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I’m a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.

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Announcing the Launch of ’60 Seconds?’, a Micro-Video Platform.

60 Seconds Logo

I’m happy to publicly announce the launch of my newest venture, ’60 Seconds?’ App, a short-video platform in partnership with the awesome folks at Code For India. After working hard behind the scene for the past 3 months, it feels good to finally remove the wrap and reveal the product.  Please check it out at www.Got60Seconds.com

This venture is close to my heart. To understand why, you need to read this interesting backstory.

At the beginning of 2020, I wrote down my discomfort list. These are things that are uncomfortable but are important. So, I started the Discomfort Project, an initiative to take this head-on and push myself outside of my comfort zone.

Among the list were two items.

1) Build a Product: I’ve always been in the services businesses all my life. Do a service. Earn money. Simple and straightforward. But not scalable. All companies that have had massive growth are product companies. But they are difficult to do, takes massive investment and a high percentage of failure. That’s what kept me away. That’s also exactly why I have huge respect for product entrepreneurs. This year, I was determined to give it my best shot. Read more about this product challenge.

2) Focus on Videos: These are absolutely the future of content. With 5G on its way and better smartphones, video will be the most preferred content consumption medium. All this while I neglected this medium and this year, I was determined to focus on it. Read more about this video challenge.

With ’60 Seconds?’ App, I’m combining both my goals and hitting two mangoes with one stone. I’m thoroughly enjoying the process of creation and the journey is the reward. And it gives me inner satisfaction of stepping out of my comfort zone.

In the first couple of days of launch, the app has taken solid baby steps. It received 150 plus 5-star ratings on the Android Playstore and Apple iOS app store. It garnered up decent press coverage from India Today, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Outlook, Business Today, and many more. The app has some creative, talented video producers, and interesting videos. To check them out, please download the app.

 

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My Family and I Got the Corona Virus. And Here is Our Story.


Today marks the 20th day since I got infected with the Corona Virus. My wife and my two daughters got affected as well. The good news is that all four of us have fully recovered from the virus and are back in good health. Here is our story

But first, a disclaimer: Every thing I say in this post is my personal experience and opinion. Please do not take this as medical advice.

The four of us are lucky because we got the mild version of the Corona Virus. Over 85% of people get a mild infection, 10% get a moderate infection, and 5% get a severe infection. Almost all the people who die from the virus fall under this 5% who have existing health ailments.

The contagious period where a Covid-19 positive patient is capable of transmitting the virus is between 8 to 10 days. We played it safe by quarantining ourselves within our home for twice that long.

Ever since the lockdown began from March 25th, we have remained at home and rarely travelled. The last time I filled up fuel in our car and bike was 102 days ago. And there is still enough fuel left. This should give you an indication of how little we have used our vehicles.

Among the four of us, it was mostly me who would step out of the home for my daily walk. I never stop anywhere, nor do I speak with anyone during these walks.

In the initial days of the lockdown, Covid19 was just news I read online. Initially, it was in other countries in China, Italy and the US. Then it came to India in trickles. Then, I heard of a few cases in Chennai. After that, I started hearing about a few instances in my locality and finally in our street. It was at this time I knew that getting Corona Virus was not a question of if but when. I was mentally prepared for it.

The first news of a person I personally knew who got infected was a friend I played badminton with for two years. We had not played badminton together ever since the lockdown started. Then, one day, he shared the news on our Whatsapp group that he got infected and that he had fully recovered.

I reached out to him and had a long conversation. He explained the symptoms and the process of recovery. He mentioned how he got fleeced by the hospitals and why it is not necessary to get hospitalized for mild symptoms. Proper care at home is sufficient. I started to research more on this, and many doctors advised the same as well. It was at this time that I felt confident about taking on the virus if it ever came.

And that day finally did come. As is my usual practice, I went for my 5 km walk. That particular evening, I did a power walk where I picked up my pace. When I came home that night, I felt unusually tired. I figured it could be because I pushed my body too much. It could also be because of my diet. Over the last month, I was following a calorie deficient diet and had successfully lost 6 Kgs. The next day, I was feeling quite sluggish and tired. Even at this time, I suspected nothing.

The next day, I had a mild temperature, and my body began to ache. I was perenially tired, and the only thing I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. It was at this time, I had a mild suspicion and decided to google for symptoms of Corona Virus.

Fever – Check
Body Ache – Check
Tiredness – Check
Dry Cough – Check

The last symptom mentioned was a loss of smell.

I went and grabbed my perfume and sprayed on the back of my palm. And smelled it. NOTHING. Not even a whiff of the smell. – Check

That was when I was 100% convinced that I had the virus.

Immediately, I quarantined myself in the second bedroom at my home. I called my wife and kids and told them the news. Understandably, they were worried. But did not panic.

Over the next ten days, I did not step out of the bedroom. I literally mean it. My entire world was this small room. I had separate plates. I washed them after use. I washed my clothes. I swept my bedroom. My family were barred from entering the room. Most conversations were over the phone.

My wife was rock-solid in her support. I ended my diet and started eating well. She cooked healthy food, and I had multiple small meals in a day. I tasted nothing and smelled nothing. Everything was bland. I lost my appetite. The only thing I could sense was the heat, and I preferred eating warm food which made it palatable.

The next seven days were crucial. One of the symptoms of severe complication of Corona Virus is shortness of breath. I was keeping a close watch on my breathing. Thankfully my breathing was OK throughout. The mild fever continued to be persistent, as was the body aches. After seven days, the fever subsided. The body aches reduced. From the 10th day onwards, I was back to normal health.

Within a few days of me falling ill, both my wife and the kids got the symptoms. All three of them lost their sense of taste and smell. They experienced fever, body ache and mild shortness of breath. Nevertheless, they continued with their daily routine. A few days later, they started to feel better.

Now that the danger and fear of our individual lives were no longer there, we were conscious about the elders in our apartment building. We did not want to transmit the virus, which is less forgiving of older people. My wife’s Mom stayed in the apartment right below ours. We banned our kids from meeting her for her own health sake. We never told her about us having the Corona Virus lest she freaks out and starts to worry. We never revealed this news to my parents, who are at our farm. We finally broke the news to them today, much to their relief.

In all these 20 days, I never missed a single day’s work. I had my laptop and a fast WiFi, and that’s all I needed to work. The team review meetings happened without missing a beat. The client meetings happened like clockwork. In fact, some of my most productive work happened during this time. We were able to win some big clients during this time. In a way, it was a blessing in disguise.

I did not tell my staff nor the clients of my infection. I knew it wasn’t serious, and I would eventually recover. As long as work happened correctly and on time, I felt there was no need to voice it out.

Now, after 20 days, everyone is back to regular life. We are hale and healthy. Today is my younger daughter Kalpitha’s birthday, and we had a small celebration at home. It was also a celebration of our success over Covid-19.

The reason why I decided to voice out our experience is to pay it forward the way my friend did to me. Be proactively cautious and follow the best practices to avoid the virus. Practice social distancing. Always wear a mask when you step out. Wash your hands regularly with soap.

But in case you ever get it, there is no need to panic. Quarantine yourself and eat healthily. While most will recover in a couple of weeks, we owe it to our elders by not spreading it further.
Stay safe, everyone.

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Keynote at Social Media for Social Good Summit in Nigeria

I should have been in Abuja, Nigeria today. This would have meant that I would be in Nigeria for the 3rd time in 3 years. I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Social Media for Social Good Summit 2020 but because of Covid-19, this session of mine took place over Instagram Live.

For me, one of the charms of professional speaking is travel, experiencing new cultures, tasting new cuisines and making new friends. I truly miss that part. Nevertheless, it was a good experience experiencing the virtual hospitality of my Nigerian friends and it was a good session.

The topic I chose for my keynote was, ‘Never Waste a Crisis: Leverage Digital to Make a Positive Difference During the Pandemic’. I took 5 real-life examples to illustrate the 5 ways of how we can make the most of doing good using digital and social media.

  1. Turn a loss into an online crowdsourced community: I spoke about how Jaspreet Bindra turned the unfortunate incident of his pet passing away into a crowdsourced initiative to raise funds to feed abandoned dogs in animal shelters.
  2. Leverage the power of short-form videos to communicate your good deeds or highlight others’. I highlighted how Amar Ramesh and his team at StudioA, creative photography and video firm created Big Short Films to shoot documentaries of people who do amazing good deeds for others.
  3. The Reverse Brain drain: Why Covid-19 is a blessing in disguise of realizing that we can work from anywhere and an office is an option. This helps certain people in the technology domain to move back to their villages and towns and continue to work using digital.
  4. Save Jobs by Embracing Digital: I took the example of Prakash Silks, a prominent showroom in Kanchipuram who used Whatsapp Selling to continue to sell their silk sarees through Whatsapp Selling thus helping to pay salaries for its employees.
  5. Invest in Learning: If there is one thing that we have gained from the lockdown, it is time. Put it to good use by upskilling our knowledge. No matter which domain or specialization one is doing, learning digital strategies will help them in their career.

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How to Turn Your Loss into a Good for Others

Doginder Singh

I read about the sad news of passing away of Doginder Singh, the dear pet of my friend Jaspreet Bindra, Cofounder of UnQbe and ex-Chief Digital Officer of Mahindra Group.  As a lover of dogs, any news of a pet’s death is sad but this news tugged at my heart.  I have not met Doginder Singh in real life but often keep seeing his photos on Jaspreet’s FB updates.

What is the best way to celebrate the love and affection of a pet? By paying it forward.  That’s exactly what Jaspreet has done. He has set up a website www.DoginderSingh.com in memory of his pet and decided to donate money to three non-profit animal shelters in Bangalore, Mumbai & Delhi. He has turned this into a crowdsourcing activity encouraging other animal lovers to support abandoned dogs.

Tomorrow, I’ve been invited to deliver a virtual keynote address at the Social Media for Social Good Summit in Nigeria. I’ll celebrate Doginder’s life by taking him as an example of how one’s life can continue to make an impact using social media even after reaching doggy heaven.

 

 

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Takeaways from Rajesh Setty’s Session on Blogging

As part of the continuous learning initiative of the Professional Speakers Association of India, we had invited Rajesh Setty to share his tips on blogging.

Rajesh is a prolific writer and has blogged over 2000 posts. He has authored a book titled, ‘Blogtastic’.

Here are the key takeaways I have gleaned from the Zoom Chat box where participants have typed the key points from the talk. Here they are:

Raise the stakes and in the end, everything will become easy!

How will my prospects Get things done faster, better, cheaper!

When you write, you should not edit.

Reduce your timeline drastically to avoid Parkinson’s law happening to you

Shorter deadlines are very effective. Helps you focus.

This is easier done than said!

Execution is easier than talking.

If your blog is so good, they will miss you in the past.

Practical generosity!

Thank people who have helped you in your life: big or small.

Blogs leading to a book

Whatever we do is a means to a bigger end!

Be in your Bubble! Avoid News!

Change the frame of reference.

Keep your work unfinished before you sleep… complete it the next morning. you will do it faster

Chronic Cynics are your insurance policies!

For whom can I shine the light on?

2 Kinds of relationship: Long term or Very long term!

What can I do for them? How can I be of value to them?

To force action: Make a promise to someone you deeply respect. You won’t let them down! So, you wont break the promise too!

Learning: Prepare for bigger challenges so that the next challenge looks simple to you.
“Mini Saga” – 52 story cards

Give very little time to think or else mind wanders – Give a shorter time to yourself

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Participating in the 30 Days Blogging Challenge

30 Days Blogging Challenge

Participating in challenges is always a fun of gamifying a task that you always wanted to do. So, when the opportunity came by to participate in the 30 Days Blogging Challenge, I jumped in head first. Its a good way to push myself back into the habit of daily writing.

I have been one of the earliest bloggers having started blogging way back since 2002. (Yup, I’m old) While I used to be a regular blogger, I must confess that I have been extremely irregular in updating my blog and that’s not a nice thing.  So, this challenge is a welcome blessing and I expect to get back the mojo.

To successfully finish this challenge, I needed more reasons to stay committed. Its always easy to start such initiatives and make grand announcements on Facebook. Once the initial high settles down, the true test lies in being consistent and lasting through the entire period. I have realized that to make good of such promises, we need more reasons.   I have three.

  1. Leading by Example: This challenge was announced as part of the learning initiatives of The Professional Speakers Association of India (PSAI). I’m the President of the association and it would do me real good in the eyes of the members for me to successfully complete this challenge. My reputation is at stake. That’s always a nice push.
  2. Authoring my Book:  I’m currently authoring my 7th book, titled ‘Digital Selling‘. I intend to blog about the research on digital selling I do for the book. In a way, I will be blogging different elements of the chapters. This activity will help me speed up the progress of my book. I’m gunning to finish the book at the end of 30 days.
  3. Getting into the Habit of Daily Writing:  2020 is My Year of Discomfort where I challenge myself to do different activities that pushes me outside of my comfort zone. One such challenge is to journal everyday. The blog writing will me develop that memory muscle of writing everyday and this will help me tick off one item from my Discomfort Challenge.

The three reasons is an inspiration I got almost a decade ago from Rajesh Setty, successful entrepreneur, investor, author and speaker. Read his post on ‘The Legs’ and why you need more than one reason for you to successfully accomplish a goal.

Wish me luck.

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The Rise of Micro-Video Platforms and Why Marketers Should Start Taking Them Seriously

As a digital strategy consultancy, we get to interact and work with CEOs and CMOs. These are really smart people, and they know their game well. However, I see a pattern. When it comes to social networks, its always the usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube that get the advertising moolah. Almost always, micro-video platforms don’t even figure in their radar. Even when we propose exploring this new medium, we face resistance. Almost always, the typical responses are as follows. “Oh, its just kids doing dance videos.“, “There’s nothing substantial about them“, and the worst is, “I tried it and I just don’t get it“.

The reason why seasoned senior professionals in their 40s and 50s don’t get it is because that’s not the age demographic that the app appeals to. Youngsters, especially in their teens, are lapping it up. It is providing them with an amazing platform to express their creativity. With a duration less than a minute, it is less intimidating for youngsters to create content.

It’s important to address the assumption that micro-video platforms are just for teenagers who want to lip-sync to movie dialogues and make dance challenge videos. More and more celebrities have started to embrace the medium.

There is a surprising trend that is happening in this space. The most active participants on micro-video platforms like TikTok are surprisingly from tier 2 and 3 towns. This is a marked difference in the kind of profile that you can see on Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin. All these platforms are predominantly in English and tend to cater to a more urban audience. Understandably, brands that want to appeal to this urban audience tend to choose Facebook and Instagram to advertise in.

One of the main reasons why micro-video platforms have taken off well in towns and villages is because they are no longer constrained by the English language. They can express themselves freely in their own mother tongue which they are most comfortable with. That’s why you will notice that a majority of videos on micro-video platforms are in regional languages.  As a marketeer, this is a valuable demographic to target.

With mobile phones getting cheaper by the month and cameras getting better with each release, this has fueled the content generation among youngsters. With the Covid-19 lock down forcing all colleges and schools to be closed down, this has opened up lots of free time for them. Boredom can easily settle in and the youngsters are always looking at creative outlets to keep themselves occupied and entertained. This explains the huge growth of new content in the last couple of months.

The video market will only continue to grow exponentially as the bandwidth continues to improve. Most folks in India, even those in towns and villages, now have access to 4G and decent Internet speeds. The arrival of 5G in the next couple of years will be a massive gamechanger. The brands that can experiment now will be the ones who will get a good headstart when the floodgates open.

The State of Video Marketing report prepared by Wyzowl has found that 85% of consumers want video content from brands. This is easily understandable as videos are the easiest consumable of all mediums. A good marketer believes in analytics to make sensible decisions. Cumulatively, the micro-video platforms have grossed over a billion downloads.  Another very important metric that lights up the eyes of marketers is the engagement rate. The average user now spends almost an hour a day and opens up the app 8 times day.

As always, there will be brands that are pioneers in testing out new platforms. Most other companies will pursue a wait and watch strategy. But the indications are clearly pointing to the rising trend of the popularity of micro-videos. For brands, the mantra is simple. Put your products where your customers already are. And I’m certain the senior marketers and company heads will wisen up to the opportunity on their hands. Sooner than later.

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How a Silk Saree Brand Used WhatsApp Video for Selling During Lockdown. 

Silk Sarees

One of our clients of our Digital Consulting firm is a famous silk saree business situated in the temple city of Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu, India. They are among the most popular destinations for pure Kanchipuram silk sarees. Their brand has become so popular that over 70% of customers are from outside Tamilnadu. Walking into their store is like walking into Tirupathi Devasthanam, the ever crowded temple. Their shop is open on all days of the week and it becomes even more crowded during the Muhurtham (auspicious) days as families throng the shop to buy silk sarees for their family occasions. When Covid-19 stuck, all physical stores including the silk saree showroom was forced to close down and this brought their roaring business to an abrupt halt.

Until then, much of their focus was on store sales as this was bringing in the lion’s share of the business. Their sales from digital was a small percentage and they had a token presence online. But with the unprecedented pandemic, the senior management’s attention shifted to digital and they started to take it a lot more seriously.

It was around this time that we quickly revamped their website. We did away with their archaic website which had bloated code and built a spiffy, good looking website from the ground up that was mobile first and responsive. We added advanced commerce facilities. Customers could visit the website, browse through, select and buy the sarees of their choice. 

However, there was one crucial element missing in the website shopping experience. There was no active interaction between the customers and the staff. E-commerce is a passive experience.  If you looked at how customers bought the sarees in their physical store, you will notice that the customers would like to look at multiple sarees, then they would shortlist a few of them and then finally handpick the best ones from the shortlist. There was a lot of discussion that happens. The staff would intently listen to the requirements of the customers and patiently show many sarees until the customers would be satisfied. This crucial element of interaction with the staff was missing in the E-commerce shopping experience.  So, along with the management we came up with the idea of enabling shopping via Whatsapp video.

Here is what we did. We set up a customized appointment system using Calendly where customers can choose a particular date and time of their convenience within the working hours. While registering, we will request them to give their name, email and Whatsapp number. On that particular date and time, their staff would call them from a mobile device on Whatsapp video.

Once the staff has successfully connected with the customers on Whatsapp Video, they proceed to interact with them just like they would in a physical showroom. The staff would ask the customers the occasion for which they are buying the saree, the price range and their favorite colours. The staff members would then select a bunch of sarees and display it to the customers.  While one staff member holds the camera, the other staffs would spread the sarees one by one while explaining the intricate details about the saree.

This interactive live video medium has now made it very easy for customers to ask questions about the saree, ask for a particular pattern or to show closeup of a particular design. The knowledgeable staff can now answer each of these questions. This mimics the real shopping experience.

What was very interesting is that multiple family members from different cities and even different countries would join in on the same Whatsapp video call. In most cases, buying silk sarees, especially high priced bridal silk sarees, is always a group decision. This was easily accomplished using Whatsapp video.

Once the customers select the sarees, a bill is generated and instantly sent to them via whatsapp messages and email. The customers can then pay the money via credit card or online bank transfer. Once the payment is received, they courier the sarees immediately to the customers and they receive them in a day or two.

Customers started to feel comfortable with the medium and interestingly, they found this even more convenient than conventional shopping. Now, they can experience shopping that is as close to real world shopping, without the hassle of traveling from their hometown to Kanchipuram.

By embracing the digital medium, the silk saree brand was able to continue to do business even during the lockdown.

If a traditional business like this silk saree brand can become tech savvy and quickly adapt, then it is a wake up call for many other businesses to embrace digital and leverage this effectively for increasing their bottom line.  At Business Blogging, our digital consultancy that focuses on digital selling, we work very closely with our clients to better understand their objectives, be sensitive to their challenges and help them achieve their business goals by smartly leveraging digital and social media.

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Announcing the Launch of my New Book: Shifting Gears

New Book Alert: Am proud to announce the launch of a brand new book I co-authored.

SHIFTING GEARS: A Winners Playbook to Pivot During a Crisis.

This is a compilation of 21 stories of pivot by 21 authors written in 21 days of COVID19 lockdown.

This book is a superb collaborative effort of my colleagues at the Professional Speakers Association of India (PSAI). As the President of the association, it gives me immense pride to see how the community came together to make this adversity into an opportunity.

Let’s face it. We are in lockdown and life on the other side will not be the same again. But winners pivot on their heels, shift gears to create a newer springboard to success.

In shifting gears, 21 thought leaders demystify the anatomy of resilience and share their plans, their optimism, and their pivot.

We have deeper insights on business strategies, self-leadership, mindfulness, positive psychology, podcasting, online courses, digital selling, personal branding and more.

This entire book was created in 21 days during the lockdown. Right from ideation, planning, collaborating, writing, editing, proofreading, designing, publishing and distributing. The members of PSAI brought their individual expertise in different areas to chip in to launch this collaborative, crowdsourced book.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle. The book is priced reasonably at Rs.99 but it is free for the next 4 days. We encourage you to download the book here at https://www.amazon.in/dp/B087JW5W9V

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If you are a speaker, one of the best investments you can make is to attend the Professional Speakers Summit taking place in New Delhi on February 1 & 2, 2020. Here is my message to the participants and thought I would share them here.

Hello.

As the Founder President of the Professional Speakers Association of India, I extend a warm welcome to you to Professional Speakers Summit 2020, India’s largest gathering of professional speakers.

In a week’s time, you will be part of an important event that will be pivotal in your growth as a successful global professional speaker.

This email contains vital information for you to make the most of the Summit.

Warning: This is a very long email, and I urge you to read through it carefully as it contains important information.

 

THINGS TO DO ONE WEEK BEFORE THE SUMMIT

Write Your Speaking Goals:  The time before attending the Professional Speakers Summit is an excellent time to write down your big speaking goals. Write down your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Why is it important? Because having clarity of the goals will help you eke out the best out of the summit. Go ahead. Write down your goals for your speaking career.

 

List Down the Questions You Seek Answers for:  This is an extension of the previous point. Having clarity of your big goals will also highlight the areas where you are lacking and problems that are holding you back from achieving your goals. Write down all the questions. There will be 150+ professional speakers at the Summit and am sure there are people more experienced than you who will have answers to your questions.

 

Comb Through the Schedule:  The final agenda has been published at http://www.PSAI.in/summit. We have successful global speakers and Indian speakers with global experience. Here’s a tip. Going through the summit agenda will help you handpick the specific topics that will help you the most in achieving your speaking goals.

 

Pick Your Master Classes: Please note that the masterclasses are parallel sessions. There will be three masterclasses that will happen at the same time. This means that if you pick one, you cannot physically be in the other two. So, pick the master class that speaks to you. Go through the schedule and identify in advance which ones you want to attend.

 

Warning. Masterclasses have Limited Seats: The three concurrent masterclasses will happen in three smaller rooms. Each room only has a maximum seating capacity of around 40 people. Entrance is only on first come first served basis. If a master class has reached full capacity, we will shut and lock the door. No exceptions. Last time, we turned away other speakers and sponsors. So, please be punctual and early.

 

Divide and Conquer: Breakout master class sessions mean you have to make a choice. By choosing one session, you will have to miss out the other two. You can overcome this problem by creating a buddy system with a friend. While you attend one session, your friend attends the other. Both of you take notes and fill each other up in the evening. Works like a charm.

 

Download the Official App: We have a dedicated app for our Summit. This is where you will find the schedule, profiles of the speaker, important announcements etc. As part of our eco-initiative, we will not be printing brochures with schedules. Everything will be available on the app. If you have an Android phone, you can get it here from the Google Play Store. If you have an Apple phone, head to the iStore to download the app.

 

Google the Speakers:  Understanding the profile of the speakers will significantly help you in picking the sessions you want to attend at this summit. You can find the profiles of all the speakers at http://www.PSAI.in/summit.   The speakers have been handpicked for their expertise and experience. They bring a lot of value to our event. Please google and learn about them.  Watch their talks on YouTube. Send out a note to them that you are eager to attend their sessions. Trust me, it’ll make them happy, and it will help you make a good connection when you meet them in person.

 

Follow the Speakers on Social Media:  Now that you know which topics you plan to attend, it is a good idea to understand what the speakers are like. Most speakers are on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Follow them.

 

Polish Your Elevator Pitch: We will have150 Professional Speakers at the Summit.  That’s a lot of people you will be meeting. Most of them will be new to you and you want to make sure you make a good first impression. When the person you meet asks you, ‘So, what do you do?’, you don’t want to ummm and errrr. You want to describe yourself with crisp clarity that makes a powerful impact. Practice your introduction. You’ll be making tons of them throughout the two days.

 

Get Your Business Cards:  You will be doing some serious networking, and you will need lots. So, bring sufficient business cards. I encourage you to print business cards that project you as a professional speaker. If you don’t have one, you still have time to have one designed and printed.

 

Write down your speaking topics: In the badge you get at the summit, jot down the topics you speak on. This will be an excellent ice breaker and a conversation starter. When you meet others, look at their badges. You’ll find interesting people specializing in interesting topics.

 

Offer to Volunteer:  Pulling off an event like the #PSS2020 is no joke. Every single organizer is a professional speaker. All organizers have volunteered their time and effort for this event. This is a true community event. This is our event. So, please help out. If you find a problem or a glitch at the summit, proactively reach out and help. It is an excellent way to bond with people and goes very well with the spirit of the community.

 

Update your Website & Social Media:  Once you have met people, many will want to learn more about you and your speaking topics. You don’t want them to visit your website that has broken links or social media that has not been updated in a long time. Stay current. Summits are a perfect excuse to do digital spring cleaning.

 

Bring Your Books: If you have authored books, please bring sufficient copies to the summit. You can gift this to select people in the summit whom you want to make a good connection with. I strongly feel that books are a powerful business card.  You also have the option of displaying it at the special bookshelf for a small fee.

 

Join the Facebook Group:  Lots of interesting conversations and useful resources get shared in this group. Join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProfessionalSpeakersAssociationIndia/

If you are joining for the first time, you will be prompted to answer 3 questions. Make sure to answer the questions.

 

DURING THE SUMMIT

Arrive Early:  The Summit registration starts early at 8:30 AM.  I would encourage you to arrive even earlier at 8 AM.  Follow this tip and you will thank me later. Not only will you be able to beat the queue at the registration desk, but it will also give you an excellent opportunity to meet people in a relaxed atmosphere. This is a fantastic networking tip. Making connections with people is supercritical to enhancing your speaking career. Make the most of it.

 

Venue Address: The venue is Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport. The full address is NH-8, near Mahipalpur Extension, Block R, Mahipalpur Village, Mahipalpur, New Delhi, Delhi 110037. Here is the Google Maps link. It is a brilliant property and is ranked very high on TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Google Reviews.

 

Dress Code:  Business Casual.  Dress as you would for a formal meeting. It’s better to tilt towards formals. Tie and blazers are preferred than jeans and sweatshirts. After all, this is a ‘Professional’ speakers event.

 

UnPlug from Work: Tell your clients you won’t be reachable on these two days. Inform your coworkers that you won’t be checking emails. Take your family’s permission to go incommunicado over the next two days.  By unplugging from work and family, you create this fertile, focused time for insightful learning and networking. If there is one advice that I would strongly emphasize, this would be it. Immerse yourself in the event completely.

 

You Don’t Have to Attend All the Sessions:  Yes, really. The two days at the summit are going to be choc-a-block with sessions. Remember that your mind can only take in so much knowledge.  Beware of the information overload.  So, be picky about what sessions you want to attend. Don’t worry about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Skip a few sessions that don’t add value to you. Use that time to catch up with people or some quiet reflective time on your own.

 

Get Enough Sleep: Lack of sleep can make you groggy and impede your ability to focus during the sessions. Make a conscious decision to hit the sack early.  Take a hard stance to avoid late-night meetups with friends. I know you will be meeting folks after a long time but this can’t happen at the cost you messing up the event. Go easy on your drinks. You can play catch-up and let loose after the summit is over.

 

Ask How You Can Help: When meeting people at the summit, listen intently. Ask them what their pain points are and how you can be of help. In a world where we all incessantly seek opportunities, people truly appreciate this gesture to help. Be generous with connecting and introducing people.

 

Don’t be a Business card Hunter: Don’t aim to meet as many people as you can. It’s natural to want to meet many but with only two days and a packed schedule, you can easily spread yourself thin. Focus on developing a deeper relationship with fewer people. Quality is better than quantity.

 

Jot Down Behind the Business cards: When you meet people, write down interesting things about them, the topic you discussed or any follow-up actions behind their business card. Don’t trust your brain to remember everything. We overestimate its memory capacity. Writing it down is a smart way to follow up.

 

Digitize the Business Cards: Later in the evening, transfer all the contact details and the notes to Google Contacts which I feel is the best place to store contacts.  You can use apps like CamCard to scan the cards quickly. Digitizing your contacts makes it easy for you to search and retrieve. Once I digitize it, I usually discard the physical business cards because having them only adds to the clutter and I realized that it is cumbersome to dig through a pile of cards to pick one.

 

Avoid Hanging Out All the Time with Your Friends: I’ve noticed this in previous summits where people from the same cities hang out together. You are already close to your friends and you have all the time later. Out here at the summit, it is a wonderful opportunity to connect and bond with new people. Step out of your group to proactively meet and bond with people from other cities and countries.

 

Write Down Actionable Points:  When you take notes while attending sessions, make it a point to write down action-oriented points. For example, ‘Create a Video Testimonial’ or ‘Analyze 50 hours of my own talks’. This will help you to follow-through. It works even better if you can put a timeline to finish those actions.

 

Dedicated Notebook:  Bring a new notebook and pen. Dedicate this for jotting down important points from the Summit. If you are a digital person like me,  I would recommend creating a dedicated Word document or even better, Google Notes to jot down all the lessons. It gets stored in the cloud and make it easy to retrieve and share.

 

Use the Hashtag #PSS2020:  Take lots of photos. Shoot short videos. Post them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other social network you are active at. No matter where you post, make sure to add the hashtag #PSS2020.  This will be very useful for the attendees to read your post and see your photos. There are tons of people who could not make it to the event and they will truly appreciate this gesture.

 

Give Honest Feedback: Especially areas where the speakers can improve. It’s easy for them to get praise and how awesome their talks are. But tough to get honest constructive criticism. That’s why this is valued a lot and the speakers will respect you for it.

 

Keep an Eye out for Membership:  The membership to the Professional Speakers Association of India will be formally opened up at the Summit. There’s a special discount if you pick up the membership at the event. So, take advantage of this offer. Becoming a member of PSAI which is the only association recognized by the Global Speakers Federation is the best thing you can do to boost your speaking career.

 

Buy Ticket for the Gala Dinner: On the evening of Day 1 on February 1, we have arranged for a special dinner for the speakers and influential CEOs. This Gala Dinner is invite-only. However, we have opened up a few slots if you want to attend. The tickets are available here

 

Ask for Any Help: We are here to help you. Please feel free to call one of us.

Vikas Jain 88020 27070 Vikas@VikasJainLive.com

Bijay Gautam 83769 32679 bijayspeaks@gmail.com

Kiruba Shankar 9841597744  Kiruba@Kiruba.com

 

Look forward to meeting you at PSS2020. Pack in your sense of humour. Turn on your learning mode. Switch gears to take your speaking career to the next level.

Regards,

Kiruba Shankar

President, Professional Speakers Association of India
CEO, Business Blogging

+91-98415 97744
Kiruba@Kiruba.com
http://www.Kiruba.com
http://Facebook.com/Kiruba

 

 

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