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Interview with Michel Neray

Michel Neray discusses his unique keynote presentations, memorable moments, and some of the skills needed to be a great salesperson. Read more below.

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

The key message that people take away from my workshops and keynotes is that ‘what makes you different as a person is what makes you better… in your business, your career and your life’. Differentiation is the basis of competitive advantage in business as much as it’s the basis of our ability as individuals to truly make a difference in this world.


What is the feeling you would like people to take away?

People walk out of my keynotes and workshops empowered and inspired because I help them recognize the unique contribution they have to make to their companies, their teams, their clients and customers, their friends and their family. More than just a superficial emotion, however, my keynotes help them understand the logic, psychology and science of differentiation. With head and heart in sync, they walk out with a genuine determination to make the changes that will make the difference in their business, career and life.


How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I prepare for my speaking engagements by seeking to understand the key issues — both fears and aspirations — of the people in the audience. I have found that while most fears and aspirations are universal, they manifest themselves in different ways to different groups of people. By making my stories specifically relevant to the audience, the impact of the event is stronger and most lasting.


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

I am not a celebrity; I did not survive a tragic accident; nor did I climb a big mountain. The audience relates to me as an individual who is striving to make a difference in the same way they can.  Each and every one of us can make a difference in the world in our own unique way, using our own own unique passions and strengths. Being a speaker on the topic of differentiation, and relating it to both business and life is how I make a difference. As the speaker, I have the ‘best spot in the house’. I get to see the figurative ‘light bulbs’ turn on above their heads; I can feel the fire that burns within them.


How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

When people open their mouths to laugh, they can’t help but open their hearts to feel, and open their minds to learn. Humor is an incredibly vital tool that speakers have to work with in order to engage their audiences. Keynotes are like movies — and the best movies take people through the full gamut of emotions. Humor on its own is simply a comedy show. Humor as a counterpoint to thoughtfulness elevates the entire experience for everyone in the room.


Can you briefly describe what makes a leader stand out?

I cannot describe a comprehensive definition of leadership, but I do believe the best leaders know that in order to make a difference, you have to know what makes the difference. Their ability to communicate that difference in a simple, powerful vision and their genuine willingness and ability to align each person’s unique difference around that powerful vision, are two key pistons in the engine of leadership that drives change in people, companies, and countries.


How are your keynote presentations unique?

There are many speakers who talk about branding, sales, marketing and motivation. Most of those speakers may mention differentiation as the key to competitive advantage, but few focus on it as the key building block in business, career and life as I do. What’s more, I not only talk about the importance of differentiation, I give people the tools they need to discover it for themselves. I blend business and personal, and the lessons are universal.


Do you have any unique memorable moments in your speaking career?

My most memorable moments in my speaking career are as much on the platform as several years after when I get an email or I hear from someone who had been in my presentation, and I learn about the incredible results they have achieved since the event.


What are some of the skills needed in order to be a great salesperson?

The skills needed to be a great salesperson are the same skills needed to be a great leader: the insight to see the difference that will make the difference — to the customer — and the ability to communicate it simply and powerfully.


Click here to see Michel Neray’s profile!

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