After a half century in the communications consulting business (and writing a newspaper column for over 30 years), Charles Reilly offers our clients and friends some reflections based on the lessons of his life. We hope they will be of value to you, and sometimes make you smile along the way.
There's more on In-Person Communications, and Charles, at our website:
With personal and professional best wishes...
Monday, June 18, 2012
Message to grads: It’s your world now
and women serving in the military have a special bond that ties them together
even after they put their uniforms aside. There is another bonding in our
country which embraces young people, parents and grandparents as well as
relatives and friends – to wit, the vast audience who attend graduation
are rightful recognitions of past accomplishment as well as an exciting first
page for a new chapter in the book of life. Each ceremony combines sighs of
relief from those who have passed their finals with parental boasting about
their offspring. There are other players involved
the moment of course, particularly the teachers who have nurtured the young men
and women who will now be moving on. Then there are the grandparents (many
still trying to figure out where the time went when their own kids, not their
grandkids, were gracing the graduation stage) relatives, friends and certainly
the speaker of the day. It is no easy thing to provide guidance and inspiration
to restless spirits chomping at the bit for the post-ceremony parties. It is
also a lifelong lesson for graduates – don’t believe any speaker who says
he/she “will just take a few minutes.” We audience veterans know those “few
minutes” can stretch from here to eternity.
are surely electrifying speakers taking the podium at graduation day ceremonies
around the world, but the fact is they are few and far between.Most speakers are well meaning ladies and
gentlemen who having drawn the assignment are doggedly determined to do the
best they can. Good for them! If you
have to speak at a graduation, here’s a tip: Keep it short. Like most
sermons or homilies in church, shorter is always better, and shorter than short
will make you king or queen for the day. Nobody will remember what you are
going to say anyway, but they will remember you FOREVER if you make them suffer
unreasonably. It was true this time round for Bryce, Kelly and Carolyn just as
it was for you, for me, for everyone else.
people today are conditioned to being congratulated for everything. From
kindergarten on up, they receive a prize for something, even just being there.
So if you are going for the whole package, that is both the awards and diploma
events, be prepared for a very long day.
among our ceremonies this time round were prep school graduations. I’m old
school when it comes to graduations – caps and gowns for one and all because they
are great equalizers. There is greater leeway with prep school attire however –
and greater adventure for parents. The sea of white dresses for the young women
range from Snow White to near-Hooters.And many a parent/mother is getting an unnerving preview that the kid
who almost drove her crazy is now a women not too far removed from being a bride.As for the young men, nothing much has
changed – the traditional blue blazer, the knotted tie askew, pants cascading
down around the ankles.One soul behind
me murmured “for $40,500 a pop, he could at least have combed his hair.”
well, not to worry, it is their world now, not ours.It will all work out in the end.