Celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week with NCSA Annual Challenge

2019 NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week

Support and promote the court reporting and captioning professions by taking part in NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations’ (NCSA) Fifth Annual State Challenge and earn a chance at winning the grand prize of a free registration to the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo. The first-prize winner will receive five free NCRA webinars.

The NCSA challenge calls on all state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. The challenge will culminate during NCRA’s 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 9-16. The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about the viable career paths of court reporting and captioning.

“You never realize just how much difference one presentation at a high school can make. There are so many people (students) who do not realize our profession even exists and the various types of reporting there are: official, freelance, and CART and broadcast captioning. You do not have to be perfect or a pro at public speaking to pull off a presentation. All you need is your machine and your laptop and the ability to do a realtime demo. Anything else is icing on the cake. The students will be in awe of what you can do — while at the same time showing them how you can kick Siri’s butt in translating the spoken word. Get out there and participate in Court Reporting & Captioning Week and the NCSA Challenge!” said NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss.

“With the shortage of reporters in the field, it’s more important than ever to let the public know what a reporter actually does and that you can make a good living while doing it. We need more people entering the field, and the only way to make that happen is to spread the word and do a demonstration at your local schools,” he added.

To help members and state associations celebrate the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA has available resources on NCRA.org/Awareness that includes press release templates, media advisories, activity ideas, and more. Other available resources include templates for official proclamations recognizing the week, flyers and logos, and materials for schools to use to help celebrate as well. This year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week will mark the seventh year the Association has hosted the event.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a great opportunity for us all to really take a little time to introduce our great profession to the world. Whether it’s a presentation at a local high school, a brief segment on the local news, or even discussing amongst friends what it is we do as court reporters and captioners, you could make a difference in someone’s life who would love this career path,” said NCSA Vice-Chair Carol Naughton, RPR, an official court reporter from Virginia Beach, Va.

“It’s always exciting to hear the different and unique ways states are getting involved and making a difference. I’m sure this year will be no different,” added Naughton, who is also immediate past president of the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA).

“While doing an actual demonstration at a college or high school may be the quickest way to get someone into our profession, I encourage my state association and any individuals who can to get their state legislature to have a proclamation passed recognizing the week,” said Bang. “Whether it’s on the state level or your municipal level, it just gets people talking about what we do,” Bang added.

According to Naughton, VCRA is planning a social media challenge to celebrate the 2019 week. “While I’m not at liberty to share what’s up our sleeves, I can say that your state association may be called upon to meet our challenge. We may even challenge NCRA! So you better be ready!”

To learn more about NCSA’s State Challenge or to participate, visit NCRA.org/StateAssociations.

TCRA officers’ guest blog offers tips for lawyers needing a court reporter

Lexblog.com posted a guest blog on Oct. 3, written by Texas Court Reporters Association’s president Shari J. Krieger, RMR, and president-elect Lorrie A. Schnoor, RDR, CRR, offering tips to  help lawyers have a greater likelihood of having a reporter when they need one.

Read more.

NCRA member recognized by International Association of Women

​​The International Association of Women announced in a press release issued Sept. 25 that the organization has recognized NCRA member Jennifer Schuck, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, as a 2018-2019 Influencer.

Read more.

Get noticed, find jobs, and start networking!

Did you know that the NCRA Online Sourcebook, the premier resource for finding professional court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, scopists, and instructors, receives 900 visits per day from peers, attorneys, firm owners, academics, and paralegals?

Log in and upgrade your listing today!

Stand out with Additional, Premium, and Premium Plus listings!

Registered, Participating, and Associate members receive a complimentary Basic Listing included with their NCRA membership. These NCRA members also have three options for upgrading their NCRA Online Sourcebook listings to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Additional Basic Listing: Purchase an Additional Basic Listing to showcase other services or your other locations. ($99)
  2. Premium Listing: Upgrade your complimentary Basic Listing for a separate dedicated detail page providing additional information about you, such as company name, alternate phone number, and services offered. ($250)
  3. Premium Plus Listing: Upgrade your complimentary Basic Listing for a separate dedicated detail page providing everything in the Premium listing, plus more, such as street address, company description, company website, Google map, and forward to a f riend. ($395)


Additional Basic Listing
Premium Listing
Premium Plus Listing
All NCRA members receive a complimentary Basic listing for their individual profile as part of their membership. Members may purchase an additional Basic listing to showcase another address or other services for that member's individual profile.

(Note: Only personal images may be used for Basic listings. Company logos can be used for upgraded Premium and Premium Plus listings only.) Please visit the FAQ section for specific details on what information is included in each Sourcebook listing.
The Premium listing upgrades your complimentary Basic listing. It provides access to a separate dedicated detail page providing additional information about you.The Premium Plus listing includes all features of the Basic and Premium Listing, plus additional information including social links, 'about me'/company description, additional contact information and more.
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Fax
• Email
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• Company name
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Alternate phone
• Fax
• Email
In More Details
• Services offered
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• Company name
• Street address
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Alternate phone
• Fax
• Email
• Website
• Google map
In More Details
• Services offered
• Company description
• Forward to a friend

NOTES: To upgrade to a Premium listing you must:

  • Upgrade your existing complimentary Basic listing; or
  • To have multiple listings, (one Basic and one Premium level listing), you must first purchase an Additional Basic Listing, and then upgrade this listing to the Premium level

Here’s how to upgrade Your Online NCRA Sourcebook listing!

1. Log in to the NCRA member portal to access your profile

2. If you have a single Basic listing, access the “My Main Profile” to update your social media profiles, your profile picture, and your Services. NOTE: Remember to “Save.”


  • One image is used for all of your Sourcebook listings.
  • Only certain information will display, based on your listing level. (e.g. your social media profiles will ONLY display at the Premium Plus level.)

3. Select the “My Sourcebook listings” tab to see a list of your available Sourcebook listing(s).

4. Select the pencil to the left of the listing to make edits to that specific listing.

5. Click on a listing row to access options to either purchase an Additional Basic listing, upgrade to Premium, or upgrade to Premium Plus. (The yellow background in the preview indicates which listing you are currently viewing—assuming you have multiple listings.)


6. Use the button link above each listing preview to either purchase an additional “basic listing” or upgrade your basic listing to the Premium or Premium Plus levels.

7. Follow the system prompts to complete the purchase/upgrade transaction.


Networking advice for students

Cuyahoga Community College’s (Parma, Ohio) Captioning and Court Reporting Club President, Todd Robie, held a “How to Network at a Conference” seminar on April 3 for all students in the program. Both on-campus and online students were invited to participate. Robie gave valuable pointers for small- to mid-sized conventions and events. As he pointed out, these are your future colleagues and people you may have the opportunity to work with or for in the future. Make it your goal to start building your network!

Here are a few tips and tricks to review and take along with you to a conference you may be attending:

  1. What’s the best thing to get out of a conference? Connections! You want them to remember you and you to remember them.
  2. Everyone expects to meet new people at a conference and to talk with them.
  3. Wear your nametag! It can be a conversation starter in itself.
  4. Remember, folks are especially receptive to students so take advantage of that while you can.
  5. Take the initiative, as that sets you apart from others right from the start.
  6. Start out in a group if you are nervous and then branch out individually.
  7. You are terrific! Keep that in mind because it takes a terrific person to take on the challenge of this career and you have a lot to add to the profession.
  8. Start by preparing and having two basic introductions in mind along with two questions to start conversations. One intro should be a quick one and the second should be two or three sentences. Good news – you can use the same ones over and over again!
  9. Remember, the goal is to turn that conversation into a networking opportunity.
  10. Check out the layout/floor plan of the convention in advance. Common areas are the best places to network.
  11. Take the time to review the schedule and circle potential networking opportunities. Most of your connections will be made outside the sessions in such places as food lines, coffee and drink stations, and breaks.
  12. Do a little research on who is attending the convention and who you would like to meet. Make a list of them.
  13. Keep a file of any business cards you receive and ask them if you can contact them with any additional questions you might have as you continue on your journey as a student.
  14. Take the time to write down what you talked about with the individuals you’ve spoken with.
  15. Of course, dress appropriately.
  16. Feel free to send the people you meet a thank-you email.
  17. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and all those you meet!
  18. So go ahead and join your state and national organizations and make your plans to attend these conventions and conferences!

Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

Speak up about what we can do for our clients

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Every day, day after day, when we set up our steno machine, we do what we are trained to do: report the proceedings; create a verbatim record; and provide the record to the client. We are the “Guardians of the Record;” we are often the only neutral, disinterested person in the proceeding; we are trusted by all parties to be a professional in the room, a protector of their record. This is our job. We all understand the importance of our job and why we are an integral part of the judicial process. But what if there’s more to our job? Is there even more to our job? I think there is, and this other part of the job is truly why I’m passionate about court reporting.

In the 1980s, doing my job every day, I became restless and even bored. Boredom with the job and uncertainty about the future of court reporting became a part of my thoughts every day.

Today, 35 years later, I’m still reporting and passionate about court reporting. What changed? The purpose of my job changed.

Opportunities abounded with the introduction of technology into our profession. This was a chance to market something new to my clients, value-added services that, I was hoping, all of my clients would certainly be desirous of and be eager to pay for. This was a chance to speak up about what I could do for the attorneys, what I could add to the litigation process beyond the creation of the verbatim record. I was super-excited and rejuvenated in my job, stoked about the prospect of adding value to the litigation process, becoming an integral part of the “team” in the litigation process — not just the silent person at the end of the table.

Now the hard part — moving forward with the marketing, first, of rough draft transcripts, which would soon include interactive realtime reporting, remote realtime streaming, litigation support programs, videotaping of proceedings, syncing the videotapes, transcript repositories, electronic delivery of transcripts, hyperlinking exhibits to the transcripts, marking and distributing exhibits electronically at depositions, and on and on. This is a new world for court reporting, I thought, and I wanted to be the first in my area to market this technology. I had to learn to market to attorneys. Without any education beyond high school and court reporting school, I wasn’t sure what to do. I guess you could say I was a bit tongue-tied.

My plan was a simple one at the time, a three-step process: a plan to educate, demonstrate, and sell my clients and potential clients on the new technology. At every job, every day, there was an opportunity for me to implement my plan. At each deposition I was reporting, I took the time to set up the equipment for realtime, electronic exhibits, or whatever value-added service I was marketing. At the appropriate time, the education process began with a simple explanation of the service I was selling, the time and dollars it would save the attorney/litigant, and a free demo day of the service. I’m sure many of you are thinking: “I can’t speak up and have this kind of conversation with attorneys. I’m too nervous. It’s not my job, it’s the firm owner’s job to market. I might not have the answers to all the questions. I don’t entirely understand the nuances of the technology to market it.” All of these concerns are legitimate and concerns that I personally had. Don’t let the concerns or fears stop you from implementing your plan. Your reward is just around the corner.

I want to share some of my tips for success in marketing our value-added services. Hopefully they may be of help to many of you. I’m sure some of you may have other tips to share, and I would encourage you to write to our NCRA editor, share them with her, so we can all benefit from them. [Ed. Note: Sandy is right; we’re always looking for business tips. Send them to jschmidt@ncra.org.]

PREPARATION: Have a plan for each day you market your technology. What technology are you marketing? Who is the audience (corporate counsel, IP counsel, workers’ comp)? An example of my preparation for interactive realtime usually includes bringing my iPads to the deposition, setting them up before counsel arrive, outputting on my CAT software in the “realtime output options” to my remote streaming account (in case there are attendees appearing remotely via telephone, I can send them the link and session code/password to the stream), and creating a job dictionary for the deposition.

IMPLEMENTATION: When counsel enter the room, confidence and professionalism should exude from you. Some reminders to ensure this professionalism are to stand when counsel enter, shake their hands, introduce yourself and the firm you are representing. Always dress in a professional manner. I like to be one of the best-dressed people in the room. Once the introductions are made and the lawyers now have a feeling of trust, I’ve found this may be the best time to state to them that you have realtime set up and ask if they would like to use the service. My experience has been that more than 50 percent of the time they do decide to use the service. Most counsel nowadays know what realtime reporting is, so the educational process may not be necessary, other than to quickly show them the few needed features of the realtime viewing software they would need to browse and restart realtime. Have a document prepared for those who are not familiar with realtime, touting its benefits to the litigation process.

After the deposition/proceeding has concluded, the opportunity arises for you to sell a rough draft transcript. Attorneys in our current time want information now, including our transcripts. Use this time, at the end of the deposition, to announce that a rough draft is available upon request and can be delivered within 15 minutes, or whatever time you can get it to them. If one side orders a rough, it is likely the other side will too. I would highly recommend attending the seminar on “Creating the Demand for Drafts (Life in the Fast Lane)” by Ed Varallo, FAPR, RMR, CRR. Varallo has a wealth of knowledge on this topic and has had great success in selling rough drafts at his depositions.

In my marketing to attorneys over the last three-plus decades, I have found some things are consistent in what attorneys are looking for:

• Focus your marketing on what attorneys need: saving them time and money.
• Information now! Sell your value-added service(s) with this slogan.
• Continuing education: Set up brown bag lunches with continuing legal education credits to educate attorneys on your services.
• Professionalism: You are a part of the “team,” and professionalism ensures the trust you deserve.
• A sense of humor: Make ‘em laugh with an anecdotal story when promoting a technology. We all have those “funny” stories about our technology.
• Attorneys usually follow what others have done. Share the success stories of the attorneys who have taken advantage of the services you offer.

Remember, if you don’t speak up about your value-added service, they won’t know about it. Step out of your comfort zone and be the marketer you can be.

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, is a freelancer in Lotus, Calif. She also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator credential. She can be reached at realtimecsr@calweb.com.

Sandy VanderPol, who is an NCRF Trustee, wrote this article on behalf of the National Court Reporter Foundation’s Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute. Established in 2015, the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute is dedicated to aiding the education of court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. Named for the late Corrinne Clark, wife of the late Robert H. Clark, NCRA’s longest tenured librarian/historian, the Institute was made possible by a generous donation contributed by Donna Hamer, Santa Paula, Calif., Robert’s cousin.

Don’t be left out of print: Update your 2018-2019 NCRA Sourcebook listing by April 15

April 15 is the deadline to update information for the 2018-2019 NCRA Sourcebook. The NCRA Sourcebook is the perfect chance for NCRA members to easily connect with other court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, and other related service providers. For the sixth year, the streamlined publication will be circulated to the entire membership. In addition, the print version of the NCRA Sourcebook is distributed at legal industry events and at conferences held for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Updating is easy. Members only need to log in using their NCRA ID# and password, then click “Login.” Under “My NCRA” follow these two steps: Choose “My Main Profile” and then choose “My Sourcebook Listings.” Make updates in both areas and be sure to click “save” at the bottom of each screen.

Any updates to a member’s record made by April 15 will be included in the 2018-2019 NCRA Sourcebook that will be mailed at the end of the summer. Updates are made to the online NCRA Sourcebook on an ongoing basis.

Please address any questions about your information to sourcebook@ncra.org.

Court reporting firm owners, should you always say yes?

A recent blog posted by Strategic Business Directs gives insight into situations where court reporting firm owners should consider saying no to a job.

Read more.

Realtime: It’s worth it

By Keith Lemons

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. That’s a saying for just about everything nowadays. As court reporters, we know that it is real every day, all day long. When I was a puppy reporter, I had a judge who used to tell me, “Don’t interrupt anymore. Just throw up your hands when they’re talking too fast or on top of each other.” The problem with that is that whenever she said that in a transcript, the appellate court would naturally wonder what I left out. So I decided that I had to get better. I concentrated on learning how to brief on the fly, get longer phrases in one stroke, and write for the computer instead of myself.

I started out my career with the wonderful world of court reporting computers. All of them were written in dedicated computer systems that did not cross over for any other CAT program. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t even search the Internet or type a Word document or run an Excel spreadsheet because none of that had even been thought of yet. But we, the court reporters, had a marvelous new toy that made our work both harder and more meaningful. Imagine, if you will, being able to type two pages a minute when you used to only get one page per five minutes.

The struggle was real to try to figure out how to load a dictionary, how to write a dictionary, how to use a dictionary, how to edit a dictionary — all on a 2-megabyte disk — how to remember to plug in the machine, how to figure out if the cassette reader was really writing or reading that 300-page medical malpractice trial day you just had. But we learned. We adapted. We had to if we wanted to help our agency pay for that $50,000 Baron Data Center.

Later, when I became an official, I wrote for my newest piece of technology, the Baron Solo. It had 5-½-inch, dual floppy drives. The struggle was real to remember how to use this new technology and never, ever, ever use your magnet in the same room as your computer. (We had an electronic magnet system that bulk-erased our cassette tapes for the machines. If you used it near the computer, you risked either wiping out your floppies or causing damage to the electronics in the computer itself.) Then came the Microsoft revolution. We had yet one more machine to buy and one more operating system to learn. This one came with WordPerfect and learning the wonderful works of macros. No more Cardex! The struggle was so real that I accidentally wiped out my entire operating system trying to clear a message that popped up on my welcome screen.

Now we had to buy a new machine with a floppy disk drive in it. The struggle was real. In the early days of these marvelous inventions, we spent tens of thousands of dollars upgrading, upgrading, upgrading, all with no such thing as a legacy fallback.

The 24-pin dot matrix printer revolutionized multiple copy printing — that is, unless you figured in the hours spent trying to separate those carbon pages without destroying your clothing in the process. That struggle was real. So was ink in the machine. Try changing a ribbon without making everything around you purple.

Then the struggle became really, really interesting. In the latter half of the 1990s, a CAT program made real-time court reporting a reality. I got to watch a reporter write from her machine and have real words show up within seconds on a computer screen. I have no idea if her writing was pristine or 1 percent or even 5 percent untranslates. All I knew is it was beautiful. Music filled the skies; my heart was full. For the first time in a long time, I really wanted to be a part of something. It wasn’t just about the money anymore. It was something so new and so grand that I couldn’t even envision the possibilities of the future with it.

So I learned it. I bought more equipment, and I learned wiring and splitting and sending and receiving. It was a real struggle. I showed it to my boss, the judge. She didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But I was enthusiastic about it, so I kept asking her if I could just put a computer on the bench to see if my wiring was correct. She relented, but she made me turn the monitor to where she wouldn’t have to look at it. But she didn’t ever tell me to take it down. Pretty soon, she wanted me to angle the monitor so it would be more visible when she wanted to see the attorneys’ objections. Then she wanted to learn how to scroll backwards, then to search, then to write notes. Eureka!

Realtime (without the hyphen) had come of age. Next struggle was to get other court reporters to accept that our future was in realtime reporting. I felt like the most hated court reporter in the state at times because I provided something that 16 other judges in Wyoming weren’t getting. But when they saw it, they wanted it. (Without extra compensation, of course.)

Little did I know that this struggle would become the thrust of my presentations and seminars for the next 16-plus years. Of course, I’m talking about realtime for the average reporter.

Now the struggle is real because in order to become a realtime writer, we need to put away the things that we learned as a new reporter, that we thought as a new reporter, that we expected as a new reporter. We need to remember that the struggle is not with the machine, it is with our own expectations. We need to struggle to get to the next level of court reporting to make a difference, either in writing realtime or captioning.

The struggle is real; the rewards are great. Two months ago, I was taking a medical malpractice jury trial with several prominent attorneys, one of whom was intensely hard of hearing. I’ve been gently suggesting to him that realtime could help him. Finally, I just did what I did with my judge those many years ago. I put the realtime on his table and told him that it was free; but if he liked it, I would start charging the next day.

During the trial, this attorney would bring the iPad to bench conferences so he could see what was being whispered — something he hasn’t been able to do for years. Both attorneys used their iPads during the instruction conference to see what the construction of their sentences would look like on their jury charge. That reluctant attorney? He now has set two jury trials with me for the beginning of the year — with realtime. Two weeks ago, I did a realtime feed for a woman who was profoundly deaf, deaf from birth, who read lips but never learned American Sign Language. She read lips, but watched my screen like a hawk. She even got a kick out of a mistran or two that I made.

I know the struggle is real. This job can be the most difficult struggle day in and day out. But with our own self-improvement, learning realtime and becoming accomplished at it makes that struggle turn into satisfied accomplishment. I’m loving that struggle. You will too.

JCR Contributing Editor Keith Lemons, RPR, CRR, can be reached at k.lemons@comcast.net. This article was written on behalf of NCRA’s Realtime and Technology Resource Committee, of which Lemons is a member.

Q&A: The art of presentations, with Steve Clark

Steve Clark, CRC

Steve Clark, CRC

Captioner Steve Clark, CRC, based in Washington, D.C., recently visited NCRA headquarters to demonstrate realtime and captioning skills to staff. Steve has an engaging presentation style and lots of experience sharing his story with various audiences, so the JCR Weekly asked him to provide some insight and advice for other captioners, court reporters, and legal videographers on the keys to successful group presentations.

JCR | Can you tell us a little bit about your presentations and what they are used for?

SC | I have about six slide shows that I can choose from, depending on the group I am presenting to and the length of time for which I am asked to present.

One slide show, for example, is a basic “What is CART Captioning?” presentation. This presentation has about 15 slides and introduces potential clients to the basics of onsite and remote CART captioning – how it works, who it benefits, and steps to take to request and set up CART captioning services.

Another slide show is geared toward students and explains how the steno machine works, what CART captioning is, who is a good candidate for this career, and the necessary steps to get started as a student. This slide show can also be used when speaking to civic groups or deaf and hard-of-hearing groups about what we do and how we do it – in other words, answering the common question of “How does that little machine work?”

I have a slide show that I use when speaking to professional court reporting and captioning associations, particularly focused on writing theories and shortcuts for briefing. This slide show can be used for a shorter presentation of 60-90 minutes. I also have created an expanded version of this last slide show. This expanded version is for an all-day presentation to fellow professionals. And I have specialized presentations when speaking to a group about, for example, sports captioning or stadium captioning.

JCR | What are the most important points that you feel you need to cover in your presentation?

SC | It really depends on the audience. If my goal is to help a general audience to understand what we do and how we do it, it is important to explain the basics of the steno machine and why we still use it, particularly why I feel it is the best and most accurate way to produce realtime captions. If I am presenting to a group of fellow captioners or court reporters, I can move more quickly, but I feel it is always important to leave plenty of time for Q&A, which the group of fellow professionals will surely have.

JCR | Do you get nervous about presenting to people? Do you have any suggestions for getting over being nervous?

SC | Now when I present, I don’t get nervous. When I first started presenting, I certainly did get nervous. My three suggestions for not getting nervous are:

  1. Be yourself, but be professional, courteous, and make everyone feel welcome. Speak naturally, but slowly enough that your audience can really absorb what you are saying. And try to speak properly – no “like” and “you know” or other filler words. Having been an audience member, I find that concise speakers are the most attractive speakers.
  2. Know your material. Practice, practice, practice. This means practicing your presentation out loud at least five times. Practice makes perfect.
  3. When I first started presenting and felt the nerves coming on, I would remind myself: “I am the most qualified person in the room to be doing this presentation.” That isn’t meant to sound arrogant or cocky, but rather to remind me that I have worked hard to get to this point; I have worked hard on this presentation and these slides; and I have the ability to present and to present well.

JCR | How does giving presentations help you or your business?

SC | Giving presentations has been a tremendous help to me personally as well as to my business. Whether I am giving a two-minute explanation to a client or audience member during a break at an onsite job or I am presenting to a room of perhaps 100 people, I am representing me, my business, this career, and anyone who counts on the service I am providing. Therefore, it is really important to develop good communication skills, but likewise good listening skills.

JCR | As a captioner, you probably see a fair amount of presentations yourself. Have you seen anything – other than captioning – that sets off a really great presentation from a mediocre one? Have you learned anything from them that you’ve been able to incorporate into your own presentations?

SC | As stated above, the best speakers, in my opinion, are concise, well-spoken, and well-prepared. A good speaker is also a good listener. When I am presenting, if there is a question or comment, I always try to do what I have seen many outstanding speakers do over the years – allow the question or comment to be stated, wait patiently and respectfully, thank the person, and then answer the question as asked. You always want your audience members to know that you value them and that you want them to be a part of this presentation, too.

I also learned from a seasoned member of the court reporting association I belonged to early on in my career that it is important to be deferential. Don’t be afraid to recognize the expertise of others and the tremendous things that the younger, up-and-coming professionals are doing in this field. Give credit where credit is due.

JCR | Do you have any advice for other court reporters or captioners on how to give presentations? Is there a good place to start?

SC | The first few times I presented, I was part of a panel. I was the junior member of the panel, meaning that all of the other panelists had 10 years or more of experience. I had only a year or two. Working on a panel allowed me to hone my skills as a presenter and to improve my slide-creation skills. Listen to how others speak, copy the formatting of others’ slides, and emulate the speakers you like. It is true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

HLAA or similar groups are really receptive and are good places to begin. State or local court reporting associations are also great audiences for someone just starting out as a speaker or presenter.

JCR | A few days ago, someone sent an email about how being a speaker at an event is good for introverts because it gives them something that other people can approach them about and gives them something to talk about that isn’t small talk. Do you find this true?

SC | I definitely agree. And for introverts, it focuses the conversation on a topic that they can have some control over and that they are prepared to speak about. Once you get the speaking bug, though, you stop being an introvert.

JCR | Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SC | Two years ago at NCRA’s convention in Chicago, I was walking through the vendor area, just looking at different products and services being offered. A gentleman approached me and said, “Excuse me, are you Steve Clark?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I’ve been hoping for some time that I would run into you again. I saw you speak to our state association in Massachusetts in 1999, and I want you to know what an impact you had on me.”

He went on to tell me how I inspired him to change his writing, to improve his realtime skills, and he wanted me to know that he even went on to present a few times to state associations and other groups.

That is why I love presenting and speaking. You don’t always know it, and sometimes you don’t find out until almost 20 years later, but you can make a difference, and you can influence someone, both professionally and personally. Anyone who is considering speaking or presenting – stop considering it. Do it! You’ll be glad you did.