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5 Steps That Separate Brilliant Speakers From Mediocre Ones

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I’ve long held the belief that the most important skill in business is the ability to communicate with confidence, clarity and impact. Life is a 24 hour, 365 days a year conversation. When we are not speaking with colleagues or customers, friends or family, we are speaking with strangers. When we have stopped talking to each of those groups the conversation continues, although now it’s with ourselves.

We never seem to stop talking. Even when we are asleep, we just call it dreaming. Given the fact that we are doing it all the time I believe we owe it to ourselves to get really good at it. It’s not so much what we do that influences how successful we become but how we make the people around us feel. The emotional impact we have on others is largely driven by what we say and how we say it.

Many business presentations are tedious and a great number of people dread the idea of going to them and giving them. Every now and then someone comes along who challenges the status quo, shakes things up and gives a brilliant presentation.

If you would like to be one of those presenters rather than a mediocre one, you are only 5 steps away:

Step 1: Leave the laptop alone, sit quietly and imagine

We are creatures of habit. The way most of us set about crafting and delivering presentations is no exception. The first thing most professionals do when they are called on to present is open up their laptop and find a presentation they used in the past they believe can help them again.

Resist the urge! The laptop stifles your creativity. One of the greatest intellectual gifts we have is our imagination. We owe it to our audience to use ours effectively.

Imagine what your life may look and feel like if you were one of your audience members. Imagine it was you sitting there listening to yourself speak and ask yourself what would you want to hear, what you would want to know and what you would want to feel.

Now, reflect on all of the presentations you attended yourself recently and ask yourself which were boring and why. When you have some answers, ask yourself which were different and had an impact on you and why.

If you could do anything you wanted to challenge convention to capture and hold your audience’s undivided interest what would you do?

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” -D. H. Lawrence

Step 2: Remember the last presentation you attended as a member of the audience

Return to some of the recent presentations you attended that you were reflecting on in step 1. Ask yourself what you remember that made a tangible difference to your personal or professional life. Perhaps it was a difference in the way you thought about the topic or idea, something you were motivated to do as a result or a shift in the way you felt.

If you can’t remember anything then you can regard the presenter as mediocre. A brilliant presenter will do whatever it takes to ensure you remember them and their message. What do you want your audience to remember?

Step 3: Get ready to be vulnerable

When you look at your audience what is it you see? A room of colleagues, potential clients, accountants, or engineers? As you craft your presentation, spend some time thinking about who these people really are. Some may be someone’s mother or father, brother or sister, and each of them will be someone’s son or daughter.

They each have titles and roles to play just as you do. Resist seeing them simply as professionals and look beyond that. Think about how much you have in common.  Everyone has hopes and aspirations, worries and fears, achievements and failures. So don’t be afraid to drop your guard a little and let them see the real you.

No one really wants to sit and listen to a highly polished and slick presenter; they would much rather to listen to someone they can relate too. Be prepared to be a little vulnerable and let them into your world.

Step 4: Keep it focused and simple

To keep things simple you have to start with focus. Focus on your message. Focus on what you want them to think. Focus on what you want them to feel. Focus on what you want them to do when you’ve finished speaking.

If you have 20 minutes to speak prepare to speak for only 15 minutes, in other words keep it short. Don’t use bullet points and avoid using too many words. Use compelling images instead. Think of your slides as billboards. Avoid jargon and steer clear of complexity in any form.

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

Step 5: Now practice and then practice some more

I’m amazed how often I meet presenters who blame the poor quality and delivery of their presentation on lack of practice. You can craft the most creative, compelling presentation in the world. If you don’t make the effort to practice the way you then deliver it, you are doing yourself and your audience a disservice.

One of the key distinctions between a mediocre presenter and a brilliant one is that the latter will spend time getting intimate with every part of their presentation. They will know their content inside and out. They will practice the way they say it finding the right tone, pitch, volume and pace. They will practice the way they stand and move when they deliver it. That means how they move their hands, their face and their entire body.

Presenting and speaking in public isn’t a simple task. It requires a high level of awareness, a great deal of effort, focus and creativity to deliver a message with impact. Taking the time to follow and apply these 5 key steps will go a very long way to making the impact that you want and that your audience will remember.

What public speaking tips would you give to someone just starting out? Please leave your thoughts below!

Maurice De Castro is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s most successful brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at https://mindfulpresenter.com/.

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7 Ways to Share Your Story on Social Media

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Content marketing is “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services”. In other words, explicit marketing is simply saying “buy my stuff!” whereas content marketing is the art of persuading people to do so through storytelling. (more…)

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10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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