Posted by: mrpeatie | February 6, 2009

Speak Up When Marketing Your Personal Brand

5-05_fw_fromthemouthYesterday I attended a wonderful sessions by Jay Berkowitz hosted by the Charleston American Marketing Association. Jay is the CEO of Ten Golden Rules which is an internet marketing agency that offers a wide array of consulting services. Jay’s presentation was titled Ten Free or Low Cost Strategies for Marketing in a Recession. I’m not going to get into the main details of his presentation because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice here, but it was insightful, entertaining, and very helpful to the record crowd in attendance.

I did want to discuss one small aspect of his presentation. The last strategy he focused on was the importance of your own personal brand and the need to develop, promote, and market yourself in today’s highly competitive job market. An important factor in this is your ability to speak in public. 

Jay was a phenomenal speaker. He went through a ton of content in the 1 hour presentation but never talked too fast. He was comfortable and confident in front of the audience, interspersed relevant stories in between his points, and amazingly used very little filler words. Fillers are those crutch words like uh, ah, um, well, you know, and like that most people use when speaking but don’t even realize. Being in Toastmasters for over 5 years now, I’m conditioned to notice when anyone uses even the smallest filler word so I was amazed that I only caught Jay slip in one filler word throughout his entire presentation. This is remarkable. Pay attention next time you listen to someone speak in front of a group or at a meeting. It isn’t uncommon to catch an inexperienced speaker use a half dozen fillers in just one sentence. 

tmlogo_s_cAs I marveled at his public speaking skills, it was satisfying to see that one of the main suggestions he gave during the personal branding section was to join Toastmasters just like he did.  Being able to speak comfortably in public can do nothing but help you, and more importantly, differentiate yourself from others.  Off course your job may not require you to speak in public but there is one aspect of every job where public speaking is unavoidable — the interview. A job interview is nothing more than a series of impromptu questions which is a key area of focus in Toastmasters. We call them table topics. If you get hit with this age old interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” and start off like this…

Well, um, in 5 years I, uh, would like, you know, to position myself to, um, advance my career in, uh, several ways, that um…

…odds are you aren’t going to look nearly as professional or competent as the other candidate who recognized the need to improve his or her public speaking skills early on and used several tips and strategies they learned in an organization like Toastmasters to come up with a much more coherent response. 

A couple of these tips include taking a few moments to gather your thoughts before answering. Many people think you need to immediately start talking after a question and if you don’t any pause is a sign of uncertainty. This isn’t the case. Take anywhere from 5-20 seconds to gather your thoughts before answering. Another quick tip is to slowly repeat the question out loud to buy yourself some time.

The last point Jay made on this subject was to practice. You should have your answer to this and many other popular interview question ready to go before you even get there. I’m sure Jay has given this presentation hundreds of times, but you can tell he practices often and can see the polish glistening from across the room.

Visit the Toastmasters International website to find a club near you.



  1. […] last but certainly not least, build and protect your personal brand online. Christopher Donahue speaks to this point in more […]

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