Josh Prager cover of Iris by the Goo goo dolls
How to Be Like Iris Prager
Did you ever want to be like Iris Prager? She is an expert on puberty and periods and all of the questions and stress which come along with them. Dr. Iris Prager is probably most well know for answering questions ranging from health issues to stress management in her column “Ask Iris” through her work with Tampax. Iris Prager has been a huge help to a lot of young women going through puberty and is an inspiration to people who want to help others through advice columns.
Starting an Advice Column
Choose your forum.Iris Prager wrote an advice column online, but maybe you want to try writing a zine, a column in your school newspaper, or record a podcast. Maybe you even want to start creating web videos like “The Period Dairies,” which is now a feature on the BeingGirl site.
- Once you’ve decided how you want to deliver your message, set up your method.
- Check with your school paper and ask if you can write a column.
- Set up a website for your blog, podcast or YouTube videos.
Contribute your advice on a regular schedule.Iris Prager was giving advice for a living on a regular basis. You may need more time in between answering questions, whether that time is needed to gather the questions or to find the answers. Decide how often you will contribute, and when you will post answers, then stick to that schedule.
Gather questions to answer.You will need to promote yourself in order to find your audience to interact with. You can even start by write letters to yourself to get the advice started and give examples to the readers of types of questions they can ask and the type of advice they can expect to get in return.
- Promote your column on your social media page, through your local and school newspaper, or with flyers.
- Tell everyone you know and meet about what you are doing and ask them to participate.
Make it easy to ask questions.Give clear and simple instruction on your site, or in your column describing how the reader can ask questions. Provide simple contact information like an email address or a contact form on the site.
- Set up an email address specifically for the questions rather than using your personal email address.
Understand your audience.In order to best help the people you communicate with, it is important to understand their needs and speak their language. You speak differently to your parents then you do your friends or your teachers or someone who runs a business. Figure out the needs and communication style of your particular audience.
- Determine their level of knowledge regarding the issues you are addressing. You may need to provide background information and examples to help them understand what you are telling them.
- You may be using terms you are familiar with from your research, but they may be entirely new to the readers. Define any terms which may not be common knowledge among your readers.
Anticipate the questions your readers may have.If the readers are going to take action based on your advice you want to be sure that you have given them enough information to work with. When providing answers, consider what other questions may arise based on your response and include those answers in your suggestions.
Provide accurate information.When giving advice, you are responsible for making sure that the information you are putting out there is accurate. Verify every bit of advice you give. If you don’t know the answer, find it, or simply admit that you don’t know.
- Acknowledge that the question is difficult and you don’t want to lead them astray.
- Offer other options regarding where they might be able to go, or who they can ask for the answer they are seeking.
Encourage your readers.Someone who is asking for help is likely worried and feeling vulnerable. Be sure that you take this into account and help them feel empowered by your answer. Stay positive in all of your advice.
- Help them look at the issue from a new perspective and they can see the answer for themselves.
- Remind them of the knowledge and skills they already have, which can help them solve their problems.
- Be empathetic and encouraging. Avoid talking down to the reader or lecturing them.
Finding Your Voice
Find your passion.If you really want to sound confident and caring, talk about something you are passionate about. Make sure the content of your words is something you are comfortable and confident talking about. This way the words will flow easily and be effective to the listener.
Get rid of other people’s voices you hear in your head.In order to uncover your own voice, sometimes you have to dig it out from the voices you have heard all your life. Your parents and friends and teachers have all been talking at you your whole life and may have given you great advice. Now its time to sift through their words, and make your voice your own.
- Think about everything you have learned and the advice you have been given and make your own decisions about what you agree and disagree with.
- Creating your own opinions on important issues, especially regarding health education for young women, will help get you closer to speaking honestly and effectively on the issue.
- Base these opinions on facts you have learned and tested on your own.
Say everything without fear.You will need to accept the fact that some people will disagree with you. Others will make fun of you, and some people may not even like you. You have to keep doing and saying what you think is right, even when it is not met with the response you hoped for.
- Know that your opinion is valid and important. This is especially true if it is backed up by facts from your studies and research.
- If you get an upsetting response, take some time away from the situation to let the feelings pass. Go for a walk and take some deep breaths.
Let your personality shine through.Iris delivers very straight forward advice in a concise and friendly fashion. This approachability is one of the elements that made her site so successful. Let your personality come through in your writing and find a way to endear yourself to the reader.
- Write the way you talk. Sometimes people change to a much more formal style when they write. Try writing as you would speak instead.
- Write from the heart. Your readers should be able to tell that you care.
- Practice free writing to yourself in a journal to find your personal writing style.
Be consistent with your voice and style.Once you have found your own voice, stick with it. When fans begin following you, they will come to expect and appreciate your style. They want to know what to expect in how you respond. Be sure to maintain those expectations by staying true to your original voice.
- Maybe your style is witty, strong, or straight-talk. Whatever you choose, stick with it.
Becoming an Expert on Health Education for Young Women
Study Health Education at the college level.Iris Prager actually taught at two colleges, Pennsylvania State University and George Mason University. It is possible that some of her influence is still represented in the curriculums of the courses taught at these colleges.
Earn a PhD in Health Education.Dr. Prager graduated from Maryland University. Some of the top ranked schools for a PhD in Health Education are: University of Texas Health and Science Center at Houston, University of South Florida and University of Michigan.
- Check with colleges in your state of residence to see if they offer a doctoral program in Health Education. You could save money on tuition be staying in-state.
Join the American Association for Health Education.Iris Prager was actually the President of the American Association of Health Education (AAHE). AAHE is an organization which represents and supports over 5000 health educators. It provides technical assistance in creating legislation, assistance in developing and implementing resources and offers an annual conference as some benefits of membership. They have a goal of helping Health Educators communicate and succeed.
- Yearly membership fees are 5 for professionals and for students.
Stay focused while expanding your knowledge.Expand your knowledge of health issues to include physical and mental health, while keeping the focus on women’s health issues. When choosing courses and learning about Health Education, explore all of the facets of transition of puberty among women, including physical changes and emotional stress.
- Learn as much as possible.
- Compare many women to find how each woman develops.
- Be empathetic to women about their personal problems and concerns, especially young teens and tweens.
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