Last Thursday I gave another speech from the Competent Communication Manual of Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International is the leading movement devoted to making effective oral communication a worldwide reality – a 292,000 membership strong world leader in Communication and Leadership Development, with 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. Since 1924, more than 4 million people around the world have become more confident speakers in front of an audience because of their participation in Toastmasters.
Public speaking is considered the greatest fear a person can have, even greater than the fear of death. I’m slaying Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking – one speech at a time. It was Project #9: Persuade with Power. Here’s the executive summary and objective of the project respectively:
The ability to persuade people – getting them to understand, accept and act upon your ideas – is a valuable skill. Your listeners will more likely be persuaded if they perceive you as credible, if you use logic and emotion in your appeal, if you carefully structure your speech and if you appeal to their interests. The speech should focus on the self-interest of the audience. Avoid using notes because they may cause listeners to doubt your sincerity, knowledge and conviction.
- Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
- Appeal to the audience’s interests.
- Use logic and emotion to support your position.
- Avoid using notes.
- Time: Five to seven minutes.
There were four speakers from my category; I was voted the best speaker. Here’s the text of my speech:
How would you feel if you could solve the problems that certain people face but can’t reach them?
How would you feel if their lives depended on the solution you could provide?
Or how would you feel if people who could significantly change your life told you they couldn’t find you?
How would you feel if they were the exact answer that you needed?
Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, most distinguished guests:
For the past two years I have been a Contributing Writer for a magazine published by a leading non-profit in Europe, with print runs up to 30,000 copies, reaching about 250,000 people in the UK alone.
I didn’t get this role because I could write with panache. In addition to the writing skills, I was dexterous in generating interactive digital content and sustaining interactive digital conversation among online users around the world. It was in this process that I engaged with the editor of the magazine who asked me to send in an article, and has asked me to do so since then for the past two years. Unquestionably, Social Media gave me a platform to get noticed, to get connected, and to get rewarded.
But there are wizards with words who create exquisite pieces of literary artwork yet never get to play on the big stage. That’s an anomaly. How many people here know the meaning of the word ‘‘anomaly?’’ In the context of this speech, let me give a different meaning of the word ‘‘anomaly.’’
When great talents are not known because these talents cannot leverage the power of a platform, that’s an anomaly! When potential world-changers languish in obscurity because they can’t engage the ubiquity of a platform, that’s an anomaly! And when awesome products and outstanding services are not fully optimized because those who create them are blind to the exponential growth that a platform offers, that’s an anomaly! Sadly, these great talents, these world-changers, these entrepreneurs are in this room. I’m referring to you…to you…to you… to all of you! You are more than this! All you are is not all you could be. And all you’ve done is not all you could do.
Now, having a great talent, an awesome product, an outstanding service, or a compelling cause is no longer enough. Whether you are a speaker, a writer, a recording artiste, a politician, a business owner, a pastor, a salesperson, an author, an entrepreneur, or a job seeker, without a platform – something that helps you to get seen and heard – you don’t have a chance to succeed in this noisy world.
So, why do you need a platform? Let me tell you 3 reasons why you need a platform:
(1) The market is more crowded than ever;
(2) People are more distracted than ever;
(3) Competition is more intense than ever.
In the old days, you could stand on a hill or a wooden stage to be heard. That was your platform. In the 20th century, you had to have a radio or TV show, a newspaper or magazine column, a best-selling book, or a celebrity status, to be seen and heard. But in this 21st century, everything has changed. With the advent of Social Media, everyone now has a platform
Here are the ‘Big Four’ Social Media platforms that you should actively use:
(1) Facebook: Is the world’s #1 social media platform, with over 1 billion users in 127 out of 137 countries of the world. If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world.
(2) YouTube: Has over 600 million users and allows you to share your videos with a target audience. Every minute, 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube.
(3) Twitter: Has over 500 million users. It records 175 million tweets daily.
(4) LinkedIn: Has over 261 million users. It’s a platform where professionals connect; a place where recruiters and job seeker meet.
Since you don’t own Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you need a platform you own and control. That platform is your Website. Your website is an online shop where your contacts, customers, subscribers, followers, fans, and prospects come to buy your products and services.
When you get noticed and connected, you’ll consequently get rewarded. Now, let me tell you about 3 people who have reaped bountiful harvest from Social Media:
(1) First is Michael Hyatt – former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Having spent over a decade to build his social media platform, Michael has generated more than 300,000 monthly visitors; more than 123,000 Twitter followers; more than 92,000 monthly podcast listeners; more than 70,000 newsletter subscribers; and more than 17,000 Facebook fans. Having successfully built an online community, he has monetized his platform by selling advertising, by selling products and services, and by affiliate marketing.
(2) Next is Tofo Tofo – a Mozambican dance trio. They posted a video of their performance at a wedding on YouTube. American singer Beyoncé came across the video in 2011, flew them from Maputo to Los Angeles to teach her and her dancers their native dance moves, as well as take part in her hit music video, ‘Run the World.’ Beyoncé reportedly paid them US $3million. They performed again at her show in Stockholm in 2013, and have gone on to become a global phenomenon.
(3) Last is Sabrina Sudarsana. After a Master’s degree in 2012, she couldn’t find a job for more than a year using online job listings. She then updated her profile on LinkedIn, connected with past employers as well as recruiters for companies she wanted to work for, came across a recruiter for Pacific Dental Services which advertised for an Operations Manager, sent the recruiter an InMail, got instant response, attended some interviews, and landed a dream job in just two weeks on LinkedIn.
In closing, if you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you miss the fulfillment of trading your talents and creativity.
If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you short-change yourself and will never operate at your full potential.
If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you live in antiquity and are completely out of touch with contemporary reality.
If you are not using Social Media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you live in poverty in the midst of plenty.
If you are not using Social Media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you confine yourself to a hole in a corner and will never get play on the big stage.
If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded, you starve the world of your gifts and competences and will never get to help people whose success depend on you.
If you are not using social media to get noticed, connected and rewarded because you’re afraid you might get into inappropriate relationships, would you move to live on an uninhabited island? Doesn’t your ‘car’ have brakes? Doesn’t your ‘car’ have the reverse gear? Can’t you stop a bird from perching on your head, oh you fearful Toastmaster? If you don’t want to travel by air because you’re afraid of plane crash, would you drive from Alausa to Alaska? Or from Sokoto to Soweto?
This is no time to be care-free. This is no time for business as usual. This is no time to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. This is your time. This is your chance. This is your moment. Your destiny is speaking forth. Your season is breaking forth.
In the face of these evidences, I urge you to embrace and actively begin to use Social Media right away.
In the face of these evidences, I ask you to launch your personal or business website within two months.
If you will take action steps right away, then you’ll see your cup of blessing filled to full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
If you will take action steps right away, then you’ll live happily ever after. And thank me later.
If you will commit to this, please raise your hand. By raising your hand, you affirm these words, spoken by Jesse Jackson, in the presence of these accountability partners:
‘‘I’m tired of sailing my little boat, far inside the harbour bar. I want to go out where the big ships float, out on the deep where the great ones are. And should my frail craft prove too slight for the waves that beat those billows o’er, I’d rather go down in a stirring fight than drowse to death at the sheltered shore.’’
I got the inspiration for this speech from Michael Hyatt’s book, PLATFORM: Get Noticed In A Noisy World. I have drawn some text from it.