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VetNet VIP Meet and Greet: "The Art of Public Speaking" with Jim Axelrod

The Paramount Veterans Network hosted a series of VIP Meet and Greets for the second year in a row during Summer 2022. These sessions were added to the VIP Meet and Greets Web Series, featuring a variety of industry professionals and C-suite executives from across Paramount Global. These sessions were created for the VetNet’s Veteran Immersion Program to meet with and learn from Paramount executive leadership and employees. The Meet and Greet moderators included: Richard M. Jones, EVP General Tax Counsel & Chief Veteran Officer, Paramount, Betty Diaz, Director of Programs & Operations, Paramount, and Brad Mueller, Director of Creatives for Paramount VetNet and Manager, Tax Incentives.

VIP Meet & Greet Web Series Season 2: Episode 5: “The Art of Public Speaking” with Jim Axelrod

On August 24th, 2022, participants of the Veterans Immersion Program attended a Meet & Greet session with Jim Axelrod, Chief Investigative & Sr. National Correspondent, CBS News and Paramount Vet Net Advisor. The topic of the event was, “the art of public speaking”. Jim shared many insights on how to prepare and deliver a presentation and tips to calm any nerves that may come up during your presentation. VIP participants shared their own experiences and asked thoughtful questions.

Some key takeaways: • Be Authentic, the audience wants to connect. • Speak in conversation. If you use words your audience do not understand, it will create a barrier. • Practice and go over your speech over and over and not just a dozen times. You want to connect with your words. • Let your emotions flow. It’s okay to let your audience see that you’re a human being too. • If you make a mistake, own up to it. Let your audience know upfront. They will connect with you more because no one is perfect. After sharing some insights on effective communication, Jim asked each veteran to share their comfortability with public speaking and he gave each veteran some tips on ways to combat fears or challenges when speaking in public. Above all, he reminded everyone to be authentic and remember that you’re human and no one is expecting perfection from a presenter. Of course, Jim reminded folks that it takes practice to make sure you know your speech inside and out but if you make a mistake, owning up to it in the moment can be ‘freeing’ and the audience will always appreciate a human moment.

“Jim sharing his time and wisdom with us was an amazing experience. I look forward to applying these tips to enhance my presentation skills! Thank you Jim!” -Chris Barrett, Marine Corps Veteran “We, the VIPs, look forward to applying these tips from an industry legend, Jim Axelrod, in our own speeches; whether it be in front of a group of 500 people or five, we are inspired to do so confidently. And, as Jim said, ‘conversational speaking is public speaking’. This is a great reminder that, in order to connect with our audience, we need to speak to them in ways they are comfortable” -Ricky Enrique, Navy Veteran


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