How to be a presentation all-rounder using D.I.V.A.
When audiences hear that I’m about to deliver my ‘How to be a presentation D.I.V.A.’ speech, the men sometimes worry that the talk won’t be relevant to them. However, D.I.V.A. is an acronym and represents what it takes to be an all-rounder at presentations so have no fear, this talk is most certainly relevant to all.
Did you know that the word ‘diva’ is derived from ‘divine’?
So, in this blog I’m going to describe what the D.I.V.A. acronym means and give a few examples of how to be a divine speaker the next time you make a presentation at work.
D is for DYNAMIC
Do you need to ramp up the energy when you speak, or at least provide a little light and shade in your delivery? That’s what it means to be a dynamic speaker. No, you don’t have to jump up and down, punching the air like Tony Robbins. There are a variety of ways to be more dynamic on stage without breaking into a sweat. You can do it with your voice, with your words, with your movement, with audience engagement and more.
I like to use examples from the world of pop music to bring things to life for my listeners, so I liken a DYNAMIC performer to someone like Pink. She’s a bit quirky, she does her own thing and she’s not afraid to grab your attention.
One super simple way to become a more DYNAMIC speaker is to use more pauses when you speak. Yes, it seems a basic change, but whenever I ask my audience to practice a short poem or rhyme with additional thoughtful pauses, they’re amazed at the difference it makes to their expression, their meaning and their delivery. Even their diction and emotion changes.
I is for INSPIRING
Being an inspiring speaker is all about telling stories. These could be powerful stories that move your audience to take action, as well as small, simple stories about everyday life that show you’re human and help to build a connection.
People remember stories more easily than they do facts and figures, so wrapping your message up in a story is like sugar coating a health-giving pill, or making a controversial or difficult idea much easier to take on board.
Performers like Ed Sheeran are all about stories and during my speech I give the audience two simple but highly effective storytelling frameworks they can use at work.
V is for VALUABLE
To be a valuable presenter, do your audience research and make sure your content is suitable, interesting and relevant. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time so make sure any charts or diagrams are clear and easy to read, your slides are impactful and don’t contain a jumble of bullet points and tiny text, and most of all, that your message is useful and actionable.
I think of the valuable entertainers as the all-rounders with big shows that keep everyone happy. Like consummate all-rounders Beyonce or Prince, the valuable presenter makes sure all the boxes are ticked and they put the audience first and foremost.
A is for AUTHENTIC
Authentic speakers are truly themselves on stage. They’ll hopefully be their best self, but they don’t try to copy the words or the motions of anyone else. They know that being themselves is enough. But being yourself doesn’t mean being the same person all the time. As humans, we’re all multi-faceted. We might behave in one way with, another with a partner and yet another way when we’re with a child. It’s important to not limit ourselves and our behaviour so a thorough exploration of our different personas in different situations can reveal a lot. We see the range of expressions and behaviours available to us, and can use them in our public speaking.
I love using David Bowie, who had multiple personas like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as singer Adele, who is much-loved for being down to earth with no artificiality, as two examples of authentic entertainers.
I hope you have a better idea of how to make your next presentation stand out using the D.I.V.A. framework. Becoming a divine presenter is only a few steps away!
How to Actually Increase your Confidence
The internet is filled with blogs on confidence, and I decided to take a look at the subject of how to increase confidence. I noticed how advice on confidence ranges widely. One blog recommended ‘Spritz yourself with perfume/after-shave’ while another advised readers to ‘Stand up straight!’. Over the years I haven’t always felt confident in every situation but, one thing for sure, is that as time has gone by, my self-confidence has increased.
Here are three tips that have served me well and I like to share when I’m speaking or training
1. Screw perfection. It’s unhelpful to hold ourselves to another’s standard (or even to our own standard) of perfection. Achieving a 95% result might be relatively straightforward while that final 5% that leads to perfection could be excruciating. Is it worth it? A good question to ask in these cases is: what does excellence look like, rather than perfection?
2. Hear no, say next. When we’re rejected, it can sting and our confidence can take a knock. But hearing ‘no’ is just a fact of life. And in fact, as many a salesperson would probably tell us, “no’s” are expected on the path to “yes”. So, instead of seeing rejection as something to avoid, we could ask ourselves: how did a rejection or setback serve you? Maybe we saw that by not getting a particular job, or going on a date with the person we had our eye on, something better or preferable eventually came up instead. Audience members are typically happy to share near-misses where in hindsight, things worked out better when they didn’t get what they thought they wanted at the time.
3. You can’t please everyone. Most of us have people in our lives who are very difficult to please. Maybe they have impossibly high standards or very different tastes to our own. Rather than contorting ourselves to make these people happy, and probably make ourselves unhappy in the process, we sometimes have to make a choice – us, or them? And if we decide on us, then we have given the other party the best we can but are at peace understanding that it’s too hard (or impossible) to please them, and we should give up the fight. In certain situations, it can be more empowering to be 100% ourselves and know that person X won’t be happy, than to be 90% ourselves and person X STILL isn’t entirely happy. In these situations, we can ask ourselves: what would being yourself look and feel like?
The key to being confident is having a good level of self-knowledge and self-reliance. Enjoying who we are or, at least, having a very healthy dose of self-acceptance comes into play too.
So rather than confidence being a simple matter of standing up straight or spritzing ourselves with perfume/after-shave, as those blog posts suggested, maybe what’s more important is enjoying the perfume/after-shave not because others will think we smell good but revelling in the choice we made to buy that particular scent in the first place.
See keynotes with Shola Kaye
Interview with Shola Kaye
How did you begin your speaking career?
I’d been working as a professional singer for a number of years when I read one of High Performance Coach Brendon Burchard’s books about sharing your message. In one chapter he described the life of a public speaker, and what it felt like to inspire an audience and transform people’s lives. That chapter made me feel incredibly emotional and I took it as a sign that public speaking was for me.
A while later, I signed up for some speaker training and as soon as it began, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to speak professionally and within a year and a half of that day I secured my first professional speaking opportunity.
What are your biggest goals in your life/career currently?
One of my current goals is to complete my second book, called ‘Speak Up On The Spot’. I need to make a few more corrections before I send it off to be edited. I’d wanted to complete it last year but life gets in the way! The book contains strategies for communicating with more power using frameworks, dealing with difficult questions and being heard during meetings.
As an introvert who once had a corporate career, it’s a book I would have benefited from hugely during my days as as a consultant and an account director and I’m hoping that many who struggle with communication in the workplace will find it useful.
What are 3 habits for success?
I actually have a speech about this! I would say that three habits that have served me well are
- To think as an experimenter rather than an expert. We can get really attached to being right which leads us to take fewer risks and to be less innovative, so I think it’s important to realise we don’t have all the answers.
- To delegate certain tasks so I can focus on my areas of strength. I have a mechanic type personality profile which means I like to try things out and get involved in everything. But sometimes that’s not the most efficient or effective behaviour.
- To realise that done is better than perfect. Roll up your sleeves, get on with it and don’t procrastinate!
Who or what inspires you most?
I’m inspired by people who make the tough decision to speak out and stand up for the greater good, even when it’s easier to hide away or stay quiet.
Why do clients typically hire you to speak?
I tend to combine communications skills training, storytelling and (sometimes) a bit of singing in my speeches, as well as lots of interactivity and audience engagement. Clients typically want me to wake the audience up, make them smile and transform they way they communicate, whether during workplace meetings, tough situations or more conventional public speaking scenarios.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
I recently gave the closing keynote at an event here in London and afterwards, several attendees approached me and said that they were inspired to speak up and be more visible at work as a result of my speech. I inject a bit of humour and lighthearted fun into every talk but ultimately, it’s a huge honour to be able to influence people’s lives and it’s one I take very seriously.