Improve as a Speaker for a Better Personal Brand

Last week, I was a guest at ToastIN, the nascent Toastmasters club at LinkedIN. I went so I could better understand the audience for my Take Charge of Your Brand educational keynote talk at the District 4 Fall Conference on November 12 (

The celebrity speaker was Deep Nishar, the LinkedIN SVP of Products and User Experience, who shared a personal story that underscored his values and ability to learn from others–including his young daughter. The ToastIN group loved his talk.

While watching Deep and others speak, I was struck by how important the ability to communicate is to personal branding. The words are important but equally important is the non-verbal communications.

One’s gestures, facial expressions and body language speak volumes about what kind of person you are and how you engage with others. Let’s say you are talking about the need for open communications in business and your arms are folded, or closed, in front of your chest while you are speaking. Your audience will have difficulty believing your message because of the conflict between what the words say and what your body says. Imagine opening up your body language, showing your palms or outstretching your arms for effect. Add to this an engaging smile and your audience will be ready to accept your open communications message.

If communications is not a strong suit for you, work at improving both your presence and ability to communicate. The club members at ToastIN and in the many corporate Toastmasters clubs have joined because they are motivated to improve as public speakers. The interest and support by LinkedIN executives shows that LinkedIN sees the value in having employees with the confidence and skills as speakers. I would venture to say that all companies value employees with good public speaking skills.

When I speak at the Toastmaster International (D4T) Fall Conference on November 12 in Burlingame, Calif., I’ll be sure to point out the importance that speaking skills can have on one’s personal brand. I’m not a member of Toastmasters, but I like the speaking skills they promote and the fact that their clubs provide a supportive environment in which to learn.

I hope you have a chance to come to the Fall Conference. I’d love to see you there!


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