Archives for September 2006

Funding for the Arts Month

I just received an email newsletter from The Foundation Center.  They announced that October is their 5th Annual Funding for The Arts Month!

During the month of October they will:

1) List up-to-the-minute information on foundations funding the Arts.

2) Profile groups, programs and individuals who have received funding/

3) Meet key grantmakers who support the Arts, and much more.

Click here for the Press Release announcing Funding for the Arts Month.

If you are in or are interested in The Arts you should sign up for their free monthly newsletter – Arts Funding Watch.  Click here for a sample.

I will commit to contributing at least 3 posts a week during October to share my knowledge, experience and insigts on funding for The Arts.

Please feel free to ask questions about funding and grant opportunities for The Arts.  I will do my best to answer them.  We also would like to hear from individuals and groups who have received grants for Arts programs.  Please share your experiences with our readers.

The Arts Matter.  Let's make a difference!

Fear of Public Speaking

“We want you to give a little talk at next month’s meeting…”  Those words are enough to send most people into a state of panic.  Would you offer to speak or would you flee?  Do you have a fear of speaking in public?  Have you ever considered that this fear – and your lack of skill in public speaking – is hindering your career? 

It is and it does.  To succeed in business you must be able to effectively communicate your message.  It is not just the words that you say that matter.  You also must use a tone of voice that matches your words if you want your audience to believe you and to be receptive to your message.

Here is a little exercise that I use when I coach clients on improving their presentations.  It is especially effective in helping to overcome the fear of speaking in public:

1) Tell a story – any story.  Something that you heard or saw today.  Something that you read – but don’t read the story.  Rephrase the story using your own words.

2) You can start this exercise alone – but speak it out loud!  You might feel silly at first, but find a quiet place and just start telling the story.  Stand when you speak and look at your surroundings as you tell the story – this is one audience that will not laugh at you nor fall asleep!

3) As you gain confidence, ask a close friend to listen to you as you tell your story – you don’t have to tell them that you are practicing for a speech.

4) Children’s bedtime stories are great sources to use for your practice.  Notice how your tone of voice changes during the story!  Notice how you naturally speed up and slow down as the story evolves.  Notice how – in this case – you achieve the desired effect: your audience does fall asleep!

Audiences will remember a story. They will most likely forget the facts and figures from your presentation. But they will remember a personal story – especially if it is told well. Start collecting stories – and always find an opportunity to tell people that story – you are practicing and building your skill set.

The best public speakers are the best story tellers.  Notice how they skillfully incorporate stories in their presentations.  Learn how to communicate – tell your story!

Modern Marketing

I'm a big Tony Bennett fan – I am sure that I own every album and video he has ever produced.  Last month, in Vanity Fair Magazine I read an interview with Tony and his son Danny about the release of a new album – DUETS – to celebrate his 80th birthday.  It sounded interesting and I made a mental note to look for it the next time I was in a record store.

Yesterday, I received the current issue of Vanity Fair and was really surprised to see a full-page ad for this new album sponsored by Target – yes TAR-JEE! – the department store!  Selling CDs???

And not just that – a special limited edition of the album – including bonus DVD content documenting the making of the album – OK, now I am really excited – I LOVE to watch what takes place in the recording studio – I'm buying this ASAP – but… I really don't want to / nor do I have time to – run down to Taget to buy this.

So… this morning I log on to Amazon to order the album – I don't even have the time to get to Tower Records or Barnes & Noble – AND… I want this album now!

Once I am on the Amazon website, I see the reviews for the album – all very positive – and nost of them VERY detailed!  Now I find the Target connection – and this causes my dilema.  Target is sponsoring a special November 21st broadcast of Tony Bennett's 80th Birthday celebration and the making of this DUET album.  ONLY, Target has the exclusive right to sell this Limited Edition of the album with the DVD content included!

My dilema – bite the bullet and go down to Target to get the Limited Edition – AND pay full price?  Or, go to a record or bookstore and bring home the album today – and forgo the Bonus DVD content?  Hey, I'll just remember to TiVo the broadcast when it airs in November – RIGHT!  Or, order it now from Amazon – AND get a nice discount AND buy a special bundle that includes the new Diana Krall album – AND get free shipping!!!  What am I to do?

Real world lesson – these are choices that your customers face each day – and challenges for anyone in retailing and manufacturing.  Customers have incredible access to information and many choices of how and where to purchase.  How do you stand out from the crowd?  Can you make your offering unique and compelling?  To survive today, you MUST!

Bottom line?  I have decided that the bonus DVD content is what I really want the most – and since it is only available at Target – Target gets the sale!

Remembering Bill Schultz

I just learned that Bill Schultz, the retired Chairman & CEO of Fender Guitar has passed away.  Bill was a terrific guy, a music industry legend and he will be sorely missed.

As a young man in the industry, Bill made a tremendous impact on me.  For many years I attended the Musik Messe in Frankfurt, Germany.  Bill and I were both early risers and frequently we were the first people at the breakfast buffet each morning.  We would chat pleasantly for a few minutes most mornings.  Sometimes, we only exchanged a nod of recognition.

That Bill would even know who I was, let alone be interested in what I had to say and think gave my self-confidence a great boost!  Bill was a humble man.  Many other executives would never have even looked in my direction.  Bill was always approachable and interested in learning.

Bill's accomplishments were legendary.  We are a better industry and music education has greatly benefitted because of Bill's efforts and dedication.

Fender has a lovely tribute to Bill on the home page.  Please take a few minutes to visit and remember our good friend.

dr bill schultz.jpg

Honor Bill Schultz

I posted a new photo to Photos.

Public Speaking

I recently came across this frank confession from former President Gerald R. Ford:  “If I went back to college again I’d concentrate on two areas:  learning to write and to speak before an audience.  Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”


This from a man who attained the highest office in the free world – yet he failed in his bid to be elected President largely because of his ineffective communications skills and one memorable gaffe in a televised debate.


Certainly, the President of the USA has a highly skilled staff on hand 24/7 to write the speeches and provide briefings and coaching – a luxury that most of us do not have.  And he still came up short – ultimately President Ford was not able to maintain control during Question & Answer sessions.  And he never acquired the skill – or perhaps the desire – to effectively communicate with an audience.  Certainly, we remember him for his non-verbal communication – tripping down staircases, shanking golf balls, etc.  Ford was not trained to turn these pratfalls to his advantage, but the comedian Chevy Chase was – and it launched his career!


It is my observation that the majority of people that I meet do not put enough effort into improving the communications skills – making an initial impression, speaking up in a meeting (or being afraid to speak), just “winging it” when real preparation might have given them the opportunity to really advance their career, etc.


While I was flying back from Australia I read an excellent book: “10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Greatest Business Communicators” by Carmine Gallo.  I had just delivered a couple of speeches and I was scheduled to deliver two speeches a few days after my return.  As I read the book I self-critiqued my recent performance.   Doing so, I feel, helped me to deliver a much more powerful speech when I returned.


I highly recommend this book!  You can learn more about it – and even view video clips of some excellent presenters, e.g. John Chambers of Cisco Systems and Prime Minister Tony Blair on the author’s website –


You don’t have to go back to college to learn how to improve your communications skills – there are many resources available that offer great tips.  If nothing else, you can immensely improve your communications skills by observing outstanding communicators – especially if you know what to look for – and trying to apply what you observe to your own skill set.


Consider the words of the late Peter Drucker, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

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President's Address – AMC

I posted a new photo to Photos.


“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.”

– Louisa May Alcott

Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address for the Kern County Music Educators Association annual fall meeting.  As many of you know, I use several quotations to highlight the themes in my talks.  For the past few years, I have been concluding several talks with this quote from Louisa May Alcott.

I really like the quote and I find it difficult to say without choking up.  I thought about it while I was driving up to Bakersfield to deliver my talk.  The sun was just coming up over the mountains and I was deep in thought thinking about the future.  For me, just starting my new career, it is important to always remember why I took the steps to make the change – and what I hope to accomplish.  This quote says it all.

Please share some of your favorite quotes with the readers of this blog.