I just finished teaching two classes this week on presentation skills and signed up a new client that will be doing keynotes throughout the year, and one thing keeps floating to the top for me about what makes a great presenter.
It starts with knowing who you are and deciding who you will be.
In my class we talk about picking your character. Now that doesn’t mean creating something fake, although some people do. It’s about picking the facet of who you are to build your personal brand. When the late, great Steve Jobs was on stage you were listening to a visionary/technologist. When I sat in the audience and listened to Robyn Benincasa, who holds world’s records in long distance kayaking and is a champion adventure racer, firefighter, and author, I was listening to an inspiration speaker. Larry Ellison of Oracle comes at you with bombast and his unique viewpoint and is a contrarian.
Steve wanted to lead you to a better world. Robyn wants to show you that you have no limits. Larry is telling you the way things will be whether you agree or not. Each personal brand drives these speakers’ topics, styles and how audiences react to them.
So, who are you?
We are not all company leaders or world class athletes, but we are all unique. We all bring something that is the core of us to the table. Here are a few examples of what the attendees of my class came up with to define their personal brands.
Leader/Nurturer – Leads the way with direction, passion and purpose, but wants each team member to be fulfilled and get the most out of the experience
Expert – Knows the specific subject at hand and isn’t afraid of the toughest questions
Sherpa – The enabler, there to support others to achieve their goals
Director – Authority figure that will pick the goal, set the direction and make sure things get done
Teacher – Helps others with techniques to acquire new skills
Entertainer – Focuses on keeping the mood light while teaching any subject
When a presenter walks on stage for the first time, or the 100th, he or she is working to create or reinforce their personal brand. Guy Kawasaki has a brand focused around his insightful business ideas, offbeat style, and approachable personality. He’s a friendly mentor. I would walk up to Guy and ask for a selfie. I don’t know if I would do that with Larry Ellison. I’ve never met either, but I think Guy is more likely to smile and shake your hand.
Larry probably has security people.
Being a great speaker and communicator takes credibility. People have to believe that you know and believe in your topic. So ask yourself three questions:
The Empire State building has been standing for 87 years, and is known worldwide. It was built on a solid foundation. If you build your personal brand around who you are you’ll have a foundation that could make your talks world famous for years as well.
Robert is a speaker coach, actor, director, author, speaker, executive and overall marketing guy. He writes about all aspects of presenting and connecting with audiences.