Welcome to the September edition of the PSASA newsletter. Springtime usually is a time for new and fresh beginnings and life, thus the concept of spring cleaning. People come out of their homes and start living life again, getting ready for the last stretch of the year, getting in shape for December holidays or just have renewed energy to tackle the tasks at hand. Well we can assure you that this issue is no different as even this month’s newsletter has a spring in its step!
In this issue
- The President’s Corner
- Creating value
- Sales and Marketing: Sustainable success
- Let’s chat
- Power of gold
- Membership news
- Johannesburg Chapter news
- Meet Justin Cohen
1. President’s Corner
July and August to date have been very eventful months for me personally as well as for the PSASA.
I have received many feedback e-mails with regards to the issues raised in the first two Presidents’ updates.
I thank you all for these as they are helping us form new strategies to provide you and prospective new members with more relevant benefits. And, it is also helping us ascertain how to transform the PSASA into the true flagship organisation for Professional Speakers and Trainers in Southern Africa.
I will be dealing with these issues in the second part of my meetings to each chapter in September.
Speaking of which – this is an invitation to all members to join me when I visit your chapters in September.
At these meetings I will deliver and facilitate a one-hour workshop on “Pricing Yourself as a Professional Speaker” and then after the break we will hold a “Town Hall” meeting where I will update you all on what’s what in the PSASA, the GSF and the speaking industry as I see it. Being a Town Hall meeting you will also be free to ask questions about any subject (relating to PSASA) you like and I will do my best to answer same.
I would like to meet all PSASA members in each chapter and request that you diarise the dates for your chapter’s September meetings so that we can all meet and share in the future of our Professional Body. I certainly am looking forward to seeing you all there.
The other major event in my personal development as a Professional Speaker was attending the NSA convention in Indianapolis USA in July.
2. Creating Value
By Rehana Rutti (Cape Town Chapter)
A while ago I read this and thought it would be interesting to share…..
It’s common to think about creating value for others in terms of your mental and physical abilities, including your technical and artistic skills. Can you write software, create music, fix plumbing problems, or mop floors?
But how do you learn these skills in the first place? From your parents. From schools and teachers. From books. From the Internet. And probably from many other sources. Ultimately, however, you learned your skills from people. You wouldn’t even have the most basic skills of reading, writing, and speaking if not for other people.
Yes, you can also learn through direct experimentation, but I’m sure you’ll agree that most of what you’ve learned so far ultimately came from human beings. People created those resources and chose to share them with you. If not for the help of others, you’d pretty much be an idiot, at least by the standards of our modern society.
Now think about what an upgrade in your social skills could do for you here. If you were even more skilled socially, you’d be able to gain access to more and better educational and training resources.
Despite the massive amount of content on the Internet, a lot of knowledge is still fairly private, including some of the most current info that hasn’t yet trickled down to the Internet. The only way to learn certain information is through people. Additionally, some skills are just much easier to learn directly from people than through free resources.
What determines your ability to gain access to the best proprietary info? You can buy it, but in the absence of money, your access will largely be determined by the strength of your social network, which in turn is largely determined by your social skills.
So the better your social networking skills, the more opportunities you have for skill building.
Additionally, how do you learn the relative social value of different skills? How do you learn which skills have high trading value (like performing heart surgery) vs. low trading value (like mopping floors)? You learn this from other people too. Do you have a social network that encourages you to learn and develop skills with high trading value? Or do you have a social network that lets you settle for skills with low trading value? If you have the latter type of social network, why haven’t you consciously created the former?
If you aren’t able to create much value for others (i.e. high trading value), that will surely depress your income. If this is a problem you’re currently experiencing, it means your social network isn’t doing a very good job of training you to deliver strong value. And if your social network isn’t training you properly, then we have to take a serious look at your social skills, don’t we? After all, you’re the one who’s maintaining your social network. If you wanted to change it badly enough and had the skills to do so, you could certainly do that. Lots of people do.
Some people are just lucky. They’re born into amazing social networks that prepare them for lives of abundance. Others have to work at it. Either way, your social network is your responsibility. If it isn’t serving you, why not change it?
One again, if your finances are lagging and you’d rather not experience that reality, it means your social network isn’t doing its job, which means your social skills are lagging, which means you’re not doing your job socially. Financial failure and social failure are the same thing.
3. Sales and Marketing:
Sustainable Success is Built on the Foundation of your Personal Brand
By Andrew Horton
The world around you will continue to change at an ever increasing pace and over the next twenty years, you may even be selling products or services into markets that don’t even exist yet. The one thing that you and everyone around you should be able to depend upon and, which will keep you competitive and valuable, no matter how the world around you will change, is your personal brand. How well you authentically position yourself and build your personal brand, is one of the key factors, which will determine how successful you will be in the future.
You will always have Your Personal Brand to Fall Back on
The best security you have to ensure that, despite any challenges or setbacks you may face, you are able to bounce back and continue travelling down the path to success, is a personal brand, which people can depend upon. Who you are speaks volumes and when you live in alignment with a consistent personal brand, which adds real value to the people around you. Your personal brand will stand the test of time, allowing you to triumph over adversity, earn the support and buy in of people who matter, allowing you to build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with them.
Shaping your Personal Brand
Your authentic personal brand must obviously be aligned with your mission and vision for the future. So when designing your personal brand and crafting your personal brand statement, it is crucial that you ensure, you craft it to support, both your mission and vision for the future.
Developing your Personal Brand Statement
Examine your mission and vision for the future. Try to discover an authentic personal brand, which is in alignment with both, but is a true reflection of who you are. People will very quickly see through you, if you are not authentic and you are trying to reflect an image to the world, which is false and not who you really are inside. Build a crystal clear picture in your mind of what that personal brand is and find one word which encapsulates that image. This one word will now form the foundation for crafting your personal brand statement.
Who are you, What do you do and Who do you service
Using that one word, which encompasses and describes your personal brand and what you stand for as a starting point, start to craft your personal brand statement. Your personal brand statement is effectively a statement which aligns you and what you stand for with your mission and vision. My personal brand statement is “I share the gift of inspiration with high performance business professionals”
Action Idea: Now invest the time to craft your own brand statement. Strive to ensure that it reflects who you really are, what you stand for and that it is aligned with your mission and vision.
Packaging your Personal Brand
If you think about any great brands, such as Apple, Starbucks, Harley Davidson or Nike, they all have a story behind their brand, which we can relate to on an emotional level. Their stories allow us to get to know them, connect with them and in many cases even fall in love with the brand. Ask any loyal Harley rider or Apple computer user, if they would consider using any other brand and they will give you a quizzical look and shake their head. Every great brand that exists out there has a fantastic narrative, which is compelling and awe inspiring. One which arouses emotions illustrates what they stand for and illuminates the values they project to the world.
Action Idea: Explore your own story, which defines who you are and what values you stand for. This is one of the most difficult parts of the process and requires you to open your mind and to allow it to walk freely into your past. Explore your life and uncover a few stories you remember from your childhood or any stories in your life, which were defining moments for you.
This is a very difficult step, if you are struggling to come up with any stories. Interview your family, or friends who you have shared a common history with and try to piece together stories, which could help you to have stories to support your brand.
I know it is difficult to talk about yourself, but to build your personal brand, it is crucial that you have stories to tell. People relate far better to you, if they see that you too have vulnerabilities, can laugh at your own mistakes and that you are real. Your stories will help you to better engage, connect with people and allow you to have a far greater impact on your world.
Sharing your Personal Brand
As you move around in your world, share the stories which reflect your personal brand. These stories must reflect who you really are, where your passion lies, what your values are and must reflect what makes you unique. Social media offers us a wonderful opportunity to tell our stories and to build our personal brand. What story are you telling the world via your social media platforms, is it the picture you want and need to have in place to realise your mission and vision into the future.
Walk your Talk
The final step in the process of telling the world about your personal brand requires you to live according to it. This means that you must be living your brand 24/7/365, not only in business settings. You are your own giant billboard. Whatever the world sees projected from this billboard is what they use to make decisions about what your personal brand really stands for. For example my personal brand stands for “Inspiration”. I work very hard to project an image of inspiration to the world in everything I do. I always try to project an inspired and energised persona, where I try to exceed people’s expectations.
Are you living up to your Personal Brand all the time? Are your personal actions reflecting your personal brand all the time? If not what adjustments are you going to make to bring it into line with what you need to be doing? Once you have invested into building your personal brand, you will become an unstoppable force, which will succeed, despite any current or future economic conditions.
4. Let’s Chat
By Claire Newton
Can The Criticism – Focus on Feedback
As speakers, we may sometimes be called upon to critique – provide feedback – on a colleague’s talk or speech. This is not always as easy as it sounds. If we’re not careful, our feedback can end up sounding negative, and, instead of inspiring and motivating the speaker to improve, we demoralise them instead.
Criticism, when given in an appropriate way at an appropriate time, can have many positive effects – both for the giver and the recipient. The trick, however, is to learn how to criticise in a positive and constructive manner, and to watch out for the pitfalls of negative criticism.
Constructive criticism does not only mean giving positive feedback. Negative feedback, given skilfully, is just as important. Constructive criticism leaves the person feeling good about themselves, but with new information about how to improve. Destructive criticism leaves the recipient feeling bad, with seemingly nothing to build on.
Criticism becomes positive when we think of it as feedback, rather than as criticism, and follow the guidelines for giving constructive feedback.
Guidelines for giving positive feedback to a speaker include:
- Be clear about what you want to say in advance.
- Start with the positive
- Don’t give too much feedback
- Be descriptive, not judgmental
- Own the feedback – it’s your opinion
In practice this means you could, for example, highlight how the speaker could use their voice or body language more effectively, or point out other things that require attention. But always offer an alternative to the things you are criticising. Saying, “Don’t wave your arms about” isn’t helpful, and can be seen as being negative. Rather say, “When you wave your arms about, it distracts the audience‘s attention. I would suggest that you rather keep your arms still (demonstrate) and only use them when you want to emphasise a point.” Or say something like, “You don’t pronounce your words clearly, and you speak too softly to be heard,” rather than, “You are a terrible speaker.”
Finally, describe the things you liked most. This will leave the person feeling good about something they did really well. Remember, the more specific your feedback, the more motivational and useful it is.
5. The Power of Gold
By Jürgen Tietz
One of the most powerful motivators is RECOGNITION, and yet few of us use the full potential of this simple technique, because it’s a tough habit to practice. This is best illustrated using the Olympic Games as an example.
For most of the competitors it is about making it onto the podium and bringing home a medal – preferably gold. They will have practiced for countless hours, taken part in many events and pushed themselves to extreme limits.
Most of us have no idea just what it takes to get into the Olympic team. It is literally blood, sweat and tears combined with dogged determination, self-sacrifice and a single-minded goal mentality. Not because they are being paid for it, not because of policies and procedures, and certainly not because they have to (comply) . . . but because they want to be the best . . . the best they can be and to make it onto the winner’s podium.
That is what drives them – the ‘Power of Gold’.
Obviously, there are only a few who reach the Olympics level, but the principle of RECOGNITION applies to all levels of competitive sport. The ‘Power of Gold’ is imprinted on us from the time that we compete for the first time in primary school.
From a safety perspective, the ‘Power of Gold’ does not mean recognising only those safety achievements that are outstanding. To leverage this power, we should make it a habit to identify good safety behaviour by making the time and effort to tell the individual or team what you have taken note of and why it is important.
STOP, and say thank you when you see someone doing the right and safe thing. Just imagine if all your employees were to practice this habit on a regular basis – the ‘Power of Gold’ would be priceless, taking your safety culture to a different level.
WARNING – It goes without saying that recognition only works if it is genuine and deserved. Do not make it a hollow and meaningless gesture. Also, even if the person being recognised is uncomfortable when you give them genuine ‘hugs and kisses’, don’t let that put you off. Do it anyway. Keep it brief, specific and appropriate.
BTW … This is not a new concept. In the book ‘The One Minute Manager’, Kenneth Blanchard devotes an entire chapter to the ‘one-minute praises’.
6. Membership News
PSASA Statistics for September 2012
Congratulations to Julie Filmer.
Julie has upgraded from an Associate to a Candidate Member. We have no doubt that you will be a Professional Member soon…
Membership Breakdown per chapter
Total Members – 132
Kagiso Msimango – 2 Sep
Manie Bosman – 2 Sep
Zodwa Hlatshwayo – 6 Sep
Celynn Erasmus – 10 Sep
Francois Muscat – 16 Sep
Evelyn Masotja – 24 Sep
Marcel Oudejans – 28 Sep
7. Johannesburg Chapter News
August is always such a special month for me. First, because it was my birthday and thanks for all the blessings and wishes and second, it was Women’s month.
The JHB chapter decided to go full out and celebrate Women’s Day. I think it is possibly the first time there was a meeting held on a public holiday and we had an excellent turnout.
We had two brilliant and very appropriate speakers in Ute Hartman an image consultant with Color Me Beautiful and Nikki Bush inspirational speaker and best-selling author.
Thank you to all who attended and thanks to Simone who ensured that each lady received a small gift.
As we celebrate Women’s Month let us remember all the ladies in the PSASA and in our lives. We appreciate and honour you.
President Johannesburg Chapter
8. Meet Justin Cohen – the PSASA’s latest CSP
Justin Cohen is the PSASA’s latest certified speaking professional (CSP). As a psychology major, who grew up in Johannesburg he actually did whatever was necessary to survive financially. He remembers the days when he worked as newspaper delivery boy, waiter, dish washer, avocado picker, London Busker, Actor, TV writer/director/producer, before he finally entered the greatest profession in the world – professional speaker and author.
He says that studying Psychology, changed his life and he became evangelical about spreading the word so he started writing a book. At that stage he didn’t know the speaking profession existed – like many interesting careers, it wasn’t something they taught you about at school. He was working as a producer for Summit Business Channel and he did a documentary on corporate training. That’s where he discovered that if you had a useful message that you could share in an entertaining way, people would pay you large amounts of money. An HR person he interviewed for the documentary asked if knew of anyone else who could do a motivational presentation at his company. Justin replied ‘Sure, I can.’ That was the start of his speaking career.
Asked about how long it took to become a CSP, he said that he could have qualified a few years ago but just wasn’t yet willing to make the time investment. He recently got a green card and he is looking at building a business in the USA. It motivated him to get his CSP actions into gear. He hired Nikki Bakker (ex PSASA administrator) to do all the admin. She did a sterling job which took Justin about a year. He considers his CSP as much Nikki’s as his.
Justin has spoken in 13 countries up to now. He says there is very little to beat South Africa. His favourite place in the world to speak, is Cape Town.
Asked about how he has benefitted from being a member of PSASA, he answered as follows:
“PSASA helped me in innumerable ways. There are the various tips that have enabled me to create a better website, demo video and brand. There is the way that I have created an entire ancillary business connected to my speaking that has ensured my continued growth through tough times. But more than that, there are the people. In the USA they talk about the spirit of Cavett Robert. Cavett, of course, was the founder of our mother association the National Speakers Association. In South Africa I like to talk about the Spirit of Stef. Stef du Plessis is our founding father and the same spirit of giving that he initiated pervades our association. I have just spent ten days with Scott Friedman (past president of NSA) in Denver. Scott barely knew me but when he heard I was coming to the USA he opened his home, his contact list and his drinks cabinet. We call this association a family; wish my family treated me as well!”
It is not all just work for Justin. Last year he spent the December holiday in Thailand. He got back early for a conference for Virgin Active in Durban. Afterwards he had a revelation. He says, “This was the most fun I’d had in three weeks. Work is more fun than fun. We don’t call this the privilege of the platform for nothing. Outside of speaking, my favourite pastimes are reading and writing which ultimately support my speaking. (Okay, I’m also known to get down on the dance floor!)”
Asked about the books he has written as well as his future plans he commented, the historian Paul Johnson says: “that writing a book may be the only way to study a subject systematically, purposefully and retentively.”
Justin has written books on every major area of personal development and the greatest reward was getting to improve his own life along the way. He says, “The best way to learn is to write a non-fiction book, the best way to learn and be entertained is to write a novel.” His favourite book is his latest, Quest, Inc. a personal development novel. Quest, Inc. is about a high-end team of personal development experts and the range of people whose lives they change. Justin has found that stories are a great way to explore the complexity of personal transformation and have fun with the flaws and eccentricities of the experts. The book was recently shortlisted to be made into an SABC 3, TV drama series.