Todd Hightower is a self-confident, intelligent and focused individual. This is evident in his life and work. His commitment to elder care is unparalleled. He owns and operates long-term care facilities like Nursing Homes and Assisted Living quarters. I chose to interview Todd Hightower because his work in the community intrigues me. The commitment and respect he shows to the elderly and their family is admirable. He has featured as a speaker in many conventions to promote the rights of the elderly and advocate for funding that will improve their care.
I was interested in learning how public speaking influences his day to day life. He revealed to me how public speaking to him is a regular occurrence in his line of work. He speaks to large numbers of employees, resident council groups and the families and the general public at facility functions. He informed me that he is the President of the Arkansas Assisted Living Association and as a requirement, he speaks at all board meetings, round table groups and provide updates on the industry. The Annual Conventions he attends require multiple public speaking engagements with large groups of association members. This clearly indicates a thorough involvement of public speaking in his work.
His education background is quite impressive. He has an Associates of Science degree and spent two years in the US Naval Nuclear Engineering School. He topped it all up with 4 years in Mechanical Engineering school where he accumulated approximately 200 credit hours. In addition to the above, He took Speech 1 and Speech 2 when he was in college, attended leadership training in the Navy and is an alumni of Leadership Crawford County.
Todd offered valuable insight on how to deal with stage fright. He believes that the public speaking experience gets better with time. He encourages taking at least 10 deep breaths before starting. His advice on being prepared is to know the topic and not necessarily memorizing it. This helps with the initial butterflies and goes a long way in helping him talk more fluent. This is how he prepares for all his speeches and presentation. He draws an outline of the topics to be covered, he ensures that he gets educated on details that may be asked in questions and spend a few minutes reviewing the audience.
There are different ways to open the speeches and presentations according to Todd. Lectures demand presentation of facts. In such a case, he starts with an introduction of who he is and what he is covering. On the other hand, Events take a different approach. He generally opens by welcoming and thanking the audience for being there and allowing him to speak for a few minutes. Most public speakers have at least one embarrassing moment in public speaking and Todd is no exception. He told me of an incident in college where he was tasked with communicating something he knew how to perform or make, to a large group and have them retain or understand to the point of being able to do it. What he thought was a simple task ended up with him looking like an idiot just a minute into the presentation.
I found out that Collin Power, the former Secretary of State is his favorite public speaker. He wishes he could speak like Dr. Ben Carson whom he finds pretty impressive live. Filled pauses pose a major challenge to public speakers everywhere. Todd believes that he has overcome this challenge by knowing his topic well enough that he doesnt have to think or prepared notes and outlines to aid in his presentation. I genuinely enjoyed the dialogue with Todd Hightower. He comes across as a courteous and intelligent gentleman with a winning attitude.
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