What an absolutely information packed day!

Over the last 16 years of being in business for myself, I’ve realized that getting better at setting and achieving my professional goals is always worth an investment of my time and attention. Big goals and the daily habits that help you achieve them are what keep businesses driving forward. Today I would be learning tips to help me achieve two goals I’ve set for myself in 2017; to participate in a TEDx event and to use Linkedin more strategically.

Turn a dream into a goal by making a plan and taking action. – Kali Williams

First up was Paula Statman with “Wow the Crowd with a 20-Minute Talk” focusing on the hot topic of short-format presentations made popular by TED & TEDx.

One of the most important concepts Paula talked about is that a 20-minute talk isn’t just a keynote crammed into a shorter time-slot. You have to approach the creation of a short talk differently than when you have more time to let the concepts unfold.

It’s easy to slip into the “Everything I Know” show, she said, and I could immediately remember presentations I’ve attended that were exactly that. Lousy speakers often forget that the audience doesn’t have all the background knowledge and experience that the speaker does. So it’s it’s important to strike a balance between giving them critical information but not overwhelming them with an overflow of background info.That’s an easy way to lose your audience, forcing them into mental gymnastics while listening trying to parse out big concepts in a little time.

“Every minute counts. Distill your ideas and then break them down into easily digestible bits of information.” – Paula Statman

Paula talked a lot about how 20-minute talks are particularly well-suited to sharing stories and building rapport quickly. It’s pretty impressive really that she packed so much information into her time PLUS invited two speakers on stage to share and learn.

“Sometimes Life Lessons come wrapped in sandpaper” – Lisa Renee

The chapter occasionally offers members a coaching opportunity as part of the presentation, so Jeanne K. Smith joined Paula on stage to perform the opening from one of her short-talks and receive feedback on how to make it more powerful. It’s so helpful to see improvements made in action.

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Other tips Paula shared included:

  • The best place to use humor is at the start, laughter builds connection.
  • Pauses give your audience time to process what you’re saying.
  • Rehearse your short talk even more than your long talks because every word counts.

These days most speakers would love to have a platform like TEDx to promote their message, but it is a selective process and can be tough to get in. Next up we had a panel to talk about “What Speakers Need to Know About Tedx” with Ann Steiner as the Moderator and Betsy Burroughs, Janet Crawford and Kennan Kellaris Salinero sharing their experiences as speakers and organizers.

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In case you’re unfamiliar, TED is the huge main event, but smaller groups host TEDx events centered around a location (for example TEDxLivermore,) a school (TEDxBerkeley) or a topic (TEDxWomen.)

One of the hottest questions floating around, and the one that interests me the most too is how to be chosen for a TEDx event and thankfully came up quickly.

“Find out who’s on the board. To get picked you’re better off knowing someone and having great content than applying formally.” – Janet Crawford

“If you self nominate – think about TEDx is community organized event, they aren’t about selling anything, Ideas, not sales. If you’re trying to sell your brand, take another stage. We do select from people who self nominate.” – Kennan Kellaris Salinero

“Research the hell out of TED and the TEDx you want to speak at. Care about them and what you can give to them, not what you can get from them.” – Betsy Burroughs

Janet Crawford gave her talk at TEDxSanDiego and had some particularly helpful advice.

  • Know your talk like you know the song Happy Birthday so your attention can be free to connect and be present with the audience.
  • If the producers tell you something, listen to them. Clothing, timing, feedback & more, they know what they’re talking about.
  • The videos do get edited, so if the video looks flawless that’s not necessarily what they’re talk was like.
  • If you’re going to do something interactive, ask yourself “Is your demonstration appropriate to the audience size?”
  • It was not nearly as daunting as it might have seemed prior [to being accepted], because the audience is rooting for you and there’s this wave of positive energy when you get on stage.

Kennan Kellaris Salinero has been on the organizers committee of TEDxLivermore and had some great insight from the planner’s perspective.

  • What gets spoken about is what’s trying to get born into the world.
  • DON’T WING IT. Go with your strengths & give it serious attention. If memorization isn’t your style, find what is.
  • TEDx provides coaching [which] does a couple of things. It makes your speech fit into the other speeches so they weave together. 18 minutes or less, NOT more. A 7 minute talk can be more impactful than an 18 minute talk. IF they don’t provide a coach, find a (specifically TEDx) coach of your own.
  • TEDx is meant to be something to get the community talking.

And this was all just during the Morning Session!! Seriously the day was packed with so much information. The Afternoon Session was just as informative and everyone was encouraged to bring their laptops and devices to work along.

For the Afternoon Session, Kurt Shaver taught us “Advanced LinkedIn Sales Techniques” in a simple make-the-change-right-now workshop format. Everyone knows that LinkedIn is the most important professional networking site, but it can feel really overwhelming trying to figure out how to maximize your profile and interactions.

Kurt was able to field questions from the audience (including one from me) while getting through his actual presentation. Right off the bat he showed us a page where you can see your “Social Selling Index” which gives you a picture of how much impact you have in your network.

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For long-time speakers that have been in the industry since before the internet was a thing, it can be particularly overwhelming to navigate all the “social network” needs of booking gigs in the modern age.

“Don’t only accept invites from people you’ve met in person, that’s 20th century thinking.” – Kurt Shaver

My eyes are opened to new ways I should be using LinkedIn to make my professional connections more personalized and to be a key platform to promote myself in ways that directly bring in revenue (you know, that kind of important part of this whole run-your-own-business experience!)

There was way too much to share here, but some of the highlights include:

  • You don’t want to have two accounts, it’s not like a website, your network is the critical component.
  • For your Profile Photo – fill the frame with your face & use a blank background.
  • Strengthen your network relationships each day!
  • The biggest change you can make, for the biggest bang for your buck is to optimize your headline.
  • Put your contact info at the top of your summary to make it easy to get in touch with you.

bootcamp Those of us that stayed for the Afternoon Session got a little goodie from Kurt too. Thanks Kurt!

I’ve been so impressed with every event I’ve attended put on by NSA/NC and have found the days really useful. The chapter also hosts a monthly Salon, a more casual small-group learning session. In fact I’ve enjoyed the experience so much I just joined the National Speakers Association officially and am now a member of the local Northern California chapter. Building and being involved in community is so important, not only for professional advancement but also the personal connections that are made.

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