There’s never been much doubt that the mid-Michigan market has a bevy of talented people from many walks of life — but seeing them all come together in their own way to participate and support Mid-Michigan Battle Decks earlier this week really helped prove that.
In case you missed it, Battle Decks is part of a national campaign in which you get up in front of a group to do a PowerPoint presentation that lasts about 3 to 4 minutes — with the kicker being that you have no idea what is in the deck you are presenting. Some of the slides may be serious quotes, another could be an Excel spreadsheet graph, some could be silly pictures.
Mid-Michigan Battle Decks occurred on Nov. 17 at Michigan State University, thanks in large part to the graciousness of the MSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. As the chapter’s professional adviser, I’m a bit biased, but I truly believe this group of talented young people really is going to help the PR profession advance and grow in the years to come. They helped me figure out the venue, offered to let Battle Decks piggyback on their monthly meeting, and then assisted me in promoting the event. Props also to Cravings Popcorn, who came for the PRSSA meeting but then stuck around — with their free popcorn — for Battle Decks.
I lined up four judges for the event. Andy Corner and Ryan Knott are two PR pros from the area, Becky Johns is a recent grad with a bright future ahead of her and Nick Lucido is a nationally acclaimed PR student. To be sure, these folks know talent when they see it, and their judging comments were right on target.
“Smooth and quick on your feet.”
“Very smooth – nice transitions — unflappable.”
“Slightly disturbing but I love your sense of humor.”
These are comments you might normally see from a speaker’s evaluation form when they know what’s on the next slide!
Kudos are due, therefore, to the great contestants who were willing to get up in front of a crowd and just start talking about whatever nonsense I put up on the screen behind them. If you haven’t gotten to know these people by networking via professional groups in town or on Twitter — you are missing out on a great opportunity. The winner for the evening was Charlie Wollborg, but he was followed closely by the other contestants in the scoring. Josh Hovey, Natalie Scott, Dan Hogan, Julielyn Gibbons, Veronica LaDuke, Jessi Wortley Adler, Ivy Hughes and Lauren Leeds should all be proud of how they performed.
If you couldn’t make it to Battle Decks, keep your eyes and ears open for another one coming to mid-Michigan in 2010.
And, in the meantime, you can check out all the presentations on YouTube, courtesy of Good Fruit Video. Which brings me to my last nod to greatness in mid-Michigan. Kraig Westfall and Justin Caine, co-founders of Good Fruit, are entrepreneurs with a young company who are out donating their time and efforts to community events in a way you would expect a much larger, well-funded company to do. These guys are just starting out, but their sense of community and their desire to be there for people because they can help rather than because they can make a buck is one reason I believe we’ll be seeing productions by Good Fruit Video for many years to come. I wish them all the success they can handle.
But enough with what I have to say about all of this. Go enjoy the presentations — but be careful, some of their bullet points are deadly! 🙂