Three Things to Do to Master the Public Stage and Be Memorable, with Betty Liu
Online • December 17, 2015
Learn how to own the room at your next speaking engagement with tips from Bloomberg anchor and Radiate podcast host Betty Liu.
Thu, Dec 17, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST
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Betty Liu is Anchor and Editor-at-Large at Bloomberg Television and the Host of “Radiate,” a weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews some of the world’s most successful people. She is also the author of WorkSmarts: What CEOs Say You Need to Know to Get Ahead (Wiley, 2014).
We'll be live tweeting this Jam Session, so make sure you follow along with @EllevateNtwk and #PublicSpeaking!
Visit www.betty-liu.com for more information.
00:01 Johanna: Hi everyone. Thank you for standing by, welcome to our Ellevate Jam Session today featuring Betty Liu. I'm Johanna Pulgarin from Ellevate and I'll be moderating today's session. Here at Ellevate, we're committed to providing you with the opportunities you need to live the life you want. We strive to find experts in the network that can share with you the lessons they've learned in business and in life. Today's speaker is Betty Liu, anchor and editor at large at Bloomberg Television and the host of Radiate, a weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews with some of the world's most successful people. She's also the author of "Work Smart, What CEO's Say You Need to Get Ahead". In today's Jam Session, Betty Liu will give us some tips on how to own the room at your next speaking engagement with tips on how to make your topics and yourself memorable.
00:50 Johanna: Just as a heads up, this presentation is being recorded. A copy of it will be made available on our website www.ellevatenetwork.com to subscribing members of the network. If you experience any technical issues, you can either contact me during the session through the chat feature on the left side of your screen or contact ready-talk customer care at 1-800-843-9166. Also, if you have any issues hearing the audio, please just let me know through the chat function and I will give you a number to dial in and listen on your phone. As a reminder, we're also live tweeting this Jam Session today so feel free to participate in the discussion that way by using #publicspeaking and tagging Betty @Bettywu. At the end of the session, there will be a Q&A with Betty so please use the chat function on the left to submit any questions you have throughout her presentation. And now Betty, I'll go ahead and turn it over to you.
01:46 Betty Liu: Thank you so much Johanna and thank you for having me at your Jam Session. This is a very cool concept and I wanna thank everyone who's joining us. I know I can't actually hear you but I just wanna say that it's fantastic to have this opportunity and I know that in advertising the Jam Session we talked about the three things that I was gonna give you guys to master the public stage and I'm actually gonna give you more than three things today. So there's a bonus, it's the holiday season. We're giving gifts. So I'm actually gonna go through several tips that I have learned through the years of being on the public stage. Things that I've... That have helped me connect to the audience and also to really be able to give a compelling... I guess a compelling performance so to speak. Because when you think about going on stage, you forget that it's not just that you're giving information to people in the audience but you are actually performing. There's an element of performance there and that's actually something that I've had to really get to understand and know being on television. I started off in print, I was a print reporter. Actually, a news-writer reporter early on in my career and then I switched over to print and it took me quite a long time when I made the transition into television to really understand that part of the process of giving information and interviewing people, you have to also really think about the performance aspect of it.
03:11 Betty Liu: So I'm gonna go through some of that as well and I know you've got your slide or you've got the cover sheet in front of you. So I wanna just jump right into it and I've got two things that I just wanna tell you before we do and number one, I'm just getting over a cold so apologies if in the middle of this you may hear me cough or sniff a lot. I'm just getting over this, I got it from my two-year old. Or excuse me, my two 11 year old twin boys so I'm just recovering from that and the second thing is just given the WiFi system here at work, Susan, our PR person who's working on Radiate on our project here, she's gonna be scrolling through these slides. So if you here me say "Susanne, can you go to the next slide?" just that's the reason why.
04:00 Betty Liu: So, actually I'll just say that now. Susanne, if you can go to the first slide which talks about preparation preventing poor performance. So, one of the things that I find that's very interesting that translates from being on television into being out on the stage is that people don't actually get that when you're on TV and you do a two-hour show, you don't just sort of mosey on up and slide on up five minutes before air and go on screen. If you did that, you would probably last for about a month on the job and then be kicked off. You have to really, really be prepared and for instance here at Bloomberg, I do a two-hour program that starts at 10 AM I'm in the office by 6 AM and I'm preparing and we're doing lots of reading in, we're reading, we're going through the rundown, we're booking guests, we're preparing guest notes, and the interview that I do are all... They're all...
04:53 Betty Liu: I've studied in on all the interviews, I've read in about the guests, so it's not as if they're all... They're not all laid out on the prompter for me or anything like that, so one thing I've learned from TV is how prepared you have to be because you never know when a guest is going to throw you off with an answer and you've got to followup with a smart question or you never know when some breaking news is gonna happen and you have to really know the news of the day in order to be able to break that news and give your audience some context. So that's just the thing I wanna say about preparation is how important it is. So before you take the public stage, one of the things that's also gonna make you much more confident is to really, really be prepared and know what is the topic that you're gonna be talking about. Obviously, if you're being asked to speak you know your topic very well. You're an expert in this area, you've done research on this already, and you're being asked to speak. Now, just before I go on, just one thing I wanna say is that I prepared these slides really for someone who is going on a stage to make a speech. There's also different things you need to prepare if you're gonna be a guest on a panel or if you're gonna moderate.
06:00 Betty Liu: So I'll go through some of that a little bit later but this is really all talking about if you're being asked to go on stage and give like a TED Talk or something like that. You have to think about an amazing, amazing topic and one of the ways that you can really frame your topic is by thinking about what is really a smart title. What is the title that is gonna get somebody to pay attention and listen. So there was a talk I gave, I think a of couple years ago where I talked about, this is around the book "Work Smart", and then I talked about women and how women can grow in their careers and the talk title was something like, "How to go from worker bee to queen bee." The organizers loved that title, they were like, "We totally get it," and it worked well in the material that they were sending out to their members. So give a really smart title. Once you think of that, it will really help you form exactly what kind of speech you want to give or how you want to present.
07:00 Betty Liu: Now the other thing that I do when I prepare and I think it's very important when you're on the stage is... And will also give you a lot of confidence is watch other people who are really, really good. Watch how they give speeches and watch how they present. And I have to tell you that some of the best presentations I've ever seen have nothing to do with slides, nothing to do with other props, they're just somebody talking. Talking about their lives, telling stories, giving great information. I'm a big believer that you don't need a lot of props, you don't need a fancy PowerPoint deck, you really wanna talk from your heart. Watch other people and how they speak and you can go online, go on YouTube. I have favorite talks that I listen to and watch time and again. A lot of them have to do with TED Talks or the TEDx Talks. There's one in particular, a lawyer, I believe he's got one of the top rated TED Talks. It was, I think, a civil rights attorney who told some really amazing stories about his career using a story.
08:06 Betty Liu: But in any case, just go online and look for some really great speeches. Gary Vaynerchuk is another person who I think has a really distinct style on stage. His style might not work for a lot of people and I certainly don't think it works for women but it's just good to see how he gets really real on stage and it's his personality 10 times. Commencement speeches are also actually good. And I say commencement speeches not so much because you can learn a lot about style 'cause most of the time it's just people behind a podium talking but I think that the way really great commencement speakers structure some of their speeches, it's good to listen to and to understand how they pack a lot of inspiring material and information and how they relate it to their audience which are obviously college grads.
09:00 Betty Liu: I also think and I've just said this a bit earlier that storytelling is like number one when you're taking the public stage. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about the economy or you're talking about women in business, or you're talking about Uber or the new tech innovation. It's stories will make people remember your speech way more than any other tool that you would use. I just cannot emphasize enough how much anecdotes and stories are so important. And the other thing that you should really do is understand your audience. What I would love is that at the end of this, when you hand in your questions or as you're emailing your questions in this presentation, please let me know where you're from, you don't have to identify your firm but just tell me what industry you're in. 'Cause I wanna know also who's listening and how I can make my presentation in the future better.
09:52 Betty Liu: I think you should really just understand. Make sure you understand who your audience is 'cause you've got to remember that these are people who are... Whether it's a one-hour presentation or a 45-minute presentation, they're giving a good chunk of their time of the day. Believe me we have no time anymore. I was talking with a VC this morning, we had breakfast this morning, he was saying something like, "We figured out, Betty, that we now have 31 hours in our day." I was like, "What? What are you talking about?" And he was like, "We've figured this out in technology that the fact that we are on two screens at the same time, we're multitasking, we've now squeezed in all that we can. It's 31 hours in one day." [chuckle] So we cannot give any more. And I totally get that. Other than maybe giving up sleep, there's only so many hours in a day anymore that anybody can give to anybody else.
10:46 Betty Liu: Okay, so let's go to the next slide. And these are what I call the public stage dos and don'ts that I have learned doing these talks. By the way, I have done... I have given speeches and I've also moderated panels, and I've been guest on panels, and my favorite role, just because I've been on television and this is what I do every day is I love to moderate. But I also love giving speeches in a way because it really does help me connect more to the audience. When you've got more to say then you want to be on stage saying it. Okay, so some of the dos and don'ts. "Do talk from your heart and not from a script." And I had to learn this the hard way early on. I say the hard way because... I'll tell you a story. I'll tell you a story about when I first wrote the book and I launched this, I launched a book party. I remember we had about 150 people, it was a great party. People from the book came, the press was there and I was asked to do a... Not that I was asked, I asked myself to do a speech. And remember, this is not like a public stage where I'm in front of a huge audience, but it was a big learning lesson for me because I knew that I wanted to make a great speech to a group of 150 people who really really matter to me, and were intimately connected to me.
12:10 Betty Liu: What I ended up doing was I wrote this whole script out, and I read from the script. And everybody else was like, "Oh, it was so great. You did such a great job. Congratulations." I had one person that would say to me, "Betty, that was the most awful speech you ever gave," and he said the reason why is because I read completely from the script. And he said, "That was awful. You didn't connect with anyone, and you could've just spoken from your heart." And he was 100% right. And you need people like that, by the way, to just give you the honest feedback, 'cause you're never gonna improve if you don't get that feedback. And he said it to me and, from then on, I said I was never gonna read another script again. I was never gonna look at my... I would have notes, but I would never have anything typed out ever again, and I didn't. And I just started to give speeches that were more about stories, and my life, and my experiences, and what lessons I've learned. And I've just found that they really do resonate more with the audience.
13:11 Betty Liu: Believe me, I'm here telling you guys how to do this. I've gotta a lot more to learn on this front, too, but the more you do it, the more practiced you become. The other thing is that you should open with a funny anecdote, a joke, and scatter them throughout. People wanna... They wanna laugh. Again, they're giving you an hour of their time. If it's a serious subject, they still want light moments. You can open up with something funny, whether it's something funny about the venue, or something funny about the news of the day. People just want a little bit to just break that tension, because when you are in a room full of people who are watching one person, it can get very tense. You can almost here a needle drop sometimes. So, it's nice to break that tension. And the thing I used to do, and I still do that once in a while, is if I don't have a funny anecdote, just organically, I'll even... I've done this before. I'll even mine the late night shows, whether it's Jimmy Fallon or whoever, or even Trevor Noah now on Comedy Central. I'll mine some of their material because they're always talking about the news of the day and I'll quote them, I'll quote them about something, and it always ends up... I can never deliver it as well as those guys can, but it always just, it's a fun joke, or it's just something funny that, again, lightens up the mood.
14:37 Betty Liu: And I said this before, not to use slides as a crutch. I think it's okay, it's absolutely okay to have devices there, or tools. I guess you should say props that help you... That you can look at. It helps prompt you to get through your presentation. But, I've seen too many times, people use them as a crutch and they only refer to them. They look down too much. They're practically reading from these slides. And the fact of the matter is, most people don't look at the slide that long, it's not that important to them. Again, what's more important to them is what you're saying, what comes out of your mouth. So, if we can move on to the next slide, which is slide four, I've got more public stage do's and don'ts, and I have a picture of myself, not because I'm such a narcissist and I love looking at myself, but I have a photo of myself because it falls into one thing that I think is very important, particularly for women.
15:40 Betty Liu: And I don't want to make this sound sexist, or I don't wanna make this sound like it's something that... I guess what I'm saying is that, as women, we know that we are looked at. Our outfits are looked at. How we appear is looked at. We know that. And when we're on the public stage, it's looked at even more. It just is a matter of fact. I know that when I go on television, half the emails I get are from men and women, by the way, who say, "Oh, my God! I loved your dress. Where'd you get your dress from? I love your earrings. Where'd you get your glasses from?" That happens to be one of the most common questions I get these days. And so, your appearance does matter. As much as you would like it to not, and as much as you would want it to be as a much of a factor for a man who's on the public stage, it just isn't. I say, why don't we turn something like that into something that is an asset for you. So, as women, when you're on stage, I think it's nice to have something that makes you more memorable.
16:45 Betty Liu: Whether it's, and I put this picture up, I put it on my Instagram and it got a ton of likes because people loved my shoes. Never mind that the actual Instagram was all about, "Let's support women entrepreneurs on this day." A lot of people liked it because they liked the shoes, and I'm a big shoe hound. I love them. I collect them. I have closets full of shoes. And so, when I go on stage, I have a funky pair of shoes on, and I just like them organically, so it's not like I go buy shoes just to be on stage. But, I just like them period. That's something memorable. So, for me, my trademarks would be shoes, and glasses, and my big hair. I think those are the things that, probably, people remember when they see me. And so, you have to think about that yourself when you go on stage. What can you leave as an appearance, does a bit of an impression to the audience. And think about Madeleine Albright, and how she always had a brooch that was a symbol of something. That's what you remembered her by. And if you look at any of the other... If you observe other celebrities, or other people who have a distinct look about them, I think of Barbara Corcoran and her short shock of white blonde hair. That's her trademark.
18:00 Betty Liu: So not everyone is gonna have such distinct or shocking things about their appearance, but just something that's gonna make you more memorable. And it could be as simple as wearing a bright color. I always think jewel tones look really good on stage because it makes you pop in what's most likely to be a dark, either a black or a blue lit stage more often than not. So if you wear something that's in the reds or in the greens, for instance, that will make you pop a lot more than other colors. And I try to stay away a little bit from patterns. I feel like patterns are, just as they are on television, they're a little bit more distracting, so I stay away from that. And then, one of the things that you shouldn't do don't talk down to your audience. And I've seen people who've done that and it doesn't go well. Remember that you're there to not only help people learn something new, but that they're also giving your time and so you wanna also make that connection by complimenting them. And I always find that helpful in the beginning of any presentation to say to the audience, "It's such an honor to be here with you. This is an audience that likely doesn't need much more education on this topic, but I hope to add more value to you on it." And I just give them some credit for being there because everybody in that audience likely already knows a little bit of the topic that you're gonna talk about or they know about other topics that you might not know about.
19:38 Betty Liu: So I always make sure that you really compliment the audience and get them on your side right away, be able to win that room right away. And this is a very big don't, and I think there's a lot of people who do go on stage and flout this rule, which is don't overstay your welcome. So if you're there to give a speech for 30 minutes, then stay to your 30 minutes. Again, I've seen a lot of times where that doesn't happen. And trust me, that doesn't sit well with the audience, it doesn't sit well with the organizers. You wanna make sure that you're on time and that you stay to your time. And you can make sure you do that by timing out your speech. Practice your speech a few times before you go on stage. And also, make sure in your speech that you have cutoff points, like that there's points in your speech where you can exit if you need to. And I do that, too. On television, for instance, we have to always... There's oftentimes where we have to cut out in the middle of something and you have to figure out a way to do that graciously. The same thing on the public stage, find some exit points so that... Maybe for the first 10 minutes, or for the first 20 minutes, let's say, of a 45-minute speech, you got one thought completed and then you have another 20 minutes, and then another five... I'm just saying, just section it off so that you know that if you're running over, that there could be a time where you can gracefully exit your speech.
21:19 Betty Liu: And we can talk about that a little bit later. So now on to slide five, I wanna get to watching for these bad habits. And if you just excuse me for one minute, I'm just gonna take a drink of water. Okay. So these are some of the bad habits that we just naturally, whether we're nervous or we don't give these presentations as often. These are just ticks that people have that you wanna just watch out for when you do get on to the public stage. One of that is looking down at your notes too much. I mean, that seems to be an obvious one, right? And you'd be surprised at how many people do go on television and they're still reading from their notes, and you'd be not surprised how many times they get asked back to be on television. So you don't wanna look at your notes because you also don't look like you're the expert, right? If you're looking at your notes all the time, you just look hesitant. You don't look confident. So it's not that you have to memorize everything, but you just wanna make sure that you have bullet points that you can refer to. But if you're looking or you're reading, as I did one time, if you're reading your script too much, it just doesn't come across very well. And the second one is, it's a small thing but it is just absolutely so important. And maybe this comes from my TV training, 'cause you could be having the worst day in the world.
22:47 Betty Liu: Your cat pooped on the carpet, your kids are screaming, and everything else... Your car broke down. Everything wrong could have happened. When you get on stage, you have to be like Miss Sunshine smiling. So I have to do that on TV and I also think that you should do that obviously on stage as well. Be happy, be energetic. People feed off of that. You'd be surprised at how much they feed off of that. So when you go on stage, you wanna be like sunshine. Like this big smile, happy. "I'm so happy to be here. I'm so grateful to be here with you." That just sets the tone so much for your speech, and it sets the tone so much for your audience. And in terms of your speech, this is something that I also have to get through as well, but you definitely wanna make sure that you're speaking with authority. You don't wanna say words like, "Sorry, but," or you don't wanna be like, "So," or "Like," or as I just said. You know what I mean?
24:03 Betty Liu: These are things that you've just picked up growing up. I grew up in the era of "like" a lot, I've never even lived in California, I'm not a Valley girl by any means, I grew up in Philadelphia, so I'm a Phillie girl, but "like" was something that we said all the time, and I've had such a long journey of trying to get that out of my vocabulary, so I do find that I use some of these crutches, and you know what, don't kill yourself if you use them too, just try not to use them as much as you can. You just wanna make sure that, the bottom line is that you wanna make sure that you sound authoritative, and you don't wanna sound hesitant, and you don't wanna rely on certain speech patterns to get points across.
24:51 Betty Liu: You also want to... When it comes to the Q&A, is to make sure, because the Q&A is usually about five or 10 minutes, make sure you don't overstay your welcome either with the Q&A and answer questions for a really long time. You wanna try to squeeze in as many questions as possible during the Q&A portion of the program. And part of that is because a lot of people will have questions for you, and a lot of them wanted get them in. But, if you take a long time answering questions, then only one or two people might be able to ask something and they'll leave frustrated after that. You don't want people to feel like that they left feeling as if there was not enough audience interaction. You want at least like a good five or six questions from the audience, and it really feels like then that was a complete session, and that the audience got involved, and questions that maybe the speech didn't cover they got answered, or let's say the moderating panel, questions that the moderators didn't ask or was afraid to ask the audience.
25:50 Betty Liu: Usually I find, by the way, the audience asks great questions, and like I said, I'll be very happy to hear the questions from you guys. Because, sometimes what happens is that in speeches you won't get to the actual, you may not get to some of the hard parts that you wanna hear, or lets say the moderator might be too nice, and not asking the really direct questions, I find that the audience never has a problem with that, they love asking the hard questions, and putting the guest on the spot. So I love that.
26:23 Betty Liu: Now, if you're giving a speech and it's very technical, you wanna make sure that you use acronyms without... Not to use acronyms without explaining them, even if they seem very obvious to people. You'd be surprised that a lot of people don't know a lot of things and it's okay. But people will pretend that they do know it, so acronyms is a very easy way to make sure everyone understands what you're saying, they all understand, that they're all with you in the room, just explain very technical terms, or explain acronyms and things like that. And by they way, these are all very small... Some of these are very small bad habits, they're easily correctable, but I wanted to make sure I added everything big and small into this presentation, because they all add up to, what would be a great, great, speech by you.
27:16 Betty Liu: Talking too quickly because you're nervous, or swallowing your words, that's another thing that you have to watch out for. I think that people don't use pauses enough in many ways when they speak. So people race through their speech, and again that will cause them to swallow their words, or mumble. I think that enunciating words, and taking those pauses, and not being afraid of the silence in the room, is very, very important. So you wanna just have a cadence. Also, if you go through your presentation at one speed, it can become a very boring conversation no matter how interesting the topic is. There are certain things you wanna emphasize, and you wanna take your time on certain things, and you wanna like speed up at others. You wanna vary that pace a little bit in order to keep that audience really engaged.
28:11 Betty Liu: And the final thing I would say, in terms of bad habits is, I think all of us have a tendency, including myself, to want to project, not just confidence, but that you know what's going on, and that you're smart, right? So I think that's perfectly okay when you're asked questions, especially when you're asked questions during the Q&A portion, to basically say that you don't know, it's okay to say "I don't know" and then answer it in the best way that you can. You'll still look confident, but you'll also be completely honest with the audience that something that they may ask you, you don't know. So I just think that our human tendency is that we wanna look our best in front of people, we wanna be able to answer every question, we wanna be as smart as we can, and sometimes saying "I don't know" makes people afraid that they look like they're not as smart as they should be, or that they're not as much of an expert in this topic as they should be, and it's actually not true. I think when you say, "I don't know, but I think this, this and that of it" that's very affective, and it just lets the audience know that you're being completely honest and frank with them.
29:21 Betty Liu: So let's move on to slide number six which is talking about what happens... The three different scenarios that I outlined. So this one will be the one giving a speech, the next one will be about moderating, the third will be about when you're a guest on a panel. So these are the three rules of thumb, that you should remember when you're giving a speech. Number one, absolutely important is to story tell, story tell, story tell. Story telling is absolutely the most important thing to get people engaged. And I don't care if you're on stage, if you're selling a product, if you're on television, or any other number of things that you're doing, you wanna story tell. And story telling is not just story telling your own life.
30:10 Betty Liu: Obviously, it's telling stories around other topics, whether it's about a product that you're talking about or whatever. But story telling is just absolutely, absolutely important. You also wanna get away from the podium. So, there's a picture of me there at Digiday. I did this conference for them about a couple of months ago in Miami, great conference, lots of energy. I was there with, the guy with me is the editor in chief of Digiday, and I thought they did a great job. They made sure that there were no podiums around. They had a theme song for me going in that I didn't get to pick, but they picked it for me anyway reflecting what they thought was my personality. I think it was something like Lady Gaga, which was fine with me. Hey, it's not Rocky. I'm from Philly. That's fine. But, at any case, I think they did a great job where they had no podium, you just stood there, and you were just wide open to the audience.
31:10 Betty Liu: And the editor in chief and I just walked around, and we just talked. And he asked me about the book, he asked me about leaders that I've interviewed, and things like that. But, I think getting away from the podium, and walking around, and being able to then look people in the eye in audience is really, really important. And what you'll find is that you might develop a habit, there's like two or three people in the audience, for some reason, who catch your gaze. I don't know why. It's not like they're the most beautiful people in the audience. But, there's two or three people always in the audience, and they don't have to always be in the front. They could be in the middle. They're never in the back 'cause you can't see them. But they're somewhere from the middle of the front who catch your gaze. And, I think it's okay to engage with those people, just to go back to them and look at them. But it's sort of an engagement thing, it's like a connection thing. So, I think you being able to walk around the stage lets you engage with more people and let's you make more eye contact with more people in the audience.
32:10 Betty Liu: And you wanna also, very importantly when you're giving a speech, is you wanna own the room. You wanna get in there with full confidence, big smile, connect with the audience, a strong firm voice with great content and you'll own the room. And I think that takes elements of all the other things I mentioned before whether it's having a memorable appearance, having great stories, getting rid of some bad habit. That will help you own the room. So, you wanna be able to own that room so that when you leave people are like, "Wow. She really filled up that room. She made her presence known." That's what you want when you're giving a speech.
32:55 Betty Liu: Now, there's a little bit of a difference when you're moderating a panel. All right, so when you're moderating a panel, there's also three rules of thumb that you have to remember. So number one is, again, that whole preparation prevents poor performance. You have to do your research on the panelists, the topic, and the guests. And I often find that you don't really get that so much from the pre-call. I'm sure a lot of you've done panels or you've moderated panels, there's always that pre-call and you guys sit there for half an hour, and everyone goes through the logistics, and introduces each other. And I find them minimally useful. I think that they're a necessary part in a way of the panel because you just want people to be on the same page, but they're minimally useful to me as a moderator. As a moderator, what I do is I do research on the panelists myself. I look for the latest news around them or the latest news around topics they can speak about, I read their bios, I listen to recent interviews that they've done. I don't do, and look, we all have limited time, right? So, sometimes I'm not able to do hours and hours of research, but even just an hour of research or even half an hour can yield a lot because the more prepared you are, just the more you're gonna be able to banter with your panelists.
34:20 Betty Liu: You also want to make sure that when you're doing this is that you find tension points. Too many panels happen where there's just not enough back and fourth. Like, I wanna say basically they're too nice, right? The moderators are too nice. They pay too much deference to the panelists. And those conversations are never that great and they never leave a great impression on the audience. You wanna find some tension points. You don't wanna be combative. You always have to draw that line between being challenging but also being polite at the same time, and respectful. And sometimes you just say, if there's a particular touchy topic, you might just go into it and say, "You're not gonna like this but, X, X, X is happening. Tell us about this." or you might say... There's just certain ways that you can get into something that audience obviously wants to know, but that you are... And it's on you to ask these hard questions and you have to find a way to do that. So, that's something that you wanna be able to find those tension points, 'cause generally speaking, those are likely the things, the questions the audience wants you to ask. And if you don't ask them, then the audience feels like you've missed this opportunity.
35:45 Betty Liu: And you also wanna engage the audience. I really like it when I, some of the best panels I've done are panels where the audience themselves started to ask questions throughout. They didn't wait until the alloted last 10 minutes or last 15 minutes of the session they just started to ask questions throughout. I think that's, that's when I know the audience is really engaged and they feel comfortable and they feel free to just chime in. There was one I believe it was an Ellevate event that we did with Susan Line a couple years ago. I wanna say Sally Crawcheck was there as well, but she may not have been on the panel. But Susan was there and it was a group of women at this event maybe some of you were there I'm not sure, but in any case right off the bat we had women chime in it was partly based on the book Work Smarts but also on Susan and her career and talking about more women in the tech world and right away lots of women started to chime in with questions and their own stories and experiences. And it was great, you could tell it was great because I'm still talking about it.
37:00 Betty Liu: It was one of the better panels that I've moderated and that I've been apart of where I feel like the audience is just with you. And so being with an engaging audience early on I think is really, really important. Now this last point about when you're a guest on a panel so some of you I'm sure are experts and you get asked to be on a panel so you wanna kind of figure out how you make sure you leave the best impression when you're being asked all these questions. So there's three things that I say that, by the way they work on a live panel they also work if you would get asked to be on television as well or on radio. So keep your answers short but not too short. The worst guest that I've have on television are the people who give me three or four word answers oh my God, I can't tell you how many people who've done that, luckily it's not a huge amount. They never get asked on the show again. Right? They never even get asked on the network again. You never want people who will say, who'd give you one word answers, it's awful. I'm sure all of you know better not to do that but trust me there are people out there who do that which is so bizarre to me.
38:07 Betty Liu: So keep your answers short but not too short, explain enough but don't go into lots of tangents. I think sometimes it's okay to say, when someone asks you a question, to say "Well, there's three things to it number one, number two, number three." But get through your one two and three pretty quickly. The worst guests are the ones who say, "Well there's three parts to that... " and then they spend 90 seconds on part one and you have to cut them off on part two and three, so that's the worst. So just make sure you very cognizant of that. Be funny, engaging, warm, have some witty comment you've gotta have good come backs and things like that. You just wanna leave your audience feeling like not only are you an expert, but you're an expert with a personality too. You wanna make sure you're very... That you speak to the audience while you are giving your answer.
39:02 Betty Liu: And you also wanna speak with substance. So just like in television as on a live panel the best guests are the ones who give great answers, they're funny, they're engaging but they also have something to say, they're not hedging. And you'd be surprised at how hard it is sometimes when you're being asked the questions to really answer it directly, because you may not wanna say the wrong thing or maybe you don't know the answer as well. And you start to dance around it, you feel like you're dancing around it, well the audience knows you're dancing around it you wanna be as direct as possible as you can and you also wanna be able to come in with, be prepared. Come in with statistics, for instance, if you're gonna be on a panel about the US economy, if you're gonna be on a panel on tech valuations or marketing or on sales or something. Come in with some specific numbers or specific stories that you think will help you illustrate. I always think it's helpful to walk into any interview, if you're gonna be a guest.
40:00 Betty Liu: Whether it's a panel or television to have three things that you wanna make sure that you say that you get your point across. And it could be a data point. It could be a story. It could be whatever it is. Just make sure you have that in your tool box. And finally before I wrap this up I just wanna mention a couple of other things that are on the periphery but you always wanna make sure that you remember when you're asked to go on the public stage is you wanna help the organizers by promoting all of this on social media. Social media is, it's a necessary evil sometimes and I call it an evil because you have to be on it all the time, it's probably why we're working 31 hours a day now. You wanna help promote the event on social media. You wanna take photos while you're at the event, you wanna tweet them out on your Facebook, on your LinkedIn, you wanna be able to help.
40:54 Betty Liu: The more you help the organizers, the more they're likely to ask you to come back and the more memorable you're gonna be. So make sure you're very active on it. If you've written a book or you have something else that is a part of your brand then make sure you ask the organizers about selling the book or buying a bulk copy or bulk copies so that you can sign those books for them. I always make that request every time I'm asked to speak. Nowadays for me it's more about the podcast so as you see there on the slide I'm saying to you to please go on my website to listen to my podcasts. Oh, it's fun, it's got some great traction, we've got some great guests on there who themselves are you know, I put them on the spot right, I'm the interviewer there and I'm getting the stories out of them. We've had people like Andrea Jung, Bea Schwartzman, and Susan Line actually just did one as well. Whenever you have the opportunity to tell somebody about your new project whether it's on the stage or elsewhere you know do so.
42:00 Betty Liu: That's my plug for the podcast, go to betty-liu.com and then if you want to get more speaking engagements, go to a speaker's bureau, make sure you let people know what your expertise is. I think what's very important is to really figure out what your brand is and what you can speak to. Developing your brand is a very big thing nowadays particularly with social media. So you wanna be able to go there and be like, "She's the person who does this. She can speak to that. She can speak to global trade or whatnot." You wanna develop this brand so that they'll make it really easy for people in speaker's bureaus to fit you in to lots of invitations that they're getting. And then you wanna write thank yous, be respectful to the organizers, and you also wanna make sure you gather emails and contacts both after your discussion to be able to connect with your audience even after that and do so, be open to getting emails and business cards and that sort of thing.
43:04 Betty Liu: You never know what's gonna happen from that and I'm sure once you give great speech you're gonna be asked to give even more speeches after that. I can't tell you how many speeches I've made where that's led to two or three other speaking engagement. So that just spiraled and then suddenly before you know it you're like a budding Tony Robinson on a speaking circuit. And then the last slide, is says me saying thank you and that's the book "Work Smart". And I wanna thank you guys for spending the last 45 minutes with me listening to this. I hope it was useful to you. I hope it was what you expected but I'm happy to answer any questions that you have in or outside of this to help you master the public stage. Johanna, if you wanna come back online and let me know if there've been any questions, I'd love to answer some.
43:58 Johanna: Absolutely, Betty. Thank you so much for all that really great advice. As a reminder, please comment any questions you have for Betty to the tap function on the bottom left hand side of your platform, and I'll be happy to queue them up. We have a few already so I'll go ahead and get started. This first question reads, "Do you have any advice when you're feeling extra nervous about a presentation on stage?"
44:23 Betty Liu: To me, the best antidote to nervousness... And by the way, a little nervousness is okay. Like, I've been doing Bloomberg TV for almost 10 years and I still get nervous before I go on on air. I think a little nervousness is actually a good thing because it keeps you on your toes and it makes you that much more hyper aware of things so I think it's good. But when you're too nervous and you're shaking and your voice is shaking and you can't hold your papers, well, like that's not good. So the best thing for me and no, it's not looking at people and saying what would you look like in your underwear? No, that's not the practice that I use. The biggest thing for me is number one, practice, practice, practice. You're going to have, if you're new to speaking, you're just gonna have to, baptism by fire. You have to practice and like your first few may not be great but you just keep going at it. And number two, make sure you are just absolutely prepared, like go through your speech or your talk dozens of times. Almost to the point that you can just memorize it or you know it by heart.
45:40 Betty Liu: I think the preparation part will be that much more important. For instance, I think about it sometimes if I interview really, really big people, like big names that I know, like a ton of people are gonna be watching. The first time I interviewed Warren Buffet, I was so nervous, like hugely nervous. I must have gone to the bathroom like a dozen times that day. So it was like, I was super, super nervous and the only antidote I had to that was, I was so prepared. Like, I was preparing for a month beforehand and I knew whatever answer he gave I would know exactly what he was saying. I would be able to have a good comeback, a good follow-up question. So, even though I was super nervous and I was shaking, to be prepared like that gave me that little bit of confidence. And you just keep practicing on that. I know there's no secret. There's no secret like potion you can drink to take care of that. It's more like, the more you do it, the less nervous you're gonna get and the more prepared you are, the more you know that you're not going to, for lack of a better word, screw up so to speak.
46:47 Johanna: Awesome, Betty. Thank you. Our next question comes from a listener named Eden. She calls herself the successful psychic listening in from Toronto, Canada. And her question reads, "Do you suggest taking an improv class and speaking class before going on stage?"
47:05 Betty Liu: I've never taken those classes so I can't recommend... I can't say whether they're good or not 'cause I've never taken those classes and even though I switched over to television, the most that I did was I went to a television coach who would help me learn how to read more naturally for television. So I've never done those classes but I think, yeah, anything that will help you feel like you have better control of your speech, better control of your mannerisms, anything that makes you more confident to speak in front of people so I think I'm sure improv classes you have to do these on skits or whatever in front of a group of four or five people, or however many. So I think like that's practice right there. So I think anything that will give you a little bit of training is going to be hugely, hugely helpful.
48:04 Betty Liu: So, I would totally recommend something like that. But I also think practicing it in front of your friends, or having even just one person where you practice in front of, that will be helpful too. So, a lot of it is just that you gotta... You have to just keep doing it. I don't know as much about speech classes and things like that, but again anything that makes you feel like you have better control of your voice, of your delivery, that's gonna be hugely helpful to you. It's only additive. There's no downside. I go into everything thinking what's the down side, right? So, there really is no downside to doing something like that at all. There is only upside.
48:46 Johanna: Great. A couple more questions have just rolled in. So, this next one reads, "Great presentation Betty, thank you for the tips. I am an entrepreneur. When you're pitching, should you open with a joke? Sometimes I feel as if I would lose credibility."
49:02 Betty Liu: So pitching is a little bit different. So, this is all about being on stage. You're the expert, and you're giving a speech. Pitching a deck to a group of investors, I think agreed, you don't wanna be opening up with a joke. So, that's a whole different... That's a whole different lesson right there. And I come from this thing that I've not pitched a deck to a group of VCs ever. However, I've pitched stories, I've been in meetings where I'm pitching a project and that sort of thing. You don't wanna be... You may not wanna open with a joke, but you still wanna take some of the elements that I talked about which is to be engaging, to be warm, to be confident. And you do that by smiling. You still wanna do the thing where I tell you about your appearance, right? You still wanna leave them with something memorable, so you wanna go in there looking fabulous, right? And you wanna make sure you got your hair... You wanna go in there and you wanna be your most confident self.
50:12 Betty Liu: And it's okay to be funny, if... But you have to read the room too. If it's a group of very serious minded people, then that probably might not go over as well. But if it's people who you feel like are a little bit more natural, then you might be able to be a little bit more... So to speak. But as long as you project that confidence. And I think that's one of the important things, actually when you're pitching in a closed room to... Whether it's a group of investors or whatnot, or your colleagues or anything like that. It's so important to read the room. It's why I say you have to own the room when you're on stage, but you have to also read the room as well. And you have to just see like, "Who are these kinds of people? What would they really be receptive to?" And you have to be very... One presentation is not gonna work for another group of people. So you have to be really, really, really conscious of reading the room, of knowing who's in the room, and what kind of people they are, so that you know you can be a certain way. I mean, that would be my... But I think pitching, pitching a deck that's a very different set of... I guess, set of circumstances. I mean we could talk about that a little bit more offline. But this is more about like presenting on stage.
51:30 Johanna: Great. Thanks so much Betty. One more question before we wrap up the jam session. This one reads, "What documentation or package should you have ready to send to potential speaking engagements? Or do you have any recommendations about what you may have to send to an event that you want to speak at?"
51:47 Betty Liu: So, I think it's very important to have... Obviously your bio, right? Any recent articles that you have either written or has been written about you. That would be very... Go on LinkedIn now. They allow you to write blogs, to keep a blog, to write posts to LinkedIn. So, if you wanna pitch yourself to a speaking bureau, or an event to be a speaker, I think you have to have some background there of having written on this topic, being written about. I think it also helps for you to make sure if you've done other interviews, or you've done other types of speaking engagements, to make sure you have a video for that. Whether it's just a link, or audio, or something, so that you can put it on your bio. Or you can put it on... If you have a website, put it on your website. So I think what these speakers' bureaus are looking for is just, they're looking for a shorthand. They just wanna know, "Okay, if you're gonna pitch to me, or even an event, right?" They wanna know like, "Where do you fit? You might be the greatest speaker, but or where do you fit?" So, they wanna kind of... They wanna know what's your brand, what you talk about. So I think you can... Instead of presenting your... So, I think you do have to have your bio and your background materials.
53:10 Betty Liu: But I think when you pitch to a bureau, or an event you wanna be able to find a way... Two sentences, boiled down of what you can speak to, and why that's gonna fit them. So, that's very important. You could be the greatest speaker in the world, but if your topic or your expertise doesn't fit with them, then they're not going to... They're not... There's no point, they wouldn't wanna... They wouldn't be able to provide you that kind of space. So, I think it's just... It's really, really important to have A, the materials gathered already. A headshot is also very helpful too. They wanna know what you look like, so a headshot, your bio, articles you've written. And also any links to other things that you've done. Those are all important. And then how do you fit in with the event. So, just keep those things in mind. And don't be afraid like to just... You can cold call these people at events or speakers bureaus, but try to find in your own network, and I'm sure with Ellevate, you've got this huge network already at your fingertips.
54:10 Betty Liu: Try to find a way into these events that's through another person, versus just pitching to the event coordinator or what not. Usually, they're not... They may not be the person who's making the final decision, so try to find a way in, an introduction from somewhere else, to be able to get that invite, or get that invitation into the event. You'd be surprised how many events are looking for speakers, looking for moderators. It's just that their only scope is very limited, as well. So, if you can present yourself, and if you can come in from a credible source, that will go a long way towards making a match.
54:53 Johanna: Great. Betty, thank you so much for all of the really great advice. I've actually just gone ahead and put the slide back up with your contact info, your website. Thank you everybody for tuning in, and listening, and for your awesome questions. If you still have any questions that you didn't get to ask Betty, or if we didn't get to your question, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect to us through our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. This Jam Session has been recorded and will be available to view on our website. Thanks everybody, have a great day. Thank you so much, Betty.
55:28 Betty Liu: Okay, thank you guys. Thank you.
55:30 Johanna: Bye-bye.
55:31 Betty Liu: Okay, bye.
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