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Build Your Personal Brand Through Speaking - Sylvie di Giusto

succeed through speaking tom bailey Dec 16, 2022

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Sylvie di Giusto.

Keynote Speaker Sylvie di Giusto helps individuals and organizations explore how people make up their minds very quickly about them or their company, and either open the door for them or slam it shut. Sylvie takes audiences around the world on an interactive and entertaining journey of self-discovery that reveals how the world sees them, their brands and organizations and ultimately, how they see themselves. With her unique and thought-provoking presentations, she helps audience members to lead better, sell faster, and persuade instantly. She empowers them to master their first impressions and lasting impressions in any professional or business environment and during customer or employee interactions. Sylvie is the author of “The Image of Leadership” and “Fair Advantage” as well as the mind and producer behind dozens of corporate or individual online courses, including her own innovative “How You Impress” mobile learning lab.

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Tom Bailey  00:07

Hello and welcome to succeed through speaking the place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's speaker stories episode, I'll be getting to know Sylvie Di Giusto who is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer, author of the image of leadership and fair advantage, and founder of the how you impress mobile learning lab. So Sylvie, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Sylvie Di Giusto  00:46

Thank you very much, Tom, I'm so excited to finally deal with you.

Tom Bailey  00:49

I'm so glad that you're here and just out of interest whereabouts in the world are you right now.

Sylvie Di Giusto  00:54

And so you find me in a sunny Tampa, Florida, which means that behind the wall, there is the ocean, by the way. And I recently exchanged cold winters in New York City where I had the pleasure to live for 10 years to enjoy the summers.

Tom Bailey  01:12

Amazingly, so lucky. It's very cold here in the UK right now. So I'm very jealous. And well, thank you for sharing that. And I also know that you work with audiences all over the world, helping them master their first impressions, and also to understand how their brand is perceived. Now, this podcast today is all about public speaking. So I guess my first question for you today is, how important is public speaking for individuals when it comes to personal branding?

Sylvie Di Giusto  01:41

Oh, absolutely important. You when you go out there and represent yourself as a professional in any environment, corporate or small business owner, people perceive you instantly, based on your appearance, how you look, based on your behavior, how you interact. And based on your communication skills, how you communicate with others. That includes speaking, public speaking, and includes how you applied your voice, what works choices that you make your language pattern, for example, but also to be how you speak and and what messages you wants to imprint on others. Not to forget to be honest, think about public speaking is all about speaking. Part of communication is actually listening. So even as a public speaker, you need to listen to your clients to your audiences. You need to read the room, and depending on that, just your public speech accordingly.

Tom Bailey  02:48

Great. Yeah. Cuz I guess if you're delivering an amazing presentation, but it's not relating to the audience, you kind of you're in the wrong room, basically. Yeah, I understand that. And what about for yourself then? So how important has public speaking been for you in your career to date?

Sylvie Di Giusto  03:06

Well, it has actually been longer relevant than you might think, because, or nearly 20 years, I was on the other side of public speaking. I mean, I worked for corporations around the growth in human resources to develop leadership, development, and I hired speakers for my audiences I was responsible for. And nowadays, this gives me the advantage that I can see things from two perspectives. perspective of being the client, or the perspective of being the speaker. So in the speaking business itself, I am since 12 years, two years, I did all the things wrong that any public speaker can do wrong.

Tom Bailey  03:56

I'm gonna ask you about that in just a minute.

Sylvie Di Giusto  03:59

And then it took me a while to adjust my message and adjust my prayer and and adjust my content and my delivery of my positioning. And today, I'm very lucky and very privileged with the amazing clients and audiences I serve.

Tom Bailey  04:15

I love that and, and I guess, for new speakers and aspiring speakers listening, there will be a messy beginning, you know, you're not going to get it perfect first time and that's okay. But let's go back to the beginning of your journey as a speaker, what are kind of some of the big lessons that you learned quite quickly?

Sylvie Di Giusto  04:34

But quickly, I learned you cannot serve everybody. Yes, no, at the very beginning, when clients or potential leads called me and said, Do you speak about body language as sugar or do you speak about communication? Sure. You speak about leadership? Sure. As long as you give me a check. Right. So that model didn't work out. What you want to achieve is to be known for a specific subject matter expertise. Meaning, if you Tom tomorrow, wake up. And for whatever reason you are short in breath, your heart is racing, you start sweating, and you obviously know that something is wrong with you and quite possibly with your heart. Would you like to see a heart expert, or general doctor?

Tom Bailey  05:30

Okay, hot expert, please. Yeah, thank you.

Sylvie Di Giusto  05:34

Guys, two stages, or potential audiences or clients wants to perceive us as the hard expert. solve their specific problem. And in order to do that, you need to find out what that specific problem is. Yeah. And I started very wide with I'm a leadership speaker. And then I became a communication speaker. Then I became another speaker, blah, blah, blah. And now I'm down to the smallest element, which is first impressions. And that allows me to now put an umbrella over it and apply all my knowledge about first impressions in the amount of emotional intelligence at work. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  06:16

love that. You found that real tight nation and like you said, you know, you can become in demand. And I think one thing I did pick up on all of that is solving a particular problem, or a particular client or audience member. That part's really important, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah, it

Sylvie Di Giusto  06:32

  1. Absolutely. And something else, especially for the beginning, is I find, as a speaker, to not hand out the medicine that you wouldn't teach yourself. Yeah. Meaning if you speak about my dataset, you better work on your own mindset. If you're trying to speak about physical health, I want to see that you apply those concepts yourself, too. Right. And I think that is also a mistake that many making the beginning that they are attracted to a topic, because they suffer themselves and think, helping others to go through that suffering phase. They can help the audiences but you must work on yourself. First, you must take the medicine that you plan to hand out.

Tom Bailey  07:30

Yeah. Yeah, completely understand that that all makes a lot of sense. And one thing that you did say right at the beginning was that, you know, as long as they were giving you the check, you'd speak on the topic. And what before that, was there a phase of having to speak for free as well? Did you have to go through that phase?

Sylvie Di Giusto  07:47

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think, you know, to speak, because we always have this hand and egg problem. No, we need to speak a demo video. Yeah, but when I get to speak a demo video, if nobody hires me to speech, what are those? We know that referral business is important for us, but who would refer me if they never see me speak? Yeah. So especially at the beginning, I never spoke for free. But I spoke without a check or money being involved? Yes. Okay, make some change to the feed and I require nowadays, I asked for something that is more valuable to me than actually the money meaning that you record my speech and provide me with the video. When you get this demonios of at least one audience members. Will you recommend maybe in your organization to at least three contexts when you bring in media or press? So there are so many things that are valuable to us, especially at the beginning of your speaking career that are way more valuable than a check or money involved? And that is in by Yes, I spoke for free but meaning there was something else exchanged the money. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  09:15

perfect. Makes sense. And a lot of people listening to the podcast, they want to speak but they have fears of public speaking. Do you resonate with that? Did you ever have a fear of public speaking are we always quite confident?

Sylvie Di Giusto  09:30

I think confidence is a key factor. In if that is not your happiest place on earth. Then I am not sure how happy you will return or walk on to every stage. There are fears involved. So you will feel that over the years. For example, the fear of audience sizes kicks in Instead, I thought, today, I have zero problem in speaking in front of an audience of 1000 people. But to be in a small room at a retreat with four or five executives, it's very more uncomfortable, right? So you might explore, not fears, but things that make you more confident or less confident, more comfortable, or less comfortable. But here's the thing, the comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be anyway. Yes, very grow. So, if you fear public speaking, I question if public speaking is your happiest place to be? Yeah, but of course, we all have our comfort zones and no comfort zones?

Tom Bailey  10:46

Yeah, yeah, I guess so. And if you are somebody that has a fear of public speaking, but would love to get better at public speaking, you know, you do need to stretch that comfort zone. By doing it, I think I made the mistake in my early days of reading every single book on public speaking, but still not actually public speaking. So therefore, it couldn't stretch that comfort zone.

Sylvie Di Giusto  11:06

I mean, and you know, that there are ways to increase that confidence, there are trainers and coaches that can help you. There are organizations like Toastmasters that can help you. There are associations for speakers, like the National Association of speakers here in the United States in the UK is the professional association for UK and Ireland. So there are ways that get you more out and about it, to introduce you to the industry, and introduce you to having opportunities where you can showcase your public speaking skills.

Tom Bailey  11:46

Yeah, perfect. So so get out there, you know, practice, get used to feeling uncomfortable, and, and then keep going from there. And obviously, the big takeaway for me is to really make sure you've got that niche, that thing where you can solve a problem, you can add some real value to the audience. And quite a, I think it's still topical question. So we've just been through a pandemic, which pretty much wiped out the in person speaking industry. And what, what was your take on that? How did you transition? And what have you learned through going through that journey?

Sylvie Di Giusto  12:21

Going sort of its journey, I have learned that on the one hand, Phil, Virtus finally finally learned that we don't need to interact in person in certain cases, and that there are methods, tools that help us to do that better. But on the other hand, has also learned that there is a limit, there is a limit to this, right? That limit requires that now our in person events are up and again and running. And everybody's so excited to be in person again. And I'm also excited to go back and do some things more effectivel 


on the computer. Yes.

Sylvie Di Giusto  13:07

Admit that presenting virtually was a challenge for me, because I'm a keynote, I'm not the typical trainer on a webinar that has interaction. I'm a keynote. So as a keynote, you have nothing but a black hole in front of you a camera. Yeah. Don't even see your audience. You don't hear that cough. You don't hear a chair moving around, you hear nothing. You're just by yourself. And that was very uncomfortable in the beginning. But obviously, there was no other choice than getting used to it.

Tom Bailey  13:41

Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Thanks for that. And then I guess, do you think that it's you mentioned that, you know, the world's finally caught up to the fact that we don't have to have everything in person? So are we going to go back to all these big, you know, events where people travel all over the world to go to these conferences? Or are we going to be in a hybrid space? Where do you think it's going to go next?

Sylvie Di Giusto  14:03

I think that speakers at least in the United States, a thought that hybrid will be a huge model in the future. So that conferences offer the audience's both outlets, but then our clients and event planners on meaning professionals realize that they are organizing to consequences at the same time. Budget cried and realize it's way more complicated than we all thought and maybe wished it would be so vital my business in in person is fully back and even increased since the pandemic locations where I have to serve both audiences virtual and in person are actually rare and even if they are there we kind of find a middle way to make it easier we record something beforehand, and then you play it for the audience, or they just have to be life at the same time. But not the entire conference.

Tom Bailey  15:14

Yeah, yeah. Okay, so let's just see, see where this one goes. Because we're not sure how it's really going to play out yet. But exciting times, either way. And I like to ask a question about big mistakes, you know, big kind of where you've tripped up in in your career as a speaker. So have there been any big turning points or mistakes, or we could call them failures or learning lessons that you've had over the years and that you'd like to share?

Sylvie Di Giusto  15:41

Well, the biggest learning lesson already shared with you is I need to niche niche needs to be known for something on the market so that clients find me find me the heart expert, right, rather than have to go through a lot of general doctors. And I really think that that was my biggest mistake that I made. I would encourage you to always keep in mind that you have to respect that stage every single time when you go on a stage and yes, with joy and with excitement, but also with respect, because first and foremost, you are not there because of you. Because of them, your clients, your audiences, easy to work with, on the work that the AD team does for you in the back on other work that all the meeting planners, the hotel stuff, everybody involved does, that you can be on that stage.

Tom Bailey  16:49

Makes makes a lot of sense. And I guess it's it's a really good point of turning the spotlight off you on to the audience actually. And that takes away a lot of that, that fear of judgment, fear of other people's opinions, fear of making mistakes, because it's not about me as the speaker. It's about the audience in what value they're getting out of this presentation. Perfect.

Sylvie Di Giusto  17:10

One is to take that I want you to be aware of, especially if you're going to speak internationally. Very careful since with resident very beginning with your word choices, yes. On where you speak, bring cultural sensitivity with your cultural awareness. Don't use examples that are not applicable for the audience that use Be careful with your wording, especially when it comes to the toughest. You can't just lead one METAFONT word to word into the Admiralty might mean something totally different. Right? So again, respect your audience and criteria for any audience. But if you speak internationally, you need additional preparation. For sure. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  17:59

perfect. Thanks for that. And I got a couple more questions. Before we close. I think the first question for me is really, if anybody's listening who is aspiring to you know, maybe they're, they're an expert, but they're not. They're not a keynote speaker yet. So they're aspiring to stop doing their their job, and they want to become a full time paid. keynote speaker. Have you got any advice for those people in that transition? Don't quit your chalk? Yeah, okay, good.

Sylvie Di Giusto  18:32

Don't don't do that too fast. Until you have a question. The question financial question you will have, the easier it will be for you to get started. Because the alternative is otherwise, we have a tendency to do everything ourselves. Yes, you are having much biased by your own views by your own fields of the industry, by your own views about client that both your own views about your website, your social media. And if you have a concussion that not only allows you to go through food and living costs for the next 12 months, but also allows you to hire a few experts in the beginning that help you define your brand that help you with your stage craft presentation skills on stage, your start will be much better than if you just quit and hope magically tomorrow when somebody call and hire your HR policy.

Tom Bailey  19:39

That's that's a really good point. And I guess you can do both, you know, because ultimately, one speaking gig per month could help you build up that cushion that you require to build a small team and become a keynote speaker. So yeah, great advice. And my last question today is if somebody wants to book you as a speaker or find out more about you, where would they go?

Sylvie Di Giusto  19:59

Hmm, much for asking that while you go on my internet site or on my website or type in my name, which is not the easiest on Google, but the reality is just type in first impressions. And if I don't show up, I have done a very bad job in my search engine optimization, where you don't have internet. Those are the two options

Tom Bailey  20:22

and uptime and to help what are those? I'll also put a link in the show notes so people can just click on that and find out more about you. So Sylvie, thank you so much again for your time today coming along, sharing your story and such great advice with our audience.

Sylvie Di Giusto  20:36

Thank you very much for having me to all those who are listening or watching. I wish you all the best. It is one of the most rewarding professions you can enter. But it's also hard. It's sometimes lonesome. So I'm glad the UI and Tom's network and have first people to connect with and if I can do anything for you always feel free to reach out