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 YOU CAN ACHIEVE THE BEST OUT OF LIFE

Do you get the feeling (more than often?) that there is more, much more, to your life than your current situation? However, the target always seems to be just about out of reach? No matter how hard you try and stretch to reach it, it stays the proverbial dangling carrot.

WHEN REALITY KICKS IN

From time to time we are being faced with a situation in our lives similar to a door being shut in our faces. This could be anything from a relationship ending to being made redundant from your position at work. Whatever it is exactly, one feels let down and disappointed. These are natural feelings, because we are after all only human. 

This scenario is nothing new within the world we live in nowadays. I am sure quite a few of you will be able to resonate with such a consequence. Perhaps with even more than one.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

That is the big question. The short answer is: Make Some Changes. The long answer, I am about to explain to you in this article.

“But can I do it? Can I make it work?” you ask. So many times these are the kind of replies coming from individuals. Insecurity forces the mind to utter phrases like…. “not sure… don’t really know if I have it in me… I better not try again. I will just fail miserably.” etc..

Stop right there for a second or ten. I personally believe that You Can Do It. It is very possible for you to overcome hurdles and that can change everything in your life.

It is within each and everyone of us to do so and make positive changes for our lives. In order to succeed, the initial activity is to put your mind into starting gear. As the saying goes… Mind Over Matter. 

WHERE TO START YOUR JOURNEY

We all have a multitude of ideas in our heads. Those ideas have a name, they are called dreams. It is one thing to dream the dream and a complete different thing to achieve them. The good news is that your dreams are not only  possible, they are achievable.

Grant yourself the time to make sure your ideas are realistic though. In other words, don’t rush into making outrageous decisions. Seek and select sensible targets for yourself. It is here where you should learn from your short falls or perhaps that what made you end up being in your current situation. 

When it comes to a work environment, be clear about what you can offer a company when you’re looking at available positions. Maybe you can tackle the next relationship better by being less of one thing and more of another. What you should keep in mind is that it is Your Situation. Unique to You. Neither me nor anyone else really knows your current case. It is in the end, up to you. 

HOW TO WALK THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

The basic steps are: Plan, Action and Execute. Planning what you want is however the easiest part of your future. Taking the next step is when you need to put shoulder to the wheel and start to do the work. As if this last one isn’t hard enough, the toughest is to carry out and accomplish that what you want. 

Now, please don’t let the above paragraph put you off. It sounds intense, but help is at hand. 

Whilst recently reading A Better Lemonade Stand I came across their Manifesto – which inspired me to write this post. In this short, but very powerful synopsis they nailed the issues regarding reaching ones’ ultimate goals in life and work.

I stand completely a 110%+ by the Manifesto so let me share my thoughts with you. The following points can be seen as a roadmap or blueprint for you to get going. 

Let’s take it step by step…

  • Start

- As mentioned, don’t just dream, begin by setting out a plan.

  • Move

- Take a step forward and keep doing it regularly.

  • Work

- Even if it seems tough, remember you’re doing it for yourself.

  • Setbacks

- All of us in life fail over and over. See failure as motivation.

  • Blame

- Do not do it, be responsible for your own decisions.

  • Give up

- Don’t even consider it. Learn how to cross barriers.

  • Decisions

- Go for the tough choices and discover awesomeness.

It’s well worth reading the full explanation here. Not just once, but treat yourself and give it quite a few good reads. 

Let it sink in and then read it again. And then, Challenge Yourself.  

CONCLUSION

As far as I’m concerned the most important moment should be when you take a stand and decide that you want to change your life and chase your dream – in other words, taking the first step forward. This is what is called Taking Action. 

The rest of your road to reach the end will happen. It will quite easily not happen overnight, but do your future self a favour and keep going and stay focussed. Also, remember that the wide and easy road isn’t always the way to reach the top. Most times, if not all the time, it is the narrow, winding, uphill path that will cause the most satisfaction in the end. 

Influencers all over the world will tell you that sitting back and just thinking about plans are not enough. We all have to get up and get going. A Dream without a Plan is just a Wish.

It also is very important to remember: don’t give up at the first hurdle. Setbacks, criticisms, rejections, fear, etc. in my book are seen as motivation - which will give you the drive and determination to keep going and get better at it than what you were yesterday. Ultimately, Don’t Quit – Do It.

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 for reading. 

PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

… and You can put any mountain behind You. 

Sounds fairly simple, right? However, when it comes to getting the ball rolling for the year ahead, the desire may come easily until you realise the fact of the matter is, it isn’t always that easy at all.

Looking (at least) 12 months ahead at your work and life can and is quite scary. Even daunting for most people. So much so that the Goal Setting exercise is limited to only thinking about a few things that could be done in the months to come. 

The secret to fulfilling those ideas is not rocket science. The truth is that all one has to do is put write down those thoughts on paper or type it into a document. According to the Dominican University of California, close to 75% of people writing down/typing Goals had a much higher success rate of achieving them - in contrast to those thinking and/or keeping their goals only tucked up in your heads.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where are You & Your business heading? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that now comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. In January thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Entrepreneurship, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

THE SET UP EXERCISE 

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to move systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. 

Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel like a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.

THE CREATING PROCESS

Here we are talking literal as in creating the document which will lay out each Goal that will encourage you over the next 12 months to move forward and make progress - in both business and personal growth. 

Keep it plain and simple. A 3-pager landscape-layout with 4 columns each should do the trick. Give each page a heading that clearly describes what your plans are. Then head up each column too. The following column headers makes a lot of sense: Goal, Actions, Timescale and Result. 

Take each page at a time. Write a Goal and follow on to the 2nd column and then the 3rd. The 4th will be visited throughout the year and completed by the end of your 12 month cycle. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lot of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done and by when once you see it with your own eyes. People do tend to say why should I create a document? It’s all in my head in any case - trust me, seeing it in black on white cement it in your head and give your mindset a real good boost. 

To finish off this very important document it is imperative to Brand it. Add your logo. Use your company colours. Definitely use your company font. Make it your own. It is YOUR Goals for YOUR Company. Once again, each time you visit this document it will give you a sense of ownership. After all, it belongs to you! 

THE RE-VISIT   

There are people who (unfortunately) think that once they created their Goals it can stay in a folder somewhere on their computer. Their attitude of I am going to look at it only in 12 months from now is defeating the purpose. A regular visit to this document will not only refresh your memory it will also make it clear where you are with those goals as the year go by.

A healthy suggestion is to add at least 4 reminder dates to your calendar. Every 3 months is good timing. This will give you enough time to get on with business in general and easily let you cast your mind back to what you have achieved and where you are in making progress. Here is where column 4 gets the action. Note down the date your visit takes place and next to it whether you have already accomplished, slightly progressed or still have to work on the particular Goal. 

Quarterly visits will also help a lot at the end of your 12 month cycle to see the full picture with no need to open your diary searching for accomplishments or wreck your mind when you actually demolished a goal. 

THE FINAL FRONTIER 

Time flies by so quickly and before you know it a year would’ve past. The moment of truth will be facing you. The last Goal visit of the year will be upon you and you will need to be honest about what you wrote months ago. 

The possibility exists that certain sections of your Goal Setting document will still not be completed. Don’t stress about this. Circumstances change all the time. There could be a very good reason (lets hope so) for a Goal to be still outstanding. If it is still relevant to your development don’t feel ashamed to add it to the next bunch for the year to come. 

CONCLUSION

Every year your Goals’ intensity will increase. Your aim will be higher than before. You will most likely put a bigger demand on yourself and your business. Don’t let it deter you. As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. Nothing prohibits you from setting the bar a notch higher than last year (actually, it is a very healthy approach). The important thing is to continue to set Goals. Continue to visit them regularly and be strict about them. At the end of the day it’s up to you, but having these milestones set out loud and clear will help you with you strategy towards success.

To be brutally honest with you, Now Is The Time to get going and set out milestones for the next months ahead. Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - I promise you that! 

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, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HAVING A PLAN IS EVERYTHING

How many topics are there on your to-do list for 2018? Far too many? ‘Of course!’, I hear you say. It is common knowledge that all of us struggle with tasks at some point within our busy schedules.

Having a list of tasks as long as your arm means that we easily feel overwhelmed, stressed and even depressed about getting things done. Again, it is common knowledge.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Since it is the beginning of a new year, I reckon we all have some plans for the next 12 months. However, the question is, how will those plans turn out? It will be a miracle if some, leave alone all, of our good intentions actually manifest into reality, right?

There is a solution at hand. You can create your own miracle. Not wanting to sound patronising, it’s an easy one. What you need is a Structure. Also known as a Plan - a Plan of Action. 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PLAN

I came across a blog entry by one of the world’s best leaders, Tony Robbins. He has put together a post outlining the top actions to follow for creating, what I call, your winning plan. How Can I Create A Compelling Future is a short and very powerful article about how you can achieve what you want.

Before you think ‘oh, here we go again with goals’ do yourself a favour and click on the link to that post. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. It truly is short, sharp and to the point. In other words, easy-peasy!

I am in absolute agreement with Tony. The secret also for me lies within writing down what you want to achieve. Start by asking yourself:

  • What Do You Want?

  • Why Do You Want It?

Once you see your aims in black on white, it will be much easier to remember and accomplish them. Many people think they will keep it in their minds only to find a few days down the line, they can’t remember some, if any, of it. 

WHERE TO BEGIN

Either grab a pen and paper or let your fingers do the walking on a keyboard. The best way to start is with the word SMART. Yes, you have to be smart about it all, but that is not exactly what I mean in this case. SMART is short for a 5-set Law Of Principles.

Each letter should be used as the starting point of one principal. In short it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeframe. Tackle your aims and apply these 5 principals to each and every one of them.

Once done, you will have a clear vision of where you are heading. It will also help you to maintain a strong flow once you start to take action with what you want.

Next up is a brilliant suggestion by Tony. You may find that you have quite a few things in mind so your list could be a bit lengthy. Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. Follow Tony’s 3 Steps and you will end up with a concise and very definite version of what you’re aiming for. 

CONCLUSION

When done, pat yourself on the back since You Have Done It. Yes, you have put shoulder to the wheel and created a set of realistic desires for the next year. Massive Kudos from me to you! Congratulations.

Even though you have not started the race and is by no means close to the finishing line, you are in your starting blocks. You are Ready to kick off in a major way. You can see the track all lined out in front of you with your very own eyes.  Basically, You Are Set.

Now is the time to shoot out of your starting blocks and start running like hell. So, let’s Go. It’s all action from here on.

I personally wish you the best for the road ahead. Even if you slow down somewhere along your journey, the main point to remember is to Keep Going.

You. Can. Do. It.

Feel free to share / comment / 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.