In Memory

Joel Hochberger* VIEW PROFILE

Joel Hochberger*

Joel, outgoing, good-humored and forthright, made himself an expert and master teacher of the art of making an oral presentation to the public.

Such advice is not always accepted, so Joel preached, “Don’t speak to me, just talk to me. An audience is nothing more than a bunch of individuals. The only reason you’re talking to them as a group is because it’s more convenient – so just talk to them as though you are talking to one person.” Email handle: “joelspeaks@.”

His enterprise was a highly practical one-man business called Effective Presentations. Joel estimated that in 36 years he taught presentation skills and public speaking in workshops for more than 25,000 individuals in 39 countries. His DVDs are available on Amazon, and you can see him in action on YouTube.

A longtime resident of Buffalo Grove, Joel died Dec. 9, 2020. He leaves his wife, Susan, children Jodi (Dan) Rubenstein and Blake (Lisa) Hochberger; grandson Leo Rubenstein and two more grandsons on the way; and sister Merle April. As his newspaper memorial said, “Joel had many friends, loved meeting new people and making them all his friends. He enjoyed giving a good speech, watching a good game, doing a new card trick, and having a great meal, but family always came first.” The family suggested contributions in his name to the American Heart Association and the National Alliance on Mental Health.

Joel attended Bradley and Northwestern and was director of training for 11 years at Leo Burnett, the advertising firm. He was comfortable with training anyone from entry level to CEO. More precisely, he said, “I help executives and sales reps get others to understand and accept their ideas.”

Attendees at his workshops ranged from CEOs (Abbott Labs, Miller Brewing, Eli Lilly, etc.) to recent college graduates interviewing for their first jobs. He coached political candidates and dignitaries including the former premier of Bermuda, the former mayor of Chicago, and the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He guest-lectured at universities— Chicago, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Notre Dame, Northwestern—and was a banquet speaker for organizations such as the American Marketing Association. He wrote for business magazines, was quoted in major newspapers and was a featured guest on WCIU-TV’s “Ask An Expert!” Fox News once called on him to critique the second President Bush's speaking skills.

No matter the forum, Joel never failed to provide sensible, real-world advice. For instance, what’s the proper speaking pace? “Don’t speed up or slow down. Just talk as though there is only one person in the room.”

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

12/15/20 09:39 AM #1    

George Harmon

In the 2000s and 2010s I used to inveigle (beg?) Joel to do a one-hour workshop for our huge class of graduate students in marketing communications at Northwestern. As a lecturer he employed an attention-retaining blend of severity and comedy. Many of the students were Mandarin speakers, but his schtick worked extremely well, no matter the person's starting point. When the time came for the students' own presentations, it was easy to tell that they had taken Joe's advice.

For somebody who projected self-confidence in public, Joel off-camera was humble and self-deprecating. He had a raft of entertaining anecdotes about early years in Highland Park and about classmates he knew in later years. What a memory! And when speaking of others, particularly the Class of 1959, he was unfailingly kind and positive.

12/16/20 09:41 AM #2    

David Klein

I'm sorry to hear of Joel's passing.  Joel moved in to his home on Oakland Drive down the street from me and I remember befriending him and enjoying our after school time together.  We never reconnected when I moved away from HIghland Park, but he obviously developed a successful and fruitful career and family life.  May his memory be a blessing.

12/16/20 10:43 AM #3    

Roseann Albert (Simpson)

What a beautiful profile of Joel Hochberger!  I barely knew Joel in high school;  his yearbook picture looks familiar, but the later photos stir no memories.  What a loss for me, as well as everyone who knew him better and his family.  I am always amazed by the dedication of the HPHS Administrators who started and maintain our Class of 1959 website.  Thank you for preserving our history.  Rose Ann Simpson (Albert)



12/17/20 10:06 AM #4    

Sandra Grabell (Kite)

When Joel came to Highland Park, I think we were in eighth grade. I was invited to my first boy girl party. We were in the family room of someones house. Five couples playing a game of lights out. I was paired off with Joel. When the lights went out, we were suppost to kiss. When the lights came back on, we would stop. I never had been kissed before so I was very nerovus. The lights went out, Joel tried to kiss me. When the lights came on, everyone was laughing. My partner was still on the chair. I was on the floor with Joel trying to pull me up by my arm. The game went on four more times with the same results. Only laughter got louder and louder. I always wondered if Joel remebered that night. 

Sandy Kite 

go to top 
  Post Comment


Click here to see JOEL's last Profile entry.