Upcoming Online Events Court Reporters Are Invited To!

Ana Fatima Costa is presenting a skills workshop tomorrow with Joanna Storey, Esq. It’s going to feature communication tips for attorneys, paralegals, support staff, and court reporters. If you haven’t seen Ms. Costa’s announcement on it, take a look and register now! Thanks to the San Francisco Paralegals Association for putting this on and letting us in! For those of us that missed the September 15 workshop, this is our chance! I’m already registered.

On that same topic of communication, I was also contacted by Kate Nielson and the American Association of University Women. The message was simple: Pay disparity thrives on silence. I wrote to her that a large percentage of our field is female, explained that we are making less than 30 years ago adjusted for inflation, and asked whether she thought we might benefit. Ms Nielson said she’d appreciate me publicizing the event so my audience would be able to join the discussion. If you’re tired of being silent, consider registering now for October 5.

We have so many allies in society. We are not alone, My advice? Jump in! Let Ms. Costa and Ms. Storey talk to you about communication tomorrow; let AAUW talk to you about the importance of breaking silence. Start writing your story. Even if you cannot attend these specific events, get on the mailing list for these associations so that you have a chance to take part in the future.

MAPEC 2019

Had the pleasure and privilege of going to Mary Ann Payonk’s Empowerment Conference 2019. It happened October 17 through October 20th. It’s all about court reporter empowerment, and it’s been running for years. It’s all about reporters, including skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.  It featured CaseCAT trainings by Grace Molson and Dineen Squillante. It had an effective communication workshop by TALLsmall, whose course and guidance can help reporters in a really big way. It had California heroes Kimberly D’Urso and Kelly Bryce Shainline from Protect Your Record. Empowerment attendees also had the pleasure of having Brewster Rawls speak to them on antitrust.  The short of it is that there were attendees from over 20 states and the United Kingdom. It’s all summed up by its de facto slogan, “when reporters get together, great things happen.”

Every single person I spoke to had one thing to say about Empowerment: It recharged them. That really gives us a good look into something about our work. It can get draining. It can get isolating. We can go long periods of time without seeing each other, or any other stenographic reporter. Protecting the record can get very lonely, and it’s these conferences that remind us we’re not alone and that there’s a whole cadre facing the same issues. Honestly, Empowerment did the same for me. It was recharging. It was refocusing. It made me not only want to commit to every future Empowerment conference, but all of the conferences I often skip due to personal reasons.

Just for a glimpse into what we saw, I’d like to focus in on the TALLsmall presentation of October 18. We went over communication and words that can dilute our message, fillers, doormats, downplayers, and doubt creators. A lot of reporters in the room said something along the lines of they use those words to be polite, or so that they wouldn’t come off as a know-it-all, or so that they wouldn’t be seen as “bossy” or “a b****.” For me, sitting in that room, every single thing the reporters said resonated with me. I remembered times when I felt the same way. I remembered times I got walked over because I didn’t know how to say what I needed to say. MAPEC 2019, in my view, is a wake-up call. We’re largely a field of introverts. A lot of us picked up that machine so that we could go to work, do our job, and not have to speak to people. We’re dealing with salespeople. We’re dealing with people who deal with people every day. We’re dealing with lawyers, whose prime directive is to argue a client’s position. This is the veritable David v Goliath of communication, and many of us are not beating Goliath today. It makes perfect sense for our state associations and every conference to start hosting more workshops on communication. Doesn’t matter if it’s TALLsmall, Al Betz, Toastmasters, or Katen Consulting. Sitting in that room, I took away that we need these workshops so that we can pass those skills on and foster an environment where new reporters are not getting walked over like many of us have been for 10, 20, 30 years. It’s a chance to empower not just ourselves, but the industry, the next person to take up the baton / tripod.

If you get a chance to connect with Mary Ann, go to the next MAPEC, or any conference that you’re on the fence with, my advice is make the leap and go. Do it. It’s worth it. You’ll make new connections. You’ll reinforce professional relationships. You’ll come away full of ideas for your own state and how things can be better. On a personal level, I’m a fanboy. I got to see for myself that all of the people I adore really are all that. They’re funny, smart, caring people. I got to meet some of my own fans, and that was worth more than my weight in gold ( > $6 million).

If you haven’t searched up #MAPEC2019, get going. You can still experience the pictures, the vibes, and get yourself psyched up for MAPEC 2020.  I could write a thousand words pleading with you to be there, but it can all be summed up in a single image.


Outfluence by Al Betz

I had posted in the New York State Court Reporters Association Facebook about how many people would be interested in participating in a business course. Regardless of how many votes that eventually gets and what happens, I wanted to put out there what Anthony Frisolone shared: There is this amazing company out there aimed at helping students with understanding communication and value. They tell it like it is on their site. Schools tend to teach academics and many of the finer points of how to be a professional go untaught or under-taught. At a glance, it’s something that could be invaluable to any student, and something that should be shared far and wide.

I’ve been in the field for years and didn’t know this was an option, so I’m willing to bet there are people out there that don’t know about this and could use it. Maybe associations can use it. Maybe schools. If enough people show an interest, I myself would be happy to organize something in the New York area. For now, however, let me make good on my promise to spread the word. Check out Outfluence.