flash now” button when your browser starts acting funny. No matter. The website was down and hazardous to viewers. And while we’ve had plans to overhaul the site for years, just keeping it running became the immediate priority.

For several months, I fought back by cleaning things up with my rudimentary web skills (I did learn HTML back in the early 90s, and PHP in the early 2000s, and … well, I’m not very current on modern technology). It took an hour. Or a few. It was tedious and repetitive. Searching for files and deleting them. I’d update all the plug-ins. And wait. Another breach would happen again a few weeks later. 
Finally, it just got too annoying. I paid an expert (props to Page Progressive !) and the transfer to a new secure hosting service was done in less than a day. They’ll be able to monitor attacks and keep things up-to-date. I can sleep easier now. 

We do have a new system to learn. There were tons of broken links and edits and color changes and formatting to polish and a few improvements to make while we’re in editing other files. It was not without headaches. And it will never be “done.” But we are confident you can visit our website now without risk of a virus. The information is easier to find and read and get what you need. 

What does a hacked website have to do with speaking, you ask? A lot. 

There are so many hackers that undermine a speech or meeting.
Examples of Speech hackers:

  • They might be malicious – the heckler or the meeting attendee with a cruel agenda. 
  • More likely it's the person who is just clueless: “I need to make a few announcements ahead of your speech – it will only take a minute” (and it takes ten). 
  • Many times it’s self-inflicted – not putting in the preparation time to overhaul old content and just getting by with last year’s slides because the urgent trumps the important.

Three lessons we can learn about speaking from a hacked website:

  1. The public doesn’t care about your problems While a few of you were nice enough to alert us to the problem (and one well-meaning soul from Spain threatened us with a lawsuit), whether you’re prepared or not, the stage is calling. When the boss calls your name at the meeting, the start time for the conference comes, or the reporter sticks the mic in your face, it’s showtime. Your preparation is a moot point now. All that matters is what the public sees.
  2. Experience is the best defense in a moment of need The more well-versed you are in a subject, the easier it is to handle new problems. Speaker experience is key when the stage lights get a little hotter than you like. Training matters. And there’s only one way to get experience – say “Yes!” to the stage!
  3. Call in the experts When a problem is just bigger than you are, a second set of (expert) eyes is worth whatever it costs. Your slides likely need a designer’s touch. Your skills could use some coaching. Your team is likely to have input that will make your presentation better.

The average person browsing the web has no idea what phishing is, how WordPress templates work, how to reset the cache on DNS lookups, or what a secure HTTP protocol gains you. They just know when a website is down (or giving off warnings), they probably aren’t coming back. An audience member probably has no idea the preparation and expertise a speaker has invested. They only know if the talk is easy to listen to, handled professionally, and gives them value. 
What speaking improvement have you been putting off?  

Communication matters. What are YOU saying?
Podcast Interview -- The Mindset of Do'ers

Alan Hoffler was a recent guest on Craig Hallenberger's podcast, The Mindset of Do'ers. Craig created his own coaching system, the ART of Being Successful, to assist folks in staying focused in their own lives to become do'ers. His podcast interviews those who have an idea and actually "do it," even when they have no idea how it will turn out. Alan's interview centered on the book he co-wrote with his brother, Eric. The book is entitled 6 Steps Forward: Every Man matters and is about the six stages in every man's life that define his legacy.

Upcoming Public Workshops
Upcoming Public Workshops
2018 Public Workshop Schedule
Raleigh, NC

May 14-15 (Last one before August! Early Bird Rate still available!)
Aug 27-28,
Oct 15-16, Dec 10-11

Aug 29

Sneak Peek Video
Here's a sneak peek video at what a workshop from MillsWyck Communications is really like:
Need a Speaker for your Event?
Alan Hoffler, founder and director of MillsWyck Communications, is a Business Communication and Presentation Skills Expert and accomplished keynote speaker. He uses the skills he teaches to craft authentic, custom messages that energize and motivate audiences.  

Alan's Signature Business Communications Topics:
  • Winning Communication - Strategies to Connect and Convince
  • Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and start Impressing) Your Audience
  • Why Modern Business Communication is Killing Productivity (and what you can do about it)
  • The Silver Bullet: The One Skill Every Communicator Should Use
  • Sound Like You Feel: How to Express Passion When You Speak


Check out the full list of Alan's   keynotes or contact us a bout customizing a presentation or workshop for your group. If you need a speaker for your next corporate meeting, professional organization, or conference, contact us at
Key5 Speaker Podcast

Listen to the KEY5 speaker podcast to get more tips for preparing a great speech.
Follow me on Twitter @AlanHoffler!
MillsWyck Communications
Communication matters. What are YOU saying?
Alan Hoffler, Philorator (Teacher & Lover of Speaking)
(919) 386-9238 

Alan Hoffler is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer at MillsWyck Communications. He is a Trainer, Speaker, Author, and Coach who passionately moves others to effective and engaging communication.