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From the Podium: Inspiration or Just Perspiration?

If you were asked to give a Ted Talk – what is the one thing you would feel most comfortable delivering for eighteen minutes to potentially inspire others and reach a target audience? Not to mention that an average attention span continues to shrink to 8 seconds or less.


As a global strategist, with an emphasis on technology and professional services, I have different tools in my tool belt to help my clients reach key audiences. and deliver bottom-line impact. Depending on the goals, this may entail the creation of a short video, blog post or substantive article.



When I heard Jenifer Sarver (Sarver Strategies) present on the concept of a “Most Valued Podium” as a tool, I brought it back to my present clientele – in this case attorneys. Attorneys have a primary role of servicing their own clients in tandem with honing in on their areas of expertise. Concurrently, they work with their marketing, business development and communications groups to become better contributors to their firms. Often, this involves a speaking engagement to reach their audiences. From preparing a paper, developing a presentation and traveling to and from a venue, speaking engagements can be very time- consuming. 


Should I Take the Microphone? When you contemplate the time an expert devotes before being handed a microphone, think about the roles communications, marketing and business development can play to help maximize the engagement. Here’s a simple action plan:


1.   Strategize. Set a mission statement: Why am I/we doing this? Set goals for yourself and your organization: What do we want to accomplish? How will we achieve our goals? Is it through a “Most-Valued Podium?” If you are serving on a panel, are you compatible with the other speakers?


2.   The Most-Valued Podium (MVP). Being married to a software engineer, our life is mapped out – in a series of spreadsheets, flowcharts and yes, we even whiteboard. At home. But, I digress. Once you have set forth your goals, think about the speaking engagement. If your goal is to be an industry leader, what would you take the time to read? Where would you tune in?


3.   Content Re-Use and the Omni-Channel Experience. Your content is so much more than the podium. Overall, you are aiming for personalized, unique content that is informative, provides advice and educates. But, envision your content as a knowledge wheel that through an omni-channel experience is still on-point and well-branded. Your marketing, business development and communications groups help you to dynamically deliver your content to your targeted audiences in digestible ways. From utilizing traditional and social media to newsjacking tactics to ensure your thought-provoking messages are delivered to those who may be characterized as either:

- Deep Divers (those that relish reading white papers, journal articles and listening to lengthy podcasts), or

- Glancers (those who might read a 500-700 word blog post or watch a two-minute ‘highlights’ video).


Finally, establish best practices and analyze metrics to assess engagement levels; continue to measure, analyze and adapt across all platforms. 


And, my Ted Talk? While I love the challenge of creating palatable content around technological and legal terms such as Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, Beacon Fencing, Homomorphic Encryption and Anti-SLAPP statutes, my TED Talk would be entitled – “Why Mentoring Matters.” Stay tuned.


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