Janet Yellen at Haas

Great speech last night by Janet Yellen, CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee. Yellen had been a professor at Haas before joining the Fed and came back to Haas to discuss the current economic situation in an event that attracted quite a large crowd and received plenty of news coverage.

Overall she struck a cautiously optimistic tone. Some great insights into the risks of deflation and inflation and what tools (both conventional and unconventional) the Fed has to fight inflation going forward and to stave off deflation in the short-run.

Janet was a great speaker and clearly an extremely intelligent person. This was probably one of the last speakers I could see before graduating, and while I am busy finishing papers and projects, I am so glad I went to see her speak.

A video of her speech is online at http://www2.haas.berkeley.edu/Videos/Janet_Yellen.aspx.


Lifelong Connections

The Lifelong Connections Campaign (LLC) is our student pledge drive. During the campaign students pledge their future financial support to the school and commit to a first gift to Haas. To kick of the campaign, our class got together last night for a reception organized by the LLC committee. (As with so many other things here at Haas, LLC is organized and run by a group of current students.)

While the LLC team did solicit pledges during the event, the key purpose was to bring a class together once more, and to share some of our experiences here at Haas. Moderated by our favorite stand-up comedian (and Haas second year), 10 current students talked about what Haas meant to them and shared some of their most important Haas moments with the group. I can’t post their speeches here, but it was amazing to see and hear so many different experiences and to relive many of the greatest moments of our two years at Haas.

Our time at Haas is coming to an end, and I am starting to realize just how much I will miss being here, and how much I will miss the school and my wonderful classmates.


Show, Don’t Tell

Yesterday, I attended two sessions of Professor Bill Sonnenschein’s lectures about giving good speeches. One was a lunchtime “storytelling” workshop. The other was his regular Leadership Communications lecture, which had a special guest.

What was the theme that linked these two events? The concept of “show, don’t tell.”

Many of you reading this probably have heard of the phrase before, usually related to how to write great application essays. But the same concept applies to speeches just the same.

During our “Storytelling Workshop”, Prof. Bill taught us the importance of telling stories, because the stories show examples of your topic, which often helps your audience understand you better and remember what you had to say.

So, that same night, Prof. Bill applied his principle by having his special guest speaker, our own Dean Richard Lyons, give a talk to illustrate the components that go into a great speech.

Long story short, Dean Lyons gave a strong speech using stories and all the other key ingredients that Prof. Bill has taught us over the past 5 weeks. The best part was when the dean opened himself up for constructive criticism from the audience. How cool was that?

Seeing Dean Lyons talk in this setting helped me gel together all the components of good speeches. It also taught me the power of “show, don’t tell.” Now if only I can incorporate all that into my speech coming up this Thursday… =)