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6 Ways to Boost Your Executive Presence

6 Ways to Boost Your Executive Presence

Executive presence is the leadership quality that will help you become the leader that others can’t help but notice. It helps you to inspire confidence in others and demonstrate your capability, reliability and potential as a leader. 

It’s built on three pillars; how you act, how you look and how you speak and includes your attitude, confidence, non-verbal communication, emotional intelligence, public speaking skills, and even your personal brand. 

When you improve your executive presence, you’ll be more likely to stand out from your peers and be offered the kinds of opportunities that you deserve. Working with an executive coach who is experienced in helping leaders boost their confidence and influence with executive presence characteristics will make a significant difference to your performance. 

In the meantime, here are 6 tips that can help you get started. 

1. Polish your speaking and presentation skills

If you want to improve or boost your executive presence and increase your confidence, you must work on improving your speaking skills. When you can speak with clarity, you will share your message more effectively, appear to be more confident and, perhaps most importantly, inspire your audience and connect with them on a deeper level. 

It’s not only the words that you use that will have an impact, but how you deliver that message will determine the way in which it is received. Working on your leadership voice is part of developing your executive presence.

Leaders who speak too quickly or too slowly, use a monotonous voice, speak in a high pitch or don’t articulate the words clearly are likely to miss the mark. Own your voice, speak up and be heard. 

2. Develop your confidence

Confidence is one of the most important ‘soft skills’ you’ll need to become an inspiring leader and develop executive presence. When you can demonstrate quiet confidence, and move with energy and intention, you will inspire a sense of trust and senior management will be more likely to sit up and notice you. 

However, many of my coaching clients feel that their lack of confidence is permanent and they will never be able to work through it, but as I explain to them, this certainly isn’t the case. There are many tricks and techniques we can use to help you control your nervousness, cultivate confidence and stand out from your peers. 

Learn to speak with confidence by attending my one day training course in Perth.

3. Use the power of non-verbal communication

Strong, positive body language is essential when it comes to building your credibility, connecting with your listeners and again, inspiring confidence. Here are some tips that can help you boost your skills:

  • Prepare: know your message and practice speaking beforehand.
  • Visualise: imagine yourself speaking with confidence and presence. 
  • Make eye contact: whether you’re speaking to just a few people or a larger audience, making eye contact will help you build your executive presence.
  • Be present: remember that you’re there to deliver a message. It’s not about you.
  • Stand confidently: keep your feet hip-distance apart and your feet firmly grounded. Relax your shoulders. 

4. Create a positive first impression 

Did you know that it takes people just a few seconds to decide a person’s characteristics when they meet them for the first time? 

This includes traits like trustworthiness, competence, charisma and likeability that are critical for building business relationships and growing a successful career. When a person believes that you are professional, you’re more likely to be presented with new career opportunities and foster growth. 

To maximise your impact, start by tweaking your appearance. Dress to impress. Be neatly groomed at all times and wear the correct style of clothing for your industry, culture and level of formality. 

5. Showcase your personal brand 

Effective personal branding can provide you with a winning advantage when it comes to your career, especially during these uncertain times. It’s practically impossible to succeed in the modern world unless you are maximising your impact in this way. Be proactive and ensure that you’re maximising the impact of yours. Consider the following:

  • How are you showing up online and offline? 
  • Are you using social media to showcase your expertise? 
  • Do you have an up-to-date profile picture on LinkedIn? 
  • What does Google say about you? 
  • Are you grabbing public speaking opportunities to share your message? 
  • How effectively do you network
  • How do you dress?

Each of these factors will affect your personal brand and allow you to promote yourself and your expertise more effectively. 

6. Build your self-awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Effective leaders are always aware of how emotions can influence the outcome of any relationship or negotiation. They are aware of their own emotions, how they can impact others and how they can effectively manage them for best effect. They also make the effort to notice other people’s emotions, demonstrate great empathy and can resolve conflicts effectively. 

The great news is that emotional intelligence isn’t a skill that you need to be born with. You can improve your soft skills by tuning in to your emotions and noticing how to respond in stressful situations or when faced with conflict or change. Also, get feedback from others to understand how you are perceived by others and be willing to make any changes needed to help you develop your executive presence and grow your career. 

Summary

Building your executive presence involves much more than becoming an effective leader. By improving your public speaking skills, growing your confidence, harnessing the power of non-verbal communication, creating a positive first impression, improving your personal brand and building your Emotional Intelligence, you can inspire confidence and trust so you can build your professional career.

I can help you master the art of executive presence and fulfil your potential. Contact me today to find out more.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Tailored Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking either in person or via virtual means at your next conference or event.

10 Public speaking mistakes that are easy to avoid

10 Public speaking mistakes that are easy to avoid

Did you know that many speakers can reduce the impact of their message with any of these common public speaking mistakes? 

Whether they don’t use their body language effectively, their presentation skills are lacking, or they simply make small mistakes, this can all reduce their ability to share their message and connect with their audience. 

I’ve gathered together the top ten most common public speaking mistakes that I see my clients make all the time (plus a bonus one!), along with public speaking tips to help you polish your performance. 

Mistake 1: Reading aloud

Although reading aloud is a fantastic way to practise your public speaking skills at home, you should avoid it at all costs when you’re in front of an audience. Even if you’re a very fluent reader, you’ll struggle to sound authentic and connect with your audience on a deeper level (or worse still, you’ll end up sounding robotic!) 

How to fix it

Make notes that are brief bullet points or trigger words to remind you of the key points of your presentation if needed but avoid writing the whole sentences. Under pressure, you could default to reading aloud again. People will switch off if you lose them and it’s hard to get them back. Also ensure that you’re also looking up from your notes when you speak and making eye contact with your audience. 

Mistake 2: Memorising a script

When you memorise a script, you’ll need to spend a lot of energy learning your ‘lines’ that would be better spent practicing your non-verbal communication and presentation skills. You also run the risk of forgetting one sentence or section of your message and struggling to continue with the presentation. 

How to fix it

Instead, have a theme and use several chunks to organise your ideas. I recommend three chunks as our brain loves triads. Then talk through these chunks, using your own words. You’ll sound more natural and there will be much less pressure on you. 

If you’re worried about forgetting what you want to say or your nerves getting the better of you, consider working from notes (see above) and consider working with a public speaking coach

Mistake 3: Poor use of slides

Great public speakers use high-quality slides to highlight features of their message and tell a story. Used correctly, they can help your audience stay engaged, add extra details to your story and provide extra visual input for those who best receive information in this way. 

However, many people struggle when it comes to using slides and fill them with complex information, use them as a memory prompt, focus on the slides not the audience and fail to use them effectively. 

How to fix it

If you want to become a better public speaker, you should ensure that your slides are professional quality and that you use them seamlessly. Use presentation mode and a remote clicker when you use slides so you can keep your focus on your audience and don’t need to look back. 

Create clear, crisp slides that are visually rich with a minimum of text, a font that is large enough to read and images wherever possible. Finally, make sure you stand to the side to avoid blocking the screen. 

Mistake 4: Speaking too quickly

If you’re speaking too quickly when you’re making a presentation or giving a talk, the audience will struggle to understand your message and could switch off entirely. They’ll be less likely to like and trust you, you’re more likely to get out of breath and you’ll find your stress levels increasing. For those reasons, you should slow down what you’re saying, even if you feel like a bag of nerves and want to get through your presentation as quickly as possible. 

How to fix it 

Slow down, take a breath and be OK with silence – it’s a good thing. Also consider how you can use pauses at key points in your speech or presentation to better connect with your audience and drive your message home. 

Mistake 5: Using a monotone voice 

Most of us have attended someone’s speech or presentation and found ourselves daydreaming and struggling to stay engaged with their message or story. The speaker’s voice was so flat, dull, and monotonous that, despite our efforts to focus, we started daydreaming. 

As a public speaker, you should ensure that this never happens to your audience. You should be using your voice to add inflection, bring colour and character to your presentation and bring energy to the room. 

How to fix it

Before starting your presentation or speech, take a few deep breaths to help you calm your nerves so your voice will appear more natural. Then speak in the same way as you would with your colleagues, allowing your voice to flow and contain all of the highs and lows of natural speech. If you’re unsure whether you use a monotonous voice in your presentations, record yourself when you’re rehearsing. 

Mistake 6: Pacing or fidgeting

Do you have any tiny mannerisms or habits that you used to help you cope with your fear of public speaking? This might include pacing up and down, fidgeting, rocking, playing with a pen, twisting a ring, gripping a lectern, and doing any similar repetitive actions. If this is the case, you can learn how to get these habits under control – as they’ll distract your audience from your message and destroy your confidence and credibility.

How to fix it 

Stay grounded to the spot whenever you can, keeping your feet hip-distance apart and relaxing the upper part of your body. Allow your arms and hands to move naturally. When you want to move, do so with purpose. Don’t let your nerves get the better of you! 

Mistake 7: Lack of facial expression

When making a presentation, you should use your facial expressions to help convey your message, connect you with your audience and allow those around you to feel at ease. The trouble is, when we’re nervous, we tend to tense the muscles in our face, jaw, and neck. This can cause us to look blank, expressionless, or even like a deer in the headlights! 

How to fix it

Become more aware of your face and consciously relax and release any muscle tension. Smile when it’s appropriate- you’ll release a flood of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that naturally slow your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure and help you feel much more comfortable and confident in front of your audience. 

Mistake 8: Avoiding eye contact

Avoiding eye contact and looking at the ceiling or floor might seem like an excellent coping mechanism when you’re nervous. But again, it can prevent you from connecting with your audience and will affect how your audience perceives you and your message. If you want them to like and trust you, you need to bite the bullet and make eye contact. 

How to fix it

When you start your presentation, take a deep breath and glance around the room to become more aware of your audience. Then pick one person and make eye contact with them for 3-5 seconds (about one sentence) before moving on to someone else. 

Mistake 9: Standing behind a desk or lectern

When you stand behind a physical object such as a desk or lectern, you’ll be putting space between yourself and your audience. You’ll find it much harder to connect authentically, you’ll limit the natural hand gestures that can add character to your presentation, and you could look less confident. 

How to fix it

Be brave and step out from behind that desk, lectern, or other prop. You’ll relate so much better with your audience and share your message more effectively. Make sure you inform the organisers beforehand so they can provide you with the right microphone to ensure you can be heard at all times. 

Mistake 10: Lack of preparation or practice

Winging it is not a professional or effective public speaking strategy, especially if you want to create a good impression and enhance your career prospects. Take this approach and you could miss key points in your presentation, appear disorganised and unprofessional and look like you lack experience. If people are giving up their most valuable resource- their time- we need to honour that. Preparation and practice are key.

How to fix it

The preparation and practise side of speaking in public can be boring and time-consuming but it makes all the difference. Why not consider rehearsing your presentation to the wall, or your pet dog to start with? You can also record yourself (an excellent way to improve your body language) or ask a friend to help. 

BONUS TIP: [Mistake 11]: Not sticking to the allocated time

Ex-Cuban leader, Fidel Castro was famous for his long, rambling speeches that could continue for hours and literally send his audience to sleep. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be doing this if you want a successful public speaking career, especially if you are a guest speaker or have a fixed amount of time available. 

Stick to the allocated time and you’ll save yourself needless embarrassment and again, find it easier to keep your audience engaged. 

How to fix it

Make a note of the time you’ve been allocated and don’t speak for longer than this. Plan, prepare and practise so you can deliver on time, allowing a short amount of time for questions and other disturbances. 

Summary

By avoiding these public speaking mistakes, you can become a more effective public speaker who can engage better with their audience, share their message with ease and create a strong professional reputation. 

About the author

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Tailored Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking either in person or via virtual means at your next conference or event.

Public Speaking Basics

Public Speaking Basics

If you aspire to get paid to speak, or you want to become better at public speaking to build your business, here are some tips to help you nail the basics of public speaking.

Getting started as a public speaker

As a Public Speaking and Business Storytelling coach I am often asked about getting started and the journey to becoming a better public speaker. 

You may be keen to take it a step further and include speaking as part of a portfolio career or at least a stream of income. Many people who get paid to speak are not only speakers, they are also a coach, mentor and/or trainer. 

What does it take to become a professional speaker?

Before you go and hit the pavement as a speaker, think about your intention. How can you  leverage speaking as a tool to help you grow your career or business, as well as your brand. What does it take to become a professional speaker?

Start by deciding what you are going to speak about.

One of the basics of public speaking  and often the hardest thing to pin down is the theme and topic that is going to form the premise of your message. 

Turning your dream into a purpose

You may have a dream to motivate and inspire others, perhaps you are keen to get in front of the camera to build your business or start a podcast. Before you go any further, be clear on your topic. 

Start by thinking about your Ikigai (japanese for reason for being). It’s the Japanese word for ‘a reason to live’ or ‘a reason to jump out of bed in the morning’.It’s the place where your needs, desires, ambitions, and satisfaction meet. Ikigai is well worth the read if you want some guidance on finding yours 

What gives you joy?

What is the topic that makes you feel joy and really excites you when you speak about it? It takes commitment and a lot of practice to become competent at speaking in public. You need to enjoy what you are speaking about, or it will quickly become dull.

What are you good at?

What is your area of expertise? Perhaps you can combine these skills and experience with another aspect of your life such as a hobby or way of living. For example, you may have studied architecture and be interested in all things design, and now you are interested in, and regularly undertake mindfulness. Perhaps you could combine the principles of design with mindfulness in some way. Think laterally. Find a topic that is centred around the essence of you and what will help you stand out. 

What does the world need?

What topic is useful to others. Do some market research to find out what topics are in demand right now? Find a topic that is needed in the community as well as one that you have credibility to speak about, and that you are also passionate about. When you are starting out as a speaker, it’s better to have one well crafted and refined talk on offer rather than a long menu of talks. 

What will the market pay for?

If there is a flood of leadership speakers what aspect of leadership can you niche on? Again do some research and find out what type of speakers are being booked to speak at conferences.  It may be more difficult to find out what fees are being paid for that topic and speaker as there are many variables. If you would like to book a clarity call with me, I can offer you some tips on what you may expect to be paid as an emerging speaker. (link to book a comp clarity call)

Maybe working with a public speaking coach is right for you. 

When you combine the four elements of Ikigai you will have a better understanding of what topic to choose.

You may like to work with a n experienced coach to help you discover your speaking strategy. Here are some tips to help you find the right speaking coach for you. I suggest you work with a coach who is accredited and experienced in not only the art and science of speaking but also the business side of speaking. 

In my next blog article in this series of the basics of Public Speaking, I will share with you how I go shout crafting a speech from scratch. 


About the author

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Tailored Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking either in person or via virtual means at your next conference or event.

How to become a public speaker

How to become a public speaker

As a professional speaker and public speaking coach, how to become a public speaker is one of the most common questions I am asked. Here is one exercise you can do to help you start with the basics.

My answer is, well it depends. It depends on what your overall objective is in becoming a public speaker. 

Let’s start with Why

Purpose drives action. Before you consider the what, let’s look at the why. Here are some questions for you to ponder as you think about why you want to become a public speaker.

  • Would you like to use speaking as a medium to boost your sales?
  • Would you like to speak in public to build your network and professional relationships?
  • Would you like to inspire others with a message that they want to hear?
  • Maybe you have a TEDx talk on your bucket list, with a single idea that you’re burning to tell. 
  • You are a purpose-driven leader with a desire to leave a legacy, and speaking is a way of getting a message across one to many. 

You may have a desire to do all of the above, or you may begin in one direction and over time, your public speaking will develop and evolve. 

Once you have considered the reasons why you want to become a public speaker, the next step is to determine what you are going to speak about – your speaking topic. 

When I began my public speaking journey eleven years ago, I knew that I wanted to speak, despite feeling terrified at the thought of standing in front of an audience. And I also knew that I would need to dedicate time and resources into becoming very comfortable speaking to an audience, as well as mastering the craft of speaking.

But at the time I didn’t have a strategy. I hadn’t thought about public speaking as a business. I was in the hobbyist mindset.  I went about learning the basics of public speaking, but I wasn’t clear about my speaking topic and I didn’t really know who I was going to speak with, even though by this time I no longer feared having people in the seats. 

I certainly hadn’t considered the most important question of who would be willing to pay me to be a guest speaker? I thought I would figure it out as I went along, and I did. 

Knowing what I know now, I could have shaved off years of experimentation and saved time and money by investing in the right skills and the right people, to help me at the right time. If you are ready to explore becoming a professional speaker, you may be interested in one on one coaching. It’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you. Let’s make a time to chat about how I can help you.

How to decide on your topic as a public speaker 

You can speak about anything you want, but if you want to get booked and paid as a public speaker, then getting clarity on your topic is essential.  

My advice to anyone who would like to get started, is to think about a broad topic you would like to speak about, and then narrow that topic to a single focus. 

Begin by doing some market research into what topics are hot and relevant now, as well as the topics that are likely to be evergreen. 

There is no point speaking about a topic that won’t get you a booking if you want to get paid to speak.

What do you love to do? 

What do you love to do? Speak about that! This is an ideal place for a beginner.

What is something that you really enjoy doing that you could speak about? Maybe a skill or craft, a sport, your travel adventures, or possibly some adversity or stories. 

When you speak about a topic that you love your energy and enthusiasm will shine through.

This is where most hobby speakers start, and then many stay stuck playing in this space even though they want guest speaker bookings and to move from free speaking to paid speaking opportunities. 

Truth Bomb!

No one cares about your story, until they care about how your story helps them.

Choosing a speaking topic that you enjoy is ideal when you want to be a volunteer speaking for free to clubs, associations and peers. If you want to get paid as a public speaker, read on. 

If you are serious about making a career out of being a public speaker, this article about becoming a professional speaker will help you.   

What is it that you know? 

What’s your area of expertise? Do you have skills, qualifications or certifications, or perhaps awards and accolades in a particular industry? 

When you combine speaking about what you love with speaking with what you know, then your credibility is higher and you get ahead faster. You may consider guest speaking opportunities that are a fit with your brand and are unpaid. 

Like anyone getting started it is likely you will be speaking for free until you are confident and ready to ask for a fee.  

Still not sure on your speaking topic? 

Speak on a topic you have earned the right to speak about.

What topic will the market pay for? 

If you aspire to getting paid to speak or even becoming a full time professional speaker, earning as much as a C-suite executive, then you must be very clear on what the market is paying for. 

Speaking is a business, and the role of a speaker is to not only be skilled in the areas of platform delivery and crafting a message, but also highly skilled in sales and marketing, branding and positioning, and relationship building. 

Fundamental to your success as a public speaker, is the commitment to investing time and energy in finding and working with people who can help you. 

Is working with a speaker coach right for you? 

If you are ready to work on your speaking business as well as your speaking craft, then I recommend that you consider finding a skilled and experienced public speaking coach who can help you navigate the process. 

Getting paid to speak

It becomes a reality that you will get paid to speak when you combine what you love, what you know, with what the market will pay for. 

Do some research to find out which speakers are also speaking about that topic.
What is their angle and how you can be different (it’s not cool to copy others ideas or to become a cookie cutter). So think about what unique insights you can bring to the topic. What experience and skills do you possess that are different or unique, and how can you package that in a sellable service. 

Becoming a speaker is primarily about running a business and that means being very comfortable with sales and marketing, having a standout brand, being visible, and being able to adapt and, if necessary, reinvent your brand and your topic to remain relevant.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers.

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Virtual – Live Online Training – Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Business Storytelling and executive Speaker Coaching is available online.

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference live of virtual event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

I heard Rory Vaden speak at a conference in 2014. I have heard him speak several more times since then. Each time, his words resonate with me. His message ‘Take The Stairs’ has become a metaphor that I adopted as I was taking my first steps in  a new career as a professional speaker. 

When I first decided that I wanted to become a speaker, I was working full time in a government department. The job was stable and well paid, yet predictable and unfulfilling. I enjoyed much of the work, but I knew there was more. I felt compelled to teach, inspire and serve others, and I decided that speaking was the medium to allow me to do so. 

There are no shortcuts. Focus and determination will set you on the right path. 

Just over a week ago, I got to stand on stage with 11 others at the Professional Speakers Australia conference and received the Certified Speaking Professional recognition. This conference was one of the last to be held in Australia, before all large public events were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

As a novice in a new field there is so much choice. It is overwhelming. 

When I made the decision to become a Professional Speaker. I knew it would be hard. Having a story to tell and some public speaking skills was not enough. I knew nothing about being a business owner or the world of professional speaking. 

 In October 2017 I exited the workforce with a one page plan and a commitment to give it my best shot. 

As a novice to the world of professional speaking it can be overwhelming working out what’s next, who to turn to for help, and what professional and personal development is required. I was that speaker. 

My 20+ year career taught me many things that I am grateful for,  but I was ill-equipped to run a small business. 

In the early days, I made some mistakes that cost me time and money. However, these became some very important lessons that have served me well. If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested in the right help sooner. it’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you.

Things began to fall into place when I decided that 2020 was the year that  I would become a Certified Speaking Professional.

Slow and steady wins the race

According to Rory Vaden successful people achieve results the old fashioned way, with focus and self discipline. By ‘taking the stairs’ we are resisting the temptation of ‘quick fixes’, eliminating distractions, and overcoming personal setbacks to achieve our goals. 

So what is a Certified Speaking Professional?

The Certified Speaking Professional accreditation is an international designation awarded to only a small percentage of professional speakers globally. 

The CSP has gained global recognition as an indicator of dedication to excellence in the field of speaking. 

I am aware that there are less than 150 active CSP’s in Australia. 

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

The five most important elements which led to success

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

1. Clarity

In the first year of business, I lacked clarity. I was trying to serve a wide market and I was targeting a market segment that did not feel right for me. I decided to follow the age old advice of ‘picking a lane and sticking to it’. This felt like a weight off my shoulders. 

This included becoming really clear on who I want to serve, what services I will offer and when to walk away, and why I am doing this in the first place. I revisit exercises and activities on clarity every 90 days. Doing a simple exercise such as mapping out your niche and topic using Ikigai is a useful thing to do.

More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.  

2. Focus

I have always been a planner and a detail person, and I love any tools that assist me with the process of planning and organising.  This year I made the decision to work a four day week. This meant even more focus and self -discipline. My productivity increased and I now get more done in less time. I practice Deep Work. According to Cal Newport, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. I always do the hardest tasks when I am at my sharpest mentally and physically which is early morning, and after coffee. 

3. Consistency

I have built a brand that I am proud of, and I continue to show up true to that brand. If an opportunity comes along that is not aligned with my brand, I am happy to let it go. Yes, I do still get FOMO at times, but I now fully embrace the thinking that when you say no to something it paves the way for something that is better aligned. I believe that by showing up consistently and true to my brand it builds a higher level of trust. 

During the current crisis I will strive to stay on brand, even though change will be inevitable if my business is to thrive.

4. Values

When I began working with a new coach last year, I took a closer look at my values and did some values exercises. I have five values that guide me in both my personal and business life. I like the compass analogy, as my values guide me to navigate my way. What became apparent to me is that once I got clarity on my values, I began to attract more clients with similar values. Staying true to my values has also helped making it easier to say know and when to walk away. 

5. Support

I lost some friends along the way! This is a tough one and something I never anticipated. I have a wonderful family and I must admit it took them a while to fully understand that I was serious and it was not a sabbatical from my previous career. I am a member of many virtual groups and I love the fact that I can connect with so many people around the world and they are so supportive. I have a core group of close friends and business associates. 

So what’s next?

I am approaching this next chapter of uncertainty with an open mind. Like any small business in Australia I have been affected by the situation. 

Fortunately my programs and coaching are all able to be delivered online. I have a range of interactive live webinars and virtual presentations to help leaders communicate with confidence. 

How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3 or a 90 minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching via Zoom or where practically possible, in person.

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world. 

Your Brand is the Key to your Success as a Speaker

Your Brand is the Key to your Success as a Speaker

As a speaker, your brand is the key to your success and what sets you apart. Starting out as an emerging speaker can be tough.

You have the subject matter and a desire to change the world with your message, but you may not have considered the creation of your brand or how it will determine the future success of your business. 

Knowing what I now know about starting a business, defining a personal brand, and getting started in the world of professional speaking, I would say this to those starting out: don’t waste too much time and money on creating a logo, business cards and a website. Instead, develop your brand and focus on getting it to work for you. 

Create a recent, professional-looking profile page on LinkedIn and capitalise on this social platform to build relationships and share valuable content so that people will be able to find you. People will be drawn to your story and find it easier to relate to you as a result. A business card or logo is pointless unless you have a following. 

So, how do you get started building a brand?

” A brand is much more than a logo. It is a way of being, what you stand for and how you make a difference in the world. “

This can be tough for people entering the speaking business. According to Lois Creamer, an expert in the speaking industry, the US Meeting Industry Association reports that inquiries for speakers have increased by 5% in the last twelve months. Whilst this may be cause for optimism, it means that competition among speakers vying for platforms will also have risen and will become as challenging as ever.

A simple Google search for keynote speaker or professional speaker will produce thousands of results from which to choose. If you are a speaker who has a broad topic of expertise (e.g. leadership or culture), then creating a stellar brand and consciously positioning yourself will set you apart from those thousands of others. 

So, how do you construct a personal brand that enables you to carve out a niche, create a reputation, and make a positive difference with your message?

” It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone” – Hans F Hansen

If you have only a bland or static brand, you will blend in and be hard to find. You will get lost amongst numerous others out there, despite the importance of your message.To construct your brand needn’t be expensive or seem gimmicky. Your brand should be authentic; it is your essence, and it constantly evolves. That’s why I love the concept of the brand tree.

Introducing the brand tree

The brand tree is such a simple and wonderful metaphor to use to describe an approach to building a brand as a speaker. 

Consider your brand as having the same essential components as a tree: roots, trunk, branches and leaves. If you invest time and energy in the different parts of the tree, it will, at the right time, thrive and become easily differentiated within the forest of trees, whilst others, left untended, will wilt and wither.

Brands, like trees, depend upon a healthy seed and root system. This is the foundation from which everything springs. This solid foundation is required to support the life and growth of your brand. If a good seed (your ideas and purpose) is planted and well-nurtured, it sprouts and develops roots which, if strong, will take hold. Conversely, a weak root system will result in a weak brand. 

What is your purpose?

Your purpose is the brand’s seed. This is where your story begins to take shape. This is the human element behind your brand. People are fascinated about your why, and so your purpose becomes the essence of your brand’s personality.

What are your roots?

Your vision and your values make up part of the root system. This is the heart of your brand. Take the time to define each of your personal values and use those values to guide your decisions. Once the roots are established, the rest of the tree begins to flourish. In other words, the purpose and personality of your brand must be communicated and understood. 

As you begin your speaking career, be clear on your purpose and your values, because when things get tough, you need to be willing to persevere, to be prepared for setbacks, and to do the hard work. There is the skill of speaking and stagecraft to consider, but there is also a lot to learn about business. 

Your values are the compass that guides your brand as a speaker

Begin by identifying your values because they will be the compass that guides you. 

When roots become anchored in soil, the trunk of the tree then forms. The trunk gives the tree its structure, strength and shape. The trunk of your brand is your positioning; that is, how you differentiate and set yourself apart from other brands. This part of your brand will shift, evolve and adapt to better fit the environment. 

The trunk is can be understood as the how. It is your methods and processes and the way you act to consistently achieve results for yourself and your clients. Your processes and methods should be versatile and adaptable. 

As a speaker, you will need to adapt and to evolve at all stages to avoid becoming stale and irrelevant. Understand what is going on in the market. There is an abundance of speakers, and there are self-appointed experts who appear; unfortunately, there are also people who may copy your ideas. Don’t be disheartened – a copy-cat will not be able to copy your essence, as that is unique to you. There is no need to lose sleep over it. If someone copies you, create something new and better. 

The final component of your brand tree is the leaves.

Think of the leaves as the decoration or the first appearance. This is what people see and what draws them in initially. Although they are highly visible, unless the leaves have a solid structure and root system, the overall brand tree will be unsustainable. Shiny, perfectly formed leaves may catch attention as they blow in the breeze, but without the solid foundation and support structure of the other components, the leafy visual brand will soon fade. You must be able to back up style with substance; there must be more to what is seen on the surface. 

The leaves include elements of your brand’s appearance, such as how you dress, the way that you present and handle yourself, the level of service you provide, the value and content that you deliver and the materials you use, such as brochures, slides, cards, images and social pages, etc.

Now, picture your brand as a tree. What sort of tree is it? Does it blossom and bloom? Is it resilient to environmental changes?

The seed and its roots determine the health of a tree. The same goes for your brand, so lay a solid foundation. This part cannot be hurried. Tend to the roots and be patient while they take hold. 


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder, sketchnote creator and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to access a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.