Blog by Kim Vermaak
There was a sparkling energy in the room at the Jo’burg Chapter of the Professional Speakers Association, when Yael Geffen stepped into our event with her vibrant and authentic style of presenting.
Her opening remarks had a sizzling humour to them, as she shared an acronym that made it impossible to forget the core message of this internationally respected keynote speaker. One could be tempted to think the initial stunned silence of the audience was in part because of this shock tactic.
The reality was, we were riveted by her authentic approach and personal anecdotes. This included a theatrical impersonation of a death defying posture dance by a game ranger attempting to ward off a charging rhino.
The room’s demographic was a mix of dream seekers, novices and seasoned professional speakers, who all had one thing in common; they came to listen to a speaker who both guided and challenged us to be authentic while overcoming our “Crisis of Confidence”. We won’t mention the acronym here that Yael used to cement her message in our minds, but we are sure some of the more creative readers can figure it out.
Even though Yael is the winner of the 2020 Standard Bank’s prestigious Top Woman in Property Award and is the 2023 winner of Woman of Stature’s CEO of the Year, she had an unusual mix of humble confidence laced with an empathetic style that made her talk accessible to every level of speaker in the room.Her accolades, while impressive, served as a reminder to us that instead of using fake inflation methods of our image, we, like Yael, can build an audience who connects who we are as individuals.
This keynote address had some strong take-home points that challenged us to be speakers who use our confidence crisis as we step into uncharted territory to propel us to build a foundation of competencies. Instead of shrinking back, we were encouraged by her examples, where international celebrities have used this model to grow in experience and confidence.
In an age where failure is sometimes celebrated, Yael challenged us to be accountable to ourselves and others to make sure we eliminate fake and become people that our audiences root for. While her talk showcased some of her competencies, she took the time to celebrate a number of the speakers in the room, transforming this from a normal chapter meeting into one that honoured and encouraged the group as a whole.
For this meeting we selected a single speaker format, which opened up more time for MC Yoke van Dam to set the tone with some engaging positivity icebreakers and lively interaction where our high-level speakers dropped incredible pearls of wisdom that encouraged and guided both the experienced group and the entry level speakers.
Yoke, our former Speaker Liaison, added a flair to our event that came from her intimate knowledge of our chapter, but her international team building experience was key to her success in facilitating our discussions to position as an organisation. Our meeting was in the hands of a seasoned leadership and team building expert as she coached our team into engaging in a way that added value. Besides her direction in facilitation, a needs analysis for our members, Yoke injected her special blend of professionalism and sparkling personality into the evening, but also did a handover from the 2022 committee to our 2023 team that was worthy of any world-class organisation.
Part of Yael’s talk was directed at creating an authentic and engaging self promotion strategy, which was why it was so helpful to have Linda Magennis, from chapter’s marketing team, take photos using her professional green screen. Linda, aka, the Green Screen Queen gave our meeting a Hollywood type of flair. The photos are sure to make our attendees the envy of many speakers. We are grateful that we have a multi talented team to add value to our members and look forward to many more fun and engaging events.
Photos courtesy of Linda Magennis; [email protected] and www.greenscreenqueen.co.za
Our next meeting is scheduled for 22 Jun @ 18:15 – 20:30 SAST