New Blog Address

Good afternoon all! With some help from my brother, I have grown up to have a real blog address without wordpress in the address. The content and name will stay the same. I will no longer be updating this site.

CLICK HERE to go to the new blog address.

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Meeting Reminder: YOU!

Two days ago I was very overwhelmed with work. I had been asked to do something I knew very little about and with a limited knowledge of the organization, I was not quite sure what exactly the product I needed to deliver looked like. Sound familiar? Of course not. Every time you’re assigned something you know exactly what your boss wants. You envision the final product so clearly you simply copy it from your memory onto the computer. (Am I being too sarcastic?)

So what do you do in those moments where you feel overwhelmed?  I’ll  tell you what I do:

Have a meeting with yourself.

Invite no one but yourself. Take nothing with you except maybe something to write with and try to get rid of all distractions.

We have meetings throughout the day, sometimes all we do is sit in meetings talking about issues, troubles and if we are lucky we talk about solutions to fix things. So why can’t we do the same with ourselves?

I  stood up, put on my suit jacket,  and went for a walk.  Luckily, the weather is good and I ended up sitting outside  on some patio furniture  near a fountain.  As I sat there  thinking of the difficulties  I was facing with work, not just the one I mentioned earlier, I realized how  dumb I was being. My mind was clear and I was able to think about what matters most and  realize the worst that could happen would not be that bad. I took out my iPhone  and began typing my thoughts in Evernote. Writing is my favorite medium. For communicating wih myself. I learned quickly  the value of stepping back from the busyness  of the office and having a meeting with myself.

How do you clear your mind during your day?

How this Christmas was different

Christmas is a unique time of year. The beauty of the season and what it means in terms of people’s attitudes is usually positive, but this time of year is always coupled with the stress of decorations, parties, and most especially the burden (time and financial) of buying presents.

 

I have been wondering what we could do to change this Christmas a little bit, what we could do to make it more focused on the true meaning of the season, focusing on Christ and the spirit of giving. Despite some degree of stress, I feel this Christmas was better than years past for one main reason.

 

We focused on others.

 

On Christmas Eve, we were able to make cookies for our local firefighters. Since I have entered a profession (healthcare) that is a 24/7 operation, I have realized there are a lot of people who sacrifice time away from family and friends on the holidays to keep us safe, so we wanted to thank them. We sang a few songs and then the firefighters proceeded to give us a tour of the truck and let the kids sit in the seats. It was so fun to watch the excitement of the kids. We had come to say thank you to these men, but instead they gave us a great memory. I could give my kids all the toys in the world, but what toy can beat out sitting in a real fire truck?

 

There were other activities, but that one sticks out the most. These are the types of memories I want to have with my children in years to come. I do not want to focus on the presents, but would rather focus on building relationships, saying thank you, and making someone else’s day a little bit brighter.

Just Fishin’

My wife found this music video. It always make me smile to see fathers who spend time with their children. I think a lot of us dads worry about what they will do to spend time with our daughters. The answer is, we should do whatever our daughters wants, and more often than not, it is no different than what our sons want. Wrestling, sports, etc.

Presentations are only as good as one’s passion

Last week, I gave a presentation of a case study. It was an interesting experience to work with my friends to come up with compelling arguments despite none of us having any real interest in the topic of Accountable Care Organizations. My professor asked us to then view the recording of our presentation and critique ourselves. My main conclusion:

Presentations are an outward expression of our passion (or lack of) for a specific topic.

A few weeks before, I presented on the topic of ePatients as mentioned in my previous post, and that was a great presentation because of the enthusiasm I have for the subject material. I decided I would like to share the written critique I sent to my professor, in hopes of helping all of us understand how to improve our public speaking and presentation skills.

Reflection

Reflecting on our presentation gave me an opportunity to go beyond the surface of my presentation skills, and really assess my passions and what I enjoy most. What I realized is my presentation skills and abilities are greatly improved by one single factor. Do I care about the subject material? Now, let me be clear, I did care about this case competition, but talking about ACOs was not as exciting to me as speaking about engaging patients in healthcare and patient satisfaction. As I thought about my presentation last week and compared it to our Futurescan presentation, I recognized the important factor of passion, which was significantly lacking during our case presentation.

In the case competition, I could not seem to stop saying “umm.” Why? Because I was not completely confident in the material I was sharing. I feel the issue of confidence was the reason for a number of my weaknesses coming out through that presentation. I was constantly looking back at the screen as a crutch to ensure I was talking about the right things. So much of the material we had was so vague and lacking, that it was difficult for me to be confident in regards to our subject.

This presentation was filled with information, simply lots of details because it is hard to summarize an ACO in just 20 minutes. With the ACO rule being over 600 pages, it is difficult to summarize something of this magnitude in such a short amount of time. Because of that, I rushed; you could tell I was just trying to fly through the information rather than ensure my audience was retaining and understanding the material. I felt I was just presenting material, and never really considered what the audience would be seeking to gain from the presentation. A good presenter establishes the purpose of his or her presentation at the beginning of the project, thus enabling him or her to focus on what matters most, and allows them to predict the questions the audience will ask.

Despite the vocal cues of uncertainty, I felt I was able to speak clearly and loudly in order for the audience to understand and hear what I was saying. I was able to visually connect with each individual in the room, when I was not looking back to the screen, and I was able to use my hands in a less distracting way than I have done in past presentations.

In conclusion, I realize the need, as Mr. Zucker stated, to become an expert in the subject matter, but first I need to gain a passion for the material. In the workplace, I know I will be given topics to present that will bore me, but I can find a passion for them as I understand the implications of those topics.

Strategies for Improvement

First, the one thing that bugged me the most from a technical standpoint was my looking at the screen after I made each point. I did have my presentation memorized, and need to stop looking at it. To me, I just need to have the confidence that I remember what is on each slide.

Technicalities aside, I would hope to find topics that interest me and enable me to transform that passion into a better presentation. As I mentioned, that may not always be the case, and as such, I will do more research on the topic. To me, I should have gone beyond my internet research and learned more from executives in the field, and in essence, borrowed some of their excitement for the topic. I really feel the power of presentation is based on the level of preparation on the part of the presenter. Preparation includes establishing a clear purpose at the beginning of the research and planning stages, and constantly referring back to that purpose. I will seek to write a purpose statement for each project I am involved in that I can refer to throughout a project.

My Faith in Jesus Christ

In the media over the past few weeks, many people have brought up the question:

Are Mormons Christians?

One has to look no further than the actual name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has come from studying the Bible (which includes both the Old Testament and New Testament), the Book of Mormon, and the words of living prophets.

My testimony is founded in the true doctrine that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Lord and Savior and Redeemer. He was born of a virgin mother, Mary. He is the literal son of our Heavenly Father. He walked this earth healing the sick, raising the dead, and teaching others the way to return to our Heavenly Father. He suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was scourged, beaten, and crucified on a cross. He was buried in a tomb, and rose on the third day. He appeared to His apostles.

To me, having this knowledge means that I can overcome death and be resurrected, just as He was and have the opportunity, despite my sinful nature, to live in the presence with my Father in Heaven. Each of us has mistakes, even sins; we slip up on a daily basis, but if we are willing to repent, to change our lives, our attitudes, and become new on a daily basis, we can become like our Savior Jesus Christ and inherit eternal life.