[On] Point to Ponder: What’s OUR Story?

 

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about all aspects of communication and message construction. Whether I was watching a commercial for “Air Jordan”, reading Cady Stanton’s famous “Seneca Falls” address (c. 1848), or dissecting nationally televised talks like the State of the Union, I have always been able to look at messages from multiple perspectives. To me, they are puzzles made up of pieces that were selected with great care and deliberation.

In college, I’d work cheerfully in the dank, dark basement library for hours on end, analyzing speeches and identifying message strategies the speaker skillfully used to persuade the audience. In the depths of that old, empty library, I learned about the Rhetorical Triangle and how to use it to methodically dissect a message. I recognized the power of persuasion and the value of conducting solid message analysis. It was a skill set I’d lean on at every point on my career path; a skill set that is fundamental to the mission of On Point Communications, LLC.

During my time at a global ad agency, I worked with talented strategists, learning the ins and outs of brand messaging and development. Unlike many people, I am more energized by public speaking than afraid. At BBDO, I frequently wrote and delivered presentations to clients. When I was asked to present a case study during a closed-door new business pitch, I was thrilled. I also gleaned numerous insights from being part of an enormous, international engine that is BBDO. Leadership and teamwork opportunities abounded and navigating organizational structure was not only necessary, but rewarding when executed well. My experience in global corporations has informed the workshops I now run for corporations who seek to hone communication skills internally.

In graduate school at The University of Georgia, I studied message persuasion in depth (Rhetorical Criticism). For my thesis, I analyzed the persuasive strategies at work in the (then) newly created category of prescription drug advertising. When, in an unprecedented move, these advertisers obtained FDA approval to market to consumers, it shook the industry of direct-to-consumer drug companies to its core. It made for a fascinating study. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching undergraduate courses in public speaking, organizational and interpersonal communications.

Crafting killer storytelling skills became critical as I entered the field of Public Relations. Pitching a story to media requires developing a persuasive message with exceptional precision. If reporters aren’t interested in the first 10 seconds, they’ll just hang up. Participating in an action-packed process that is constantly in motion – the literal “making of the news” – was exciting and enlightening. In 2002, the entire agency staff got on phones to launch Amevive, achieving for Biogen an excellent media presence for its new product. For another client with virtually no media buzz to date, we executed a tailored PR plan that secured the media visibility they needed to take the company public. The company started trading on the NASDAQ just 2 years later.

Recently, I’ve seen the triumphs and challenges of entrepreneurialism first-hand. My husband and I opened the NeuroDevelopment Center of Colorado in 2007. At first, it had no brand recognition whatsoever. After progressing through the initial phases and learning from our setbacks, the clinic is a now regional leader.

A repeat entrepreneur myself, I have an appreciation for others who embark on this journey. I know the ins and outs of iterating at the concept stage. Pitching to raise funds and secure key partnerships. Establishing and launching a brand with core messaging. Good web copy. There’s never a dull moment, and I love meeting founders and professionals wherever they are on their journey.

I’ve always had a passion for puzzles, both literal and figurative. I love to assemble them, take them apart, look closely at each piece, and put them back together again. That’s what I do with every On Point project. Your messages are powerful puzzles. Whether spoken, written – every piece of a message serves a unique and important purpose.

Click Here to hear the unlikely story of how On Point began.

How can On Point be of service to your puzzle? Contact us today. After we carefully take it apart, we’ll piece it together with skill to achieve the perfect fit.

Cindy Skalicky is an award-winning public speaking coach, keynote speaker, brand consultant and the owner of On Point Communications, LLC. She coaches speakers and runs workshops on storytelling techniques, speech writing, delivery, and overall content development. Master the Message. Learn more at www.onpoint-communications.com or contact Cindy at info@onpoint-communications.com or call her at 970-290-4684


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Testimonials

“Cindy, BRAVO! The Colloquium was a splendid success. Thank you for your hard work. I’m very proud of how it turned out. Very truly yours, Bob Schaffer”

Principal, Liberty Common Schools

You are a wonderful presenter Cindy! I have taken so much from your presentation at the conference. I noticed when you speak, you at times lowered your volume in a way where we still heard you, but it PULLED the audience in, as if you were confiding in us.

Your vocal variety was lovely, (as well as your content, of course!). The advice to gather your stories from your past and weave them into your presentations is spot on.

Julie Roberts, Linked In profile writer|Coach

When you meet Cindy, you can’t help but feel engaged and pay attention. She clearly is an outstanding communications professional. The way she took the stage, conveyed her message and shared her approach to storytelling at the recent conference was mesmerizing.

Cindy made me rethink my approach to storytelling that I had used in my client work for many years. Cindy’s workshop alone made my trip to Denver worthwhile.

Ruth Winden, Executive Coach (UK)

“Cindy, Your coaching was fantastic. You are so good at this. I have done a lot of this too, but I am in awe of your approach, the simplicity of your suggestions and your general professionalism. Thank you.”

Susan Strong, Director at SAGE Boulder

“As a professional speaker, I know the value of getting feedback before giving an important speech. As I prepared my TEDx talk, Cindy was the perfect person to give me outside perspective. She did a beautiful job taking the many ideas I had floating around in my head and helping me select what to use, how to organize them, and how to tie it all together.

I love the way she coached, not trying to make her words my own, but instead, considering what I was trying to achieve and helping me stay true to my voice. If you have to stand and deliver a great talk, working with Cindy can help you ensure you’re at your best!”

Tanis Roeder, Elevate Your Communication