“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
Easton Asks: I want to hire a great professional keynote speaker for an event I’m helping to plan. However, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a feel-good speech that doesn’t deliver results. How can I find the speaker who will provide the best value?
Joel Answers: The cost of a hiring a professional speaker for your keynote address can vary significantly, but it’s important not to cut costs by choosing the cheapest speaker rather than the one who is best for the job. You want your event to shine, and that won’t happen unless you choose the best professional speaker you can afford. Having said this, no matter the cost, make sure the speaker’s service provides solid value.
What qualities should you require a keynote speaker to have?
Most importantly, the ability to not only fire up an audience but to empower them to think strategically about their careers. The best speakers catalyze lasting change by helping audiences devise a clear plan of action for stepping into leadership roles.
Whether you are hosting an all-day high-potential training or a corporate event, a professional keynote speaker has the power not just to motivate your employees, but also to help you cut costs by improving your people’s efficiency and productivity. They’ll learn strategies for working smarter, and by increasing their engagement, they’ll get more results.
- Ask questions of your professional speaker.
You can increase the value you’ll get from the speaker by asking plenty of questions during the screening process. Find out where the speaker’s strengths lie and determine whether those strengths match up with your company’s needs. Tell the speaker about the challenges your company is facing and ask how he will address those problem areas. You should interview at least two or three candidates before making a choice.
- Find out what other services the speaker offers.
Ask your candidates what services and programs they have to offer in addition to the keynote speech, and figure out how those can be incorporated into your event. Can they double as an emcee for your event? Can they hold a breakout session after the keynote address? Add an additional service or two that might normally require hiring multiple people but could be done by a single speaker, and you just might be able to get a discount and save money on the overall cost of the event.
- Treat your speaker as an investment, not an expense.
In order for your business to be profitable, you can only cut corners so much. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Remember that your speaker is an investment in your employees. If you pick the right speaker, you’ll see a measurable return on investment due to increased confidence, morale, and productivity. Only then will your event be a true success.
Wondering whether you’ve found the perfect speaker? Watch videos of your speaking candidates online to observe their speaking style. Any accomplished speakers will have videos that demonstrate whether they’re a truly captivating presenter. Are they charismatic—when they enter the room, would people turn their heads in anticipation of what they are going to say? Listen for the audience’s reaction, too—do funny anecdotes get a genuine laugh, or do jokes fizzle out? How does the overall pacing feel?
Did you watch a speaker’s video and think, I would love to have this person speak to my people! Set up a phone conversation. Ask questions like these:
- What types of audiences do you speak to?
- What kinds of tools do you share with employees for helping them make changes?
- Are you available to lead a breakout session and/or follow-up training?
With the right professional speaker, your keynote will give your employees an actionable plan they can implement to achieve their career goals. They’ll leave the session more driven, with clearer goals, and ready to implement the changes that will take their career and their company to the next level.
Hire Joel Garfinkle for a speaking engagement and see for yourself why he is one of the most sought-after motivational and professional speakers.
“There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.”
Nasir asks: I’ve heard that employers are checking social media more and more, to find out how professional their people really are. Should I just get rid of my Facebook profile so I don’t have to worry about my boss snooping on me?
Joel answers: That’s an option, of course, but there’s no need to stay off social media. In fact, 57% of recruiters are less likely to interview candidates who don’t have an online presence, a CareerBuilder survey found. The key is to increase your visibility wisely. Look at Facebook and other social media sites as networking tools. When that guides every choice you make on social media, you won’t have much to worry about.
Over half of employers use social media to check the profiles of their current employees, too, according to CareerBuilder, a trend that’s been growing for years. This means you need to stay vigilant regardless of your employment status!
Here are some important “dos” and “don’ts” for using social media.
- Do create a separate professional account.
Your professional contacts probably won’t want to see all those videos of your new puppy. Posting a tasteful photo from your personal life here and there can humanize you, but if you go beyond that, it’s best to create a separate profile for professional use. Set up a professional Facebook account to keep your business contacts in the loop about the things they’ll really care about. Or, use your Instagram account to share family photos and personal updates—setting it so only approved followers can see them—and use Facebook for professional networking.
- Do set your privacy settings accordingly.
With Facebook and many other platforms, you can choose how much the public sees of your profile. If you’re using one Facebook profile for both personal and professional networking, select privacy settings that allow only certain people to see those photos of you on vacation. If you’re setting up a separate professional account, give the public full access to your information to encourage them to “friend” or “follow” you. Similarly, consider whether you want your boss to see your LinkedIn activity. If you’re in the market for a new job, you may not want your boss to see your flurry of activity. Change your privacy settings so there’s no need to worry.
- Do review your existing content.
Weed through your old photos and remove anything too racy or inappropriate on social media. Even if it’s on your personal profile, don’t take the chance that colleagues or bosses won’t see it. (What if that friend from college is your coworker one day?) Google yourself to find out what comes up—like, for instance, an old profile on a platform you no longer use, or that blog of love poetry you started as a teenager, which you could simply delete.
- Do select your friends wisely.
The last thing you need after working hard to develop a professional Facebook profile is to have a goofball post something offensive on your wall. Even if you delete it, chances are someone else has seen it and the damage is done.
- Do review others’ posts before they go live.
If an unprofessional post shows up, you don’t want it to hover there for weeks until you log in, so it’s the first thing any new contact sees when visiting your profile. Change your settings so you’re required to approve all posts that others make on your timeline before they go up. You can also change your settings so you’re the only one who can post on your timeline. Likewise, set your notifications so you’ll receive an email or phone alert right away if anyone tags you. Then untag yourself if you’d rather not have your contacts see the photo or post.
- Do show personality.
Being professional doesn’t mean hiding your great sense of humor or witty personality—just don’t use them to make crude jokes. Branding yourself well means being authentic.
- Don’t post things you’d be embarrassed about later.
Remember that once you post something on the Internet, it can never truly be removed. Before you post something, think, “Would I be embarrassed if my employer saw this? Would it potentially detract from my chance of getting hired or forming a relationship with a new client?” The same holds true for words as well as photos. Even if they’re on your personal profile, always err on the side of caution.
- Don’t complain.
You don’t need to always be singing about sunshine and butterflies, but don’t use Facebook as a place to vent about work. Even if no single comment is over the top, a pattern of work negativity won’t make you seem like someone others want to be around—and it certainly won’t present you as confident and capable.
- Don’t get into Twitter feuds or feed into trolling.
These time traps can make you look like you have major anger management issues, and they’re rarely productive. It’s fine to have a lively debate, but keep it courteous.
- Don’t post during work hours.
Maybe you’ve kept it professional, posting quality content that colleagues can benefit from. But if you’ve done it during work hours, your boss or HR department might see that time stamp. Post only during lunchtime, breaks, or off-work hours so you’re not wasting time on social media at work.
- Don’t go overboard with advertising.
Make your posts and status updates interesting. One of the easiest ways to lose professional “friends” on Facebook is to abuse your status updates by spamming them with advertising. As an example, instead of telling everyone you’re the best realtor in the region, give daily tips on selling a home. Use your Facebook profile to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and your followers will naturally seek you out when they have a need for your product or services.
- Don’t stay on too long.
Set a time limit for social media. It may help to go on at a particular time every day, for ten minutes or so. That way, it won’t become a time suck.
Remember these pointers, and social media will serve as an important networking tool. Instead of compromising employment opportunities, it may bring you closer to your dream job or draw in clientele. And if your employer is checking out your social media habits, he’ll be nothing but impressed.
You want social media to help your career, not harm it. If perception management (and your social media image) is important to you, hire leadership coach Joel Garfinkle.
“Trust is a core currency of any relationship. Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. The truth: People are much more capable than we think. A hearty dose of trust is often what’s needed to unlock the magic. Go ahead, have faith.”
Client Gerald asks: Some of the employees I supervise really seem to self-sabotage at work a lot. It’s clearly coming from a lack of belief in themselves. How can I instill confidence in my employees to get the best results from my team?
Coach Joel answers: Glad you reached out for support, Gerald. Employees who feel confident about their abilities will drive an organization’s success. Meanwhile, those who don’t believe in themselves will settle for the safety of mediocrity. By instilling confidence, you’ll prime your employees to take worthwhile risks, thereby growing into even better performers.
- Focus on strengths
Focusing on strengths doesn’t just make employees feel good—it’s far more effective than targeting weaknesses, according to Gallup’s research. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give feedback about areas for improvement, but don’t fixate on them too much. When employees use their areas of strength, they’re six times more likely to be engaged at work as those who don’t, Gallup emphasizes.
- Be specific with your praise
When you give praise, make it abundantly clear what behavior you’re praising. Highlight key strengths that led to a project’s success, or observations about things that employees consistently do well. Better yet, give this praise in front of others so employees feel their visibility growing.
- Reduce stress in the workplace
As Chris Adalikwu says in How to Build Self Confidence, Happiness, and Health, stress can make people feel less capable, even if they’re fully equipped to handle the situation at hand. Lowering workplace stress will thus bolster employees’ confidence. Being more flexible about deadlines if need be, encouraging employees to leave work at work, and ensuring they have all the tools they need to get the job done are just a few ways to reduce workplace stress.
- Have a plan for building skills
Develop a plan for how to help employees reach the goals you’ve set together during your performance reviews. Otherwise, they may feel daunted about how to get there. Focus on incremental growth, helping them build skills gradually over a series of projects rather than all at once. Small successes will give them the courage to persevere.
- Coach them from the sidelines
If an employee feels daunted about taking on a challenging project, don’t just throw her into it and hope for the best. Instead, coach her from the sidelines. Check in often (but without micromanaging how she does things). Ask if she has questions or needs advice, so she knows it’s okay to feel confused or want feedback.
- Ask them for help
The four most powerful words you can use as a leader are “I need your help.” Say them often, whether you need help with a task, developing a new strategy, or helping the company through a transition.
- Model confident behavior
Some leaders strive to appear invulnerable, but that sets a poor example for everyone. Show your people that strong leaders have questions, need support from others, and solicit others’ advice. Ask for their opinions, and for their feedback on how you can be a better boss. In doing so, you’ll instill self-confidence in your employees and improve communication in the workplace.
As you implement these tips for building people’s confidence, you’ll see your team blossom. To further enhance their growth, consider hiring a motivational trainer who will work to thoroughly understand and address the challenges your people face.
Contact executive coach Joel for more support in growing as a leader so you’ll get the most from your people.
“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.”
~Billie Jean King~
Client Clara asks: I always get so nervous before my annual performance review. How can I calm my nerves and make sure it goes as well as possible?
Coach Joel answers: Performance reviews can be daunting, but being proactive about the process will make it a motivating ritual that you look forward to. By conducting a review of your own performance before you meet with your boss, you’ll have thoughtful answers to all your boss’s questions. Here’s your guide on how to do that.
Your boss might conduct performance reviews once a year, every six months, or on a quarterly basis. Forty-eight percent of employees are reviewed annually, and 26% are reviewed less than once a year, says Gallup. More frequent reviews are optimal, allowing you to recollect more of what happened during the review period.
Aim to conduct your own performance review on a quarterly basis. Even if your boss only conducts reviews once a year, you’ll have detailed notes from each quarter to use in preparing for your annual review.
According to Gallup’s research, good performance reviews are “achievement-oriented, fair and accurate, and developmental.” Gallup suggests calling them “progress reviews” to emphasize these areas of focus.
In other words, they should be less about a grade and instead focused on utilizing the performance review process to continue developing your skills.
- Evaluating fulfillment of the role
- Look at the description of your role. Then ask yourself how well you’re fulfilling each of your primary responsibilities.
- Ask yourself if the expectations are fair, and if you have adequate time and resources to fulfill the role, advises Gallup. If not, determine what changes are necessary.
- Reviewing your past goals
- Look at the work performance goals you set for the period you’re reviewing. Where did you achieve them, and where did you fall short?
- Analyze what went wrong when your efforts didn’t succeed.
Make a list of the areas you want to strengthen.
- Acknowledging successes
- List and share your achievements, both concrete and less tangible.
- Have you developed any new skills, even if you haven’t put them to extensive use yet? Be sure to add them to your list, so you can make them known to your boss.
- Examining your leveraging of success
- Ask yourself how you leveraged your successes, advises Sharon Armstrong in The Essential Performance Review Handbook. Have you effectively used them to boost your visibility and influence?
- Consider where you could leverage successes better in the future.
- Create a visibility plan outlining how you’ll do that.
- Setting goals
- Now it’s time to set new goals for the next period. Make sure your goals are SMART—“strategic and specific, measurable, attainable, results-based, and time-bound”—emphasize Anne Conzemius and Jan O’Neill in The Power of SMART Goals.
- Consider what actions you’ll need to take to reach your goals. For example, if you want a promotion, look at options in your company and prepare a compelling argument for why you should get one.
- Developing ideas
- Write up specific proposals for ideas you wish to pursue, suggests Armstrong. Generate ideas that will challenge you and emphasize the skills you want to highlight.
- If you have ideas for how the department or company could improve, write them down as well.
- Evaluating salary
By conducting a review of your own performance, you’ll feel energized and inspired at performance review time. Plus, you’ll come across as far more articulate, insightful, and capable during your meeting with your boss. And in turn, you’ll make better use of that meeting, coming equipped with questions to ask and polished ideas to present.
Hire leadership coach Joel Garfinkle for more advice on preparing for career advancement.
“Stars don’t beg the world for attention; their beauty forces us to look up.”
Amelia asks: I’ve grown a lot more confident over the past year at my job. Now I need to learn how to stand out at work, because I’m looking toward a promotion. What steps should I take to make that happen?
Joel replies: Maybe you’ve played it safe in the past, figuring your good work should speak for itself. But you’re right—it won’t. You need a plan for catching the eye of those with influence in your organization, or they’ll never notice you. You need to speak up, be more confident and assertive at work.
- Create a Personal Brand
Just as products need branding, so do people. Here’s how to create your personal brand:
- Ask yourself what qualities make you who you are, including your shortcomings and idiosyncrasies. People who stand out at work are known for being their authentic selves. They know how to highlight their best qualities while asking for feedback in areas where they want to grow.
- Consider your career goals—where do you want to go next? That will guide what you want to be known for.
- Choose projects that highlight those strengths, rather than just saying “yes” to any work that comes your way. In doing so, you’ll craft a reputation as a person who’s great at the particular kind of work that really fuels you.
- Track your successes so you’re always ready to describe them—say, in an impromptu conversation with that exec you’ve been wanting to meet.
- Engage in Lifelong Learning
A person who remains perpetually curious, constantly looking for opportunities to grow, is sure to stand out at work. How can you do this?
- Take a class in something you want to know more about.
- Find a buddy from another department and teach each other about your roles, so you both understand the organization better.
- Read a book about a skill you want to master.
- Support a Good Cause
Either way, becoming known as someone who cares about the broader world will build you up in the eyes of others. Here are a couple ways of doing that:
- Start volunteering with a nonprofit, if you don’t already. Casually mention to coworkers that you plan to volunteer over the weekend.
- Hang a flyer for a donation drive on the bulletin board, and mention to coworkers that you’re supporting it. Make sure not to sound pushy or self-righteous about it.
- Embrace Failure
People who stand out don’t hide behind small, safe successes—they seek out risks and take them. Of course, they’re smart about which risks are worthwhile, choosing ones they have a good chance of conquering. You won’t achieve them all, but you’ll enjoy some very exciting successes when you start seizing the day in these ways:
- Ask yourself what risks you need to take to get where you really want to go.
- Dive into a project that stretches your abilities, really challenging you.
- Share the good news—and its measurable results—with coworkers and superiors when you succeed.
- Speak Up in Meetings
Speaking up in meetings can be daunting, but it will get easier with time. Here are a few ways to start:
- Figure out one topic on the agenda that you have a lot to say about. Prepare to ignite conversation on that topic.
- Bring creative ideas that speak to the qualities you want to be known for.
- Ask insightful questions when others present ideas.
- Practice saying one thing that pops into your head at each meeting.
- Become a Mentor
Serving as a mentor to others will highlight both your expertise and your concern for the organization’s success. When your boss sees coworkers coming to you for advice, you’re sure to stand out. Here’s how to begin:
- Does your department have a new employee? Offer to show her the ropes. Just by being friendly and available to answer questions, you’ll start cultivating a strong relationship.
- Give coworkers advice about things you’re an expert on. Don’t beat them over the head with it—just share tidbits of information in conversations, and invite them to drop by your workspace if they show interest in learning more.
- Promote Yourself to a Leadership Position
There’s no need to ask for permission to become a leader. The best way to become known as a leader is to just start acting like one.
- Remember that cause you support? Organize a volunteer day for your office, explaining to your boss how this will build team spirit.
- Volunteer to lead meetings.
- Spearhead an exciting project, delegate responsibilities to team members, and give them positive feedback to coach them along.
If you take these steps, you’re sure to stand out at work. How you approach success makes a difference—you won’t be passively waiting for it, but actively reaching for it. That will mark you as a leader in the eyes of your boss and other decision-makers. In turn, this will boost your job security and lead to exciting opportunities for promotion.
Joel can help you boost your visibility among leaders and coworkers. If you want advance in your career, gain the deserved promotion or receive more work recognition, hire Joel for executive coaching.