Kendal's Podcast

Ep. 13 – Speak Like A Leader: Command The Podium and Make An Impact

Hey, this is Kendal, Netmaker coming to you live from the studio, and today we’re gonna be talking about how to speak like a leader, how to command a podium and create massive impact from the stage. Now, there’s a good chance that there is a thought going through your mind right now, and that thought is probably running through your mind saying, I can’t speak like a leader Kendal. I’m not a leader. How can I speak like a leader? How can I use my voice to impact change? Well, I wanna share with you some thoughts, some ideas on how I’ve been able to overcome that. Some of my clients have been able to overcome that and so on. If you could picture me back when I was a kid, I was nicknamed this, this little animal called a mouse, and people would call me a mouse because I was the shyest kid growing up.

I never spoke a lot and people would always ask for my input and I didn’t know what to say ’cause I didn’t know how to communicate back then. I didn’t know how to use my voice. And as I was growing up, I would have a hard time with this. I had a hard time talking to people because growing up I was raised around ceremony. And in ceremony in First Nations culture, everyone is quiet. It’s a lot of respect. And so as I was being raised and I was being brought off the reserve to go to a different school, a primarily non-indigenous school, these kids had a hard time understanding why I was quiet. And as I was growing up and I had a hard time sitting in front of my classroom and the teacher would ask me to raise my hand or they would call upon me.

I had a hard time speaking and using my voice the correct way. When I would speak, it would come from my gut. And when you speak from your gut, you tend to have a lot of butterflies and you tend to stutter more. You tend to stumble over words more and so on. And at that time, I didn’t know how to control even my accent because some of us have different accents when we’re speaking, and it has a hard time for a lot of people to, to receive that because your accent gets in the way. So when this audio recording, I wanna share with you some ideas, some thoughts, some strategies, some tips that will help you to speak like a leader that you were born to speak, like, because I believe that every single one of us has the opportunity, has the potential to use our voice and create massive impact out there.

I remember how terrified I used to get. Every time I would get asked to do a public presentation, whether it be in school, whether it be for a group project, and so on. I remember how terrified I used to be. I remember I used to think, I hope the teacher doesn’t ask me. I hope they don’t ask me. I hope they don’t ask me. And so on. And there’s a good chance that you have actually gone through this yourself. There is a good chance that you have a fear of public speaking. In fact, that’s one of the things that I hear a lot about is people, one of their biggest fears is public speaking. And I understand why I get it. I’ve been through all those phases, but I want to share with you that it can get better, but you have to allow yourself for it to get better.

And it only gets better if you continually throw yourself into situations where you’re asked to speak. There came a time where I just got fed up. I got so tired of being scared of things. I got so tired of being the person that didn’t wanna speak up because I was too terrified about what people thought about me. That’s the key word right there. A lot of the times we’re scared to do things because we’re scared of what other people may think of us. And in order to remove that mindset, that thinking, we have to go back and help ourselves and give ourselves opportunities to thrive in those environments. And in order to thrive in those environments, we have to throw ourselves out there and stumble a few times. That’s how I got into speaking. I would stumble all the time. I had to control my stutter, my, my tempo, my accent, and so on.

I had to learn how to slow down my voice and so on, or pick it up when I needed to create more energy. All these things I had to learn on the fly. I was learning because I was throwing myself out there so many times. In fact, when I got into business, one of the things that required for me was to do a business pitch. Now, there’s a good chance that maybe you watch shows like Dragons Den or Shark Tank. When I would enter these things called business planning competitions, I would have to get required to do these things called doing business pitches. Just like on the shows that you see where they’re pitching their ideas, their business ideas in front of judges on tv, in hopes that they would win some money so that they can grow and expand their businesses. So when I first got into business, I remember my very first business pitch I ever had to do, and it was a very short pitch.

And I remember I, I approached it just like I did in volleyball because I was a volleyball athlete growing up in college. So I remember I was in the back of the stage and I didn’t know what to do. So I would do jumping jacks pushups. I was running on the spot. So by the time I got on the stage, my voice was trembling and I was able to, to use that energy to be more dynamic as a speaker. I remember there was, there was sweat running down my face and so on. My heart was racing. And I was thinking, I was thinking, oh my gosh, I hope I don’t mess up. I hope I don’t mess up. I hope I can get through this. And you know what? I was able to throw myself and get through it. The next time I would have to do a presentation like that, I was more prepared and I knew what to expect.

So I remember the next presentation I had to do like this, the next business pitch. I locked myself in a university classroom late at night. And for consecutive days, I would sit there, stand in front of no one in front of an auditorium. I would load up my presentation just like I did for public presentations in university. And I would sit there and I would focus on how do I get this message out and make people believe in what I’m saying? So over and over I would do my presentation over and over and over again. I rehearsed it, rehearsed it, and then I started to realize something. Why don’t I add this story here to make it more impactful? So I remember showing up to that very next day to the next presentation. I had to do the next business pitch competition. I followed the exact same script that I had practiced late at night.

I inputted the story that I wanted to really create the impact with. And you know what happened? We started to win money from these competitions. Now, how did this happen? Well, I wanna share you one of the main ingredients. In order to speak like a leader, you need to start telling more stories. When you get up on a podium, when you get up on a mic, that resonate with the audience that you’re speaking with, telling more jokes, more funny things that have happened to you, what happened to you that morning as you were getting up and your kids were bugging you or your, your, your, your husband, your wife, what they said to you, and so on. What happened during the traffic and so on. These little stories resonate with the audience and so on. Now, I also wanna share with you that it’s very important when you’re getting up on a stage and you’re, you’re getting asked to speak, that you try to limit it to, to one main story that resonates with the audience that you’re speaking with.

Back in that day in 2011, when I first got asked to do these business pitch competitions, my main story that I would use time and time again was how my best friend Johan helped me to take part in soccer in grade five. How him and his family at when I was 10 years old, paid for my fees, drove me to games and practices. We became best friends. And how this family, two years later as they moved to Saskatoon, gave us a 1986 Ford Crown Victoria. So not only I could continue to play sports, but my family, my sisters, can continue to play after school activities and how this family changed our life for the better. And how I was trying to create this clothing company to do the same thing and help the same kids that were once like me. How can I create a clothing brand that helps thousands of people across this country to give them access, help those underprivileged kids that take part in afterschool activities.

So the use of using this storytelling technique was able to win a $16,000 in cash services and so on to grow my first company, Neechie Gear, to the success journey that we had with it. And during this time, I would al Als. During this time, I would also enter other competitions in the biggest business pitch competition I ever entered was a $20,000 business plan pitch competition in Phoenix, Arizona. And one of the requirements that I was asked to do was to create a business plan. So I wrote the business plan and I had to submit, and based upon that submission, they required every submission to fly down to Phoenix to a business competition with all these different contestants around North America. So I remember flying there, I used all of my credit card points, I redeemed them, and I fly down to Phoenix, Arizona to this conference.

And part of the conference was they were gonna have this business pitch competition, $20,000. So all these different people, 20 some of 20, about 22, 23 of us showed up there. I was the only one from Canada. The rest were American. So upon that conference, we had 30 seconds. Everyone had every one of those judges had looked at our business plan already, and they required every one of us as contestants to do a 30 second business pitch in front of them. And they were gonna narrow based upon that business plan and that 30 second pitch down to five people. So you can imagine the nerves I was feeling. So as everyone was going up to do their business pitch, 30 seconds is all they got. If we would’ve messed up, we would’ve got sent home back to where we were, we were originally from. And for me, I would’ve had to go back to my furthest place, which was Canada.

So because of this storytelling technique telling stories that matter, I told the same story, but I condensed it. You know what happened? We made the top five. The next day we had five minutes to share the story, and I went deeper into the story. Guess what? We made it top three. The last day. We had 15 minutes to share this story to everyone. And upon this, I went deeper into it. I started tell about how the emotional connection, how it made me feel. And as I was telling this emotional connection to the, to the judges, I was talking to them, I was saying how it made me feel as a kid to play this sport. And I want to give that same feeling that children across this country and through this company, to helping underprivileged kids to take part in sports. I want to give ’em that same feeling and give ’em that same boost of confidence so that they can become who they were born to be.

And the judges, they were able to feel that at the same time, you see stories, they create feelings within people. And I was able to use that story to create feelings within the judges. And after that competition, we went home with $20,000 from that competition because of using the platform, trying to do our best to speak like a leader, using stories that matter to the audience, using it through a business pitch. And we were able to win that competition. I remember back in grade 10 when I first went to North Battleford, John Paul Collegiate, the very first school assembly, there happened to be a speaker that came to speak to us. And the speaker was so impactful with their words. And I was sitting in the back of the gym on top of the bleachers. I was the kid that didn’t want to be noticed. I was a very shy kid, just like I talked about.

And every time the speaker would tell a different story or tell a different story this way with this character and so on, my body posture began to relax. And I was so engaged in the storytelling that I was at the edge of my seat just watching, just listening as best as I could. And at the end of his keynote, I was so motivated and so inspired, I made a decision in my mind. I said I was gonna do something like that one day. You see, as shy as I was, as scared as I was to ever speak in front of people, I made a decision I was gonna become a better speaker. I was gonna speak like a leader. I was gonna use my gift. I was gonna do everything I could to use stories the way that that person had impacted me with their story.

Stories have the power to enact change in other people, to influence, to persuade and so on, to keep people engaged, to tell people how to do something without being offensive. Stories have so much power. So when it came time for me in 2010 to do my very first keynote, different from a business pitch, I remember I got asked to do this keynote in this northern community in Saskatchewan. And as I went to this northern community, I remember going there and I had, they had told me that I had about 10 minutes to go and do a presentation. So the whole time I’m getting there, I’m preparing as best as I could. I was writing down my speech on a piece of paper. I remember I folded up that speech, I put it in my jacket, and I show up to this presentation and I look upon the crowd and I’m sitting in the front row and the mc is walking up and down this theater with a staircase that looked like it was put together by the high school janitor.

It was ready to fall apart at any moment. So now I wasn’t even thinking about my presentation. I was thinking about, I hope I don’t trip on those stairs. Oh, I hope the Mc doesn’t fall down those stairs, because any moment it was swaying back and forth, every time the mc would go up and down those stairs, I was so focused on, oh my goodness, I hope no one gets hurt. I hope I don’t trip on those stairs. I hope it’s not me. That trips on the stairs. So finally as the mc is at the podium, they say, Kendal, Netmaker come on up to do your presentation. And everyone’s kind of doing their clap. And I’m walking up the stairs, I’m doing a little jog, trying to be cool, and I am almost at the top of the stairs. And something happened.

I fell, I tripped, and I rolled all the way down the stairs and everyone’s laughing at me. Everyone is in tears laughing at me and me. I’m embarrassed. I am. I could not believe that this happened to me. So I picked myself up. Now my heart’s racing. I feel little beads of sweat coming down my, my face, my heart’s racing, and I’m trembling. Now I can shaking, I can feel it. And I finally get up to the stairs. I go up to the podium and I remember I pull out this little piece of paper from my, my jacket. And as I opened up the piece of paper, the microphone was right in front of it. And all you could hear, as I looked upon the first person in the front row, I froze. And all you heard was the ruffling of the paper on top of the microphone.

And it craved created a wave of echo of ruffling paper across that gymnasium. I froze. I was so embarrassed. I did not know how was ever gonna overcome this. You know, it’s hard for us to throw ourselves out there sometimes to go through these little acts of defeat that tend to hold a lot of us back. What’s even more difficult is to get up, rise above that situation, and keep throwing yourself out there again and again and again. There came a time when I would get asked to speak again and instead of saying, no, I’ll, I’ll pass on this opportunity, I said, I’m gonna come and do this again. And you know what? I got better. I kept trying. I kept growing as a speaker. I kept trying. I kept throwing stuff out there. I tried different stories. I brought in different characters. I brought in different obstacles that I would share to people.

And you know what happened? People started to lean at the edge of their seats and listen to what I was saying. One of the things that I stopped doing was holding a piece of paper and I would speak from the heart again and again and again, nonstop. Nonstop. And people love that authenticity as a speaker. So you as the listener, as the person who’s gonna be using your voice, I want you to think about this. If you need to use a piece of paper, don’t read word by word for word, word for word and so on. I want you to use a cue card and use point, form key points that you wanna get your message across. If you have anything less than 20 minutes that you’re trying to speak about, most of the, the, the things that we’re speaking on is maybe 10 to 20 minutes.

Keep it down to one main idea. Do not be the person that comes on the stage and does work for Word and has all these different lists of the things that they’re trying to talk about. Because you will keep people in their seats and they’ll be thinking about other things except for the presentation that you’re talking about. Keep it down to one main idea. If you have a presentation where it’s 45 minutes to an hour, you wanna have an introduction and a close that brings it all together. In between there, you want to have key one, key two, key three, anything more than three keys, three key ideas that you’re trying to get your point across. It’s tough for people to soak it in. As human beings, we have a hard time remembering anything more than three. That’s just the way we are programmed. So as a keynote speaker, that is exactly what I do.

I have an introduction that’s pretty much the same every time I do it. I have three key ideas that I try to get my point across. I have three key stories that I used to emphasize and use it to embed that message in the back of people’s minds. And then I have a close that brings it all together. That’s it. If you had 20 minutes or less, you have your intro, your outro, and you have one key idea in the middle, and that’s it. That’s everything. You have one key story that embeds it into the back of their minds. As the listeners who are listening to you, another thing I want you to focus on is breathing and how you use your breath on stage. You know, it’s hard for us sometimes because I know I used to have a hard time breathing. I would be so focused on getting this message out that I forget about my breath. And all you would hear would be, would be me speaking as fast as I could like, like this, like nonstop, nonstop, nonstop. I forget to slow it down.

When you’re speaking, I want you to focus on slowing down your voice, slowing down your tempo. When you slow down your voice, people can receive that information more effectively. And guess what it looks makes you look more confident. Focus on what you were there for as opposed to what people are thinking in the back of their minds. A lot of people as speakers, they get up on a stage and are focused on what everyone’s thinking of them. Here’s the thing, everyone wants you to succeed. Everyone wants you to do well, but your mind as a speaker can stop you from doing that because you’re so focused on what other people are thinking about. You flip the script and use it as a way of thinking of what am I here to do? Who am I here to impact? When I started to think this way, my mindset changed and I was able to become a better speaker.

’cause I was started to focus on, okay, as a speaker, I’m showing up here today. Who am I here to impact? Okay, these are the people. I’m gonna give ’em everything I can to hopefully uplift their spirits so that they can become better leaders. When you do this, you start to remove the fear and eventually you’ll hit a point where you don’t really care what people think. Because as you’re doing this and as you’re doing your speeches over and over again, you’re gonna become more confident and eventually you’re gonna hit a point in confidence where you stop caring about what, what, what other people think about you. And to me, that is the best spot that you want to be in. Keep growing, keep throwing yourself out there. Keep stumbling. ’cause eventually you’re gonna hit that spot where you don’t care what people think. Only focus is how am I here to impact whom is gonna, who is ready to receive this message?

Shortly after that first keynote engagement, I was sitting in a different audience and I remember I was growing as a speaker and it was about 2014 and I was at a different northern community and this person in the back of the room took it upon themselves to come up to the, the front where I had just finished speaking and they gave me the sticky note and on the sticky note it had something written on it. And he says to me, Hey Kendal, great job today. I want you to YouTube this person. And they turned and they walked away. So me in that moment, I’m busy talking with people, I, I crumpled it up, I put it in my pocket.

And I went back home that night and I put that sticky note on my monitor and I said, eventually I’ll look at this. Maybe one day months passed and now it’s Christmas in 2014. And I remember sitting there, it was a break time, so I had some time to actually go and check this thing out. And I was thinking, Hmm, I’m gonna YouTube what this person told me to do. So I’m sitting there at my laptop and I YouTube what it said, and it wrote Les Brown, you Deserve. And I started to listen to this speaker, this amazing motivational speaker. And I’m listening to this guy, I’m thinking, man feels like this person’s talking to me. It feels like this person gets who I am. And as I was listening, I started to listen to more and Hours passed. I started to buy their programs, their audio, and so on.

And to this day, I still have his audio programs combined with dozens and dozens of other leaders that I now listen to. As I would continue listening and investing and growing my mindset, I started to realize that there’s other speakers who speak like me and I wanted to start using what they’re good at and bring it into my speaking style and try to impact more people and keep growing as a speaker. You see, sometimes you’re gonna find people that you listen to, whether it’s on YouTube, whether it’s on podcasts, and you might like their style. So you can, might be able to adopt certain things that they do very well and bring it upon your style. And you might even be able to grow even quicker as a speaker. Another thing I want you to think about is your posture. When you get up on a stage, there is a certain thing about physiology that impacts the way that we speak.

And what I recommend everyone doing is when you get up to do a presentation, whether it’s on a podium, mic or a handheld and so on, I want you to start working on the posture. And one of the things that I recommend you doing more is speaking with your hands, but with the palms up, what tends to happen is when your palms are facing up, people are more receptive to your message, as opposed to if you’re pointing at people, people don’t like to be pointed at. So if your palms are up and you’re, even if you have to point to someone with your palms up, people are more receptive to that message. Another thing I want you to think about is, is how your chest is. I find that if you stick your chest out more when you’re speaking, you tend to have more power behind your voice and speak from your chest as opposed to your gut.

Everything you speak from your gut tends to give you more butterflies. So when you’re using your voice, use it from your chest. It comes out better when you get up on a stage on a podium, widen your stance. Don’t stand narrow because it’ll be hard for you to get your, your point across effectively. Bring a wide stance, take up as much stage as you can. It makes you look more confident and so on. Don’t be afraid to use the pace to your advantage. Slow down your rhythm. You are there to succeed. There are so many speakers that speak so slow, but no one notices because their points are so effective. Another thing I want you to think about is, is how you’re using your eyes upon the audience. Growing up on a First Nations community, I had a hard time looking at people in the eye.

And when I got into business, people used to ask me about that. And I have to educate people time and time again about, as First Nations people, it is very disrespectful for me to look at another First Nations person in the eye. It comes the back to ceremony and the way that we’re raised. And it’s very disrespectful for us in ceremony to look at different people while they’re doing different ceremonies and so on. These are teachings that we’re raised with. So when we came into the mainstream and people weren’t used to those, we had a hard time interacting with people. And we still happens to this very day. So one of the things that I did to get over this as a speaker is when I would get up on a podium, I would hover just above everyone’s eyes, just above their heads. So it made me feel like I was looking at different people.

And I would tell it back to left to right, right to left and so on, looking at different people as I was speaking to them. ’cause what happens is if you focus on one person as a speaker, sometimes that person can throw you off depending on who that person is. It happens to me all the time. But so I started to focus on hovering on top of people. And it’s, that doesn’t affect you as much as it used to. And for myself, I had a hard time doing this. So as you’re speaking, hover above people, it’ll help you be more effective and it’ll show people that you care and that you are a polished speaker.

Another thing I want you to think about is how you use the tone of your voice. People do not realize that sometimes the way that we say things could mean a totally different way that we’re trying to throw it out there. If you’re like me, sometimes in our relationships, even with my wife, there’s certain ways that she might say something or the way that I may say something that would maybe trigger a negative reaction. It’s the same thing in speaking, and you’re speaking as a leader and you’re using your voice on a podium, on a stage. Use your tone to your advantage to emphasize points more effectively. Don’t be scared to get, get, use your energy up there to use, for example, when you wanna get excited, don’t be afraid to use your voice more impactful. If you want to slow down the story where it’s maybe a bit more heavier, you might wanna slow it down and really emphasize those points.

The way you say things has an impact on the people that are receiving that message in the audience. Also, don’t be afraid to take little pauses in between your presentation. Sometimes you might be on a roll and you might pause and it might seem like forever to you, and you might get nervous in that pause. Use those pauses to your advantage. People don’t realize that as a speaker on the stage, you are the only one that really realizes that if you use pauses effectively in your keynote, in your presentation, it makes you look like you are commanding that podium more effectively. It makes you look more confident As we’re speaking, sometimes we fidgety, sometimes we, our nerves come out through the way that we’re, we’re, we’re moving about the stage and so on. And for myself, you know, one of the things that I do is that it, it really helps to hold onto a PowerPoint clicker or, or a pen and so on to really emphasize points.

Because if you’re up there on a stage, sometimes you don’t realize that you’re fidgeting things. Sometimes you don’t realize that maybe you have a twitch in your face and so on. That’s one of the things that happens to me a lot. People will point that out. Hey Kendal, sometimes your eye twitches. Well, that’s the something I can’t control because I, I get nervous sometimes. Another thing I want you to think about is the pacing that you’re doing. If, especially if you have a handheld mic, if you have a handheld mic and you’re pacing around sometimes it looks like makes you look obvious, that you’re very nervous. One of the things that I recommend is, what my coaches have told me is try to command the stage by only moving when you have certain stories that need acting out points through those stories or certain points to your presentation that need you to step into a different point or step into a different story.

And so on. The way you move about the stage can impact the way that people receive your message. One of the things that you can use to your advantage is using a PowerPoint slide. if you do use PowerPoint, I really wanna point some note. Do not put word for word paragraph by paragraph exactly what you’re saying on the PowerPoint slides. People don’t care. People can only really look at one point or one main message that you have on a slide. Use images to to emphasize certain stories and so on. And if you really need to, especially during a long presentation, you can use a 30 second to a two minute video clip to emphasize your story, but also allow you to regain yourself. Because sometimes in your keynotes or your presentations, we get nervous, we get in the zone, and sometimes that zone takes off and we need a break.

And one of the things that you can do is stop and play a little video to collect yourself again and to refocus and rethink about where you left off in your presentation and also the points that you need to get across before your time runs out of there. And the last point I want to give to you here today is be kind to yourself. One of the things that really stops a lot of us is ourselves, our negative self-talk. So before I would get onto these stages, I started to create these mantras about myself. I deserve to be here. I’m here to help people. You are here for a reason. You’re here for a purpose. You are here in this moment for a purpose to help people out there use your gift, get out there and make it happen. I’ll create these mantras to help me.

And I really want you to create your own mantra, your own positive self-talk, so that when you get up to that moment and you start having those doubts, you start to replay that again and again and so on in the back of your mind. So when you get out there, you hype yourself up. And a lot of speakers do this. And you know what? It helps them as it’s helped me and I know it will help you. I thank you so much listening to this recording about speaking like a leader, how to command the podium and create massive impact with your gift, your voice. By being the communicator, being the leader that you were born to be. I really hope that the tips, the strategies, the stories have impacted you. Now, it’s your turn to use your story, to use your message to change the world. Keep moving forward!


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