Pace: This is where we begin — thank you (Summit Daily staff column)
As a working journalist over the last decade, I’ve listened to a good number of public speakers. The best I ever saw led by thanking everyone in the audience for coming.
It was simple, and what followed was him expressing how happy he was everyone could make it, how happy he was he could make it. Then he told a joke.
This introduction provided a seamless segue into a lecture that dived into how good Southerners could have ever allowed racism to run unchallenged in the mainstream. It was a hard topic to broach, but no matter the discussion — be it race, politics or religion — thanking the audience and expressing gratitude put forth first the speaker’s humility and humanity, helping disarm hostility and open lines of communication.
It was no secret everyone in the audience came for a single reason, to hear what this person had to say, but for the man of the hour to lead by thanking everyone else for their presence was a tactful turnaround.
I distinctly remember watching this and thinking we should all be so gracious.
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Generally speaking, it’s widely agreed that beginnings and endings tend to get emphasized, whether that’s the beginning or end of a sentence, a paragraph or, to an even larger extent, a story.
How you close is the feeling people will go home with, and it’s an important piece to any presentation. But equally important is how you begin, how you hook the audience and bring them along.
Which is more important? That feels a lot like asking which two wheels on my Nissan do I think I could live without. Give me the front two, I guess.
Stealing a page from this playbook, I hope our readers and sources know how grateful I am to be here. I was raised on Colorado’s eastern plains, finished high school in Fort Morgan and college in Greeley. I’ve been away for a while. Chasing a career in journalism took me first to Tennessee and then Kentucky, but Colorado has always been my home, and there is no other place I’d rather be right now.
This move put me close to my family. I can finally watch some of my nephew’s ballgames, visit my sister and my mother in Loveland on a whim and reconnect with old friends who were smart enough to stay put.
I don’t regret my time in Kentucky and Tennessee. Sometimes I ask myself why I ever left the Mile High, but it was worthwhile, and both wonderful states each had their peaks and valleys. Still, neither can compare to Colorado’s High Country, even with their patches of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Whether, you’re a commuter, a seasonal resident or a full-timer, we’ve all made the journey, ended up in the same place and I am extremely thankful for that.
In the month and some change that I’ve been working here in Summit, I’ve been amazed by the kindness of individuals, the strength of place and the absolute beauty that’s hard not to take for granted when you see it out nearly every window every single day.
Yes, Colorado is a great place to be, and I am so happy to be here in Summit; I can’t say that enough. However, as a working journalist, I suppose I should be happy to be just about anywhere nowadays.
Eli Pace is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News. Before that, he was the managing editor of the Kentucky New Era.
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