On Thursday 16th of July 2020, the PSASA was deeply inspired and educated by two incredible speakers.  Fifty three attendees were elevated and stretched to grow their brand as speakers, trainers, facilitators and impactors.

Our first speaker was Billy Selekane

Billy Selekane, CSP, SASHoF, and known as one of Africa’s most inspirational speakers, has moved and transformed audiences around the world for 17 years. Billy is an inspirational storyteller who has an uncanny ability to connect with audiences bringing powerful and practical messages which deliver amazing results to people and organisations.

As a past president of PSASA, Billy knew exactly who he was speaking to. He spoke to us from the heart as speakers. His masterful storytelling unlocked the process of growing up in a township and asking himself “Is this all I can be or can I be more?” As a youngster he had always had a dream to go to the United States, standing next to a McDonald’s Arches and breathing in the history of New York, a history he had so avidly devoured. Twenty years later he fulfilled his dream, one of the very few people in his entire community and culture to do so.

Billy took us on a journey of the senses as he re-lived the moments of his first momentous trip. We were with him as he bit into the disappointing cardboard- tasting McDonald’s burger. We were with him as he stood in Times Square and sought out a ticket at the Majestic Theatre to see the Phantom of the Opera. We were with him as some elderly ladies lent him binoculars to peer from the cheapest seats. We were with him as the tears rolled down his cheeks, he was so deeply moved by the music and the depth of the story within a story.

Billy said that there are two kinds of people in the world: transactional and transformational. He challenged members of the PSASA to stand up and delivery, to be intentional and not accidental. He said  that “the battle of who we are begins in our MINDS”.

He looked at the four elements:

  1. Your Ikigai – the Japanese concept for the intersection of doing what you love, fulfilling a need, getting paid for it AND becoming exceptional.
  2. Your culture.
  3. Your performance.
  4. Your brand positioning.

He encouraged all of us to go and find OUR story: * Why was I born here, to these parents, in this place and at this time? * How can I inspire people with my story, so that I can be their inspiration? * How can I be my own journeyman or woman? He implored us to build a culture of excellence and to choose to be exceptional because “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”.

I think there was not one speaker on the virtual platform that was not riveted by his focus on performance. He said “you perform for the people not for yourself” and went on to show a video that illustrated exactly that. He called on all of us to perform as if it was our only and last performance, to give it our all, regardless of the size of the audience because one has no idea of that influence or impact. But in order to create consistent performance we all need to deal with the “monkey on our shoulder” syndrome. His rendition of the travelling monkey was humorous and painfully true for all of us.

Billy explored the importance of brand positioning and that people pay your worth based on their perceptions of your brand. Billy’s powerful story storytelling gave both sensory content and context to us a speakers. The humility with which he spoke left “a footprint in our hearts” to quote Brian Hattingh, who thanked him.

Our second speaker was Dr Sharon King Gabrieldes

Dr Sharon King Gabrieledes, CSP is the CEO of Key Steps Corporate Training. She has a PhD focusing on Holistic and Sustainable Leadership Development alongside her many other (all cum laude!) qualifications. As an extremely skilled facilitator in the Emotional Intelligence corporate space, Sharon shared her journey of pivoting her skills from the real world to become a powerful and engaging virtual facilitator. She looked at myths, processes, cool tools and collaboration.

Some of the debunking myths she explored were:

  1. You don’t have to have huge hardware to get paid. She showed us how she had set up her studio for maximum interaction.
  2. As a facilitator, you can run a full day online virtual event and still keep people engaged throughout.
  3. You can charge full fees virtually, but be strategic with discounts and showcasing events
  4. You can control whether or not to have sessions recorded and why, it is part of your conscious and strategic brand positioning
  5. You do not need to be a technical expert, but technical fluency is a game-changer.

Sharon looked at key aspects of BEFORE, DURING and AFTER presentations. She skillfully used interactive processes and breakout rooms to demonstrate her points. Some of her key takeaways were:

BEFORE:

  1.  People don’t follow instructions as well virtually (they are used to buddy interaction). Therefore make requirements and questions very clear.
  2. Send tech requests ahead of time.
  3. Contracts with clients have to be adapted to virtual environment.
  4. Support your clients with their tech.
  5. Upload documents where needed, for example in chat feature in back-end.
  6. Be the Host to be able to work both spontaneously and in a planned way with polls and breakout rooms.

DURING

  1. Be aware of not recording sensitive and confidential discussions including the use of whiteboard processes.
  2. In smaller groups create real participation by unmuting and engagement.
  3. Build rapport, match body language and be aware of company language.
  4. Manage tech and teach them how to switch screens in processes.

AFTER:

After the event explore your long-term relationship to give the client the maximum ROI in ongoing support and possible interventions or add-ons.

Regarding cool tools, Sharon suggested using them with purpose: “Know your end result first, then explore the tools to support that”. Sharon practically and interactively explored the use of Mentimeter, Storyboarding, Annotating and Google Docs with wonderful insights and knowledge. She also referred to the use of Jamboard, Mural and Stormboard. At the end of Sharon’s session we had all been stretched, grown and inspired to use more interactive tools to master the virtual interactive space. In doing so we maximize our impact as facilitators and as an organisation.

An incredible evening of growth and inspiration with the PSASA. Thanks to Johannesburg Chapter members Siphiwe Moyo, Bryan Hattingh, Nic Smit and Mica Newman for their very eloquent and heartfelt introductions and votes of thanks to our speakers, and for Marelise Jacobs on the value she is finding in the Launch Mastermind.

By the  marketing team Alison Weihe and Yoke van Dam

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

PSASA Johannesburg Chapter