Trends in Prepared Speeches for a New Generation

Recently I had the privilege to be a judge at Pompano Beach High School. I participated in the Prepared Speech contest which is organized by Business Professionals of America (BPA). This is my second year as a judge for this competition and it is always fun to listen to the topics which the students deliver.

I am an active member (and previous Board of Directors member) of my local Toastmasters International club, Power Speakers. Every Tuesday we deliver, listen and evaluate speeches. The speeches are both prepared and extemporaneous. I have also been a judge in severalĀ of the Toastmasters competitions as well.

Business Professionals of America LogoThe Business Professionals of America facilitates students demonstrating their career skills at regional, state and national conferences in competitive events. They held their local competitionĀ on Nov. 3, 2017, and the top 3 winners go on to compete at the state level. The competitors were all in high school, we did not know anything about them, not age, gender, ethnicity, not even their name or title of the speech until they walked into the room. We were informed to use a rubric to grade the speech performance on such items as preparation, delivery, subject matter, vocal projection, etc…

The most interesting fact that I noticed through the 4 hours that we judged the competition was the topic of the speeches. We had 11 speakers total, and while they all told very different stories, they could be categorized as follows:

1 Leadership
1 Digital Marketing
3 Work ethics
6 Entrepreneurship

11 Total Speeches

While 11 random speeches are by no way statistically significant, I do think it was interesting to see the very common thread on subject matter, especially for entrepreneurship. Some of the speeches touched on education and college (these were high schoolers), but they ultimately focused on the idea and inspiration that comes from the feeling of being successful on your own terms.

It was a morning well spent and I am looking forward to judging again next year.

The winners were awarded medals on November 15th and will prepare for the State Leadership Conference in Orlando in February. There they will compete against the winners from other regions throughout the state of Florida.

TheBusiness Professionals of America events that require judges are: interview skills, advanced interview skills, computer animation team, network design team, entrepreneurship, parliamentary procedures team, extemporaneous speech, prepared speech, financial analyst team, presentation management individual/team, global marketing team, human resource management, small business management team.

If you are interested in participating, please contact me.

Image created by Freepik

4 skills to be a successful web designer

After 20 years in the web industry, you go through many different types of projects and you learn a thing or two about what makes a successful web design project. We all know what is really important but that is not necessarily where we spend our time. Below is a breakdown of the skills needed to be a successful web designer:

  1. Documentation – Creating a proper business requirements document (BRD), Scope Of Work (SOW), Sitemap & Wireframes are critical to a successful project and should never be overlooked. This is the ‘blueprint’ for your masterpiece. These documents create the guidelines or you to design and build.
  2. Design – Layout, color, spacing, font styles, along with your photoshop skills and image manipulation can set you apart from your competition
  3. Code – You must be a master of HTML, CSS and javascript. Some additional coding doesn’t hurt either (maybe some PHP, Python, Ruby, or even .NET can be helpful for larger projects)
  4. Communication – Knowing how to communicate with your customers is critical. You may have an excellent and efficient way to coordinate with your team on Slack or in Basecamp, but if you have trouble getting your message across to your client via email, telephone or even (god forbid) in person, you can have a big problem on your plate no matter how talented you are in the other 3 areas.

Even with all 4 of these skills mastered, after 20 years in the internet industry, this is how I spend my time on any average day…

web design skills chart

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