Bradley’s claims need clarification
Dear Mr. Sabori,
In answer to your letter of Dec. 15 (“What are Miles’ qualifications?”), have you corroborated Mayor Bradley’s claims of growing the general fund reserve, of not increasing property taxes, of lowering the cost of city services?
How was the general fund reserve increased? To what extent?
When and how often have property taxes been increased in the past?
Specifically, what city service costs have been lowered?
Have any been increased?
How many new businesses did Mayor Bradley usher into the city?
How many have left?
What road paving was increased?
What are the background stories to this list?
How do these claims compare with prior periods?
Bank on this: a return to lending in 2012
As 2011 comes to a close, America’s big banks remain in the spotlight. Large banking corporations have made headlines with layoffs, proposed debit card fees have infuriated customers, and the country’s financial institutions continue to draw the ire of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
It certainly is an interesting time to be in banking. But I believe the year ahead will bring a return to the traditional strengths of banks, helping to enhance customer satisfaction and cultivate business growth in our community.
First, interest rates on deposits will continue to drop. Customers who rely heavily on CDs as an investment strategy may be disappointed in the rates offered at both large and small banks. But on the upside, financial institutions will be compelled to start lending again. Without revenue from CDs and increased banking fees, which are under growing consumer scrutiny, bankers will focus on interest from loans as a primary income source. For startup and existing businesses that have an urgent need for capital, this is welcome news.
Another trend to anticipate is a renewed emphasis on the complete banking relationship. Traditionally, the goal for big banks was to acquire as many customers as possible. Community banks have always been different — we want loyal customers who bank only with us. Banks of all sizes will now adopt this strategy, aiming to serve clients’ needs from checking accounts to savings to investment. With so many of our neighbors facing financial challenges, people will be looking for a bank that can help them get their accounts in order and save for the future.
Though there are signs our economy is on the mend — consumer confidence is on the upswing and in October, Central Florida home sales increased 17 percent from the previous year — I believe each of us should make a New Year’s resolution to improve our fiscal fitness.
As a community bank, Florida Bank of Commerce cares about our customers’ total financial well-being. That’s why we recommend an annual “checkup” with a professional banking representative or financial adviser. By evaluating your lifestyle and prioritizing monthly expenses, you can identify saving opportunities. You may be surprised how small savings add up to a significant reserve fund after just one year.
As we kick off a New Year of hope and possibilities, now is the time to get your finances in shape. Just think: By this time next year, you could be the picture of financial fitness. For more information, visit FBCbank.com
Vice president of Florida Bank of Commerce’s Winter Park branch
Speaking — a nontechnical skill
The ability to speak effectively and to be understood is a nontechnical skill that everyone should have. You should have the skill to communicate your thoughts, opinions or suggestions. Your audience may be as small as one or as large as hundreds but your goal should be the same – to speak effectively.
Joan T. Cook, a management consultant, identified communications as one of 10 nontechnical skills that leaders should have but lack. Her 10 nontechnical skills were identified in her article “Developing the Skills and Qualities of Leadership.” During my years in Toastmasters, I have observed that effective communication seems to be lacking at all levels.
The way that we communicate has changed dramatically in recent years; the use of cell telephones, email and iPads has allowed us to have a one-to-one conversation more quickly but not give an effective presentation. Very short sound bites or 140-character messages have become the accepted communications mode in today’s world. In my opinion, the new way does not enable us to speak effectively; it may be having a reverse effect.
The excuse that you do not need to have good communication skills is short sighted. Your speaking skills are needed when you want to promote your ideas to friends, associates or management. Your speaking skills are needed if you are participating as a panel member. You need good speaking skills at your homeowners’ meetings, church meetings or social gatherings. How many times have you left a meeting saying, “I wish I had said something!” If you are talking, are you communicating effectively?
A presentation is the result of thorough preparation, choosing the correct presentation type, and including speaking mechanics that bring life to your presentation. An effective one requires more than a few notes.
Preparation includes the collection of information and the selection of the most important points that support your position. During the preparation it will be necessary to select the right presentation type: Informative, motivational or persuasive. One type of presentation does not fit all speaking situations.
If you are providing information, then use the informative presentation type. However, if you are trying to motivate or convince the audience that your position or suggested procedure is correct, you need to use the type of presentation that will be persuasive.
Rambling is not an effective way to communicate. The structure of your presentation is important. An effective speaker will immediately ‘grab’ the attention of his or her audience. A question or a startling statement is a good way to start. Once you have their attention, give them your pertinent points or information.
The ‘Rule of Three’ applies to the body of your presentation. Do not overload your audience with a lot of detail; only include the three most important points that you want to make. Do not cloud your message with too much detail.
Your conclusion should be relatively short. I recommend that you restate the three points that you made in the body of your presentation. Bring your audience back to your introduction by answering your opening question. You can relate the information you just provided to your opening startling statement.
Vocal variety, gestures and movement can help make your presentation effective. If you are a ‘droning gnat’ or a statue giving a presentation, you are apt to find your audience sleeping or having their mind wander. Speaking mechanics are many and should not be neglected.
Winter Park resident
Author of “Spice Up Your Speaking Presentations”