COM0014 – Blog Post #2: Storytelling and Communication Styles

Okay are you ready to learn how to express the best story of your life?! Learn how to really capture your friends and family?

Story telling has been around since the dawn of time. Every bit of history shows that each civilization had some sort of story telling. Whether it be through drawing on cave walls to personal journals and books found by historians. Even today story telling is ever evolving from movies, podcasts, social media to documentaries. Everyone loves being taken for a journey into someone’s experiences, history or fictional ideas.

The key to telling and expressing the best story is how you communicate the information to your audience. For example in many movies we see the story being told from multiple angles. First person, a narrator or a bunch of difference characters. The understand the voice you want your story to take is to understand how you want the audience to feel. Welcomed and relaxed? Perhaps formal and direct. Remember the the situation and the character can help you make this discussion. Once you have decided you can begin the writing, recording or acting out your story.

One thing to keep in mind is that in today’s world everyone and everything is always telling a story and it is easy for your audience to become distracted by something else. How often in the middle of the movie do you see someone on their phone skimming through social media? So how to you keep the interested in what your story? Grab them right from the get go with a hook! Make sure you start off with the most important and exciting information and let it trickle from there. Ask yourself “Is this information important to the story or am I rambling?”

If you follow these steps you are on your way to being an engaged and interesting story telling. So, tell me a story?!

 

 

 

 

Where the authentic meets the modern

The memories from my summer vacations in the West Bank (Palestine) are unforgettable. I was born and raised in Dubai; a big, busy, luxurious and recently built city. On the other hand my parents were born in a small village (Aqraba) in the West Bank; which is quiet, peaceful and has a wonderful nature.

Last summer vacation I’ve agreed with my 3 young boys whom I’m raising here in Ottawa to go for adventures vacation and spend 3 months in the other half of the world. First we flew to Dubai, then to Amman and Finally to the West Bank (Palestine). These places are located in the Middle East; while they share the same language (Arabic), religion (Islam) and culture, they’re each slightly unique in their own ways. There are many reasons for taking my boys to different places in the Middle East; first to learn where they originally came from and what is our tradition, second introduce them to the bigger family, their grandparents and cousins, and finally to practice their mother tongue language.

Here I will write about different things that we have done during our vacation.

DUBAI

As most people know, Dubai is the city of dreams, Dubai is known for its high skyscrapers, 5 star and even 7 star  hotels, restaurants, shopping Malls and of course for their beautiful beaches.

Our first few days in Dubai, people were celebrating Eid Al Fitr, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. In Eid, the boys went for prayer with my dad; we had a big feast with family and friend. We went to shopping malls so the boys can buy toys and games also we went to amusements parks like IMG World & Hub Zero. The boys also enjoyed swimming in the sea and tanning under the sun.

Ooh I forgot to say what I’ve done for myself…I took the privilege of leaving the boys with my mom, I went to the Spa, I took a Moroccan bath, went for shopping, met with my old friends and smoked Shisha (hubble bubble smoking).

AMMAN

Amman is the capital of Jordan.  The temperature in Amman in the summer way better than Dubai, the air was refreshing and clean. The boys went for summer camp, where they met many boys in their age who speak Arabic; they went together to Royal Stables, Scandinavian Forest, and to olympic swimming pool in Aljwaeda club.

Also we went together to Jara Souk, Rainbow Street, and we attended my cosine’s wedding parties where they served a delicious Mansaf.

Food in Amman is unbeatable; we had Falafel, Hummus, Kubbah, Fateh,Roka Salad, foul, Maklobah,Musakhan and vine grapes.

West Bank

Our visit to west bank lasted for two weeks; we visited historical places and enjoyed the beautiful nature of Palestine. We spent first few days in Araba where my parents were born, we met our cuisines and we remembered our old days when we were young. We visited Khan al-Tujjar in Nablus, the 15th-century souk, it has been noted as the finest khan in the region. We went to Kanīsat al Mahd (Church of the Nativity) in Bethlehem,  the church has The Grotto of the Nativity, the place where Jesus have been born. Lastly we prayed at Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi (The Sanctuary of Abraham)in (al-Khalil), considered the fourth holiest site in Islam.

 

the trip was an unforgettable; the boys learnd by experiancing the real life in my chidhood places , it meant much more for them than me telling them stories about my childhood.

Would you consider visiting any of these city next summer, if yes, which one?

 

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Fitr

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_al-Tujjar_(Nablus)

 

COM0014 – Blog #2: Digital Storytelling and Short Attention Spans

We’ve become impatient as a society, and the best way to adapt to short attention spans is to make articles and stories more concise. Short and sweet – I’ve learned that those are the types of online articles that everyone prefers to read nowadays. The most important information is right at the top of the page or even in the headline, and the rest of the information becomes irrelevant. What time did the event take place? Where did it happen? Will it affect my commute to work or my plans later in the evening? Those are the questions that everyone wants answers to when reading a news article for instance, otherwise the main message will get lost in a sea of paragraphs and words.

four people holding mobile phones

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

With the rise of digital technology and communication, everyone has a device in their hands, making it easier to access information they need instantaneously. With that said, everyone now has a short attention span. Can’t get the information pulled up within 0.6 seconds? Not worth it. Can’t connect to LTE service but can only connect to 3G? Definitely not worth it. If no one can access the information, the chances of them reading it or even sharing it to others is extremely low.

A news source that does a good job with this is BuzzFeed News. Their headlines almost tell the entire story to its readers. For example, this news article has the important information in the headline. The readers know exactly what they’re about to read, and probably don’t even have to read on any longer. BuzzFeed News also encourages audience engagement by leaving a comments section down below and buttons to share on social media.

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BuzzFeed News Article; Photo from BuzzFeed News

 

Do you think that digital storytelling has adapted to society’s short attention spans? Let’s discuss!

COM0014 – Blog #1: Riviera Maya, Mexico

I’ve visited many places in the Caribbean, but never made my way to Mexico. I had heard so many beautiful things about Mexico that I knew it was time to experience it first hand.

mexico

(photo credit: google.com)

Let’s start with the resort I stayed at, Barcelo Maya Grand in Riviera Maya. If you are looking for a family friendly, clean resort with amazing food, then I highly recommend you stay here. I’ve been to many all-inclusive resorts; Barcelo Maya Grand is by far the most well kept, clean resort I have ever had the pleasure to visit.

Food

Barcelo Maya Grand offers an impressive, 12 different a la carte restaurants on site. My favorite was the Teppanyaki restaurant. My family had so much fun watching the show that is incorporated during the meal, and interacting with the chef. The chef was highly trained, which I was a bit surprised to see as Tappanyaki is a Japanese style of dining.

I would also recommend their Mexican restaurant. I knew I wanted to experience traditional Mexican cuisine and they did not disappoint. You haven’t had a real taco until you eat one in Mexico. Mouth watering to say the least!

Excursions

Market

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(photo credit: google.com)

We took a day trip to the market in town. They had everything from traditional souvenirs, authentic street meat, cigars, hand crafted items and much more. I purchased a lot of traditional memorabilia. Ponchos for my kids, hand made blankets for my home, and beautifully hand painted clay vases. These items were cheaper to purchase at the market then if they were purchased on the resort.

Tulum Ruins

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(photo credit: google.com)

The Tulum Ruins were what I was most looking forward to visiting. Walking through the ancient walls of this Mayan city was breathtaking. There were hundreds of tourists there. We had an amazing tour guide who took us around and taught us the history behind this city. My personal recommendations for this excursion are to wear a hat, bring your sunscreen, and lots of water. I don’t think there was any shade; we were under the sun the whole time. Our group arrived at 10 a.m, and by the time we returned to the resort it was dinner time. This is a site you will not want to forget your camera!

Beach

beach

(photo credit: google.com)

I always worry about the conditions of the beach at any resort I go to. This is a beach that will not disappoint! Beaches covered in white sand with large mature palm trees offering you shade, and absolutely spectacular scenery. However, the show stopper at the beach is the crystal-clear ocean water. This is my happy place. There is something very tranquil about lounging by the ocean. Riviera Maya, Mexico by far has one of the best beaches I have ever been to. This is a beach that will not disappoint the new comers and will have you returning again and again.

Overall…

Mexico was beautiful, full of culture, great food and so many different excursions and sites to see. A vacation I most highly recommend.

COM0014 – Blog #1: Bunkie Life: Glamorous Camping?!

This past year has been full of monumental life moments. Our family grew by adding a daughter-in-law through marriage, we will be adding a son-in-law this December and recently added a grandbaby to the mix! This has left us little time or money for vacations!

A Mini Summer Vacation – Glamping…

As this past summer season moved along, my husband Dan and I were regretting not taking an extended period of time off for vacation. After a couple of discussions, we decided we needed some relaxing time together and the rapidly approaching September long weekend was our last chance!

Immediately,  I started perusing some Air BNB listings. As I scrolled throw the site I discovered the Bunkie. A mini-cabin with electricity and a double bed.  The listing promised “camping without the hassle”, it looked like Glamping to me! How can 110 reviews be wrong?! After a quick consult with Dan, I booked the weekend! The anticipation of our glamorous camping weekend was sweet. We enjoyed researching the area and deciding what we were going to see and do.

As our glamping weekend was fast approaching, I figured I had better check into the Bunkie’s amenities and start to gather supplies. This is the moment that I realized, in my haste, I missed the part about no available water source… I knew there was no running water in the Bunkie, but I did not realize there was no water source on the property. Oops.

In communicating with the Bunkie owner he assured us that we would be able to shower at the local gym if we needed to. Problem solved! We decided that Saturday night we would work out, shower, go out for a nice romantic dinner and hopefully still be clean enough for church Sunday morning! Over the next few days, as I planned and gathered camping supplies, I was not enjoying the amount of work that it was taking to prepare! It was not feeling like a glamorous camping experience.

Finally, the day arrived for us to head out on our mini Bunkie vacation. After a short drive, we arrived at our destination and hiked up to our Bunkie. It was really cute and we were excited. It took a few trips up a fairly steep hill to carry in all of our supplies.

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Once we had unloaded our supplies, a quick look around and I realized that this was not the glamorous camping that I had envisioned! The last few renters had left their recycle piled against the Bunkie, along with some litter… the fire pit was a bit of a mess as well.

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The Bunkie itself looked clean, however, when I pulled that power cord out from under the bed it brought along with it an exercise roller, a deodorant stick and a pair of a previous renter’s dirty underwear! Ummm… Ewww!  At this point, I was questioning this fellow’s 100+ 5 star reviews! Where was my relaxing glamping vacation!?

The Adventure Begins…

This is where we decided this vacation had become an adventure and not glamping! After some time cleaning up the Bunkie site we unpacked, played some cards while enjoying the beautiful view and headed out on some adventures.

The gym ended up being closed for the long weekend so we set up a makeshift outdoor shower… glad it was a secluded spot! And, if you want to hear more wonders of the composting toilet… I am not a fan! Overall, our vacation was enjoyable.

Yes, Bunkie Life is easier than camping. But I have learned that the term Glamping is relative! Oh, and in case you think I am a princess!  “Glamping is where stunning nature meets modern luxury.” I believed I experienced some stunning nature with some modern conveniences… but definitely not luxury.

Have you experienced a Bunkie or Glamping? I’d love to hear about your experience! Tell me about it in the comment section below!

 

COM0014 – Blog #1: Mont-Tremblant

COM0014 – Blog #1: Mont-Tremblant

I always ponder about vacation, taking time off work, spending a weekend away. I am such a workaholic that I FEEL I don’t NEED a vacation. So after lots of discussion I agreed to a weekend away to Mont-Tremblant.

I’ve only ever been there once, it was in the winter, about 7 years ago. So, the only memory that really sticks out to me, is trying to ski. It didn’t go over well, you know in the movies where the person skiing ends up in the forest? You thought right, I ended up in the forest. Surprisingly I haven’t skied since, wonder why.

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The first and last time I skied

No need to worry, we went in the summer. I never knew how pretty it was, it felt like you were on this little resort where you’re in a different word. Until you see someone you know because the world is actually so small.

Before we went, I did some research and wanted to plan out what our activities were going to be, I spent hours online looking into different things the village offered. Somehow, I missed it was “Mont-Tremblant Blues Festival”. We were skeptical at first to go, as we both don’t listen to Blues music, and that there was a VERY  high chance it would be sung in French and both of us are very English. But, we did it anyways! It was a pleasant surprise that both of enjoy Blues music, we were correct that most of the music was sung in French.

The next day, we woke up energized and ready to tackle the day… well tackle a hill. Both of us were amazed on how organized the Village is with their hiking trails, they have it down to the minute on how long a trail would take you. Which was fantastic, because I get really hungry around 11:30 am and no one wants that. So, we chose the hike that was best for my needy stomach and off we went. I believe we walked for about 10 minutes before finding this beautiful water fall, and as you’re thinking correctly, we took some pictures.

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After the photos, we continued up the hill, during that time it clicked to us that we never realized how steep the hills at Mont-Tremblant are (Really shows that both of us aren’t skiiers.) With that being said, we made it to the first landing, took and picture and headed back down.

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Overall, Mont-Tremblant is an adorable village, with lots to do, including shopping, dining, beaches, hiking, and activities for everyone. I had a great weekend away, maybe next time I won’t be such a pain in planning something, but I doubt it.

COM0014 – Blog #1: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

COM0014 – Blog #1: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It has been 13 years and I still haven’t received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I was disappointed for a while but I decided to take matters into my own hands by going on a trip to Universal Orlando to see it myself!

In May of 2017, I went to visit Universal Studios. I’m a child at heart. I’m in love with movie magic, and I have never been so immersed in magic before while at Universal Studios. The smell of butter beer and sweets wafted through the streets of Diagon Alley as I passed the Leaky Cauldron; kids ran out of Ollivander’s with wands in their hands and chased each other into the Owlery; but my favourite of all, the dragon at the top of Gringott’s Bank blew out warm flames every few minutes.

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Diagon Alley

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Ollivander’s Wand Shop at Diagon Alley

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Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley

After riding the Escape From Gringotts ride and exploring all of the shops in Diagon Alley, I hopped on the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9¾ and took a trip to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

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Hogwarts Express Train (Fun fact: it’s actually a ride AND a mode of transportation that takes you from one park to the other)

First stop: Hogwarts. Walking through the castle made me realize how long this must have taken to build. The attention to detail was mesmerizing. The castle had holograms of the characters walking around while speaking to each other, and the pictures on the wall moved. After riding the Hogwarts attraction, I explored Hogsmeade. The whole place – Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Hogwarts – was identical to the Harry Potter films that I know and love. Every building, every window, every crack in the sidewalk was almost an exact replica. The rides were interactive and in 4D, aside from the insanely fun inverted roller coaster, The Dueling Dragons.

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Hogwarts

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Hogsmeade

My favourite ride was Escape From Gringotts. The detail and the ride itself were incredible! While everyone waited in line, you got to walk through the bank where the Goblins actually moved as if they were just working at their everyday jobs! The ride was a roller coaster with a 4D twist and it was so fun! I unfortunately didn’t have my camera with me at the time to take photographs or videos, but here is a video from YouTube if you are curious: https://bit.ly/2N7roOb

If you love roller coasters, warm weather, and most importantly Harry Potter, then I highly recommend making the trip down to Universal, Orlando. I couldn’t even express in words at the time how amazing the experience was. They created an entire London street with a Knight Bus, a replica of King’s Cross Station, and a secret passageway that gets you into Diagon Alley, very similar to what is in the films.

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“London”

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The Knight Bus

 

Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida? What was your favourite experience there? If not, would you want to go? Leave a comment down below!

 

For anyone interested in travelling and for those that want to see more, here are some helpful links to get you started:

Universal Orlando Resort – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogsmeade Walkthrough

Diagon Alley Walkthrough

COM0014 – Personal Reflection

Have you ever thought about the courses you have taken over time, what you have learned and how you have been able to apply that learned

information? It’s always different for every one to take learned knowledge and apply it to your life or career or both.

Whether it is a verbal story or a written one, I’ve learned the importance of knowing who you want to know your story. Knowing your target audience is a key element in being a successful story teller. Would you tell a story about your greatest achievement to a child? Perhaps if that child could benefit from your mentorship. But in all honesty, you would probably tell it to someone older.

Writing a book, the format you use will generally be leaving the climax of the story or the most important part near the end, when all will be revealed. When writing for social media, you really want to have that important piece at the beginning to create interest so the reader will read on.

As I reflect on my life and of those who have impacted me, I continue to come back to the 2 most important people in my life: my parents. Being the youngest of six had its advantages for sure. But it also had its drawbacks:

– I was the last to do everything
– Always got the hand me down clothes
– Always had someone watching over me; to some that is a good thing
– Was always given lots of advice on everything

Perhaps the single most piece of advice I received was from my dad when I was 16. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket“. Now he was talking about boyfriends at the time but I’ve carried that little tidbit with me for many years now. And it’s proven to be a pretty good piece of advice for my life. I’ve always diversified my career options and my education, as well as my social life and activities. Who would have guessed that my dad was right? At 16 I sure didn’t.

I want my stories to be not only a reflection of me and what I’ve gone through, but also to have meaning for the person reading it. I was never as close to my dad as I was to my mom, but those 8 little words have made such an impact on my life. If my words can be remembered like my dad’s were for me after 40 years, that would be so amazing. And if what I say can resonate with the person reading them, then I know I’ve been successful.

Do you remember a piece of advice you received and how it impacted your life? Would it be something you’d want to be remembered for? I bet if you think about it, something will come to you.

Photo sources:

Scrabble photo: https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/pexels-photo-256417.jpeg

Proverb photo: https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/9494e2155580de5646f6d8cf5fbc675e-2065666386.jpg

Personal Reflection : My Dad

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me “Jim Valvano

Sixteen years ago, this week, I lost my Dad. This was the first time I had lost anyone close to me and I was devasted. My Dad died unexpectedly and suddenly which was a good thing he did not suffer, he had never spent a day in the hospital and he had never really been sick. It was a good thing for my Dad, but not for his loved ones. He left a trail of lost and sad people. My Dad had been a local farmer and worked for over 30 years for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The night he passed as we left the hospital feeling lost and unsure, we had to stop for a train going through town. This gave us a little bit of peace knowing he was on that train embarking on his next journey. My Dad was one of the best people I have ever known, he was a simple man with a big heart and loved life and everyone close to him.

 

My Dad was an only child and because of this, he called many of his close friends brother or sister. He worked hard and loved to volunteer in his community. In fact, earlier the night he died he had delivered meals on wheels to some local seniors who were not able to get out. Not only was he loved by his family, he had a big circle of friends that also loved him He loved to have people around him and loved to tell stories, these are traits I have gotten from my Dad. The day my Dad walked me down the aisle holding my hand very tight, to marry my husband, he told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. I was fortunate to have my Dad in my life for over 40 years, he taught me so much and molded me into the caring loving person I am.

What I miss the most about not having my Dad around over the last 16 years is that he never got to see the amazing young men that my 2 boys have become. They were young when he passed, he did move closer to my house and was able to take them to the park and have sleepovers with them. I am grateful for that. I am sure he knows where ever he is, what great people they have become.  I see traits of my Dad in both boys, they are hard working, respecting and loving. They often ask about my Dad and we tell stories often about him. I want them to know and love the man my Dad was.

white butterfly

Whenever I see a white butterfly flying in my garden I know it is my Dad checking up on me. I still talk to him daily and look back on the advice he gave me on life. I know he would and is proud of the successes in my life and sorry he wasn’t there when life was not so successful for me. Even though he has passed I have never closed the door on him, he will always be a part of my life.

This is my personal reflection for this week. The quote by Richard Branson – “My philosophy in life is that you only live once. Live life to its fullest. This is so true, I try to practice this daily and ask hope that my boys do also. I never really thought about personal reflections before the topic was given to us for our final blog for this course. I am now going to try to write a personal refection every week, I have lots to reflect on and it will be a good reminder of what a good life I have. What is your personal reflection for this week or next?

 

 

 

 

 

Do people know your story?

“We all have a life story and a message that can inspire others to live a better life or run a better business. Why not use that story and message to serve others and grow a real business doing it?” Brendon Burchard

 

I am outgoing and love to tell my story to whoever will listen. Sometimes I think I talk too much, but my personal story spans over several decades, there is a lot to tell. I have played many roles during this time and I have different roles for the people in my life. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. No one role is more important than other. My mother plays a big role in my story, teaching me to be a good mom and a strong woman, I thank her for this.

My Facebook Page tells my personal story. I like to post quotes, pics, events and just have fun engaging with family and friends! There are many ways to tell your story, blogs, videos and pictures are just a few. I have recently learned how to blog for the social media course I am enrolled in, I am enjoying telling my story through this platforms and sharing with others. The biggest part of my personal story is being a Mom, I have raised 2 wonderful young men. This has been my most challenging and rewarding story of all. I hope my boys have been inspired by my story and that I get to play a role in theirs.

Brene Brown Twitter

Brene Brown Twitter

My customers know they can trust me, I will listen and I can be counted on, this is how I tell my business story. If you follow me on Linkedin you will see how I post and engage with colleagues and businesses. This platform is serious, educating and has a business-like tone. I manage, support and educate my customers to help them create a marketing strategy for their business. Educating on different marketing platforms, learning more about their business and giving them advice on what will work for them.  Giving them support and measurement on idea’s we have worked on. Telling my professional story to my customers has gained their trust and helped me be successful in my career as a sales and marketing consultant.

It would be interesting to ask a few people in my life to tell me my story, I wonder how their story would be different from my version of my story. Social Media gives us a great opportunity to tell our story. What is your story?