Put yourself in front of the stage

By Sigal Avitan
עמידה-מול-קהל-סיגל-אביטן

Today I want to convey some messages about why it is important for managers to stand on stage through the story of one of the clients in my studio.

Before I knew who it was, I was invited to a meeting with the Deputy CEO of a technology company and with the CEO's personal assistant in order to receive a brief before I meet the CEO himself.

The brief they gave me before the meeting was like this - he is a collected, concentrated and cohesive man, do not try to change his worldviews, he is very short and take into account that for him exposure over 3 people goes to his deputy. When I asked then why you actually invited me, I was told that in less than a month he would have no choice and he would have to stand on stage and give a speech.

I arrived at his office, met a skinny and quiet man, introduced myself and immediately approached the matter. How do you want us to start? I asked and he replied, you are wasting your precious time, do not worry about the payment you will receive on time but I really do not feel I need personal branding and certainly not to stand on stages and give a speech. Ok I answered, just before I go, let me explain something to you:

On the other side of the world, executives of companies on the scale of your company, have already realized the importance of their personal exposure to the organization they head. What interests them is to grow the company, earn more and get ahead of their competitors, believe me in that they are just like you, only they understand that today all these can no longer be achieved without them, their agenda and their world of values transparent and exposed to the public, so they buy Tools that do not embarrass first-rate players. 

Of course I understand that, but what do you want from me? Shall I stand on stage like some narcissist and tell the nation how successful I am? It's silly and megalomaniacal, I know it's the trend right now, but you have to love it otherwise it does not contribute anything.

Is that what you think of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos when they go on stage, are interviewed or filmed? That they are stupid and greedy? I asked.

come on? What are you comparing? He asked and I was glad that his objection was replaced with interest, so I gave him a little lecture, I knew that after that he would not be able to refuse me.

Some people are born to be talents and when they get on stage it seems like it's easy for them there. But it's really not like that. Behind the scenes they work hard to convey that confidence. They hire personal consultants and trainers, they hone their rhetorical skills, get help from speechwriters. They look like they glow by themselves and that's because they work at it just like they work for their company. 

It's interesting, he said, but I think there is a weight to the genetics and also to the education that these people have received at home. I received an education from Yaki which basically means talking as little as possible. And if possible then at all.

I really do not underestimate innate abilities. Last summer I met here in Israel John Chambers President of Cisco and complimented him on the speech and to get information on how much he invests in it I complimented him and said - you are among the only people who do not need my services, he asked what you do and after I answered he said, no No darling, I'm working with your equivalent. All my speeches are filmed and once a month I sit with her, go through all the materials, learn from the mistakes, polish and move on. 

And on that occasion he also told me that he would be really happy if all the executives of Cisco in the different countries would start investing in it, because it clearly affects the revenue graph.

By the way, Bezos says that when he invited Amazon's customers to rate the company's products, he made them part of his business. He made his clients feel like his partners. He addressed them in person, not by a presenter. He himself spoke to them and responded to them directly, he shares with them his ideas and he says at every opportunity that a large part of his success is credited to this move. 

Think about it wherever he appears he advertises Amazon, not to mention Amazon.

Another example? I asked

He seems eager for more data - Steve Jobs. A brilliant businessman who wanted to succeed like all the entrepreneurs we know - except for one small and actually huge difference - he did not sell a product, he sold a worldview, he managed to turn his customers - into his captive audience. He told them fearlessly about his dreams and did not hesitate, despite the criticism, to talk about his failures as well. Its enigmatic appeal to this day sells Apple products. Warren Buffett found a job as a teacher to practically learn how to stand in front of an audience when he realized how critical it was to promote his business. 

Then we started working… It was not easy even though he took the task seriously and shut himself in every time I demanded that he get a little more out of himself- we are not there, I told him, there is no soul here, need to look for another drop and after a while, we located his agenda. We wrote the speech together, the text sat stamped on it, just like textiles, (by the way the word text is taken from the word textile and just like a garment, we need to feel comfortable and natural with our texts.) We started rehearsals. During each time he felt embarrassed, threw the paper on the table and roared - why do I need this, I have more urgent things to do. You probably know this .. Embarrassment in strong people is often expressed in firmness.

Then the day came, he went on stage to speak. 

He was excited. He was very excited. Suddenly graceful shyness and humility were revealed. His determined tones received soft, round tones. He thanked his employees and managers, congratulated the new partners, apologized to his wife and daughters for not being home enough, spoke passionately about his plans and the reason for the merger, conveyed a reassuring message to employees, spoke of their responsibility as an organization for the future of Israeli society. Explain to them that the way they conduct relationships with competitors, partners, employees and customers is exposed. Watching us all the time, he said, I ask you to maintain a fair and productive relationship for both parties, he talked about the tough deal in a competitive market that is changing at a dizzying pace, about the determined competitors and then he told a personal story, there was silence in the hall- Very and his competitors did not miss the opportunity to bite off whole chunks without hesitation. What they did not know then, was that his father's business had weakened, because he had contracted the damn disease. And he summed up the speech with that, he said in a low voice - we all know that family is the driving force, without it everyone can survive and family has, even our most active competitors, so every morning, when we leave home to conquer another target and defeat another competitor, it is important to remember to get off From the gas in time, because we have no idea what problems our competitors are facing and what house they left in the morning.

Suddenly this distant man, revealed a personal face and moved everyone. As he stepped off the stage, the staff and partners approached him, cheered him on, shook his hand warmly, I saw he was enjoying it. 

 Shortly after this revelation, at the end of the process with me, he galloped forward and began publishing fair competition articles, attending important panels and conferences and talking about studies from around the world that collaborations between competitors create growth for both parties, suddenly the painful wound he carried from his youth He was interviewed in the media, a door was opened for lectures in Israel and around the world, he became more accessible, people consult with him, come to him with ideas, he enjoys the conversation with young entrepreneurs and students, receives offers to be a director in leading companies .. Yes yes, they come to him, no Is to them. 

He later told me that the worldview he had formed over the years was built by him only to serve as a barrier to what he was so afraid of, exposure to an audience. And that fear kept him away from what he needed most. ..

The word text is taken from the word textile and just like a garment, we need to feel comfortable and natural with our texts.

I guess some of you think there are executives who prefer to stay under the radar. That's right, there are some, 2.2 percent of them. A manager's DNA is the DNA of a person who is important to lead and important to influence.

Entrepreneurs and executives are kind of creators, rock stars who want to have everyone in the bits of their heart and you know what? Even if not. There is no privilege today for any senior person to influence people to maintain their status without their worldview, values and personality being transparent to employees and customers. When the name of the manager is identified with the organization and vice versa, everyone conducts themselves more responsibly.

The 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt said as early as 1901 and I quote: "Neither the critic is important nor the one who points out the stumbling block of the strong or how things could have been done better. Sweat and blood. The one who does not stop striving, making mistakes and missing again and again, because there is no effort from lack of error or a negative side. But he who tries, who does, who knows enthusiasm, commitment and striving for the goal. At least he did it out of audacity, so that his place would never be next to the cold, fearful souls and heartbreakers who never knew victory or defeat. 

 What sets the talented executives apart is their amazing ability to look fears in the eyes and see beyond. Take the risk, for the chance and the chance is great. Because whoever faces his barriers wins hugely.

So how do you do that? How to find materials for a fascinating lecture?

Before you go out and talk, get back to your agenda, your one LINER. Do it by writing..you will see, it works like magic.

As we sit down to write, ideas and thoughts pop up, we suddenly discover that there is something burning in us to change, something that has always been there. Michael Angelo once said that he does not sculpt, but carves in stone until the statue is discovered. This is exactly what happens in this process. Something that sits inside for a long time and you did not dare to reveal for a thousand reasons - shame, fear, what they will say, etc. Suddenly comes out and the people who hear you will discover a new side in you and become your goal promoters without you asking. You will see that after you have written your manifesto, it will burn in you to publish it. Then start doing rehearsals and in these rehearsals you should maintain your personal style, no matter what, your audience recognizes fakes from miles away.

It is known that communication is the backbone of modern society and without communication skills, the ability to advance in the world of work and in life itself will be almost impossible. Speaking in front of an audience, standing on a stage outside your conference rooms and publishing articles are the most important means of communication for any person who wants to advance his goals and for any organization. If this is so obvious, why not everyone stands on stages and speakers? Why do we see over and over again the same executives who are invited over and over again to speak at conferences and glittering launches? This is because most people suffer from a phenomenon called, ossification.

Glossophobia - This is how the fear of standing on stage and in front of an audience is defined and it is the most common anxiety in the world. More than fear of heights, terror attack, flight or anxiety about death in and of itself. 

How do you cope? First of all get ready. Study, go to coaches, read books, watch lectures, be serious and get ready. Two and this is perhaps the most important section in dealing with anxiety of any kind, I learned about myself. I learned that when I'm scared, I'm probably out of my comfort zone and when I'm out of my comfort zone, I'm probably doing something new and doing something new is exciting… much more exciting than pleasing the environment. So lose it all because of the fear of criticism? is not that a loss?

Isn't it a shame to waste energy asking for permission from the environment? Gather feedback from everyone possible. After all, in most cases we do not really want feedback, what we really want is approval. We are so afraid of public humiliation, so we ask for an insurance certificate. We are so preoccupied with how what we do, wear, say, choose, look from the outside, that we lose what we really want. And you know what's funny? It all happens when on the other side there are people who are crying out for innovation and courage.

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