Updates from May, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Brigit Law 10:09 pm on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , media, School newspaper, ,   

    An Elementary School Newspaper Success Story 

    So glad to see that my school newspaper program ‘The Scottie Chronicle’ received local media attention today. It is the first school newspaper in the Chambersburg Elementary School District.

    http://www.publicopiniononline.com/news/ci_23244062/scotland-schools-pupils-apply-english-skills-publish-newspaper

    It is crucial that everyone receives tools to get heard, even the smallest creatures in our community.

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  • Brigit Law 11:16 pm on May 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Journalism, , PTA   

    Kids Minds Matter 

    Last week, I started with a new – the second – team of Scottie Chronicle reporters, and this evening I finished their ‘Reporter Survival Pack’ with worksheets, letter to parents, Tips & Tricks in journalism, as well as the necessary candy treats, pens and block notes (see picture below).

    These groups of school kids are one of the best things I have experienced in my time in the US.

    Compared to Europe, the American PTA has amazed me. So much more support from parents seems to be needed here, and so much more can be achieved when parents and teachers work together. Compared to Europe where parental support is often limited to lice control, reading mom/dad or Christmas party, the American PTA opens doors to parents to set up Science Fairs, Book Fairs, National Reflections Art Awards programs, Spelling Bees, and much more.

    Inspired by the American spirit of ‘The Sky Is The Limit’ (as long as you are willing to execute your own ideas), I became the CEO of my own PTA program: The Scottie Chronicle – a school news paper for my kids’ Scotland Elementary school in Chambersburg, PA.

    Working with these kids brought me closer to my quest to understand better the way humans communicate. How much can kids critical minds bring to an organization, a community, a school? And, are we really listening to them? Can we let them lead us in how we should lead them?

    One thing is for sure, not listening to the perceptive minds of kids or watching them grow up with our full attention, will keep us falling behind in social development and economic prosperity.

    In the end it is like horse riding: you can only lead a horse if you let the horse educate you on it’s needs.

    20130507-234420.jpg

     
  • Brigit Law 5:46 pm on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Leadership: In three or four steps? 

    As an Storyteller & Leadership enthausiast, I like to work with script writing structures in my communication work, in particular the three-step approach: Beginning , Middle, and End.  

    As an Equestrian & Leadership enthausiast, however, I have recently started to work with the four-step approach: Request, Pressure, Response, and Reward.

    Why?

    (More …)

     
    • Ashkuff 3:44 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I totally feel people’s complaints that the gov’t “did not inform well enough.” During the 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season, my disabled grandmother wasn’t able to evacuate very well, so my mother and I trailed behind with her.

      A State Representative I spoke with in 2011 scoffed at our behavior, and told me that the Red Cross could’ve outfitted my grandmother with a free wheelchair.

      Although that’s a pretty cool rescource, we weren’t informed about it until seven years after we needed it. Lolz.

      — Ashkuff | http://www.ashkuff.com | Bored with reading about others’ adventures? Burning to venture out yourself? Let this applied anthropologist remind you how.

    • Brigit Law 6:18 pm on August 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Unfortunately, crisis management is something people don’t want to communicate about until it is (too) late. A compulsary download of a Red Cross App would be no luxery in today’s world.

  • Brigit Law 10:32 pm on May 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Summer Reading Program   

    Summer Reading improves Creative Minds at Scotland Elementary 

    Dr Seuss, Walt Disney and Shakespeare: these are the three protagonists in the new Summer Reading Hand Book 2012 that I created in my new capacity of PTA chairperson for the Summer Reading Program 2012 at Scotland Elementary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

    Over 400 copies are ready to go out to all students during this week’s Scholastic Book Fair.

    (More …)

     
    • themysticmom 1:50 pm on May 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      So proud to know you and all this hard work! You are AMAZING! (Plus, thinking on a grand scale might be another thing we have in common! Remind me to tell you THAT story another time… :))

    • DeniseDenkt 2:50 pm on May 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful and inspiring project is this! We should have that here in Holland too.
      I’m sure that all children will like this!

  • Brigit Law 10:24 pm on May 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Creative Writing – Why everyone should learn it 

    Actually, it is quite difficult, creative writing. Why? Because the goal of creative writing is to move beyond sharing information and express thoughts, opinions and feelings on a subject. Nevertheless, it is extremely important for anyone to learn to do it as it is one of the best ways to generate new ideas and solutions in our communities.

    True creative writing is the only way to get inspired by and to inspire others with. It’s really is great stuff for advancing in leadership, education, economic growth en social enrichment.

    (More …)

     
    • beckony 10:39 pm on May 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      One reason I dislike the emphasis on math and science is because I think they’re useless without an equal emphasis on creative thought. No one ever made a groundbreaking discovery by thinking the same way everyone else did, yet as a society we are so likely to dismiss the artists and the writers because they aren’t “useful.” In reality I think culture is just as important as hard sciences.

  • Brigit Law 12:25 am on February 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Herald Mail, , Shippensburg, Spike Lee, ,   

    An Evening With Spike Lee 

    I am marking another American experience tonight: my evening with Spike Lee!

    Spike Lee is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. With his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, he has been producing films since 1983. Lee is famous for the way he evolutionized the role of Black talent in cinema. Lee also directed commercials for Nike, Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s.

    Our meeting was not quite up close and personal, but with seat number J-109 in an almost sold out hall of the Luhrs Performing Arts Center in Schippensburg (PA) where he lectured about “The Cultural Diversity in America”, it was as good as it could get.

    As my friends know, everything that has to do with diversity has my attention. Since I left my home village in The Netherlands, I have been different myself. First and foremost as a country girl in a big city, but also as a Dutch girl living in other people’s countries and as a Dutch wife to a Scottish husband. Diversity is part of my daily life since I left home at 18 and it will be for children for whole their lives.

    Lee’s performance in Shippensburg tonight was great.  He is a wonderful and motivational speaker who tackles serious issues – the life of African-Americans – with a good sense of humor. He urged students to follow passion, not pay. To this end, Lee was happy to share his own personal experiences and challenges in life with his public, in particular his vision that you should choose a study and do a job you enjoy doing no matter what others (parents) say. “If you are driven in wanting to do something, do it!” was his advice to the public.

    However, his view on the stagnation of Afro-Americans can be disputed. Lee sees a stagnation in the life of African-Americans since the 40s when Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role as a maid in ‘Gone with the Wind’ and today, annu 2012, when African-Americans win again Academy Awards through actors Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who played … maids again. To me this seems more a sign of stagnation in the life of women who are in a sleepy state of mind since the time of the suffragettes. At lease the African-Americans got their American President, the female society not (yet).

    I was also a bit disappointed about his answer to a young African-American guy in the public who explained his difficulties to make films due to lack of finance and closed doors in Hollywood. His answer was to persevere and to keep on believing in yourself and your drive (dream). My answer would be a question: where are the African-American businesses that should support African-American culture? It is not up to the ‘old’ Hollywood and its white face history to write and direct the screen plays that bring diversity in America to life. A drive is based on an emotional need, an urge and a passion. This can only be told through stories with with award winning roles of leaders in society played, written and produced by African-Americans themselves.

    In fact, it is all about empowering yourself to succeed with a group of people through ‘shared values’. A concept that focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress.

     
  • Brigit Law 11:05 pm on February 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , music, ,   

    American Culture? What, where … ? 

    Often,I hear that America has little to no culture compared to places like France, Italy or Greece. This is said by the media or my fellow Europeans who were on holiday here. I must say, I was slightly afraid that this might be the true after a visiting the only Amish museum in Lancaster and seeing it very strangely hidden behind the giant buildings of the commercial chains Walmart, Giant and Kohls.

    However, after living seven months in American, I am glad to say that I can agree with the opposite. America has a great culture! It is a culture that is embedded in their music, films and world famous brand slogans!

    I realized this when my sister in law said that I lived in a film after hearing one of my stories. Indeed, there have been numerous occasions now that I felt I was living a film or a song. The first time was when when the check out guy at the Walmart called ‘hey lady’ to me after I had forgotten my shopping bags at the counter, or when I feel the ‘Just Do It!’ slogan from Nike at work when I am volunteering in community and school projects here, or when I see my daughter sliding down the staircase in our house in America just like Annie Banks in the film The Father of the Bride. In the Netherlands where I come from, we just don’t have such big staircases and ‘sliding space’ in our houses and we rather talk and wait for who is going to do it than ‘just do it!’

    Culture in America may not to be found in books from great writers like in Russia or France, or in food from famous chefs like in Belgium, or ancient castles and ruins like in Germany and Greece, paintings in Italy or in a healthy living like in Scandinavia. If you want to experience American culture and history, listen to American music, see the films and live the slogans of their brands.

    So now, after a long week with work and kids, I am going to take a nice a warm bath. Because I am worth it!

     
    • 20poorandfabulous 12:00 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      of course america has a culture, every civilization on earth has a culture. how insulting you think american culture is encompassed by music, film and worst of all SLOGANS. yes, america is a very capitalist/consumerist-driven country, but you cannot blanket a country as large and culturally diverse as the united states as being solely music, film and slogans. not everyone spends their days at the local walmart or kohls, mind you. think about it this way: the south(mississippi, georgia) is an entirely different place than the northwest (seattle, portland), and the southwest (tucson, new mexico) is vastly different from the midwest (chicago, minneapolis) and the northeast (new york, boston). it’s like if someone were to tell you all european cultures (france, germany, the netherlands, etc) are simply composed of nice chocolates, wines and people who use euros. or that south american cultures (chile, brazil, colombia, etc) are simply spicy food, salsa music and hot weather. vast generalizations about any culture, people, country or continent are an insult to both the people and to your very own intelligence.

      • Brigit Law 11:02 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your comments! You would have enjoyed the lecture “The Cultural Diversity in America” of Spike Lee (film director of a.o. ‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Malcolm X’) which I attended at Shippensburg University this evening. According to Lee, American culture dominates the world mainly through its films, music and famous brands. Unlike bombs and weapons, these expressions of emotions direct the way people think, both within and outside America.

    • Stephanie Wall 12:02 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Brigit,

      I’m so glad you are enjoying your time here in America. I remember sliding down the stairs as a child and teaching my children to do the same. What fun it is…you should try it as well with the girls and Otto. 🙂 We must have a good old fashion American BBQ this spring.

      • Brigit Law 10:43 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Steph! I have added the American BBQ to my ‘things to experience in America’ 🙂

  • Brigit Law 8:06 pm on April 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emotional communication   

    With my stories I … connect 

    I just bumped onto a great blog from Melissa Bennet. A lovely example of a young professional who explicitly but in a very authentic way uses her stories to connect to friends, field colleagues and future clients: blog from Melissa Bennet. This is what Social Media is about.

     

     
    • Melissa Bennett 9:11 pm on April 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for posting about my blog! I really appreciate it. Storytelling IS a great way to connect and build relationships through social media. Plus, everyone has a story to tell!

  • Brigit Law 10:04 am on March 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , marketing,   

    Should Marketers learn to think in terms of ‘Followers’ instead of ‘Target Audiences’ ? 

    I have always felt there was something not right in talking about Target Audiences when developing a (marketing) communications strategy in my early working years. Why? Because it made people in organisations behave superior over people outside the organisation. Expressions like ‘ah, but they – customers, investors, citizens, – do not understand’ are often heard in meetings. Like ‘us’ against ‘them’. Not very nice, actually.

    In today’s world, where huge populations have 24hrs access to news and information through the Internet, facing cultural, climate, economic and health complexities as something that is right at their doorstep and no longer as something that is far away in a strange world, an inclusive marketing approach with emotional drivers is better placed. Just like with Social Media, audiences will naturally and consciously follow the developments of a company and its activities if they feel part of a common story. Here, marketers will connect not only with people & markets they decided to like, but also to people with a genuine and more engaged interest in their business: people they would never reach with traditional marketing thoughts.

    So, rest us the question: Can marketers change their behaviour with new thought patterns that make their marketing story an inclusive one, within 48 hours? Yes they can!

    In some of my workshops, I give the following exercise as homework:

    1. Take your favourite book or film, best a roman or detective

    2. Identify the script elements such as the protagonist, the hook, the plot and other contextual information like other characters, place(s) and time(s)

    3. Check use and effect of metaphors

    4. Now, knowing about the key story elements, make in your thoughts your own product story

    5. And finally, integrate this story into your marketing approach

    Tip 1: You’d better exaggerate in emotions than stay too close to corporate speak

    Tip 2: When you have difficulties to start writing: put on the dishwasher, start writing and don’t stop until the dishwasher does. Do this every evening until you are satisfied with the story.

    Enjoy & Good Luck!

     
  • Brigit Law 2:18 pm on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    White Space: A Quick Mind Catcher In Social Media 

    Good afternoon!

    Today, I’d like to share with you a new & fresh idea for successful communication & storytelling with Social Media: the use of ‘White Space’.

    In a time where people slowly start recognizing the need for individual Guidelines and Writing Patterns when using Social Media for their online communication and dialogue, I’d like to point out to you the use of ‘white space’ in script writing.

    The Script Lab recommends here white space on the page as a clever and practical way to get the reader to turn pages: fast and furious. Imagine if you could get the same effect when building in blanks – or breaks – in your talk online.

    According to The Script Lab, “the screenwriter must start scenes as late as possible and get out early. The less words that can be used to accomplish each scene without losing the voice of the writer, the better. It’s simple: less words means less reading. And if there is one absolute in Hollywood, it is that NOBODY READS.” Well, – perhaps sadly but truly – the latter is not only an absolute in Hollywood anymore …

    The function of white spaces in writing intrigues me. I remember a participant at one of my workshops – a very skilled female architect who had set up a very decent architect bureau in Germany and now leading a small team of young architects – that she had stopped using Twitter because of the noise. She felt that the way people twittered, prevented her from properly hearing anyone or anyone to hear her. A real shame, because she had like many of us, set out using Social Media for letting business grow and establish contacts in new markets.

    People’s behaviour on Social Media is a real obstacle for many. It is like going to a birthday party with lots of (brand) names, faces, words, noise and flickering images. Not easy to engage in if you prefer a string quartet over disco. No wonder that most people either look for the ‘Exit’ sign or just take on the role of a wall flower and rather watch but say nothing.

    But using white spaces is not only a practical way to bring peace to mind online as a handy Mind Set, but is also a Mind Catcher and, therefore, a great but subtle communication instrument to use in Change and Marketing processes.

    Once more, it seems like that many complexities around Social Media can be solved easily in applying a couple of simple writing behaviour and thinking patterns from traditional (screen) writing.

     

     
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