by Susan Karr
Randy Wight, a Bay Area native and former standup comic, gave a presentation on exploring, identifying, and communicating your authentic brand at the October 21 Independent Communicators’ Roundtable (ICR) meeting, which was held at the Rockridge public library in Oakland. The speaker is president and CEO of E5 Management, a business-development corporate management company based in Walnut Creek.
He focused on three main recommendations:
- Get in touch with your authentic voice (your narrator)
- Bring fun back to your presentations
- Read a room and adjust your presentation as needed
Get in touch with your authentic voice (your narrator)
Wight said when you are out speaking in person, the point of view (POV) shifts from you own personal POV to the POV of the parties involved. He explained his thoughts on the difference between POV and narrative view. The narrative view is the subtext underlying the spoken words.
In his work, Wight helps people figure out the subtext to the narration. When someone is speaking, the point of view is what we hear. The narrative view/subtext is also there. His goal is to bring them together to form a cohesive narrative voice.
Reading a room, adjusting your presentation
The first thing you have to know about your audience is that it’s all about them, not about you. To best communicate with a group, ask participants what they want to hear about.
In our age of the Internet and various technological devices, there is so much more going on than there was a mere ten years ago. Wight calls this the “Shiny Object Syndrome.” When giving a presentation, reading a room has become more difficult. The first clue about what people are focused on can be answered by asking, “Where are people’s eyes looking? To find out, one trick is to engage some people in conversation to see who is following them and who is not. Another is to move around the room and see who is following you.
If you start to lose your audience’s interest, create a segue by going off topic for a moment. Then direct your audience back to the topic at hand.
The natural voice is colored by what we have seen earlier in our lives. Wight recommended that we read Judy Carter’s book, The Message of You. Carter wrote the book to get people to understand that you can’t understand the “message of you” unless you understand the “mess of you.” You need to accept what people say without judgment. If you leave your partner room, then you make your partner look brilliant.
“Discernment, not judgment, leads you to truth. It’s the difference between competition and cooperation; doubt and trust….”
—Carolyn Hidalgo, The Foundation of Love
Avoid scripting by being present
What do you do when you are asked the unexpected? Most of us have a way of avoiding that. We script an answer before the question is even posed. We cook up a story. But when you script, you disenfranchise and marginalize the other person. Wight’s advice is to avoid scripting by being present.
Remember this equation:
Communication + Collaboration = Co-Creation
If you believe the idea of accepting without judgment, and you have good communication and collaboration, then you have co-creation. Great innovation comes from creativity, acceptance, and knowledge. Allow collaboration and co-creation to occur, and then something creative will spin out of it.
Fun is serious business
There has been a culture shift in business toward lightening the mood and making things funny. Wight suggested three ways in which humor can help your business.
- People who laugh at themselves make fewer mistakes and they recover much more quickly.
- Individuals who are capable of laughing at themselves also go lighter on others.
- Customers notice as well.
Wight recommends reading The Levity Effect by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher.
Along the way, society teaches us what we can’t do. Stay in touch with your inner child.
“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”