#FAQatAwfis: How To Be A Good Speaker

Business How To’s

20 July 2016

#FAQatAwfis: How To Be A Good Speaker

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial
how to be a good speaker
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Standing up and giving a speech to a room full of people is a terrifying thought for many, even if it is in front of our colleagues. But public speaking is another ballgame altogether. Entrepreneurs constantly need to engage in workshops, presentations and pitches as a way to network and propagate their ideas.  Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to not only overcome that fear, but also to become a respected public speaker.

1. How do I begin my speech?

Unless you are a famous stand-up comedian, a roast master, or well-versed with both humour and your audience, don’t even think about starting with a joke. Pulling off a single joke is a lot harder than it looks. Poking fun at yourself once in a while is fine, but don’t let others walk all over you. Start with a bang, like an interesting story that will help build a rapport with your audience.

2. Should I learn my speech by heart?

You may think that the best way to give a flawless speech is to memorize the content word-for-word.  But trying that can create a lot of problems for speakers. Memorization not only lends itself to sounding over-rehearsed (aka not natural), but also, if your mind goes blank at any point during the presentation, you will lose your place and potentially create an awkward silence. Or worse, start to panic. So, learn to memorize concepts than the content itself.

3. Should I watch others giving speeches?

No matter how intimidating it sounds, it’s good to listen to other speakers, even when you are nervous. You can watch the videos of renowned public speakers and get your learnings from them. You’ll get great ideas for your own presentations. When you attend workshops and conferences, make sure you listen to other speakers and the techniques they use.

4. How long should I talk for?

It all depends on your content. You don’t need to give all of your speech at once. Think of how you converse at a party, there is a natural give and take, pauses in thoughts. The same applies when you’re giving a speech. Have moments of quiet where you step back and let your audience contemplate and soak in what you just said and let them interact with you.

5. I’m nervous and scared even after all the preparation, what do I do?

Remember that the audience is actually rooting for you to succeed. People who fear public speaking when faced with a microphone and a crowd, usually wish they didn’t have to do it in the first place and would rather be dead. However, once you get the knack of it, it will be like a piece of cake for you. Remember to breathe and not push yourself, take your time, organize your thoughts and keep practicing.

Just breathe and enjoy your speech. At the end of your speech, be sure to thank the audience, the host and the company for listening to you. For more queries, comment below, we are happy to listen to you.

A good entrepreneur will always want to be prepared before he takes the podium. Hire a co-working space in Lower Parel, Mumbai or business centre in Connaught Place, New Delhi provide by Awfis.

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Instagram Trends of 2019: stay ahead of the game

Business How To’s

14 March 2019

Instagram Trends of 2019: stay ahead of the game

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

March 13th was a black day for many of us who spend nearly all our waking hours on Instagram and Facebook. A technical glitch created a major outage and a sort of existential crisis for millions (yes, you read that right) of users. Just how large a following Instagram has was amply evident during this digital apocalypse.

If your brand has still not tapped into the possibilities of Instagram, it’s not too late yet. Move over Facebook and other social media platforms; Instagram is well on its way to becoming the ultimate marketing tool for brands looking to build a strong digital presence. Month on month, this photo and video sharing platform is leapfrogging its way into boardrooms and marketing meetings.

And quite rightly so. It offers a slew of exceptional advantages that make all the difference between a brand being #1 or #2. Throughout last year, the app made upgrades and modifications to its interface, and completely spoiled us with all the fun stuff.

Wonder what everyone’s favourite app has in store this year. We did a little snooping and this is what we believe users and brands can look forward to.

Going further with Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is set to be one of the biggest Instagram trends of 2019. If you thought this is some futuristic stuff, you’d be surprised to know that you have already interacted with it through Instagram Stories. Those cute face filters, such as the puppy dog ears and nose? Those are actually AR filters. Who knew, right? Simply put, AR is superimposing virtual effects (computer generated images and videos) onto the real world through the camera.

There are over 400 million people using Instagram Stories daily! And that, dear brands, is a fantastic opportunity for you to jump on to the face filter bandwagon. Create your own custom AR filters for your customers to use using Facebook’s Spark AR Studio.

And how does this benefit you? In order for your customers to use the filters, they need to follow you on Instagram or at least visit your brand profile. Once they do that, it’s all up to you to keep them engaged. AR filters have all the makings of going viral. Question is how soon you are going to cash in.

Everybody likes a good story

Instagram might have started out as a place to post pretty pictures of food and cats, but it is a serious business tool today. With the numerous features it offers, it’s a space to engage with customers and to build a community of fans.

If you’ve been following Instagram’s progress, you’ll see how Stories has slowly and steadily grown in popularity over the last few years. Many users are now actively posting on Stories rather than their classic feed, which has become more secondary. To put it in digital parlance, the main feed is more like their home page – strategic, planned, etc. – where people can stop by to see what’s happening. However, Stories is more natural and shows their quirky, ‘human’ side.

Instagram’s been quick to catch up on this trend and most of its recent updates have been around Stories: polls, questions, emoji reactions, stickers, countdown, music, focus mode … the list goes on. This means brands will now find easier and better ways to communicate with their audience, taking customer engagement to a whole new level. You can use Story stickers to give some measure of involvement to customers during product decisions. Track their feedback, and tweak and change your offering until it satisfies the majority.

Shopping @Instagram

Today, nearly 62% of smartphone users are making purchases via their mobile devices on the go. If you are an ecommerce brand, Instagram is your gateway to more sales. With nifty features like shopping and product tagging, monetising your presence on Instagram has never been easier.

Whether it’s loyal followers who want to purchase your products or potential ones who discover you on Instagram, this platform is now a bona fide sales channel that you can no longer afford to ignore.

Its built-in shopping reminder – the tiny shopping bag icon that appears in the lower-left corner of your posts – is a quiet trigger of shopping opportunities.

Using Instagram product tagging allows you to capture more mobile users who are always on the go, and shopping while they do it. And as more customers realise just how easy and fun it is, the tribe of Instagram shoppers is only going to grow.

All that they need to do is click on your shoppable posts via the ‘Shop’ button that is conveniently located directly below your highlights/bio. Serious shoppers can browse through all your shoppable posts, making it really easy for you to appeal to their inner shopaholic.

Nearly 46% of people say they avoid purchasing from a brand if it means a disconnected mobile experience. Instagram product tagging takes care of that seamlessly. It sends your customers directly to your product pages – sitting snug within the Instagram app itself.

Get real with influencers

The influencer marketing industry is expected to touch $5-10 billion by 2020. And this has been largely due to Instagram. And even though most brands are gung-ho about influencer marketing, the regular folks are starting to see through the thin veneer of perfect Instagram posts, overly edited photographs and sponsored content.

Influencers are getting real now. They have come to realise that in order to retain their followers and also their brand deals, they will need to get more personal and authentic this year. You will see more influencers being open about their sponsored content, even explaining to their followers how much of their income comes from sponsored posts.

This will mean more genuine experiences for customers and far more deeper, meaningful and authentic relationships.

The trend sort of kicked off in 2018 itself, which saw the rise of a new kind of Instagram influencer focused on authenticity. The example of body positive Jenna Kutcher is perfect. She went from 166k to 700k+ followers in just a year, that too without paying for a single follower.

Watch out for IGTV

When IGTV was launched in June 2018, it was a bit of a damp squib. Which was quite surprising, as the vertical video format is easier to work with while creating content, and for users as well to watch on their phone. However, the good guys always win in the end. It was closer to the end of the year when some of the bigger brands and influencers started dabbling in IGTV. 2019, we believe, will see vertical video come into its own. More brands and public figures will publish long-form content and more users will start to check IGTV. Be ready for the shift, and start working on creating vertical videos soon.

Conclusion

Instagram has always been a visual medium. ‘Show, don’t tell’, has been the mantra all along. And now with its many new features and upgrades, Instagram will help you turn your feed into a fun and easy selling machine too.

Fyre Festival: How a marketing paradise turned out to be the world’s biggest festive disaster

Business How To’s

28 February 2019

Fyre Festival: How a marketing paradise turned out to be the world’s biggest festive disaster

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

To give you a quick recap, the Fyre Festival is one of the biggest failed events the world has seen till date. Conceptualised and established by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc. (and also of the infamous Magnises startup that gave millennials a chance to live beyond their means; why that seemed like such a great idea no one knows) and rapper Ja Rule.

The festival, scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma, promised a ‘transformative weekend’ and was promoted incessantly by influencers and socialites like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Naturally, the promotion got the attention of countless customers who, in their FOMO-driven rush, went ahead and booked tickets that were cheapest at $500 and going up to $1500. VIP packages at $12000 were astonishingly selling like hot cakes too.

So what went wrong really?

In a word, everything.

Fyre Festival goers were expecting a mind-blowing experience when they packed their bags for the weekend to Great Exuma, Bahamas. However, the reality they got was completely different. And the issues started even before they’d left American soil.

Festival goers thought they were signing up for a customised, VIP-configured flight. Instead, they were met with a crowded airport and chaotic, delayed departures.

And the nightmare got worse (as if it could) once they reached the Bahamas.

The party-goers were looking forward to spending two days in luxurious villas and eco-friendly domes. Instead, they were greeted with half-built huts to sleep in.

They were eager to be wined and dined by world-famous gourmet chefs. Instead they had to subsist on cold cheese sandwiches and salads with no dressing, served in makeshift food tents.

The promised line-up never turned up with many artists having cancelled their gig long before the festival, but none of this was conveyed to the customers until they got to the venue.

The crowds were expecting to party with friends for two weekends on pristine white beaches. What they instead did was struggle to just get a flight back home, which ended up becoming another disaster. Guests were stranded at the airport with no food or water, purportedly locked in a room.

Not exactly what the weekend deal was all about, was it?

Why did the Fyre Festival fail?

For starters, the founders really had no experience in organising an event of the scale that they had promised. What made it worse was that they didn’t live up to their commitments long before the festival had even begun.

The event was to have been organized at Norman’s Cay, an island previously owned by Pablo Escobar, a kingpin of the Medellin Cartel, but on the condition of anonymity. This clause was violated in the launch promo itself and the owners pulled out of the agreement. While McFarland was scrambling for alternate locations, the promos continued to mislead fans into believing they were to spend a glorious weekend at this exotic location.

A $4 million loan meant to be utilized for the event was lavished on arranging luxurious offices in Manhattan. And when McFarland approached organisers to help him with an event he had no clue about, he was taken aback to realize how deep his pockets would have to be. The leave-no-survivors internet abounds with rumours that McFarland is said to have Googled ‘how to rent a stage’ when he got desperate.

Comcast Ventures had planned to invest $25 million into the festival, but backed out a few days before, leaving McFarland scrounging for temporary financing, which he needed to payback within 16 days. He managed that by asking customers to transfer funds towards a smartwatch like RFID-equipped digital Fyre Band that would give them unlimited access to the festival. Advisors to the festival warned against this, citing poor Wi-Fi connection at the site, but McFarland in his trademark overpromise-and-underdeliver went ahead with the plans.

The Fyre Festival continued to fail to deliver on every count. There were no medical facilities, accommodation was below par with soaked mattresses, unfinished tents, lack of running water and poor quality food, no cellphone or internet service, and heavy handed security.

Points to ponder

Does the colossal disaster that was the Fyre Festival have any lessons for the rest of the world?

The question that plagues many investors is how McFarland successfully raised millions to fund his program that had massive loopholes in its initial investment deck itself.

How did some of the smartest investors become victims of this fraud? Do influencers play such an influential role that they can sell even the most badly-planned ideas to serious angel investors? Is being part of the ‘next big thing’ so exciting that people don’t bother to run the numbers and refrain from due diligence? Could a massive ‘vision’ have been sold purely on models in bikinis, social media celebrities and beautiful Instagram photos alone?

In hindsight, yes, there were signs, but it was all a smoke-and-mirrors trick that helped McFarland build a massive pile of cash out of nothing. Today he faces 8 lawsuits, with one of them seeking damages of $100 million. Last October McFarland pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

And Ja Rule? He was quick to post on Twitter that “it was NOT A SCAM” and “this is NOT MY FAULT”.

While dissecting the fiasco, many news organisations have drawn parallels between the festival and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The Fyre Festival will be studied for years as an example of how not to invest in a deal with a beautiful yet superficial vision.

What makes an ‘entrepreneur’ an entrepreneur?

Business How To’s

21 February 2019

What makes an ‘entrepreneur’ an entrepreneur?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Your neighbour’s kid, instead of taking on a 9-5 job, decides to open a restaurant. Would you say that is enterprising? Yes, it is. It takes courage to get off the expected, beaten path and do something different.

Does that make him an entrepreneur though? Umm, not so sure of that. There is a lot more that goes into making an entrepreneur an entrepreneur.

Is the idea or business likely to revolutionise the industry or marketplace? Your neighbour’s kid again, if the restaurant had a theme, like ‘cook with the chef’ or an idea that took it beyond food as we all know it, then perhaps he could qualify as an entrepreneur.

Yes, it can be confusing. Let’s understand this a bit more.

Meaning: what’s in a word?

The dictionary defines the word entrepreneur as ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.’ So, shouldn’t that mean every businessperson is an entrepreneur, since all people start business to make profit, and they take on financial risks?

Apparently not.

An entrepreneur is often seen, and rightly so, as an innovator – one who comes up with new ideas and new business processes. A strong set of management skills and team building abilities are a must-have to become a successful entrepreneur.

As is with many things in the English language, turns out the word ‘Entrepreneur’ is also not an original. This has been borrowed from the 18th century French word ‘Entreprende’, which meant ‘to undertake’. An interesting twist to this is, the word was mainly used to describe a ‘manager or promoter of a theatrical production’. And that’s not too far from the performance of a successful entrepreneur, now, is it?

As the world, and its languages, evolved, so did the word. Through the years, the word ‘entrepreneur’ has seen plenty of changes in its meaning, particularly in relation to business and commerce.

History: how did the term originate?

Much credit goes to Richard Cantillon, an Irishman living in France, who first used the word ‘Entrepreneur’ in his book ‘Essai sur la Nature du Commerce au General (Essay on the Nature of Commerce)’, published in 1755. He uses the term ‘entrepreneur’ to describe anyone who bought or manufactured goods at a certain cost to sell them at an unknown price. It was Cantillon’s usage that established an entrepreneur as a ‘risk-taker’.

This was just the beginning. Soon after, Jean Baptiste Say, a French economist, described an ‘Entrepreneur’ as an ‘adventurer’ or ‘one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediary between capital and labour’. He even went on to define the entrepreneur as someone who ‘shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.’

It was in 1934 that Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian American political scientist and economist, gave us a more modern definition of an entrepreneur as ‘the person who destroys the existing economic order by introducing new products and services, by creating new forms of organization, or by exploiting new raw materials.’

And finally it took US business consultant, Peter Drucker, to espouse that an ‘entrepreneur’ should only be that person who creates something new, something different. According to him, an entrepreneur ‘always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity’.

There you have it, the modern day definition of what started as a manager of a theatrical production.

Rise of the Intrapreneur

Today the word ‘entrepreneur’ is no longer limited really. It is rapidly evolving and starting to mean so many different things for so many different people. In fact, entrepreneurship has gone on to include social entrepreneurship into its for-profit-only folds. Here, companies seek to fulfil social, environment and even humanitarian obligations alongside business goals.

Unlike what you might have been led to believe, entrepreneurship is not just the domain of start-ups. As a trait and a business model, it can be found within an existing firm or large organization as well. Intrapreneurship, as it is called, is when an organisation sets aside substantial funds and even has dedicated talent that focuses on special ideas or projects. These teams are instructed to treat the project like an entrepreneur would, and successful ideas are many times ‘spun-off’ as subsidiary organizations.

Intrapreneurs have all the resources and capital of the firm at their disposal and the environment to think like entrepreneurs, without the typical risks that come with the territory.

Conclusion

Do not confuse the term ‘entrepreneur’ with a ‘small business’ or even used it interchangeably. While it is a fact that most entrepreneurial ventures start out as small businesses, the converse is not strictly true – not all small businesses have an entrepreneurial streak. Many consist only of the owner, or a few employees at best, and most of them might offer an existing product or service. They do not aim at growth or are not looking to change the market.

Entrepreneurial ventures, on the other hand, offer an innovative product or service, and the entrepreneur has plans to scale up by adding employees, looking at international markets, etc. This is made possible through venture capital and angel investments. Successful entrepreneurs must have the ability to steer a business in the right direction through planning, by adapting to changing environments and by building on their own strengths and weakness.