Sharing Your Story – Jim Van Allan

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Who?

Dr. Jim Van Allan is a professional public speaker. He is a professor of communications and works with different brands and clients around the work to train others. Dr. Jim Van Allan has also conducted research based on a book called “The Energy Bus” written by Jon Gordon. The research was about sustaining a positive environment in various organizations. 

Quick Summary

What inspired you to want to go into your current field? Was it always on your mind or did you ‘fall’ into the industry?

Jim mentioned that growing up, he was quite introverted so he spent a lot of his time studying people and their behaviour. Although he had a pretty good idea of what he liked, Dr. Jim Van Allan was considering a completely different profession. After realizing that he in fact had no passion for what he originally thought would be his job, Jim joined competitions and clubs to see what he wanted to do in life. Dr. Van Allan started winning in public speaking competitions which slowly lead him to realize that it is something he is good at and wants to pursue. 

What are some key points you can give to students that will help them in their interview processes to real market themselves?

Dr. Jim Van Allan suggests that an interview process is like a game of chess, they want to figure out “who is the real you.” To help an interviewee understand more about you will be the stories that you share from your past experiences. Nobody is highly professional and polished all the time. 

What would you recommend students do outside of learning in school to help them develop their speaking skills? 

Dr. Van Allan mentioned that there is a misconception about public speaking; it isn’t always a polished performance. Therefore, he suggests that students should really take every conversation as a way to learn and develop skills further. Get yourself involved in many different activities, don’t limit yourself to only clubs that have to do with public speaking. The more well rounded you are, the better you will be at holding a good conversation. 

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

You must find something that you are passionate about and make that your career. 

“Ask a lot of questions.”

– Jim Van Allan

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