I learned long ago that if just one person in an audience is moved by a speaker’s words, that speaker has done his job well. Certainly every speaker tries to in some way touch each and every attendee, but that’s not always as easy as it seems. This week I had an opportunity to virtually address a class of graduating seniors at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. This group fit right into my wheelhouse: seniors going through the interview processes right now but unsure of their directions in life.
It’s tough on a zoom call to get a great feel for whether you’re hitting the mark, but after my talk I received this kind note from a young woman in this audience that I’d love to share:
Dear Mr. Reede,
Thank you so much for one of the best presentations I’ve ever heard! I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your session and the wisdom you brought to our group. The videos and your words must have taken an incredible amount of work and time to gather and organize, so thank you – Everything was so helpful and meaningful!
I especially loved the words from Jaymin Patel: “Go beyond a yes and think about how they are viewing their process, and they will see you as a rock star, and opportunities will pop up left and right for you.” I also loved Danny Meyer’s much-needed career reminder—“Just because that is what you studied in college, doesn’t mean that is what you have to do. Follow your heart and passion.”
Each and every talk contained its own wisdom. And as an extra benefit, each video was a striking example of the art of presenting. Yet the videos weren’t the only memorable source of inspiration and advice! Your personal and realistic words were motivating and practical. One of your pieces of advice I will always remember was about rejection. Before this class I always thought of rejection as a negative; however, now I will welcome your viewpoint of “no” as “Thank you and I appreciate the opportunity.”
I also liked your advice on interviewing: “If you forgot to say something in the interview, don’t worry because the interviewer did not know you forgot it.” That hit home for me because I am someone who forgets to say things I rehearsed over and over, so your words were quite comforting.
Your personal stories were also important, such as how your son started his career path with coffee meetings. And again, thank you also for answering my question about advice for those who are somewhat shy! I liked the idea of using coffee meetings as “practice” interviews.
I came away from your talk with a new outlook on my career path and also on life in general. My careful notes on the session will remain on my desktop for now and the future. I could go on and on about every detail and every piece of magnificent information you gave us, but that would be a very long email. So I will say it in shorter words: thank you, truly, for taking the time to speak to us.
It was great to meet both you and your adorable dog. It was truly an honor to have you in the classroom.
Kristina M. California Lutheran University ‘22