Catch your match
Muhammad Yusuf has the details on an organisation which helps you ind bright speakers for the right occasions
Saana Azzam, founder of MENA Speakers (http:// www.menaspeakers.com/ proile/) and KnoWho Market (https://www. knowhomarket. com/), says her life mission and purpose is to create “an improved state of the world through dialogue”.
“Know someone who can speak about….is the start of a sentence frequently heard when corporations are looking for experts and speakers”, she says. “We are the leading platform for matchmaking speakers and knowledge seekers for events, conferences, workshops and even on an individual basis. We consider ourselves the ultimate knowledge-trading platform in the Middle East”.
She honed her expertise in public speaking partly on her own and partly by having been trained by an American and Austrian training house and media experts from the CNBC and MBC, among others.
Her speaking engagements have covered audience sizes up to 1,000 people, across
Europe and the Middle East. Some of her biggest clients are Ericsson, Spotify, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, RTA and Del Monte. She has also worked in official functions in front of royalty, dignitaries and similar others.
KnoWho Market helps you find work as a speaker (no experience required) - and get paid for it too. It has access to 1,000+ speakers in any field, and you can choose speakers based on budget, language and experience, connect with global speakers in 100+ industries in five minutes, for free, at a click.
You find not only public speakers at KnoWho Market, but also specialised trainers, consultants and coaches. Now you KnoWho to approach, without having to ask people “know someone who can speak about…”
Azzam shares her insights with Time Out
* DO YOU THINK THE MENA REGION HAS A DEFICIT OF GOOD SPEAKERS?
No, there are many excellent speakers who are thought-leaders and experts in their field. The growth opportunity is around the final branding and messaging of these speakers’ messages.
* DOES MENA SPEAKERS HOST ONLY ENGLISH LANGUAGE SPEAKERS?
We are proud to say that we are the biggest Arabic speaker agency in the world! We warmly welcome and encourage more Arabs to pursue this career path and help us in empowering the Arab world with their knowledge.
We represent a lot of excellent Arab speakers from the Gulf and Emirates, and we have had the distinct pleasure of sending them on speaking engagements tours in Europe and Asia. It is a great way to showcase role models from the Arab world.
* HOW DO YOU DISCOVER YOUR SPEAKERS?
On the stage, on social media, and whenever we hear a great story. We have our criteria and we guide aspiring speakers to upskill themselves and their brand, to be at parity with professional speakers.
* CAN MENA SPEAKERS BE CONSIDERED A KIND OF FINISHING SCHOOL, SINCE IT ALSO TRAINS PEOPLE TO BE GOOD SPEAKERS?
Our public speaking coaching is bespoke and catered to the individual. When I got trained in public speaking, it was apparent that old research wanted the speakers to be put in a mould.
What we have learnt over the years is that the primary way for you to be a memorable speaker is by being truly yourself. So the coaching is about you finding your own style and voice and then taking that to the stage.
This is why we stay up to date on research around the voice, body language, communication and more and have a data driven approach to public speaking, coupled with creating our own techniques to help you find your voice.
* FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE, CAN YOU TELL US HOW SPEAKING IS LINKED TO MOTIVATION?
Research backs this up: speaking is at a core of motivation and this comes from our own self-talk which is widely influenced from the knowledge we acquired.
* WHAT ARE THE EXTRA BENEFITS IN LISTENING TO A SPEAKER DIRECTLY THAN HEARING HIM ON AUDIO OR VIDEO?
Our modes of learning differ, but our retention rate of information increases when we engage with the content. That can be done by simply agreeing and responding to questions, talking to a speaker, asking questions, and so on.
We remember better when we involve more of our senses. Furthermore, it is really enjoyable to share a breakthrough moment with fellow audience members.
Our civilisation enjoys congregating and going to our holy places or meeting places to discuss, and there is something incredible close to our human needs that arise from the meeting of minds.
* EVEN THOUGH A SPEAKER IS WORLD CLASS, AN ACCENT MAY MAKE HIM INCOMPREHENSIBLE. HOW DOES MENA SPEAKERS DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM?
We have worked with men and women who have a very high pitch and in business this tends to signal low authority. When we have worked on the voice, it has impacted careers positively.
We have even seen cases where nerves completely take over and people freeze when it is time for them to speak - and the list goes on.
Accents per se tend to add a melody and tone to speech, which is more interesting than monotony. However, proper articulation and “mouth gym” exercises will support in strengthening one’s speech.
For every situation there is a suitable solution and we are very committed to achieve great results for individuals committed to their personal development.
A MENA Speakers event.
MENA Speakers hosts many prestigious events.
Raja Al Gurg, Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, speaking at a MENA Speakers event.