I answered the phone one morning to an East Coast mom who wanted to know more about how to get her son involved in speech and debate. She referenced the book she was reading, Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate, at the beginning of our conversation. “Yeah, I wrote that book,” and there was silence.
It was an uncomfortable pause. “Hello?” I had thought she may have hung up.
She stumbled a response, “This is the author, Chris Jay-oob?” (She mispronounced my name.)
“Yes, this is Chris Joooob,” I replied. “How may I help you?”
And then the talk lasted for about 20 minutes. It was a wonderful conversation. This mom had a 14-year-old son who was shy. She was wondering if speech and debate would break him out of his shell, and I had a boatload of stories of other shy kids who blossomed in speech and debate. She didn’t order anything or sign up for any of our camps—she’s still in research mode to lay out her son’s education—but she was delighted to talk to the author of the book she was researching.
I guess not a lot of presidents answer the company’s phone, but allow me to be honest. The homeschool speech and debate market is about as niche a market as you can get. It’s smaller than you might think. If you call Training Minds office, you’ll most likely get me in Colorado or my administrative assistant, Diane, who lives in Oklahoma.
But we are the biggest outfit in the niche market of homeschool speech and debate. I’m busier as busy can be this time of the year. We have five debate camps this summer (I’m actually at one right now in Tulsa) and a host of publications to write and get to press (see www.monumentpublishing.com). Busy, busy, busy…but I never want to lose sight of this:
I will remain accessible and approachable to help the families as much as I possibly can.
As my organization grows, this may be more and more difficult. However, I have some processes in place that make it doable. There are three ways we can stay connected and help you venture through the speech and debate world:
- Through Telephone. Call me straight out at 530-508-6782. Chances are good that you’ll get a voicemail, but just leave a message and either Diane or I will get back to you in a day or two.
- Through Email. A lot of email is junk, and I suppose the norm for organization presidents it to ignore it altogether. I don’t. Of all the emails I receive, the emails from people like you are my most important. Send me an email at email@example.com, or to Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get a personal response.
- Through Subscription. If you really want to stay on the up-and-up, you’ll start following me. I’m all over the place when it comes to speech and debate, so don’t be a stranger. Subscribe to my blog, friend me on Facebook, and/or follow me on Twitter.
See? I’m about as accessible as your next door neighbor. Perhaps we’ll talk soon.