Some commonly asked questions to guest speakers on professional panels are:
- What did you do right to be where you are right now?
- What tips would you like to give to the audience?
Here are three tips that I learned from successful speakers from dozens of events and my own experience, which helped me in an unexpected way. At first, they may feel like actions but, over time, they can then become habits. Eventually they will build your character.
- Bring a notebook with you
It seems to be an old-fashioned and out-of-date habit to take notes on a paper-made notebook instead of your mobile phone, iPad or laptop. There are three reasons that I prefer paper-made notebooks over digital gadgets. The first reason is that taking notes on the notebook will keep you concentrated. Page-made notebooks will not pop up with a new message or notification from all kinds of apps to distract you from the lecturer or the speaker. Secondly, it shows you are an organized, well-prepared and diligent listener.
When you are in a seminar or interview, taking out a decent notebook and a pen looks much better than writing on a random scrap of paper or napkin. It also looks way better than typing on your phone because, even if you are taking notes, the speaker and others around you will assume you aren’t. Thirdly, it shows respect for the speaker or the people you are meeting with.
One thing I have to admit is that it is much easier to find the notes on digital gadgets. So, my suggestion is to organize and summarize your notes on your notebook and transfer them on to your computer or to the cloud on a daily or weekly basis. It is a good way to review your notes and store them for future use.
- Wish out loud
The first time I heard this phrase was from a presentation by Lisa Ong. She is the National Talent Management Director of PwC and was recently honored with the 2017 Minority Business Leader award. Her name on Instagram is @Wishingoutloud.
She tells her friends and coworkers what her dream is or what she wants to do in the future. She explains how it will make her dream come true more easily than keeping it to herself. For example, if you want to work overseas for some time and you express your wish to a coworker, you never know what may happen. One year later, that coworker may find out about an overseas project in the company. Guess whose name would pop up in the mind of that coworker?
I immediately realized that was the first time I heard the phrase, and I have already started practicing it in my own life. My friends recently asked me how did I found my current apartment with a good location and relatively low rent. I answered, “I didn’t find the apartment; the apartment found me.”
Before I started to look for a new place to live, I told my friends when I planned to move, my ideal location and the acceptable rent range that I could afford. Several days later, one friend came to me on WeChat and told me about the place where I currently live. That was also how Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes started their adventure together: telling a mutual friend that they were looking for a roommate.
- Greet people properly
Greet people every day. Instead of just saying “how are you doing?” “I’m good,” and “see you soon,” you can always say “I’m good. I just finished the Accounting Communication class project. Now I’m looking for an audit internship for summer.”
The formula is “I’m good + what I did + what I’m doing + what I am going to do”
When you share information about yourself, people feel they are being trusted. When you share in specific details, people feel that they know you better and can relate to you.
I hope that these three tips can help you as they have helped me.