The Three P’s to Building a Thoughtful and Impactful Professional Legacy
Building a thoughtful and impactful legacy is within your reach. It is never too early to start laying the foundation to leave your mark, professionally or in your community. The story of your life, the career you’ve cultivated, decisions you’ve made, and goals you’ve accomplished are valuable fuel for your legacy. Even your failures and how you overcame them are important to share. Get started constructing a rich legacy by incorporating these three P’s into your endeavors.
Promote leadership in the community and/or professionally
Your legacy isn’t simply about you. A legacy is ultimately a window into your leadership. Focus on developing your legacy instead of your own hollow hype. Build emotional bridges and make a difference. Go the extra mile and never miss a chance to be a leader in the community or professionally. Concentrate your efforts on being a change agent and elevating the needs of others. Grasp the small opportunities, the bigger ones will follow.
Ponder how you can serve
Think service, not success. Monitor your impact on others and create more ways to repeat that impact. Mentoring kids, young professionals, or small business owners in your community are valuable opportunities to build your legacy. Organize trainings, seminars, or workshops that give you a space to showcase your knowledge in ways that can benefit others. Generously provide your talents, strengths, and skills in the community to create a lasting impact.
What is the positive legacy you want to leave for future generations? Let that steer you to make better long-term-oriented decisions on how to serve. Think of this opportunity as a means to benefit others, not as a burden. Remember, there is great responsibility in undertaking the crafting of your legacy.
Pen a book
Focus on the big picture and promote those ideas in a book. The written word is powerful. Within the pages, you can detail your outlook on leadership and use that vehicle to build a foundation for speaking engagements and interviews. There is a variety of ways you can maximize the buzz surrounding a book to elevate your legacy.
Through your legacy, you can establish a pathway to guide others and teach them the lessons you learned along the way. Think of someone who gave advice and imparted their wisdom when you were in the early stages of your career or in the turbulent throes of youth. You can pay it forward by giving back and, in turn, build a wonderful legacy.
Laughter is the best medicine. It relieves tension, boosts your immune system, reduces stress, and opens your mind up to new possibilities. Getting a good hearty laugh during your next presentation could be just what the doctor ordered! But before you start inserting jokes into your next speaking engagement, follow these do’s and don’ts to using humor.
Do know your audience
Build a rapport with your audience before you hit them with your humor. Let them get a sense of who you are and what you stand for. Give yourself a chance to know your audience. Prior to the presentation, find out who will actually be listening. Are you speaking to executives or managers? Are you presenting to millennials or baby boomers? Is the audience familiar with the content because they are industry insiders or are they being introduced to your topic for the first time?
Get to know your audience. Then, engage and pull your audience in further with your great sense of humor and comedic timing. Speaking of comedic timing…
Don’t use jokes
Unless you are a professional standup comic, keep the jokes to a minimum. Jokes can sometimes come across as mean spirited, at someone else’s expense or worse, be controversial and inappropriate. Focus your humor on anecdotes. Better yet, the one person you can always make fun of is yourself! Self-deprecating humor or funny incidents you’ve experienced will make you more human and relatable to the listeners.
Do keep it fresh
Avoid rehashing common humor tropes that your audience has heard time and time again. Bring something fresh and new to your presentation. Using obsolete or outdated catch phrases will give your audience the impression you are out of touch. Remember to know your audience and use humor that resonates with them and sounds new and engaging.
Don’t rely on sarcasm
Sarcasm can come across negative so use it sparingly and only if you really know your audience. In most cases, a presentation doesn’t benefit from sarcasm.
Do a dry run
Test out your humor with trusted colleagues and others who will be honest with you. Practice it out loud to ensure the tone is positive and reinforces your greater message. Nail your punchline by giving the humor a chance to breathe and set with the audience. It’s okay to pause after the humor, give it a beat, and let the audience react. Practicing it beforehand will help you to have a better grasp of when to wait or when to forge ahead.
Getting laughs is a bonus to getting your point across in your presentation. Have fun with it and have a good time. Above all, make sure your humor has a point to it. Scholar and humorist, Leo Rosten once said, “Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” Infuse your next presentation with the insight of humor.
No PowerPoint slides? No problem! Anyone can deliver a successful and engaging discussion without the use of presentation technology. Cut out the PowerPoint and let the audience see your passion and expertise front and center! These 4 P’s will help you thoughtfully create a presentation without PowerPoint.
Practice makes perfect
Flying solo without slides takes some planning but it is not insurmountable. You are the subject matter expert. Everyone has come to see so make sure you are as familiar with the material as possible. Start with an outline of the presentation. Divide the topic into three sections or buckets in an order that makes sense for you and the topic.
Don’t memorize the presentation but get familiar with the overall theme and sections. Creating cue cards or index cards to study the big points of the presentation is a helpful technique to master the material. Concentrate on letting your natural cadence and storytelling ability drive the discussion.
Perfect Presentation Tip
You are ready for your big presentation. You’ve planned and practiced and know this material better than anyone. Now it’s time to press play on your presentation.
Look your audience in the eye and get started!
Briefly introduce yourself, why you are an expert in your topic, and what’s in it for them if they stay attentive and listen.
Frame your talk. What should the audience expect or not expect to hear?
Relay the core message through an anecdote or engaging story.
Answer the “So what?” for the audience. They need YOU to convey what they should care about or take away from the presentation.
Repeat and/or rephrase your core message at least once throughout the presentation.
Read the audience and adjust accordingly. Don’t be afraid to improvise. Shorten or expand a section based on your audience’s reaction or feedback.
Use a whiteboard or flip board as an engagement technique. Writing things down for the audience piques their interest, draws them in, and keeps the main points top of mind throughout the presentation. But remember your audience is more interested in what you are saying than what they are reading
Participation makes perfect sense
Encourage questions and interaction from your audience. Try asking a direct question – “Show of hands of how many of you have ever….” Turn a lecture into a discussion with a few well-placed questions. It builds rapport with the audience, makes you more memorable, and connects with them. When it comes to audience questions, you can ask to save them until the end. However, if you are presenting a hot button topic, consider managing questions throughout the presentation to avoid piling up an avalanche of controversial questions until the end casting a negative tone over the presentation.
Your audience isn’t there to see a slide presentation but to hear you talk about a subject you feel passionate about. Connecting directly with an audience is the most exciting part for any speaker. Why put a barrier between you and your audience with a slide?
What is your favorite movie or book? No matter what you choose, the reason is most likely because it tells a good story. That’s no accident. A good storyteller weaves a tale that dramatic, dynamic, and memorable. As a speaker, isn’t that exactly what you want to achieve? Your journey to transform from a speaker into a storyteller is easier than you think.
Know your audience
Before you can tell your story, you need to know who’s listening. Customize your cadence and your content to the audience. Is it an auditorium with lights and a stage? Or is it more intimate like a break out session in a meeting room? Whether the audience is big or small, there is a reason why they chose to hear you. What are they expecting to gain from their time with you? Having a clear idea of who might be attending your talk will give you a roadmap to what you should discuss. For instance, if you are a motivational speaker and your audience is in the financial services, you may want to emphasize building trust through motivation. But if your audience is in the technical field, perhaps emphasizing leadership through motivation is a better fit. Know your audience and adjust your presentation accordingly.
Grab their interest
All good stories start with a good hook and take the listener on a journey. Reading dry statistics from a PowerPoint or wagging finger and dictating to the audience what they should do is no fun. Instead, start with a personal anecdote about you or a situation you encountered that relates to your talk with an unexpected, emotional, or humorous background. Get them interested right from the beginning by giving a little of yourself.
Delivering a talk that encourages the audience to identify with you lays the foundation for a more effective and engaging presentation. Writers hear the phrase, ‘show, don’t tell’, a lot when they receive critiques of their work. If you want to grab the audience and be more engaging, you will need to show, not tell. Provide meaningful, vivid details in your presentation. Don’t overly rely on statistics. Use fun facts to highlight or punctuate your talk, not as your primary message.
Get to the point
Just because you have the spotlight doesn’t mean you need to hog it! Stay within your allotted time. A good storyteller knows when to end the story. A good storyteller also knows how to pace the story. Generally, stories are constructed with a narrative arc in three acts. The first act is the introduction which may take about 10 – 15% of your time. The second act where you will see the climax of the story could take up to 70% of your time. The third act where you wrap things up would be the remaining time. If your presentation falls within those guidelines, you are pacing the delivery and bringing the presentation to a natural feeling conclusion.
Practice, practice, practice
You don’t need a script or teleprompter but rehearsing your content and getting comfortable with it will pay off during the actual presentation. Know the content like the back of your hand. Being an effective and dynamic speaker takes practice. If you have a trusted colleague or friend who can help you assess your presentation, ask them to listen and take their constructive feedback with an open mind and heart.
As you explore your presentation style, keep the following elements in mind. Your audience wants a story they can believe in, see themselves in, or aspire to be in. How will you raise your game to be more than a speaker and become a storyteller?
Whether you are a seasoned orator or a novice hitting the stage for the first time, no one is immune to jitters and butterflies before doing a presentation. It’s natural to worry over each detail and how you may appear to the audience. But don’t fret, relax! Here are three ways to get over your fear of public speaking:
1. Practice your speech
The saying, “Practice makes perfect”, is true on so many levels. Practicing your public speaking presentation skills by repeating your core content helps to not only memorize the key points but builds a sense of comfort with the material. Being at ease with the content will show when you are in front of an audience.
Along with rehearsing your content, also practice your pacing and cadence during your presentation delivery. Pacing and cadence are simply how fast or slow you talk and where you pause when speaking. These little pauses or emphasis on certain syllables can create a smoother delivery instead of a choppy, sporadic delivery. It’s the difference between sounding awkward and stilted in your speech pattern or sounding effortless and therefore more confident and authentic.
Body language is also a key element to your presentation and one worth practicing as well. Rehearse how you want to stand or how you want to use your hands during the presentation. Too little movement and you may appear rigid. Too much movement and it could be distracting to the audience. And above all, smile when delivering your content if the subject matter allows. If the subject is more serious, at the very least, use a caring expression.
2. Practice visualizing success
Just like actors, singers, or other artists prepare with a lot of practice, they also use positive visualization to impact their performance. Imagine delivering the presentation, how the stage will look, and how the venue will appear. It’s tremendously helpful at getting your brain in sync and ready for a successful presentation. Positive thoughts are highly effective!
Visualization also helps you to adjust to the speaking environment beforehand and potentially to defuse some of your nervous energy. One more way to practice and get a taste of presenting before you have to do it for real is to join an organization like Toastmasters that promotes public speaking and offers opportunities to do short presentations in front of a small audience.
3. Prep yourself
Get yourself ready by taking good care of yourself before your presentation. Perform deep breathing exercises or get physical exercise in as you lead up to the big day. A good night’s sleep is a must the night before your presentation. And the number one thing you should do the day of your presentation is ARRIVE EARLY! Give yourself time to settle in, review the setup, and do a dry run-through. You’ll be glad you did!
Everyone gets nervous when speaking in front of a crowd, big or small. Keeping these three techniques in mind will enhance your public speaking presentation skills. Get ready to slay the stage!
The media landscape is broad, complex, and changing. Deciding on how to utilize traditional versus social media can be daunting. As a speaker, navigating the various opportunities takes time. Don’t let that deter you from attempting to make your mark. It is time well spent! Here are a few things to keep in mind when dipping into media.
Immediacy vs. Long Lead Times
Traditional media like television, print, or radio can have long lead times on the journey to the final interview or feature release. It is not unheard of for a magazine article to take up to six months or longer before you see it in print. On the other hand, social media is very immediate in its reach. Once you click ‘Post’, your message is available for all to see.
Social media is an excellent option when your message is time-sensitive. When promoting an upcoming speaking engagement, a new book, or an interview, social media is the best means of distributing your message quickly and directly to your audience.
Traditional media still has its place in your promotion portfolio. Who wouldn’t want a magazine feature or television interview? These are incredibly exciting opportunities. Utilize these options to support long-term goals. For example, your book or documentary is releasing in six months so submit media inquiries as soon as you have a release date. The goal is to secure media placements in line with the release date.
Stagnate vs. Dynamic
Nowadays, we take for granted that social media platforms are easy to use, lightning-fast, and a low-cost means to connect to your audience. This dynamic format means that the user can create a post, change a post, or even delete a post without much fuss or muss. No middleman needed. This form of editing and transforming a message is a highly desirable trait of social media.
Traditional media does not have that same flexibility. Once a news article is printed or a television interview airs, it is a stagnate piece of media. There may be a possibility of updating the online version of an article or interview but generally, once traditional media releases a story, it is final.
Control vs. Conversation
Social media, by nature of its user-driven platforms, provides more control over messaging than traditional media. You post and share what you want when you want. You determine what matters to you and distribute that content on your own or with the guidance of a public relations professional. Traditional media takes you out of the equation when deciding how and when your message will be delivered. Because traditional media has multiple articles, interviews, or segments to coordinate, there is always the possibility that your feature will be edited or canceled before airtime or publication.
Opening up the conversation is much more straightforward with social media. However, that does not mean you can control the conversation! Your followers will weigh in with their opinion but at least you get to interact and engage in the conversation. Although traditional media has social components to it, that conversation is not driven by you.
Media in its many configurations is an essential tool for any speaker seeking to build their brand and create awareness. Traditional or social media can be effective and productive. Employ a mix of both to maximize your success!