Are you in an environment of success in your speaker’s career?
Studies show that your environment and the people you spend time with influence your identity. Based on that, guests at the Joburg PSASA meeting are definitely going places in their careers. We had a stunning range of speakers committed to you, our members and guests’ success.
The speakers donating their time and expertise at our events are high ticket speakers,which is why ambitious speakers know it is the place to network and acquire new skills. There is no better place to learn the business of speaking than from those who are already gaining traction in their own careers.
The month’s theme was all about craft. First off, we had Ian Bratt, who is a current Southern African Champion of Public Speaking and Certified World Class Speaking Coach. His topic was the chemistry of a keynote. Ian’s “Big Bang,” as he calls it, started with a chemistry demonstration that boarded on being magic.
There were shouts and applause as it appeared that Ian managed to turn water into wine. Or so our resident cheer leader and committee member, Gary Tintinger thought. If only it were true about Ian’s concoction, then he would have easily been able to retire with the proceeds. But what he did demonstrate is that we have to have a recipe for success. A recipe he provided as a download for all the guests who rated his talk, “The Chemistry of a Keynote,” on Speakerscore.
Ian provided an internationally recommended approach to crafting a keynote presentation. A recipe which included honing skills in the area of:
Many of us have seen Ian deliver spectacular, award-winning speeches before. However, new speakers might find those speeches overwhelming and, quite frankly, a bit scary. For this event, Ian’s content spoke to a key aspect of being a professional speaker. He delivered an educational craft piece which felt accessible to even the most junior speaker.
“Why is this important?” you may ask. When selecting speakers for educational sessions, our aim is to inspire the audience to apply the skills they learn, rather than simply impressing them with the speaker’s charm. Having said that, Ian’s friendly, accessible way of teaching caused even some of our most seasoned speakers to haul out their notebooks as they gleaned from Ian’s wisdom on a structured formula that ensures your audience gets the message you promised.
One notable thing about our speakers was how their preparation allowed them to work as a team, making the event flow smoothly. It started with our charismatic MC, Hugo Ribatika, who arrived dressed for the Oscars. It is this kind of honour that our mentors bring to our events that sets them apart and raises the bar for all of us. Those of you who watch Newzroom Africa Channel 405 on the DStv Bouquet will recognise Hugo. He set the tone with smooth transitions from one speaker and topic to the next. These meetings are like mini conferences where a team brings unfamiliar people together in harmony.
Speaking of transitions, next up was a guest speaker who is a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association of both the UK and Ireland. BBC TV and radio viewers and listeners are familiar with Jeremy Nicholas, an award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, for his quirky news and sports features.
Anyone who was suffering from a spending hangover after December got an immediate endorphin lift at this event. Jeremy promised to tickle our funny bones with his talk, and he certainly delivered on that promise. We learned how to get smiles, laughs and engagement with our audiences.
While we can’t all be as funny as Jeremy when engaging with an audience, we learned enough tips to improve any presentation. As he took us on a journey through his travels, he kept dropping pearls of wisdom for us to pick up along the way. I loved how he found quirky images through his travels that were unique to him and his brand. We learned that besides using royalty free images, you can include personal funny photos in your presentations. Jeremy’s talk was akin to taking a comedy club post-Christmas holiday. As there were several aspiring MCs in the group, Jeremy also cautioned them to not introduce a speaker in a way that overplays the humour for guests. It puts a lot of pressure on the guest and eliminates the element of surprise and wonder when the speaker delivers those punch lines that had many of our members in stitches,
While laughter is definitely the best medicine, sometimes life knocks can make it feel as if the soul gets sucked out of us and we come to a full stop moment. A moment where we feel like we just can’t move forward. For each person, the catalyst for this moment is different, but there was one of our professional level speakers in the audience who has walked a most excruciatingly painful journey. One that emotionally could have ended in a full stop, but turned into a pause which resulted in a career empowering women in the most profound way. At every event, we try to encourage a “Member Moment” and for this evening we learned that Nikki Bush was featured in “She Inspires”. I had the opportunity to read the article and the words “My husband did not die, he was murdered” hit me in the gut. I can’t imagine the kind of strength and residence that it took to come back from that terrifying season.
Yet, like many of the other professionals in the room, I saw someone who displays a fortified lightness of spirit. There she was, enjoying Jeremy’s wit with the rest of us. I marvel at how this powerhouse woman manages to have a bright and warm disposition after that kind of journey. But that just shows how incredible our members really are. That they can be beacons of hope and healing.
It brings me to the point that, while we all have a diverse set of backgrounds, trials and triumphs, these PSASA meetings at their core are about a caring group of individuals who care deeply about their industry and each other. It is a place to forge relationships, build each other and be a light for each other. Something that Marie Le Roux from Yazi Media, our media sponsor for the 2024 speaker convention mentioned in her insert about taking ownership of your speaking career by booking your ticket for the convention.
So whether you come for the artistic ambience of the FotoZA venue, the teaching, the beautiful photos that Linda Magennis takes of the speakers, or to get a bag of laughs, your speaking career can only grow from strength to strength at the PSASA.
See you next time.