This past October, I was honored to have been asked by Lock Haven University to conduct a campus seminar for the career directors at 12 Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Included, was an open address to the Lock Haven student body during an evening special event program. What a fantastic time it was; I had a great experience, and so did all involved!
Since then, the feedback I’ve received has been truly inspiring (see comments below), and I was energized by the response I received from the students who attended the evening session. Frankly, I was concerned that only a small number of the 19 to 23 year-old students would attend; but thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Not only did the university’s Provost appear, but so did over 150 students. In fact, this was apparently a record turnout for an evening event of short-notice.
In addition to the copious attendance of students and faculty, I was met by a wonderfully engaged audience, brimming with insightful questions. I loved being able to help them understand the value they have to offer any company they may join, AND how to express that value. This was a wonderful group of young people, and the experience has inspired me to explore how I can reach even more in the future.
Furthermore, I will be adding two podcasts to the Workplace Strategies series: One about helping graduates overcome the challenges of securing their first job, and another regarding the importance of strategizing your efforts in landing your second job. I will be interviewing college career counselors, while exploring these and other issues in both podcast sessions. I hope you will tune in for these December releases.
In the meantime, please take a moment to read through some of the thoughtful comments from the Lock Haven seminar attendees and students:
“Thank you for visiting Lock Haven University. Your workshop with the career directors, dinner with my Communication Capstone Students and public presentation exceeded my expectations”.
“As a participant in the career directors’ workshop, I learned a great deal that I was able to take to students at (University Name) immediately. The information you shared has already been put into practice by my job-seeking students.”
“Your explanation of the use of S.H.A.R.E. stories and value positioning was eye opening. I have discussed these concepts with my students in the past, but hearing you discuss them in person reinforced my belief that they are critical.”
“My students told me that the dinner session Q&A they had with you was their favorite part of the day. They were thrilled to meet the author of Ready, Aim, Hired and to get answers to the deeper questions they have about how employers think. In particular, they were inspired by what has motivated you in your own career as an employment expert and author.”
“The Department of Communication and Lock Haven University were honored to have you on campus working with both professionals and students. Your ability to tailor your presentations proves that you would be a tremendous asset to any organization that wants to provide high quality, exigent employment information to a variety of audiences. I hope you will consider returning to Lock Haven again soon.”
Now, I am back to the drawing board, planning ways to improve my presentations. I sincerely look forward to returning to Lock Haven and serving other universities and colleges in 2019. Thank you for allowing me to share this valuable and heartwarming experience with you.
Stewart Cooper & Coon
P.S. As some of you may know, I am a musician, and for over 50 years I’ve shared my Appalachian heritage through songs and stories in concerts throughout three continents, radio, andtelevision. The Chairman of the Communications Department at Lock Haven arranged for me to do a performance at Avenue 209 Coffee House (wonderful and cooperative management and team) on the evening prior to the workshop and campus-wide presentation. Frankly, for the first time in nearly 50 years, I was nervous about doing this. Why? Well, the audience didn’t quite fit my usual listener profile. Instead, I was about to play in front of a group of college students who did not have a clue about my type of old-timey music.
Long story short, by the end of my concert, no one was texting or using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops, which I took as a sign — along with their smiles – that they hadn’t noticed my fear; and I went to sleep that night knowing that my genera of music had not only been appreciated, but the generational gap had been successfully bridged for that evening. I suppose this proves that – regardless of one’s age – fun is fun, and people like to have fun!