The View From My Window

The world as seen from my window and through my eyes

Working on a new presentation August 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 7:20 am

So, I spent part of my day working on a new presentation I’ll be giving in October in Seattle. I had an epiphany about this a day or two ago and decided to do something completely new. I think one of the biggest problems we have as communicators is that we don’t think about and consider who we’re really trying to talk to or target with our communications. I decided to approach this problem from the standpoint of exploring the different generations we communicate with in higher education.

The generations I’m working with are the Greatest Generation (born 1935-1942), the Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960), the Tweeners or “Generation Jones” (born 1961-1971), Generation X (born 1965-1979) and Generation Y or “Millennials” (born 1978-1993). When you really start digging into each group and thinking about what sort of world events framed their childhood and young adult years, what was popular, how society operated and what changed about technology or communication during that time, it helps us to understand why they react positively or negatively to certain types of communication approaches.

It’s actually very cool. I’ve learned a lot just researching the topic and I’m really excited about getting the presentation ready. I think I’ll add music, photos and videos to help imy audience really get the feel for each generation.

Does anyone want to give me suggestions about what music, movies, books, fads or world events colored your generations formative years? What do you remember most?


Why my cell phone and I are NOT friends August 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 2:16 pm

My cell phone is my mortal enemy. Not the work phone, the personal phone. You see, my family insists that I never answer my cell phone and that I’m terribly hard to get in touch with. I’m sure that’s probably true, but, I don’t think most people realize why. Let me share with you some reasons why my cell phone and I are not friends.

  • I have to make a conscious decision each day in meetings to turn off the ringer on my cell phone so I don’t interrupt meetings or draw the criticism of my colleagues because I am a distraction. I’m in meetings most days, sometimes several times a day. The ringer is usually off during the day unless I check my phone to see if I received calls or got messages.
  • I carry a big purse. I am the family “saddle bag.” Not only do I carry those thing I need, but, I’m usually carrying stuff for other people. A cell phone like mine gets lost in the cavernous pockets in my purse. By the time I get to it, it’s stopped ringing.
  • Another thing about a purse: it’s usually sitting on the floor next to my feet—about as far away from my ears as it can get. I don’t always hear it when it rings (think the noise level in most public places at lunchtime like Chipotle) and I don’t always feel it if it vibrates (not on my body, but on the floor). Most men have their cell phones in their pockets where they can both hear it and feel it if it rings.
  • What did my family do in the days before cell phones? I wonder how short my personal leash is going to get? I carry two phones (one for work and one for home). There’s email (two accounts), text messaging and paging. In this instant gratification society we live in there’s no excuse accepted or forgiveness for not answering your cell phone.
  • I hate to talk on the phone. Really, really hate it. I rarely call other people to chit chat. I have to talk on the phone frequently during the day as a part of my job. I’ll make a call or talk to people if I have something I need to say, but, I don’t just call people for the heck of it. I’m sure there’s something psychological about not answering my cell phone. Make something out of it if you want to.
  • It’s hereditary. At least I turn my cell phone on. My mom has one that we’ve all realized is for outgoing calls only. She leaves it off the rest of the time. If I want to talk to her I call my Dad’s or my sister’s cell numbers. I don’t hear everyone yelling about Grandma not answering HER phone!
  • I don’t collect ring tones. I don’t have cute little pictures of all my contacts on my phone. Most of the things I have are things my son Allen did when my phone was new. He loves playing with that stuff. It’s not my thing.
  • I love all of you, but, don’t take it personally if you can’t get me to answer your call during the day. Remember, I have a job and I’m working. Remember, my phone is in my purse and my old ears don’t hear as well as they used to. And remember, email is my favorite form of communication when we’re not together in person.
  • Quit yelling at me for not answering my cell phone. It’s not going to help. It’s only going to make me mad. And remember, when Mama’s not happy nobody’s happy. 🙂

Random thoughts about being stranded in Newark August 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 2:59 pm

I was really looking forward to going home today. I’ve been away for a whole week at a conference in Vermont. I’m out of clean clothes, forgot one of my phone chargers and started the day off on a wrong note. On top of all that, I’m stuck in Newark NJ because my flight home was canceled due to bad weather. For lack of anything more interesting to do, here are my random thoughts about being stuck in Newark.

  • Somehow it seems as though the agents announcing flight information are in some sort of secret competition with each other. As soon as one starts to announce something, another one does too, only louder. Do you think they know this means nobody could hear a thing they just said and that’s why they have to answer so many extra questions?
  • People at the Starbcucks at the St. Louis Airport were the rudest I’d ever met until I got to the one here in Newark. I miss my Starbucks at home in Columbia. Lauren, where is my barrista when I need you? No one here smiles, knows my name or asks me if I want my usual. I wanna go home.
  • I really wish this woman next to me listening to rap music on her iPod would turn it down. She must be completely deaf by now. It’s so loud everyone around her can hear it and they keep giving her “the look.” You know, the one that most people would have already understood and responded to. This young woman is either completely oblivious or just flat doesn’t care. I think I think the latter is the case.
  • You know the airline is trying to restore peace among angry passengers (several planeloads of them) when they set up a little stand and start passing out free snacks and water. Most people are mad enough they’ve already hit the bar for a brewski or the Starbucks for a latte. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do. I’ll make my choice later. For now, I’m just going to sit and rest my foot.
  • I apologize in advance if this offends anyone, but, there is something a bit grating about the New Jersey accent and a long story when someone is mad. There is a young lady wearing fishnet hose and too much eyeliner at the bar to my right telling a long story, using way too many hand gestures (some not so nice) and getting louder and louder. Someone at the table with her should tell her it’s not polite to yell.
  • I feel sorry for the woman across from me. She and I stood in line together. She’s a single Mom who has to be back home by a particular time tomorrow to pick her three kids up from summer camp. She wasn’t as lucky as I was. She’s not going to get a flight to St. Louis until tomorrow afternoon. She’s frantically making phone calls trying to find someone who can help her with her kids till she can get home.
  • I was so glad I grabbed my cell phone while I was in line and got my reservation changed. By the time a lot of people got the customer service counter there were no flights left to St Louis for the next 24 hours and they had to go stand by. I’m confirmed on the flight out this evening. 🙂
  • Thank goodness for a laptop and WIFI!

This morning I wore a chicken on my head… August 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 10:40 pm

…in front of 160 people. It went very well! I do a little red hen intro before getting into my politics and the Web presentation and it always seems to warm up the audience well. As I told the folks here in Vermont, it takes a lot of confidence to stand in front of an audience of people you don’t know with a chicken on your head and be okay with it.

I had a total of three presentations today. One was the opening plenary session. I had a workshop session and a marketing your Website session this afternoon. Adding in the faculty dinner this evening it was a completely full day and I am totally beat.

We ended the day in the faculty lounge, sort of like counselors at a summer camp, giggling, telling stories and generally winding down. As we were giggling, we realized the room had filled with smoke. One of the faculty had put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and forgotten about it. We spent the next few minutes trying desperately to get rid of the smoke before the smoke alarms went off (which would have caused a late night evacuation of the building). You know, few things smell worse or take longer to get rid of than the smell of burnt popcorn.

Well, it’s late (around 11:30 Eastern time). I’m worn out, my lungs are full of popcorn smoke and it’s time for me to hit the hay.

Signing off from Burlington, Vermont!


Random musings from Vermont again

Filed under: Random Musings — auntlelo @ 6:29 am

The weather finally turned here and it’s lovely, although still a bit chillier than I’m accustomed to in the latter days of summer. It was a hefty high of 75 degrees yesterday. But at least the rain had stopped and I got to see the beauty of Vermont that everyone’s been talking about.

Last night we spent the evening at the ECHO Aquarium. It was beautiful there. I think it’s time for me to share a few more random musings about my latest adventures:

  • After hearing the name of the first song I wrote when I was a kid (Now that our love is dead the only thing left to kill is you), it completely threw everyone off the trail when it came to guessing the faculty fave 5 that we play here at the beginning of each session. Mine were songs from Queen, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, James Taylor and Bon Jovi. Everyone was expecting country/bluegrass. I guess you can never quite account for taste!
  • Do you think there’s something cannibalistic about eating fish or seafood as appetizers when you’re visiting an aquarium and looking at fish?
  • No kidding, there was a sign about seeing the live animal display directly behind the meat carving station last night. Creepy.
  • I’m a new fan of Adirondack Chairs. In fact, any chair. My foot really, really hurts!

Random musings about my first day in Burlington, VT August 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 8:00 am

I arrived in Burlington yesterday. It was a long trip (St. Louis to Cleveland to Burlington). However, it was mostly uneventful. I was happy about that. One of our faculty had very unfortunate experiences going through Washington, DC. The weather turned nasty in the afternoon and messed all sorts of air travel up. We were very happy, though, when he arrived in time for dinner.

I thought I’d share with you a few of my random thoughts about the first day in Burlington.

  • I thought it was ironic that the cab driver who drove me to the campus was sweating and complaining about the heat. It was about 78 degrees when I got here. Can you believe it?
  • I finally found someone else with a greater addiction to her pocket size technology than me. Her name is Tina and her ITouch was in her hand all through dinner. Whenever we chatted about something, she’d look it up. Her new nickname is now “Look It Up Tina.”
  • Have you ever seen grown people compete at who could hang a spoon from their nose? (No, I didn’t start this. It was Tom.) However, I did win. I don’t think anyone else was able to actually swing the spoon back and forth while hanging it from their nose. 🙂
  • There was a great deal of discussion about the trauma caused to the delicate sensibilities of both Tracy and Rae when they had to go into Spencer’s Gifts in downtown Burlington to pick up some prizes and giveaways for the conference. Oh my gosh…the things you see in a store these days would make your hair curl!
  • We’re waiting to see if Dave and Shane can manage to repeat the success of their Summer Institute songwriting now that the gig has moved north to Vermont. More on that later.
  • Did you know that there are more cattle than people, per capita, in Vermont? Or something like that. It was a topic during dinner at the other end of the table. I know that “Look It Up Tina” looked it up, but, couldn’t hear exactly how it turned out.
  • It’s a bit cold and rainy up here right now. I think I must have brought the rain with me. Unfortunately, my umbrella is still at home.
  • I had paella for dinner last night. I guess I always thought paella was made with saffron rice. This was made with cappellini pasta. Interesting.
  • I’m looking forward to the week.