HOW TO STAND STRONG AND DELIVER A POWERFUL MESSAGE

What will you do with any given opportunity for your business? Obviously you will grab it with both hands and go for it. So what if that opportunity is to take to The Stage and Speak Publicly? Do you have what it takes to get up in front of a crowd and talk out loud?

THE INVITATION

Attending networking events has become a regular activity for any entrepreneur. It’s the perfect platform to meet likeminded people which share the same passion as oneself for business. Needless to say that when the invite came via the first email opened on a Monday morning to speak at an event, it was a no-brainer to reply with an affirmative, Yes! 

“Don’t you find that kind of thing very daunting?” was the response from some close friends. To be honest, perhaps because of a mindset that is slightly different from the norm, it is not a scary thing at all. Actually, their is a huge feeling of satisfaction to share publicly one’s knowledge and the approach to one of the loves of my life: that of being an entrepreneur. 

When I came across a superb article in Forbes under Leadership, Want To Be A Better Public Speaker? Do What The Pros Do written by Susan Tardanico, the immediate need arouse to share my public speaking ethics. She most definitely speaks my kind of language. To get her point of view on Public Speaking follow the reference link at the end of this article. Her process is very similar to mine. So on that note, let’s get to work on the nitty-gritty of a creating a striking presentation. 

THE PREP STRUCTURE 

Establish first off from the organiser what is required, where and when you should be ready for action. Once the practicalities are out of the way the time has come to put on that thinking-cap and get some thoughts together. 

  • Purpose

    - An effective way to start is to have the end of your talk in mind. Basically, the message you want to get across.

Deciding on the topic/s can be tricky depending on if it’s been covered before or if there are so many aspects to cover that there will not be enough time.  

  • Simplicity

    - Don’t complicate your message.

Pinning down some ideas take a bit of time, but in the end the motto keep it short and sweet prevails and then the framework for the talk will be done. All that is needed now is to put some meat on those bones and you’re almost there. 

Next up is to create some captivating imagery to accomplish your talk and most of the hard work is in hand.

  • Visuals

    - Be very aware of the perils of your Keynote/Powerpoint show-and-tells. Keep the amount of slides to a minimum - and, very importantly, Do Not Repeat out loud what is written on your slides. Slides are there to cement your speech not the other way round.

THE REHEARSALS

There is the notion that you should follow the rule rehearse rehearse rehearse and that is good. Even the phrase practise makes perfect, come to mind. However, there is also the notion that to over rehearse can kill some very important aspects of public speaking: the authenticity and energy. Saying that, preparation is vital. 

  • Video yourself

    - Recording yourself whilst rehearsing is an excellent way to watch yourself perform. You can then get a great idea of how you will come across to your audience.

  • Mixture

    - Be careful not to be a boring speaker. Avoid sameness at all costs. The last thing you want is for your listeners to get bored and tune out / disengage - or even worse, get up and leave the room.

Of course it is great to talk to an audience without any notes in hand, but rather have some pointers with you (or use your slides as reminders) to refer to than ramble on and deliver a bunch of words without any enthusiasm. If there are a few days at hand before going live it’s good to have a run-through once a day. Obviously if time is not on your side, more effort is needed as often as possible. 

If you’re familiar with the venue where you will speak at, then even better. If not, make sure to arrive some time earlier than you should to have a good look around the room/auditorium to get the feel of it’s layout and size. Walk about on the stage too so you get use to the acoustics and vision from the stage.

Prior to taking to the stage it is essential to do a complete run-through. Specially to check and double check the available technology. Nothing is more disappointing than a failing monitor or presentation slides jumping all over the screen and even the hand remote behaving badly. It is common for these hiccups, and depending on the formality of the event, an audience will accept and smile as they have seen it all before. From a speaker’s point of view though, it can easily rattle your rhythm and throw you off guard. Best to make 110% sure gremlins are removed from all devices so you can get on with the most important part which is delivering information well.

Words of Wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson

THE CURTAIN GOES UP

Before you know it the moment will arrived and you will be introduced to your audience. Some adrenalin usually kicks in and the flutter of butterflies in your stomach is a good omen. After all, you are about to show people what you know and what you’re made of. This is here where those rehearsals will come in very handy. You will portrait confidence and come across knowledgeable giving your audience a treat. Thus having your ducks in a row will only be a great part of your talk. 

Once you start to deliver your presentation, it is good practice to keep the following in mind: 

  • Stories

    - Tell a personal story or two. Maybe as an icebreaker before you delve into your main presentation.

  • Eye Contact

    - Connect with your audience from the start. You want them in the palm of your hand for the entire duration you’re on stage.

  • Body language

    - Your stance, the shifting your weight, your hand movements, where you head turns… Your Body Language and Body Message are very important. Your audience will definitely pick up on any energy you are giving off.

  • Passionate

    - Let your passion for the topic, for speaking publicly, for having an audience, for just being there, be on show all the time. Keep up the energy levels and stay focussed throughout.

Time usually flies by and in public speaking this can go by even faster. Sooner than you think you will receive a signal from the organiser at the back of the room that it’s time to wrap it up. Fingers crossed at this moment you have covered your main topics and are ready for the Q&A (question and answer session) that usually follows.

THE AFTERMATH

Done and dusted. Fingers crossed fo an applause and perhaps even a shout out/whistle here and there not to mention a possible standing ovation! Possibly some meet and greets with audience members to follow and finally a well deserved coffee (or something stronger if you prefer) to sooth your dry throat. Pat yourself on the back. Well done to you!

It’s worth noting that soon after you’ve walked off the stage, a feeling of what  now can sink your energy to a shockingly low level. This is normal. The mind and body have just gone through a gruelling 40+ minutes of intense excitement and nerves. As the saying goes… what goes up must come down. It will pass in due course. Nothing to worry about, but worth knowing you’re not about to collapse or have an attack of some sorts. 

CONCLUSION

Finally, what is the aim in all of this? Yes, it all sounds very easy, you may say. Maybe you can’t comprehend how someone can take a stance and talk out loud with lots of people watching and listening. “I’ll never be able to do that” is often a common reply. Honestly, you CAN do it. It may take time and even some media training, but it is possible.

The one thing that cannot be stressed enough is NOT TO let the moment and opportunity go by because you feel it is not your kind of thing. At the end of the day it is your Brand up there and it is part and parcel of building and growing your visibility. Please note that not all members of the audience will necessarily be appreciative of what you said since there will always be those that so easily show their dislike. Don’t let it throw you off track. Stand Tall And Deliver. And most of all grow within yourself

To finish off, here is the lesson of the day:  You up there on stage is intended for the people in your audience to remember Your Brand once You’ve Left The Room. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or if you felt some affinity towards this topic.

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You very much for reading. 


Reference:

Article by Susan Tardanico on the Forbes website:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/05/29/want-to-be-a-better-public-speaker-do-what-the-pros-do/#3108529a1e17

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

The question is: does Your Branding have any magic? Or to put it differently… does Your Branding have the Unicorn touch?

However peculiar this comparison may sound to you there is a lot of sense within using the Unicorn metaphor within a branding connotation. It’s here where you most likely want me to start explaining, right? 

I was so fascinated by reading a post on the websiteRise Above the Noise by David Brier, that it inspired me to write this post. The man is seriously a genius when it comes to branding. If branding is part and parcel of your existence, then please do yourself a favour and check him out on his site

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

Let’s set the scene. You personally and/or your company have been branded when you started out. Fact is you are at a point now where you’re not entirely happy with the current status of the branding. You have been tinkering with the idea to do something about it. Perhaps you’ve been made aware about a competitor’s recent re-brand or a Startup that is directly in competition with you that has a much better Brand Look&Feel than yours. 

To tie in with the Unicorn touch mentioned earlier, we can continue metaphorically speaking and suggest that your current branding is very much horse-like – meaning it’s strong, does the job, but lack a certain je ne sais quoi. So, if the thought entered your mind that it is not working that well, then it’s time to put some major sparkle into Your Branding. 

There are many ways to put some sparkle into everyday things in life. For instance, take a weather-bashed garden chair… give it a lick of paint and voilà! Therefore, if it is not that difficult to boost an object and give it some new life, then why not do the same with Your Branding.

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

There is that age-old saying a change is as good as a holiday which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Personally, and speaking from experience, I can guarantee you it is true. Applying that wisdom to your current branding is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, it is much easier than you think. You will though need the input from a professional to make the magic happens.

There is, however, a very good reason behind me saying this – and that is that once you’ve updated Your Brand it could easily propel itself to a much higher, influencer level. Your product and/or service will be able to attract much more customers' interest than currently. The outcome could mean the difference between being adequate and incredible. Your company ROI will most likely hit the roof and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that can only be a great thing all around.

You proud yourself as a savvy business person. You believe you have the vision to move your company forward. Why stop when it comes to how your company is perceived by the big, wide world? 

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

This is where you should definitely take a look at David’s presentation and it will make complete sense to you. 

He showcases 14 Brands that he literally transformed into major successful entities. The transformations are amazing. Although I call him The Brand Master, I hope that he will agree it wasn’t rocket science as such what he applied – rather common sense and great thinking, or design, so to speak.

Turning your Horse into a White Creature (aka Unicorn) totally depends and comes down to the magic you inject into your current branding. But where to begin, I hear you ask. 

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

  • and finally, the execution (via the website and/or your packaging)

In other words, we’re talking the whole yarn. 

Not suggesting that you should copy your competitors, but I believe doing some in-depth research into what is out there in your niche of business is the order of the day. Take time to look closely at how your peers made changes. Study their thought process and do your best to figure out what they have done to excel ahead of you. Then get going and start the process to add some magic to Your Own Branding. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to stand out from the crowd, or as David says… Rise Above The Noise! 

CONCLUSION

Being a Brand Guardian is one of the aspects of my Entrepreneurial life. Reading and following remarkable people like David is truly inspirational. Whilst reading his astounding post, it made me realise one very important aspect: obviously, I am by no means even close to his level, but the fact that he is so good at what he’s doing doesn’t put me off and want to stop doing what I do. When you are confronted with such insane talent it is really easy to throw in the towel and walks away. Me? Most definitely not. 

I’ve been so intrigued by Mr Brier for some time now, that I have been following him on various social media platforms. He is so consistent with delivery content at a high level that instead of me getting deflated by it all, I find him to be a massive motivation for my journey. I do perceive him as a Virtual Mentor. One can only demand of oneself to aspire to such a high level in time to come. 

Keeping within the Unicorn-theme… only a few days ago, another Virtual Mentor of mine, Winnie Sun, put an incredible post on her Twitter feed. It totally made my head spin and within seconds I had a wonderful imagery in my mind… this is what she posted:

I believe we should all be so proud of our personal and/or business branding, that witnessing what others in our field are doing should spur us on to have even better branding tomorrow than what we’re having today. Do yourself and your team (if you have one) a favour and put some Sparkle Into Your Branding. Make it shimmer & shine and let the branding attracts customers like a moth to a flame. I personally believe we all can do with a bit of magic in our personal lives - the same belief goes for any Company. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading. 

IF YOU’VE GOT IT FLAUNT IT

Have you got what it takes to stand out from the crowd? Did you keep something up your sleeve all year long only so you can show off at this time of the year? No better examples of a ‘show-and-tell’ than some well known store displays.

Reading this piece by PSKF on the best ‘dressed’ retail windows in New York City over the festive period made me happy. There are truly some incredible, creative minds out there. The masterminds behind these displays rock the streets of NYC with a big bang.  

Needles to say competition is, has and will always be tough. However, that is most likely the drive behind the mind of a genius. To strive to be better and bigger is easily a constant thought in the head of a designer or creator of visual excellence. And there is no element of disappointment when you look at these displays that lit up the NYC streets of late. 

Managing their brand identity is at the forefront of today’s retail environment. It is obvious that each brand need to make their mark and be so eye-catching that the person in the street can’t help but stop and stare. The display is there to do just that to you. Once you have been forced to stop, stand and look the first battle is won. The next step (so to speak!) is hopefully towards the entrance and then go inside. 

The part that is the exciting bit is making people watch in awe, I believe. This is the moment one has created such an vision that the onlooker  find it difficult not to notice. The time and energy spend working out how this can be done forms part of the incredible creative journey. It is tough… it is time consuming… it is fulfilling. Even if the whole trip leaves you exhausted, every second of it is worth it.

From a personal POV these displays are amazing. Capturing the pure essence of each brand and making sure that it is a ‘killer-look’ display - to me the determination of each to make sure they are noticed. Even though it happens year after year it is always something new - something exciting.

It made me think… how about seeing this for real again? Maybe one could be walking the NYC streets oneself next year this time. Maybe one will stop, stand and stare. Maybe this trip to the magical NYC should be added to GOALS2016…