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On The Bricks Archives

Monthly Archives: March 2018

March 28, 2018

Just get to the point.

I don’t have all day.

Reading an article in the Toastmasters magazine, Joel Schwartzberg, talked about getting to the point. It made a lot of sense. Some of it goes against our Southern conversation skills, but it made sense.

“I was sitting in an auditorium listening to a senior vice president deliver one of the least effective speeches I’d ever heard,” Schwartzberg wrote. “With nothing more than a jumble of thoughts in his head, he rambled, tossed out ideas as they occurred to him and didn’t know when to stop. It was a tortuous hour for his captive audience.”

He needed to make a point. A point is a statement that you can defend and prove with reasoning. “Because I said so” does no count in the proof and reasoning section, by the way.

The article went on to give five questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you’re making a good point with your presentation.

First, do you believe it? The author says to “place the words ‘I believe that’ in front of what you think is your point and see if your statement is grammatically correct. If it is indeed a complete thought, you’re well on your way to a real point. If not, rewrite the statement until it would satisfy your middle school English teacher. These three words force you to commit to a contention and make an argument for it.

“The ‘I believe that’ test is helpful for emails, job interviews, pitches, performance reviews – any situation in which you’re trying to make an impact.

“Is it a truism? If your point is instantly true (Ice cream is delicious), dig deeper to find a point you can argue. (Soft serve ice cream is the most convenient summertime dessert.) One way to root out a truism is to follow up the point by asking yourself ‘why?’. It it’s a truism, there won’t be much of an answer. It answers itself.” Your point needs to have a reasonable opposite point of view.

“Am I jamming too many ideas into my point? If you have multiple thoughts or adjectives to convey, don’t jam them into a single point like clowns into a Volkswagen. Pick the most important one, focus on it and bring up the other later, one at a time. It may seem like you add value to your point when you add new words and ideas, but when you throw multiple point at an audience in a single sentence, you actually dilute the impact of each one. The audience is not only forced to split their attention between multiple points, but is left clueless as to which idea is more relevant.

“Am I using ‘badjectives’? B adjectives are adjectives so broad that they convey no value. They’re deceptive because they seem to project a clear impression. Who wouldn’t want to be connected to something ‘excellent,’ ‘fantastic,’ ‘terrific,’ or ‘very good’?

“But being general robs your point of substance. What does it really mean to call something ‘great’? What makes it great? The audience has no idea. Using badjectives is like when a Little League baseball coach says, ‘Come on now, Johnnie!’ versus ‘Keep your eye on the ball as it comes to you, Johnnie!’ One has no value, but the other makes a substantive point.

“Dig for words that say what you truly mean.

“Can I speak about this for more than a minute? Chances are if you can’t, your response does not have much of a point. Without a point, you have nothing of value, you’re pointless. But armed with a strong point, you present to your audience an idea they can digest, take home, and even benefit from.

“So, the next time you convey a thought, don’t just describe or discuss it. Make your point, put power behind your words and champion your ideas.”

Let’s focus on the Heritage Community Annual Easter Egg Hunt at 2 pm on Mar. 30. And, let me point this out – the hunt is for the children, parents, not for you. Stand back behind the line and let your kids learn to be a little independent. They don’t have to find all the eggs, they just should be having fun. To hush up and stand back. Did I make my point clear?

It’s Easter weekend. I hope that the weekend has in it all the things that you would wish. Maybe attending church is a part of your Easter weekend. Maybe you have thought about it but don’t know where to go. Victory Center is a Main Street Guymon member. Yep, they pay their dues and support what Main Street Guymon does in the community. It would be a good idea to give them a chance to be your home church, if you don’t have one, in my opinion.

Shop and Dine is Apr. 5 starting at 4 pm. Check out the fun downtown happening in the Shop and Dine.

And I’ll make it a point to wave at you when you’re on the bricks!

March 26, 2018

Treasures galore. Just priceless. Yours for the getting.

Those are the offerings at the Priceless Silent Auction fund raiser for Main Street Guymon that takes place at Draper’s Headquarters on Sat., Apr. 7. From 5 to 7 that evening you can bid on antiques to priceless opportunities like the “Fireman for an Hour” donations. The bidding actually goes until 6:30 pm and are then announced and settled.

While you’re waiting for the auction to end, you can partake of the delicious soup bar for supper and look around at the wonderful collection gathered by Jim Draper. It does cost $10 at the door to come in and be a part of the auction.

Hal Clark is cleaning out old furniture from his ranch in Cimarron County and there are items of furniture and more from Clark. Even an early 1900 set of golf clubs is included, a steamer truck, picnic hamper, and an old stereo are a part of his collection. Several chairs date from the late 1800s. Then there is a graduation cake decorated by Brooke Tuttle, Fireman for an Hour by the Guymon Fire Department, batting lessons by OPSU Assistant Baseball Coach Keith Schulz, handmade wooden toys by Mel Grantham, Texas Hold ‘Em instruction for up to four people by Paul Montgomery, a pan of homemade chili rellanos by Norma Green, and more. Mel’s Creations will make a memory bear from a piece of clothing that was worn by someone you love for a Memory Bear.

All auction items are donated so the funds raised can help continue the many Main Street Guymon community programs.

Be sure to look on facebook at the items.

If you are interested in donating or for more information, please contact Melyn Johnson at or call 806-681-9881.

March 23, 2018

It isn’t power that makes you important, nor is it money. Power is something you have when you have influence. Money sometimes can help you have influence. Influence is where it is all at.

You cannot influence people without having the ability to persuade people.

When you are talking to someone and trying to influence them to do something, there are a few things that can make or break how well you do.

First, you must be clear in your presentation. Whether it is an email, a phone call, or a face to face, you need to consider how you present your information. With an email, it is difficult to get someone to read more than two paragraphs. We tend to expect emails to be fast and convenient.

A phone call does not always mean you have them at a time when their mind can focus on what you’re talking about. Face to face you can judge their reactions much better and see what more needs to be said or done or explained. And in all cases, you must be clear, making points that are pertinent and understandable.

A rambling approach and disjointed presentation will lose your audience and erode your influence. If your audience is waiting impatiently for you to get to the point, they will not be persuaded. Make it easy for your audience. Don’t make them work to find your point.

If the relevance to your audience is not obvious, they will not be persuaded. The requires you to know your audience and remember that to influence, it needs to be about them, not you.

If there is no impact, and the audience cannot remember what you said, they will not be persuaded. When someone is talking just numbers and statistics to me, I start planning my next dream vacation in my head. I mentally leave the conversation.

And if there is no value, if you’re talking only from your own perspective, it doesn’t matter to me. It does not go on my list of priorities. Give me a reason and a worth to me.

Quite possibly, if you consider these things before making the effort to influence someone, you might find that you should reexamine who you need to bring in on your project. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste my time. Use your energy and time and knowledge wisely.

Speaking of wise use of time, maybe you should be taking your three to six – year – old child or grandchild to the Yoga Storytime at the Guymon Public Library on March 27 from 4 to 4:45 pm. I read that looking at those who scored highest on their ACT and SAT scores, it was a staggering number who listed that they were read to as a child. So, rather than paying for tutors later, rather than buying expensive study programs, read to your kids when they’re young. And it might lower your blood pressure, too. So, storytime is a good idea for lots of reasons. The library is located at 1718 N. Oklahoma in Guymon.

How did I do on my presentation?

Coop Connections thought: use your card to get a large Pizza Hut pizza for a medium price. This is good at the Boise City, Beaver, and Guymon locations. If you can’t find your card, go online at and they’ll tell you what to do. And you can look at all your regular shopping places that have coop savings. Love that saving money. Love that pizza.

And when you’re using a Coop Connection card, you’re shopping local. That means when you spend $100 at an independent local store (one owned by local folks), $48 stays in the community; when you spend the same $100 at an in – town chain outlet, $14 stays local; and when you spend that Benjamin at a remote online store, only $1 stays local. That money that stays local helps your neighbors and their employees make a living, helps support your civic organization, supports those that give to Panhandle Partners so you have assistance when cancer hits your friend or family member, and helps keep your streets paved, your water running, and your toilet flushing.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts,” said John C. Maxwell. “It is about one life influencing another.”

See you on the bricks … being a great influence!

March 22, 2018

It looked like there was going to be a $9,800 penalty for me to pay on my income taxes this year. When your accountant tells you that, it takes a minute to catch your breath.

Let me tell you the story and it will include some dollar amounts that really are none of your business, but it makes the story better. So, I will tell them because a good story is so important.Turned in my tax folder with the itemized items to Dianne Roberts in good time and she got them quickly. Then she called me and asked if she could bring them by the office. I love that lady. She realizes that if I leave the office, then it gets locked up and there’s nobody to answer the phone – which really isn’t good thing for someone trying to call. I don’t think that irritating computer voice from Google that calls me more than any family member really cares.

Dianne Roberts gave me the news that the taxes looked regular and normal until it came to the point where my income was over what was reported for me to get the affordable insurance for those of us that don’t make all that much money. And that caused the $9,800 penalty.Now, I don’t cheat on my taxes because I am afraid of the IRS. They have way too much power and nobody that oversees them. My imagination has them coming to me and saying that with the donation of a couple of kidneys, a liver, heart, and corneas I’ll be free and clear with them and they won’t slap a lien on the property I, my parents, my children’s and my best friend own. So, I do my best to be accurate and on time.

fter my wonderful accountant gave me the penalty news, I asked her if I could copy that part of the taxes and go talk to Dianna Brown, who does my insurance. Dianne Roberts was very happy that I would go and do that, so at 8:30 in the morning when Brown and Associates opened their door the next morning, I was walking into Dianna Browns office.

It took Dianna Brown just a moment to look at the papers, find something on the computer and print it off, telling me that we hadn’t messed up on the insurance and income deal and would I drop these papers off at Roberts and Keenan for them to see. Sure, I would.
Then Dianna and Dianne visited. It is so much better to get the smart ones to talk and let me just write my column while they figure this out. I had nothing to add to the conversation other than the fact that I might need a paper bag when on the verge of hyperventilating. OK, maybe I am exaggerating, but it could have happened.

Seems that the W-2 from my Edward Jones stocks and whatever else Kyle Hawkins does with that money had shown a profit. That’s what he’s supposed to do, right? Make money for me? Because, you know, it is a fact that when you get old and don’t work anymore people still expect you to pay your bills. Narrow minded, but true.

The $4,000 that was reported income from Edward Jones put me $24 or some such over on my allowable income for the insurance. Thus the $9,800 penalty.
This is not a joke. Nor was it funny at the time.

So, Dianna Brown asked me if she could go visit with Kyle. You bet. And then Kyle calls and asks if it is allowable for him to visit with Dianna about my Edward Jones stuff. Heavens, yes, and they visit. Kyle does some switching and rearranging, all perfectly legal, because I’m likely not the only person this sort of nightmare has happened to.

Dianna calls me and gives me the good news.

Dianne calls and gives me the good news.

Kyle calls and gives me the good news and explains what needs to happen.

And the penalty goes away. I can keep my kidney or whatever organ is worth that many thousands of dollars that I was going to owe to the IRS. Pretty sure my Hardy Boys collection of books wasn’t going to cut it if they went on the market.And now let’s look at this whole incident in a different way.

Thank God I have an accountant that got my taxes done in a timely manner. Thank God I have an insurance agent who is just down the street and has time to listen to me and then advocate for me. Thank God my money guy is right here in Guymon, wasn’t a long distance number and five hours holding on the phone away. And he brought the papers to me to sign and sits down with the patience to explain everything to me. In fact, he’ll explain it again if he needs to, until I understand.Whether your insurance agent is Warner McKinnon or Ken Lane or Charles White or Garrison. They are here, seeing us at church and at Rotary and other places around town. They will work for you because they care.

Whether your accountant is Elgie Davis or Peggy Keenan or whomever, the same goes for them. And if your investments are handled by Mitch Egger or Kyle, they will work with you even if it is a really small amount of money because they want your life to be good. Don’t tell me shopping online can save you $100 … if I had done that it probably would have cost me $9,800 to save that $100. Certainly, I wouldn’t have figured out how to fix it because I don’t know those things and I was busy doing my own work. But because they cared, the three put the puzzle together and owe them.

It’s called Live Local.

If you’re smart and think you and your family are worth what is best for your future, you’ll do it. Whether it’s buying your office supplies here (and having them deliver them in a day or less … and while Gabe Dixon is here, he’ll also put the toner in my machine because that’s just how he is); getting your insurance from a local agent; having your cell phone through a carrier that sponsors you kids t-ball teams and supports school clubs and events; buying your Christmas presents from the local boutiques and stores … heck, you should check out the cool things in the lumber yard that people don’t realize they have; it makes a difference in your family’s life. It makes a difference in your neighbor’s world. It makes a difference in the world of those you go to church with. It makes a difference.
For me, in March of this year, it made $9,000 worth of difference … and a happy kidney, to boot.

See you on the bricks … living local!

March 13, 2018

Lately it seems my form to be pontificating to you all. And that isn’t always appreciated. So, no lecture at all with today’s words. Just sharing of information. Most of it good information. The last couple columns haven’t included upcoming events and calendar items, so I’m going to share those and, also, some of the quotes that I’ve seen and stashed recently. If they sound like a lecture, you’re just being overly sensitive because they are meant to encourage.

The Love Does Drawing for the pork chops, ribs, and steaks donated by Seaboard Foods and National Beef is Mar. 16 at 4 pm in the Main Street Guymon office at 116 NE 5th Street. Those who have given to the fund for school lunches are in the drawing. It is interesting to me the number of people who came in with a check or money because when they were students, they felt embarrassed about being on special / different lunch cards. One lady said, “My mom was a single mom and she worked all the time ….” Some things stick with us and it is a shame that adults still feel that hurt. And it continues to happen to kids today. So, if you want to help, come by the Main Street office or call Jim Norris at 580-651-1018. You can make checks out to Main Street Guymon.

Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress.

TCEC is going out into the community with their Co-op Connections at Whispering Bliss on Mar. 22 from noon to 1 pm. You can use your Co-op Card for a 20% shopping savings while you’re there! And sign up to win a $100 gift certificate. It’s fun. And remember there is parking in the back, too.

Leadership is not about a title or designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates and customers.

Being bi-lingual is a wonderful skill to have. Always wishing I had a second language, I tend to wish and yet not work at it. But there is help if you want to be. Start maybe with the Bilingual Storytime for Kids at the Guymon Public Library from 1:00 – 1:45 pm. You’ll have to take a 5 – year – old or younger to qualify, but there are plenty who would love some special time like this!

“Let the improvement of yourself keep you so busy that you have no time to criticize others.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

Sometimes we need the help of our legislators and it is important to set that in motion before you need the assistance. Be proactive instead of reactive. Quit posting on facebook and talk to people who actually can help. Be a part of the group traveling to the Oklahoma City Capitol through the Chamber’s Panhandle Day at the Capitol on Mar. 26 and 27. Call Jada and find out more at 338-3376. There’s even a bus that takes us all … join up!

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

Mark Mar. 29 on your calendar for the Workforce Oklahoma Open House at 304 E 4th in Guymon. It is happening from 10 am to noon and they would love to have you come in!

“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more?” ~ Roy T. Bennett

April is our major Community Clean – Up month each year. This year we have several opportunities for you to pitch in and help, if you’re so inclined. There is a work day to spruce up the Texas County Fairgrounds on Sat., Apr. 14. You can be part of the 9 – 11 am crew or the 11 – 1 pm crew. Lunch is offered for the volunteers. There’s painting and painting and painting and cleaning up happening that morning. Call Main Street Guymon at 338-6246 for more information.

We also have Apr. 21 and Apr. 28 Community Clean – Up days planned. And consider giving 30 minutes and just cleaning up your own alley. Walk down and do a good job for you and your neighbors. Be part of this great effort!

Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

See you on the bricks!

March 12, 2018

Every once in awhile you read something and can’t help but shake your head and go “spot on.” Terry Brand is a friend of mine and her work is with special needs adults. She has a sense of humor and doesn’t usually show that she takes like very seriously. But recently she wrote this, and I read it and thought it should be shared.

“This is the best explanation of what I do,” Terry wrote. “I have worked with these folks for years. I love it every day!

“To the parents of the child with special needs,

“I do not know the struggle you must have gone through watching your child not progress like the other kids. I could never fathom the heartbreak for you when you stopped wishing they would become doctors or lawyers and simply hoped they would be happy.

“My heart breaks every time I think of the moment you wondered what would happen to your little man or sassy miss when you passed on and if anyone would ever attend their funeral since you were no longer around. All these battles you have gone through as a parent and cried and screamed and even questioned your faith over – I hurt a little knowing anyone felt that way.

“I am not a parent of special kids. However, I care for adults with special needs. I have worked with them for over four years. Wonderful being with different levels of understanding I have been blessed even more to call my friends. I know the years of them being adults is far in the future, but know they will continue to be happy in life. They may not ever want to backpack through Europe or see Bono live in concert, but they have a sense of happy that is so much simpler.

“They like the moments their HTS comes in their room and sings Reba to them at the top of her lungs (it always makes them die laughing at the silly moment) or drawing on the sidewalk with chalk in the middle of the summer or having a late night snack with the caretake on duty. They always need someone there to help them shave in the mornings or cook their food, but they do not know that is not normal and they eventually end up loving HTS company.

“I hope you are ready to have your family expand, because we love them and we have bonded with them and we understand them. We stay to keep their routing nd give them security in their environment. We stay because their hugs are genuine, and their laughs are the best – like a child.

“I guess I just wanted you to know though it seems hopeless at times, know there is a light and they will be happy, loved, cared for, and they will be okay.

“Hoping this gave you a second of peace.”

Sometimes we get a glimpse of something we know nothing about … and glimpse something that might give us pause for thought. After reading this, first I am thankful for all those people who do things that to me would be difficult (caregivers of all sorts). Second, the joy that Terry has in her choice of work is felt in what she wrote, and I wish this for all those I love. Find something in your life that brings you joy. And then I want to add, if you are the parent of a special needs child and you need someone to talk to or to help you learn about community resources available to you, call Monica Ronne at 580-651-9700 or Shanda Oden at 580-461-3528. There are people who understand.

And if your heart is wanting to help a family with special needs children, the Oden family is once again adopting two children with special needs from Russia and their friend, Amber Costilla, is organizing a benefit to help cover the extensive adoption costs. Give Amber a call at 338-0072 if you’re interested in having a fun booth, help on the committee, or want to help in some other way! It’s going to be on May 12 for a couple hours and should be fun for the whole family!

March 6, 2018

Ever noticed how some people are just better at making people believe what they say? They state it and it is just taken as God’s truth. Others can say the same thing and people question and look doubtful at them? I recently read an article in the Toastmaster magazine that gave “Powerful Secrets of Persuasion.”

“Your ability to persuade and influence people – to get them to understand, accept, and act upon your ideas – is crucial to success. People who speak persuasively have greater personal power. They get more things done and achieve goals faster. Learning how to persuade and influence will help you achieve success in every area of life.

“If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to you. Trust underpins everything you say and do. Without it, you are lost. Live your life so you’re trusted.”
Most people “like people who are similar to us. People prefer to say yes to people they like. That’s why, before getting down to business, it is best to talk about who you are, what you do, and if possible, find common ground or pay a genuine compliment.

“Put yourself in their shoes. You’ll ever be persuasive if you focus on your own needs. Talk to people about their needs and you’ll have their attention.

“Give a little something to get a little something in return. By giving something, doing a favor, making a concession, providing small gestures of consideration to others, you’ll find that others will feel compelled to return your kindness.

“What we see is just as important as what we hear. Like it or not, people judge you at first glance. Your body language, behavior, character, gestures and dress all have a lasting impact on your ability to persuade.

“Confidence and certainty are compelling. You have a better chance of persuading others if you believe in what you do.

“Have authority. People listen to experts. By having authority, you can get a yes quicker and more often.

“Knowledge is power. Know your subject.

“Build your reputation. Integrity, accomplishments, and character are all important. When it comes to influence, your reputation is your biggest asset.

“Establish rapport. When people are comfortable with you, they are more open to your suggestions. Listen, ask open – ended questions, pay compliments, use humor.

“Be flexible with your response. The person with the greatest flexibility will have the most influence in any situation. Flexibility enables you to achieve your outcome.

“Stay calm, keep your emotions in check. People turn to those in control of their emotions, especially in times of conflict, pressure, or stress.

“Pick your battles. Persuasive people understand that most conversations don’t require getting someone to do or accept something. Aggressive pushers put people on the defense, while truly persuasive people understand their power and use it sparingly.

“Listen more than you speak. You can’t persuade others if you don’t know the other side of the argument. Listen for objections, connections, and moment of agreement – common group you can capitalize on.

“Engage. Smile, establish eye contact, and speak firmly, clearly, and slowly. People will relax and engage with you and be receptive to your ideas.

“Try to eliminate fear. Whether you’re speaking one – on – one, or to a group or a large audience, don’t think that you’re not good enough or don’t have what it takes. People pick up on nervousness. It creates a barrier to persuasion. We can all get better and no one is perfect.”

Good advice. I’m going to share this with the next Career Focus class.

Hoping you have a great week on the bricks!