Catch your match

Muham­mad Yusuf has the de­tails on an or­gan­i­sa­tion which helps you ind bright speak­ers for the right oc­ca­sions

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - CONTENTS | FOCUS -

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.

Saana Az­zam

MENA Speak­ers hosts many pres­ti­gious events.

Raja Al Gurg, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, speak­ing at a MENA Speak­ers event.

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