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. 

BEING A PRACTICAL, POSITIVE & POWERFUL MENTOR

Have you ever been stuck in a situation not knowing which way to turn? Or maybe you tried various ways already, but still not moving forward much? My guess is the answer is probably yes. Most of us, if not all, have experienced the proverbial brick wall at some point in time.

A read from Jeffrey Hayzlett’sTop 3 Traits of a Good Mentor, enticed me to write this post. He makes a great point, or three, about what it is and should be like to have someone guide you along your way to move forward.

TO SEEK

It took me around 20 years of grinding behind a desk for someone/some company to realise that the 9 to 5 culture isn’t as satisfying as it should be. I did realise though that I was extremely lucky to gain an enormous amount of experience over time. Moving from one position to another during the years I was able to take with me any new found learnings and enhance the next position.

Therefore when I finally left the building for the last time on a sunny day in London, I knew that it will be a huge mistake to just sit on the information I have within me. Something had to be done about it hence Mentoring became a focus point. To quote Jeffrey: “Good mentors are always willing to share what they know - with anyone who asks". Moving forward a couple of years and I am blessed to be in a situation where I am being given great opportunities to lend a hand and help others

TO SHARE 

My bible of experience covers a fair amount of different topics related to being in a business environment. It is not that difficult to assist mentees with various issues they’re experiencing.  As a person whom constantly broaden his horizons regarding new aspects of what makes the world go round, all questions can be tackled and answers can be delivered. 

For instance, Social Media Management is a serious topic of discussion. For the generation that did not grow up with it, it is overwhelming. There are quite a lot of people that have little understanding of how it works. They also are amazed by the fact that online platforms can be used as a great marketing tool. This may sound strange to many, but as I always look at situations from my clients’ perspective, it makes total sense. 

On the other side of the scale, the younger generation of mentees struggle with a marketing strategy or even their online reputation even though they fully know how to handle social media platforms on a personal level. Again, a topic that can easily be explained and a strategy can be put in place. Being on social media as yourself differs from being there as your business brand

TO SUPPORT 

All aspects of Mentoring is exciting, but one part that stands out is the initial research or investigation surrounding a new mentee prior to the first meeting. Looking around the web for their social visibility gives one a great insight into how they think. That is, if they have an online persona. Contrary to popular belief there are people around who shy away from being electronically social

The starting point usually is around what is already out there (or not) for all to see. Starting with each existing section from visual presence (avatars, videos, photos, etc.) right through to the writing of posts and/or captions. As an outsider it is easy to pick out spelling mistakes or layout issues - not to mention the phycological effect colours can have on readers.  

Feedback is easy to give - however, it is completely useless without any valuable input. Again, Jeffrey is 100% correct: “A good mentor is further willing to provide concrete and constructive feedback”.

As always, looking at the evidence should be from the mentee’s point of view. After all, the website or social feed is not the mentor’s so it should not be about you and how you want it, but what will work best for the mentee’s brand. Mentoring is about helping and giving advice. If there is the need for introducing new learning curves, the Coach in me will take over - but let’s leave that skill aside for another post.

Continued support is most of the time wanted by my mentees. A request that fill myself with excitement and warmth. And much appreciation. 

CONCLUSION

To be able to distribute what one has learned can only be described as one of the best and satisfying aspects of life. 

On a personal level it:

  • broaden insights 

  • cultivate relationships

  • awoke mutual feelings of respect

  • create being seen as an expert 

  • makes one an influencer

  • allows one be a contributor 

Giving branding and/or marketing advice it most certainly doesn’t matter that much which niche/field in the market the mentee is in. What matters is to master their needs so they better themselves and their brand. At the end of the day, one is not expected to know their market inside out - one is required to guide and lend a helping hand. 

Mentoring has opened so many doors for me and the believe is that it honestly will open many more in the future. This part of being an Entrepreneur is what drives me forward. The only downside, if one can call it that, is always saying yes when a potential mentee knocks on your door and asks for help. Then again, one always has time. There is no such thing as being too busy - prioritize your workload is all it takes to have a full, productive business and life.

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. Don’t hesitate to reach me here, or on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.