The story behind the brand is often worth knowing a little about
Two weeks of beautiful sunshine, extraordinary sights and warm sea is so nurturing to the mind, body and spirit. It offers a priceless opportunity to reflect on where you are, why you are there and where you are heading.
Visiting the stunning island of Cyprus which is steeped in incredible beauty, gave me a chance to think even more deeply about the business I created several years ago, Mindful Presenter.
I had time to reflect on the story behind the brand I had created
As we share on our website, ‘Mindful Presenter was born out of a blend of frustration, curiosity and passion.’
When I left the corporate world I wanted to find a way to improve the way we present to each other in business. I was often troubled by the lack of authenticity I felt in business presenting.
A corporate world imbued with processes, systems, policies and protocols
All designed to keep the corporate cogs slowly turning, day after day, year after year. That’s all well and good but I felt that there was always something important missing.
So many business professionals sounded the same, especially when presenting their ideas.
The story behind the brand began in the most unexpected way
My son’s first day at school
My wife and I were invited to listen to the Head teacher’s welcome address.
10 minutes into his speech, my son said; “Daddy, this story is giving me a headache, what time does it finish?”
A further 5 minutes into the sermon, I felt my son’s torment, as I too was bored
I was uncomfortable, frustrated and even beginning to feel a little angry. The Head teacher seemed far more interested in getting through his script than how he was making us feel.
The more he spoke the more wounded I felt. It slowly dawned on me that this wasn’t to be the end of my suffering. My mind and attention wandered completely away from the Head teacher’s rambling as I experienced ‘flashbacks’.
The lifeless lecture that the Head teacher was giving to an assembly hall of parents and 4 year old children flicked a switch of consciousness in my mind.
It dawned on me that I experienced this in the workplace several times each week
I realised that all that Head teacher was doing was what professionals in organisations all over the world were doing to innocent audiences every day.
The flashbacks got worse
My mind drifted off to relive every management meeting and business presentation I had ever sat through.
In each flashback I could see the same people sitting in exactly the same seats every month. Saying the same things in exactly the same way. The same volume, tone, solemn expressions and torrent of corporate speak.
The same topics and key performance indicators presented with such lacklustre sameness.
The story behind the brand unfolds
I could see exactly what was wrong.
I could even see the solutions. They seemed so obvious and simple to me that I couldn’t understand why so many gifted and talented people were speaking to each other this way.
I couldn’t quite grasp why so many incredibly intelligent people would suddenly lose their ability to connect with fellow human beings when they presented at work. Most of them wouldn’t dream of speaking to their families at home the way that Head teacher did to hundreds of people that day.
It occurred to me that the idea of being professional in the work place for many people meant that they had to display their expertise but not their personality, charm, thoughtfulness and energy.
The story behind the brand was driven by an insatiable appetite to learn everything I possibly could about the art of public speaking, presenting and communicating.
What the world was teaching
With an unwavering belief that there must be another way to retain our professionalism, credibility and integrity but to remain our authentic selves, I set out to find how.
I worked and studied with some of the most established and highly respected training organisations I could find in London. I listened very, very closely, I watched intently and like a giant sponge soaked, up everything that I possibly could learn.
It was a fascinating journey
I soon realised that the challenge was far greater than I had imagined.
Many of the organisations I worked with had brilliant trainers and coaches teaching some very valuable ideas but there was a major problem.
Many of the ideas they shared were based on academic models, theory or simply what sounded like a great way to approach communication skills. Unfortunately, it quickly became very clear to me that many of these brilliant trainers sharing what on the surface sounded like great ideas had never actually had to give a ‘real’ presentation in their life.
Most were people who had been trained to train, with little experience of real world presenting themselves
Many had never actually given a presentation to senior management, the board or speak at a conference. They had never had to present extremely difficult, complex or challenging ideas to professionals where the stakes were high.
They knew the theory of how to do it and could teach it very clearly to others but didn’t know what it was like to do so for themselves.
Much of what I heard sounded great in theory but simply wasn’t practical
I witnessed trainers who were being paid to teach people to:
Stop moving their hands
Speak like someone they simply weren’t
Present with less passion
Speak exactly like the trainer spoke
Follow the crowd and present just as everyone else was rather already doing, rather than finding their own style.
Arguably, everything you need to know about high impact presenting and public speaking has already been learned and taught. In other words, there are countless books you can buy or articles you can download on the internet.
Reading or simply learning the tools to high impact presenting and speaking simply isn’t enough. We need to be challenged, inspired and empowered to do so. Nothing changes until we change.
Panning for gold
People have been panning for gold since Ancient Rome. Many have spent an entire lifetime searching for their fortune.
Over the centuries, vast numbers of people all of the world would sift patiently and painstakingly through tons of dirt, dust and rubble to find a single nugget of gold.
Since my son’s very first day at school in that assembly hall I have been panning for my own gold.
For me that gold has represented a way in which we can all:
– Speak with confidence, clarity and impact.
– Be professional but still be true to ourselves as we speak with purpose, power and humility.
– Lead each time we speak to add value and to make a difference.
– Connect with each other emotionally as well as intellectually when we are at work.
– Find and value our authentic voice
– Use our voices effectively with the courage to challenge the status- quo and lead real and positive change.
The ‘panning’ process continued for years
Amongst all of the debris there were always nuggets of gold no matter how small.
Mindful Presenter is the accumulation of all of those nuggets we found along the way. We have created many more too.
We have filtered the dirt, dust and rubble to bring the gold to you. The panning process continues and always will.
If you would like to benefit from the story behind the brand that is, Mindful Presenter:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
Image courtesy of: flickr.com