Still in the fight

This week my nephew Capt. Derek Herrera retired from active duty with the Marines. He was awarded a Bronze Star for combat valor at his retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton. He was accompanied by his wife Maura and service dog Shaggy. And he was walking even with a bullet lodged in his spine, thanks to the recently FDA-approved ReWalk robotic exoskeleton.

Derek was wounded in Afghanistan in 2012 by a sniper’s bullet in the Helmand River Valley of southwestern Afghanistan leading his special operations team, paralyzed from the chest down.

Today Derek is CEO of Ruckpack. RuckPack® is a concentrated liquid energy shot of essential vitamins and minerals, without caffeine. He is also completing his MBA from UCLA.

Derek’s story is captured thoughtfully in this article by Gretel Kovach, U-T San Diego military affairs writer.

Photo courtesy of U-T San Diego.

Don’t ever walk away

I'm done 3

I could be referring to several things here (don’t run away from something fearful, or be brave, for instance). But what I’m talking about relates to speakers. Presenters who conclude a speech without a closing statement, leaving audience members hanging. (Worse yet, speakers who use “the end” as their final declaration.)

If you’d like listeners to remember your talk, wind it up with something memorable. What’s the most important thing you’d like people to keep in mind? Feel? Is there something you’d like them to do now that they’ve heard what you have to say?

A planned, well-constructed, this-is-the-last-thing-I’ll-say and it’s worth remembering concluding statement can inspire reflection and action. Deliver these words forcefully. Deliberately. Powerfully.

Bottom line, have a concluding statement. Don’t walk away without one.

How to create compelling content

Levi reads

I’m a writer and speaker always on the lookout for great ideas to improve my skills. Today was a splendid day for inspiration.

I read an awesome blog post from Sonia Simone, co-founder and chief content officer of Copyblogger Media, “What to Look for in a Professional Content Writer.” She clearly distilled the most important characteristics of a content professional, suggesting an organization should search for a writer with the creativity, insights and confidence to drive business.

Look for a writer whose work is interesting, funny, smart, perceptive, and convincing. Look for someone whose writing you just like to read.

Some have it and some don’t. Insist on hiring the one who does.

Also, a savvy content specialist must be able to connect with various audiences, tailoring copy strategically to grab attention and keep it. One size doesn’t fit all.

This post – all of it – is well worth reading.

Thanks, Sonia. Thank you, Copyblogger. I love writing and learning.