Dianne Porter's article "Classworking" (January, 2000) is right on target and most informative. She addresses the issues we have been discussing and working on within our program here at Clemson. Keep up the good work.
Philip McGee, Ed.D. Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
Look out, beachwalkers
Loved [Podium, January, on inventing words]. I was laughing so loud that people were coming into my office!! Loved: Backupchuck and Stretchificatiability!
Here are a few others to ponder: Entertraining: The ability to not only facilitate a class, but do it so well you could do a walk-on on Seinfeld. Sea-gulling: One's ability to swoop down on an audience and pelt them with droppings of what they think are knowledge.
Tim Elliott Bank of America Miami, Fla.
I just finished reading "Crisis Presenting," by Dave Zielinski (February, 2001). Although I think his ideas are interesting and certainly represent an excellent way to communicate bad news, he definitely does not understand current management. No management I'm aware of gives a hoot about any of the employees. I lived through a horrible layoff in 1987. I had worked for Stanford University for 19 years (and planned to work there until I retired) and was one of over 400 employees laid off (some of whom had worked there for 30 or 40 years). The entire time I worked at Stanford, the theme was "the Stanford family," or "the Stanford community"; however, when the University vice presidents wanted money, they couldn't have cared less about "family" or "community" — they just threw us out. I don't think Stanford is alone in this. Companies lay off people — usually people over 40 — every day, without a twinge [of guilt]. Companies know that, whenever they want/need, they can get younger, cheaper people in a heartbeat to replace the people who've been laid off. There is no longer any such thing as "company loyalty to its employees" — so, certainly they don't care how they tell employees bad news — and I think Zielinski should have acknowledged this in his article.
Ruth Chase Phoenix, Ariz.
I would like to thank you for the article, "Crisis Presenting," (February, 2000) by Dave Zielinski. I am a crisis coordinator for my school district, which means that I lead teams of counselors into schools immediately after a crisis like the death of a student. Zielinski's article was well-written and the principles and advice that he presented are exactly the way we try to do things when we face a crisis situation. We have discovered that with quick, effective crisis intervention, we can transition through a difficult crisis, such as the suicide of a student or staff member, in about three days, compared to two weeks or more without an intervention.
I will be passing the article on to several people. Thanks again.
Charles Harle Newberg School District Newberg, Ore.
Regarding "Brand You," (February, 2000): Bravo! It's about time someone demystified professional speaking. I have worked with pro speakers since 1987 and they are human like everyone else. They're just willing to go beyond the safety of a "real job" and create a business they feel passionate about.
The best part of this article was about having a point of view. That's true — so let's go one step further. Not only do good speakers have a point of view, they also have those "nuggets of wisdom," original thinking about that point of view that didn't come out of someone else's book.
Thanks for shedding light on this part of the speaking equation. The marketplace needs new thinking that challenges old assumptions.
Vickie Sullivan, President Sullivan Speaker Services Tempe, Ariz.
Time to let go
While reading "The trust between a man and his laptop is a fickle thing," (Podium, March), I was envious of your old laptop! I've been using my Toshiba 415CS daily for five years and have taken it on perhaps a half-million air miles in that time. Boasting a 90MHz processor, 28MB RAM and an 800MB hard disk, it has never failed me. I attribute that to Toshiba's robust design and to the trusty old utility, Hurricane.
But I do admit I'm looking at Thinkpads longingly these days, too!
Terry J. van der Werff, CMC Seattle, Wash.