What did Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela and other visionaries have in common, apart from the fact that they had great movies made out of their life story? They were all pioneers of their time and their contributions have truly made a positive impact in the society.
They are hailed as thought leaders not because they had a thought, but they were effective in communicating it to the society with the power of their speech and made a lasting impression in the minds of their generation and the generations to follow.
When it comes to the communication, many often think it is about having a great content that has to be delivered to an audience, but the art of persuading people to follow you comes from more than just a plain oration in front of someone.
If you are an entrepreneur it is very important to be very considerate about what you deliver, be it in your product/service or the way you carry yourself. Because in most cases, you are the company’s brand in the initial stages.
A few case scenarios where you might have to be at your best would be during a company’s internal meeting with the team or in an external meeting during networking events, customer meetings or investor meetings. How do you make a lasting impression in those situations?
Here are 5P’s that would help you to put out a lasting impression as an entrepreneur and as a leader
Nobody likes someone who talks irrelevant subject during a serious discussion. It is always good to prepare yourself and do a little homework about the person you are going to meet or have mental run-throughs about how you are going to pitch yourselves.
Preparation can help you overcome your personal inhibitions and help you deliver your best. Imagine how awkward it would’ve been if one of the TED speakers (anyone of your favourites) doesn’t prepare his material for the talk and starts narrating a movie experience.
One key example of how preparation can effectively change your life is the story of King George VI who overcomes his stuttering problem purely through practice. If you don’t know the exact story, an adapted screenplay (not historically accurate) could be found in the King’s Speech.
Time is the most crucial resource you are investing in your company and in order for your brand to speak volumes, it is essential for you to keep up to your timings. Punctuality is much appreciated amongst the elite circle, be it fellow entrepreneurs, loyal customers or potential investors.
Being punctual not only gives a good impression about you to others but will also give you a personal satisfaction that everything is going right.
Time management is one of the basics of management and if you have a rigid time schedule to execute your plan, no matter how crazy your day could be, then you will be portraying the pinnacle of management skills.
Presentation does not refer to your PowerPoint slideshows you showcase about your product, it once again comes to very basic skills like how you dress and the way you interact with your audience (one or many).
With the startup culture trying to attract the young crowd, going to the office in informal attire might sound cool, but the same cannot be donned if you are heading to a customer place or an investor meeting.
I am not saying that you need to be formal in every case, for some leaders, even very simple attire have become their identity. People like Zuckerberg and Jobs and have been known grey t-shirts and black turtle necks.
They are exceptional examples both in their dressing sense and in their presentation skills. Jobs, in particular, is a persona when it comes to the art of persuasion. People can still remember the event for the first iPod and iPhone launch particularly because of the way Steve Jobs presented it.
Stay on point! It is always better to have your pitch prepared for multiple timings. You need to have a 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes and a 30 minutes pitch ready to talk about your company depending on the time you have in your hand.
While it is normal to talk about random stuff during a networking event, it is important to remember what your ultimate objective is and stay on line with that. It is good to cite a few off-topic examples that would help your audience to draw a parallel, but going off-topic with your example and starting a whole new topic would sound extremely unprepared.
Again, this where the first point about preparation really helps you. A good preparation will always help you stay on point of the subject matter and people will always appreciate you if your pitches were punctual with respect to the end time.
I have seen a handful of presentations where the person on the podium throws a bunch of stats and insights straight out of a textbook or reads it from a presentation slide. The hard truth you need to understand is that in spite of the insane amount of preparation for the presentation, the audience won’t be able to connect with your product/service if you don’t involve them in your presentation.
There is a very popular Benjamin Franklin’s quote that goes by, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I remember.” This pretty much acts as the force multiplier for all of the above pointers on making a lasting impression amongst people.
It is the same technique that is employed by most stand-up comedians during their performances. If you go and check any viral stand-up video, you would see that you were able to relate to the content in directly or indirectly and that had automatically compelled you to share it.
I am not insisting that you need to crack jokes, but the fact that a simple rhetorical question would grab their attention and make them feel that you are directly talking to them. Don’t you agree?
Apart from the above-mentioned points, there are a few more tricks you can make use of to make a lasting impression. Unfortunately, I had to limit myself to the above and not add “Popularity or Positivity” because I couldn’t think of any more word starting with ‘P’ that I could add in the title (read the title again, there are 5P’s in that as well).
Fun fact: Speaking of popularity, have you ever witnessed both Hitler and Charlie Chaplin had the same mustache style? If you think it was Chaplin who imitated Hitler for his role in The Great Dictator, then you are in for a little surprise. It was Hitler who reprised Chaplin’s famous mustache since he thought the latter was more popular amongst people! Unfortunately, he did not use it for any positive impact and yet managed to have a lasting impression!