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Driver's Safety 101

I decided to attend a driver’s safety presentation.  Not because I am a poor driver, but because it was many years since I had taken a driver training program – plus it was FREE!  I had heard that there were some changes in the driving world and I figured it was time for a refresher.  By the way, I had a perfectly clear license, until the lawn motor was parked in MY CAR’s parking spot … let’s not go there …

I found the following facts to be of interest and will benefit my driving habits, perhaps yours as well. 

  1. Always look ahead for the big picture. 
  2. Practice thinking, “What if ...” This planning will keep your attention and prepare us for last minute surprises.  For example, look for feet under cars, large snow banks for creeping vehicles, small children near the road.
  3. When making a left run – keep the wheels straight.  If you turn left and are hit on the backside, your vehicle will be pushed into the oncoming traffic.
  4. If you are driving and make a change of direction, which results in a mishap, your vehicle will be your fault.  Yes, this is a “Manitoba rule.”  So if I decide to make a left turn and the driver behind me is following too close, and rear ends me – it will be my fault.  (Not sure about this one, Manitoba Public Insurance…)
  5. When making a left turn, there should only be one vehicle in the intersection at a time.
  6. When planning to make a left turn, check the mirror to ensure that the vehicle behind you is slowing down.  If they are still coming full speed, it might be a good idea to continue ahead for a block or two so they regain their attention.
  7. When making a change lane, practice MMSS – Check mirror, check the second mirror, signal and shoulder check
  8. Allow plenty of space in front of you, depending on road conditions.  Look for “a way out” if something happens.  Aim for the soft spot.
  9. When two vehicles roll up at the same time at an uncontrolled intersection, the vehicle on the right goes first. Check to see if the wheels are rolling of other vehicles, to confirm that they are moving.
  10. Don’t stop for the chipmunk in front of you.  It is very sad, but the vehicle behind you will not know why you are slowing down and it could result in a collision.
  11. Only make right turn signals when using a turnabout or calming circle.
  12. Did you know that a potential Driving Instructor needs to give up their license, do a written test and then a road test before they can get their license back?  In one case, a potential Instructor’s wife drove him to work for a month!
  13. At a crosswalk, wait for the pedestrian to touch the opposite curb before proceeding.
  14. Carry paper towels in the vehicle to clean headlights during a messy day.
  15. During a rainstorm or snowstorm, put on 4-way flashers if you are pulling off to the side or proceeding very slowly.
  16. Semi-trailers cannot see 6m in front and 60 meters behind them.  If you can’t see their mirror, then cannot see you.
  17. Sipping on coffee or water on the drive home from the gym can cost you a ticket, as it is considered distracted driving.
  18. School bases have cameras.  If you don't stop when their lights are flashing, you will get caught.
  19. At a light stop, stop so you can still see the car’s tires in front of you.  If you get rear ended and hit the vehicle in front, you will be charged for following too close.
  20. When driving, hands should be at the 10 and 2 position on the wheel.  While waiting for a traffic light, lower the hands to 9 and 6 or 8 and 5.  If you get hit from behind and pushed into the vehicle in front, the airbag will be deployed and you may end up with broken wrists.
  21. The parking pass around the front mirror can be a missile during an accident.  People can get injured from articles stored above the back seat.
  22. Look at the mirror every 5 to 8 seconds – seems a bit much, but you must be totally aware of what is happening around you.
  23. Always look ahead and plan.
  24. Never drive with the cruise on during a rain or snow storm, as the vehicle could hydroplane or come across an icy patch.

By driving defensively you could prevent an issue and keep yourself and the other drivers safe, healthy and happy.

Happy Driving!



How to Introduce a Speaker

At some point in time, many of us are requested to introduce a speaker. The situation may vary from an informal business meeting to introducing a subject knowledge specialist at a major conference.

Our initial questions might be: What do I say? In what order do I say it? The idea is to create an eager want in the audience, without giving away the main message.  

Consider the introduction as a bridge between the previous event or speaker to what will happen next. The idea is to create an air of anticipation. 

Getting to know the speaker is very important, before you give the introduction. This can be accomplished by an interview, either in person or by a phone call. (The audience will notice the rapport between the speaker and yourself, and it creates a positive impression.) Your time is well invested.  The entire presentation should only last about 1 to 2 minutes. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

The following is a three-step approach that can be used in a wide range of events from an informal business meeting to a formal social event. It beings with the title or topic of the speech, the importance to the audience (most people are thinking – what’s in it for me), and the credentials of the speaker.

  1. Start off with a question, a startling statistic or a quote. The title or topic of the speech may be given, and if it is not explicit, provide a brief explanation. Begin the introduction with a bang, which will draw the attention of the audience, as they will be looking for more, but it must be relevant to the speech.
  2.  What’s in it for the audience member? Why should they listen to your speaker? They need to know the importance of the speech and its relevance to their interests.  This might involve some research on your part, in order to develop a general idea of the needs and wants of the audience. If there is a theme of the meeting or conference, it should be built in at this point.   
  3.  Why is the speaker entitled to provide a speech on the particular topic? What is his or her experience with the subject? If it is an educational seminar, what is their academic background? The qualifications of the speaker are essential. In other words, how have they earned the right to speak on the particular topic. Some speakers may provide you with a biography for a reference; it would ensure that have all the right facts.

Last but not least, is the proper pronunciation of their name. It can be obtained during the interview or from the speaker’s office. For example, please help me welcome (pause ...) Helen DerCATCH. If you are in a formal event, start the applause, shake their hand, then sit back and enjoy.

So that’s it!

In summary, develop professional rapport with the speaker and become familiar with their subject. Mention the topic or title, the relevancy to the audience and the speaker's background and credentials. 

The speaker will thank you gratuitously!



How to Thank a Speaker

The Speaker has given their presentation; now it is up to you to thank him or her.

Wait until the applause has died down, and approach the speaker.

Begin by providing a sincere thank you. Relate one or two of their ideas to what it means to you and how it can be applied. It is important to be specific, as it shows that you have been listening carefully (and jotting down ideas), while the topic was of interest to the audience.

Present a gift to them (if available) and shake their hand.



How to Prepare For a Presentation the Quick and Easy Way!

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  You agreed to give a presentation.  The day is fast approaching and you are getting anxious.  Now what?  First, you must be comfortable with the subject, or have the time to carefully research the topic.

By answering these questions, you will be able to prepare a memorable presentation in a minimal amount of time.

  1. What is the purpose of the presentation? To give information, to be persuasive, to entertain or to share emotion? What is the objective? For example, if you are giving information, the objective would be to explain the features of the most recent insurance policy.
  2. Who is in your audience and how familiar are they with the topic? This will determine the breadth and depth of the presentation. If you are speaking to seasoned IT professionals on how to use an electronic Travel form, they will only need to know the basics and changes to the form, while a summer student would need a detailed explanation of the features of the tool and how to navigate through it.
  3. How much time to you have to deliver? The longer the time, the more detail you will provide. The delivery time will determine the number of examples, stories and explanations that are given.
  4. What points will you talk about? What does the audience need to know? What information do you need to give the audience in order to meet your objectives? We usually speak in groups of 3, 5 or 7 (depending on the time). What are the 3 most important ideas you need to get across? Now, how are you going to get your ideas across? Tell a story, draw a diagram, explain the contents of a form, refer to a picture, give a famous quote or analogy.
  5. What aids will you use? For example, Power Point slides, handouts, flipchart, or whiteboard. Keep in mind that aids are meant to enhance the presentation – not take over it.  The speaker is the focus of the presentation. When will you use the visuals? Remember to mix it up and provide some variety ... within reason, of course. 
  6. How should you practice? Verbally provide your presentation to a co-worker, friend, or family member. This will make you more comfortable with the content and give you a good "feel" for the flow of the material. The tone should be conversational, as if you where having a talk across the coffee table.  Be sure to time yourself and remember that the actual presentation will take less time, as we tend to speak more quickly when we are nervous.
  7. Do you need humour? Absolutely. All humour needs to tie into the material and to serve a purpose. A good rule of thumb is to only tell the jokes that you would say to your Grandmother in Church.

As the saying goes, "if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail."  By using these quick and easy presentation ideas you will be prepared and ready to deliver an outstanding presentation to your audience.


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