Month: June 2019

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Normally on ProfessionalSpeaking.com I write about the things I do or have learnt about becoming a global keynote speaker.
Today I will write about one thing I DO NOT do, but plan to become better at.

I am talking about “batching”.

I have committed myself to write one blog post for ProfessionalSpeaking.com every Monday, and virtually every Monday I have done it for the last five years. But the last two Mondays (and a few others) I have missed it. Not because I did not have anything to say, but because life got in the way. (I traveled Singapore – Zurich – Copenhagen – Stockholm in the last ten days with 3 speeches and 7 interviews being done during these ten days.)

IF (!) I would have created a library of “back up posts” I could have posted one of those when I did not find the time to write a new post of the week.

But because I do not have a library of back-up posts I did not post anything these last two Monday.

By writing this post I am hoping to not only inspire you to create a series of blog posts that you can have as a back-up but also to inspire myself to do the same.

Hopefully this will lead to more posts being posted on Mondays as planned.

(And for those who are by now used to getting posts on professional speaking every Mondays: Do accept my apologies.)

 

(Picture from one of the events I spoke at last week.)

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Great brands are great brands because they constantly tweak, adjust and adjust what they are, because the company, and the world around it has changed.

Tweaking your brand is not a sign of being wrong before, or not knowing what you stand for. It IS a sign of knowing who you are right now.

And that is true for speakers too.

I just went through a brand adjustment and it came from the most unlikely of places: My 8-year old son.

In school he was asked: “What does your dad do?” and he wanted to reply: “My dad is a creativity expert” but it came out as “My dad is a creativity EXPLORER”.

A creativity explorer! When I heard that story, I realised that that is exactly what I am.

My Inner Theme is still “Humanity to the Power of Ideas”, my focus right now is still on my upcoming book “The World of Creativity” and at ProfessionalSpeaking.com I still blog about speaking, but my BRAND is that I am “The Creativity Explorer”.

What does that mean?

It means that I am “discovering the potential of human creativity.”

And I do that “by traveling the world to meet with, learn from and talk to as many people as I can to better understand human creativity so we – together – can unleash its full potential.”

To sit down and clarify who you are, what you do and how you do it is so valuable as it gives you clarity, direction and focus.

I am lucky enough to have a wife who is a branding consultant so we can literally sit down at the dinner table and talk about these things, but I recommend every speaker to find someone to help them develop their brand.

In my case the spark to this year’s brand refresh came from my 8-year old son, so the lesson here really is that anything can spark an idea to re-work your brand. The important thing is that you harness those sparks and take the opportunity to take a re-look at your brand from time to time.

I am very happy that I did.

Defining myself as “The Creativity Explorer” has given me great positive energy.

In a way a good re-branding exercise is like coming out from a great session at the hairdresser: you are still yourself, but you feel fresher, more confident – more your real self than before.

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On Friday – during a speech in Bangkok – I called a member of the audience an a**hole, and got a way with it, and it gives us a lesson in how to become better as a speaker.

I do not often do it, but once in a while – when the group, the conference and the timing is right – I have a story that I tell where I call out one of the audience members for being an a**hole. It is a dangerous move. Especially since it normally happens in the beginning of the speech, because if you get it wrong and the person you are calling out gets angry or annoyed you have lost the whole audience for the rest of the speech.

But I like to do it once in a while. (I guess I like the thrill of taking a risk in my speeches.)

The trick is to know WHEN it is acceptable to call someone an a**hole, or say/do something equally “unacceptable”.

So how do you know? You have to look in the eye’s of the person you are thinking of interacting with in a provocative way to see if he (or she) has a sense of humour. If you see the sparkle in the eye, the relaxed body language, the genuine smile then you can go for it.

Oh, and do it with a smile yourself to soften the blow (ie so that the person understands that you are doing what you are doing in a tongue-in-cheek-kind of a way.)

My advice here is not that you call people names in your speeches. (It really is a risky move…) What I am saying is that you need to practice your ability to “read” a person before you go into any interaction with them, especially if you are going to say something that might be perceived as risky (ie making a joke, saying something provocative or going into a debate about something with them.)

When judging if a person can take it you also need to judge if the group as a whole can take it (in other words you need to assess BOTH the person and the group. Sometimes the person can take it, but the group can not. If a person can NOT take it then the group will very likely turn against you and not take it either. But if the person CAN take the joke there is a big chance the group will accept it too, and that is why it is so important to know WHO to interact with in situations like this.

Now you might say that using words like that is NEVER ok in a speech, but I beg to differ. Everything is down to the very specific feeling you have in the room at the time.

And I have to say that it worked. The audience gave me a standing ovation after the speech and the man (pictured) I had called out came up to me specifically after the speech and thanked me for the speech and for having fun with him.

So practise your ability to judge a persons (and a groups) ability to laugh at themselves and to not take things too personally. One way you can do that is to guess if a person is going to laugh at a joke before you get to the punch line.

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