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

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading.