Tag Archives: Author: Joyce F. Elferdink

Five Tips for Marketing through Presenting Yourself (and not just your PowerPoint or Prezi!)  by Joyce F. Elferdink

cMarketing is an issue—and typically a struggle—for all small business people. As we are constantly told, we must be regular participants in a variety of social media sites. But that’s not all, folks … Meeting potential customers face-to-face by doing presentations, some at our local libraries and community groups, others through live broadcasts that reach the corners of the globe (if we’re so lucky!) are possibly even more important marketing strategies.

Since I teach Presentation Techniques to college students, I’m hoping that teaching tips I’ve given to former students may help you market yourself, and not just your product or service, even more successfully.

Let’s begin with the biggest hurdle in the classroom (because it may also be yours)—it is how to display passion, especially when you’re nervous. Here’s the way it’s done: Don’t read your message! When you look down to read, your passion dims. Since it’s virtually impossible to memorize a speech—and I NEVER suggest that—speak extemporaneously (as if you’re conversing with friends, but you are much more prepared).

And here are my five tried and true presentation tips:

  1. Do memorize most of your intro, or plan an attention-getter that you know you know. You might lose your audience if you don’t present your first few words with passion. You could have a quotation or a statistic that startles an audience, but whatever you begin with, let people see and hear what it means to you.
  2. Use notes but with VERY few words and phrases; prepare ONLY an outline, not an essay. Then, a quick peek gives you what you need to continue so that eye contact is only broken for a few seconds.
  3. Don’t strive for perfection! When conversing with your friends, you speak from the heart. That’s what we need to do when giving formal speeches, too. Making a determined effort at eloquence is often the barrier. Letting it flow from the heart as much or more than from the brain is the key. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared (actually the more information we have, the more we can relax and know that we have enough to sway our audience, even if we forget some).   What I mean is the poetic phrase is less important than the passion behind it.
  4. When you research—as you must do for any good speech, even to persuade your audience that you are an expert in your field—analyze what you’ve found by looking at the data for new meanings and comparisons. That might come from contrasting a scene in your writing to an actual incident or to another writer’s style. Or it might be how you built on others’ techniques to create an “even better mousetrap.” Give your audience examples they can relate to, but use descriptive language to make it an “aha” moment.
  5. In your conclusion, share a wonderful story or quote that relates to what you’re marketing, and then ask for their support/business. Don’t forget to tell them how to make the purchase!


Author Bio: Since I like to know what my friends do for fun, I’ll answer that question about myself: I participate in several groups—book clubs. They are Hope Academy of Senior Professionals, Friendship Force and Meetups. I’m also a member of our local photography club even though I’ve given up my dream of becoming an expert photographer.  I haven’t given up my dream of being a slightly famous author, though.  I self-published my first novel, Pieces of You, in 2012.  Its sequel, The Battle of Jericho: 2035, may be delayed by my next adventure. I’ll be teaching teachers at a Ukraine University as a volunteer with Peace Corps Response for most of 2016.

Traveling with Your Heart by Joyce Elferdink



Summertime…for many of us it means vacation, a respite from routine, time to fill with adventures in our favorite spots or in places we’ve never been. This year my vacation destination is Russia.

How do you and I typically prepare for travel?  First, we shop. We add to our wardrobe clothes that can be tightly packed. We make sure we have several SD cards for our cameras, travel-size toiletries, and all those accessories that promise to keep our valuables safe. Only secondarily do we plan our itineraries—or let a tour guide do it and lose out on the most exciting part of our preparation.

What if we changed our focus this year from ourselves to our destination? From the we part to the they and there of this equation—as in we are going there to get to know more about them.

Is our purpose in traveling to stand out as a well-dressed, well-equipped American/European? Which, by the way, makes us an easy target for scroungers and pickpockets. Or are we traveling to capture the spirit of people and places unknown and to allow that spirit to change us?

Here’s an experience that fulfills my idea of capturing the spirit:

Stalingrad cemetery2

When I first went to St. Petersburg, Russia twenty years ago, I was a Peace Corps volunteer traveling with my Kazakh “sister” and her daughter, a university student there. Walking through Ekaterina’s Palace, which is located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 25 km southeast of St. Petersburg, one day and returning to student housing at night was one of the most incredible dichotomies I’ve encountered in my life.  Comparing the excessiveness of the palace interior with all its gold and breathtaking art to the austerity and ugliness of this dormitory would not be on any sightseer’s agenda, yet it provided a much more complete picture of life in Russia during the Soviet era.

Stalingrad cemetery

A sightseer is only seeing what’s on the surface of a country and its culture and for many travelers, that’s enough. It doesn’t break our hearts. But my heart crumbled when I walked through the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery with its 186 mass graves and with my Kazakh family stopped to listen to ghosts of those 500,000 who died during the siege of Stalingrad.

But why would we want to get involved with people who will be only faint memories the following year?  In my opinion, once the spirit of a people or a place touches our lives it leads to a deepened awareness of our humanity and a diminished sense of our isolation.  I don’t need to do much to keep that feeling alive; it’s been planted and, like a perennial, continues to reveal connections between my tiny space on the planet and those people and places where I’ve shared magic moments.   As travel writer Lawrence Durrell said, “It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it…you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I’m watching you—are you watching yourself in me?’”

So let’s consider together how to revise our preparations if discovering the spirit of a place became our purpose for traveling. I’ll begin the list…

  1. Learn foreign phrases that let people know we’re more interested in learning about them than where to find the bathrooms or where to buy ice cream and souvenirs.
  2. Discover customs of destination. Don’t necessarily mimic them but at least show awareness and respect for differences.
  3. Read what the country’s citizens are reading, not just history lessons and—if possible—the news from their popular local sources instead of American media’s representation of their issues.

What would you add to help yourself and other readers prepare to become traveler-seekers rather than tourist-takers?


Elferdink Bio
        Joyce thinks of herself as a teacher, traveler, activist and author of thought provoking time-travel tales. Along with being a right brained slave to creativity, her inspiration comes from the life experiences which expose those questions that stir us to action.
Some of those questions are portrayed through her novel, Pieces of You, with the search for answers continuing in the coming sequel, The Battle of Jericho, 2040.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jelferdink
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/harmlessjoyce
Book trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIacFKaNWe8


Do Words Change Our Responses to Violence and Injustice?   By Joyce F. Elferdink

Doublespeak_From a book cover on Doublespeak by Matthew Feldman                                      cover

Scene 1; Take I

 Awakened by my alarm set for WHYD 89.9 FM, the station that usually bore me gently back to the living, instead shocked me into a fully awake state today with this news flash:

A bomb exploded last night in Our Savior Catholic Church, killing at least 220 persons. Most of the dead are high school students who were practicing for a fundraising concert to continue Mother Teresa’s work in Calcutta. No group has yet taken credit for this heinous act, although evidence points to an anti-gay group. Our Savior’s priest who allowed the church to sponsor meetings of Until Love is Equal is among the dead. Most of the families of the dead teens were already reeling from the announcement last week by Heinz Distillers NA that positions for 700 of the 1476 currently employed locally will be abolished by month end and the lines moved overseas. With unemployment in the area already at a twenty hear high, the surviving family members will become poor overnight. The company’s CEO, Nicholas Nastii, defended the firings as necessary to remain competitive. He was quoted as saying, “Our wage expenses were too high, especially when the jobs required a level of expertise unavailable. We’ve contracted with Employment Services to help those being downsized find more suitable jobs.”


Scene 1; Take II

Awakened by my alarm set for WHYD 89.9 FM, I brushed my teeth as I half listened to the announcer discuss last night’s news. Something about an incident that occurred somewhere in the area…

Student workers—as many as 220–have been reclassified as collateral damage. The youth were practicing for a concert in a faith-based facility when the mishap occurred. This comes at a very bad time for most of the families. Many of the teens and their parents were employed by Heinz Distillers NA. The company, the region’s major employer, just last week announced plans to outsource fifty percent of its bottling unit to the U.S., a very large end user and said to have cheaper immigrant labor. Surveys of families affected by the mishap and downsizing indicate the majority will be forced  into the ranks of the economically disadvantaged.  Heinz CEO says that is not so. “These people only need to revise their employment expectations. Those who are willing to work will be able to afford all necessities.”

How differently did your mind and heart respond when the news reporter used the following terms instead of plain English: Collateral damage  instead of  death and property destruction; downsizing instead firing; economically disadvantaged instead of poor; mishap instead of catastrophe. There’s also outsourced and faith-based, which some would label doublespeak.

This is my attempt at doublespeak, a term that combines George Orwell’s ‘doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’ that he originated for his political novel 1984.” As he saw it: “Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” (George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946)

In 1974, the National Council of Teachers of English established a Doublespeak Award, given annually to “public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered.” Recipients have included the CIA, Exxon Corporation, the U.S. Department of Defense (three times), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Glenn Beck.
[Retrieved from http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/Doublespeak-Soft_Language-Gobbledygook.htm]

What person or organization would you nominate for the Doublespeak Award, whether public speakers, writers, or  other “taxpayers”—oops, are all citizens taxpayers? And please explain the criteria for your selection.


Joyce Elferdink’s Bio:

This author thinks of herself as a teacher, apprentice, traveler and activist. Her inspiration comes from life experiences and an overactive imagination (nothing new to authors) and by the diverse novels she reads (but primarily science fiction). This summer she was stunned to receive an Excellence in Teaching award from her employer, Davenport University. Now if she could only get one of those equally prestigious awards for her novel, Pieces of You or the one just begun, The Battle of Jericho, 2035. Actually, her primary purpose for writing is to make readers think about questions we all may be asking.