Here are essential communication tips for changemakers, courtesy of keynote speaker and best-selling author Adrian Starks
By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Podcast.
When you think of the word “champion,” you might immediately think of it as a term that relates to an athlete or a winning contestant. But going back to the English dictionary, it’s also a word that means an advocate, a warrior, or a defender of a cause.
Adrian Starks — a keynote speaker, best-selling author, and Chief Communications Officer of Connect Now Business Network Ltd. — is offering services that help the unnoticed become a champion of change. And for him, championing change means being able to go through the challenges that come with something as inevitable change.
Image from adrianstarks.net
Consistency is Key
Before Adrian became the authority figure that he is today, he has been consistent with his message and with what he is doing even when no one is around. One big mistake that people do is to jump from one thing to another without specialising in that particular thing.
In order for you to become an authoritative figure in a certain subject, you also need to be where people can see you. Today, this is something that you can do on social media. You need to show up on podcasts, put out materials, write a book, and reach out to people. To let people see you as an expert in your field, you don’t have to be the smartest person — you only have to back up and practice what you’re saying and you’re championing.
However, you have to be strategic about it. For instance, as Adrian talks about change (and change can be applied to different things — from business to health and wellbeing to personal life), he makes sure that his message goes into multiple social media channels. He uses amplification tools such as Buffer, where he can load up his social media content and schedule them on different platforms at certain times of the day.
To make your message more effective, you also have to provide your audience with action steps; not just tell them to change and be optimistic. It’s also important to show the challenges you encounter. Showing vulnerability is one way of establishing yourself as a leading figure of a particular advocacy.
Establishing a Routine
To help you consistently be present on social media, establishing a routine is essential.
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For Adrian, he allocates his Mondays, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in particular, to do his social media tasks. Calling it his sweet spot, it’s a time when his creativity is at its peak. It’s a time when he is most efficient in finding content and planning his content schedule — including identifying which platform suits a particular content better and which is the best day to interact with his audience.
No matter when your sweet spot is, you have to choose a social media day that works best for you. This way, you can spend the rest of your week being fully focused on other things that require your attention such as recording and editing content.
Using the right tools can also help you keep your routine going. For instance, for his podcasting efforts, Adrian uses Riverside.fm. It’s a platform that allows users to record content remotely and buffer out background noises at home. For audio editing, he uses Udacity.
Speaking and Reaching Out
During the pandemic, Anthony also launched his company, Connect Now Business Network, wherein he and his fiance strategically work with business owners and entrepreneurs.
For him, speaking is the most impactful medium when building a personal brand and being a champion of change. Even today, virtual presentations have become vital in engaging and sending his message across to people.
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Speaking is something Adrian developed for four years. To break into the competitive speaking industry, you have to be different from other speakers. Learn what works for you and have your own style.
When he first started out, he tried to be like everyone and wore a suit-and-tie. His efforts, however, became only effective when he got rid of the suit and the tie and traded them for a polo shirt and jeans. He simply became him. Along the process, he became more aware of what he wanted to do and who he wanted to reach out to.
For speakers, researching is significant. You have to find out who your audience is and what their needs are. You have to research who are other speakers speaking about the topic you want to talk about. You have to know the trend. Giving free talks works as well.
It’s also essential to reach out to people to get speaking stints. Social media channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook have become instrumental in connecting speakers and those who provide speaking opportunities. When you join a LinkedIn or Facebook group about speaking, communicate with the members, comment on posts, and share insights to let them know that you exist. This will help others be enticed to check you out and see your profile.
For you to become an effective speaker, you also don’t need to always be in a room full of people. Now, you can create a virtual platform by doing a podcast or being on YouTube.
Doing live videos is also one of the most effective mediums that work right now. Going live allows people to be with you and interact with you in real-time. This strikes more differently compared to simply uploading a clean, recorded video.
To further improve your speaking game, Adrian advises you to work on presentations. Presentations are crucial because your audience doesn’t want to just see your face — they want to see something else as they can be easily distracted by their computer screens. Unlike traditional speaking engagements wherein you can walk around and move, today’s virtual speaking opportunities demand good presentations to keep your audience engaged.
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While the world is still battling the pandemic, now is the time to sharpen your speaking skills and maximise going online.
There are different platforms that allow people to speak live online — such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and LinkedIn Live (For LinkedIn, you need to apply to go live first). Whichever platform you choose, it’s vital to let people know that you are going live. If you’ve got a message that you want to share with your audience inform them when you’re going to go live and what will your topic be. On Facebook, for instance, you can create an event and notify users that you’re going live on a particular date.
When choosing a topic, it’s also important to hit a pain point. Right now, the people’s pain point is about them being frustrated. Taking that into mind, you have to touch on frustration, share some of yours, and give them an action step that they can do. Be creative and find something that interests people.
Many speakers are concerned about the right timing when it comes to charging their clients. According to Adrian, it comes down to you — when you’re ready.
When Adrian was only starting, he immediately wanted to be paid. On the contrary to what he expected, he didn’t get paid. And it’s because he wasn’t doing enough speaking engagements yet for people to say that he is indeed worth paying. Before asking for fees, you have to prove your worth first: Do some talks, speak in major events, put up a website, and show that you’re active and going strong.
With proof, you can back up your negotiation about your fees. In some instances, it can even come naturally. For example, Adrian had a client who asked him upfront about his speaking fees and his availability. If people are already asking about your speaking fees, it means that they have already done their research and saw your previous works.
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However, it doesn’t mean that you have to charge all the time. You can also give talks for free. For instance, you can apply for a Rotary Club in your area and enquire if you can go in as a free speaker. While you may not make money from speaking per se, what you can do is to sell your material (like a book) after your talk.
When building a brand, be consistent and be present in different channels; always show up until you prove that you’re worthy to be paid for your service. To learn more tips, visit www.adrianstarks.net.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed, you can listen here.