You seem to have effortlessly transitioned across career roles. What specific inflection points in your journey have given you the maximum learning?
Today, people in the workforce are likely to change their career at least 5 times. If you assume you have limited time to experience what Planet Earth gives you, it is best that you give yourself a chance to enjoy it as much as possible. Starting as a charted tax accountant with a main goal to earn money, I soon realized that I was not fully aligned with that job.
An advertisement in the Straits Times in Singapore that read on Change you Career and become a Journalist, brought about a big change for me. It took some amount of bravery to give up the years of studying numbers. Events took over and the move from being a journalist to a TV presenter and ESPN sports presenter was super exciting.
The more we enjoy what we do, we tend to find our ways to be able to reach the appropriate sweet spot. In this journey, there will be course corrections that are required to help us find meaning.
Sports is an inspiration to learn from. With prominence you tend to tread on dangerous ground at times, but I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who exuded tremendous humility. I admired them and aimed to have that humility, and this made me stand out as an individual.
When I moved to ESPN, I started to meet people who were my heroes – Sports Stars. I remember on Sports Center in India, I presented with Sunil Gavaskar, Geoffrey Boycott, Wasim Akram and Ravi Shastri. This was a big thrill for me. The old Steve would have made a big deal out of it. But that does not make you popular. I learnt from them how to be more chill about their status – humility in their position.
When you showcase professionalism, sports stars begin to respect you as a serious journalist and not treat you as a fan. The humility I saw in others, I tried to attain for myself.
QUOTE IN FOCUS
When humility stands on the shoulders of great people, that is when they appear even taller. When you observe humility subsuming ego, that is when you are motivated to become humble yourself.
COVID seems to have forced all of us to become presenters in front of the camera. Given your experience facing the camera as a sports anchor, what are your tips/guidance for us to become better presenters?
It is important to first accept that each one of us is different and possess different abilities. Today each one of us must be a TV presenter. Not everyone is good in that role, yet we must fulfil it. One aspect that all of us can focus on is having clarity and enthusiasm.
Being clear while speaking is a skill that requires preparation, confidence and control. Scrambling from one meeting to another obviously does not aide clarity.
It is important to note that any PowerPoint deck should only enhance what the presenter says, it is the presenter who is important.
Another way to give subliminal signals is by having enthusiasm and emphasizing it with energy and body language
It is important to provide positive strokes through facial expressions and hand gestures in your online meetings. In the end it is about being authentic to who you are that makes people connect to you and the subject matter.
Vast majority of us are not satisfied with our own body.
Being smart, neat, approachable, and presentable with a smile are the fundamentals of good grooming. When we look at ourselves in a mirror, we are seeing a reverse version of ourselves. But in a camera, we are viewing our true selves. This can be shocking for us, but everyone around has seen this before and they are aware of our appearance. We just need to become comfortable and understand the fact that we are not presenting to ourselves but to others around us.
QUESTION IN FOCUS
Talking about your experience as a coach, how do people know when to engage a coach?
The idea of having a second person who has a different perspective can be immensely valuable. For example, if a boss in a big organization is not great at some aspects, it will be difficult for his team-members to communicate that to him/her. On the other hand, if you get an external coach who is empathetic and friendly to give an outside-in perspective, there is a much greater chance for the boss to change.
In this process, it is important to note that a coach-coachee relationship is about Trust and it is imperative to understand the common ground first before starting the coaching journey.
One engagement that I remember was coaching a Latvian Regional Head of an organization based out of Singapore. Though he was good at management and numbers, his HR team felt that his communication did not aid his executive presence. On an experimental basis, I sent him to a boutique gym where I wanted him to become aware of his fatigued body when he is saying something. At each workout station in the gym, I recorded his answers to my impromptu questions. The result was transformative.
Sometimes the answer to every question or problem does not lie in a book. We need to think and find a way to come up with unique solutions.
In your experience as a business presentation coach, what is your take on leaders usage of humour?
Considering that everyone must now be a presenter, humour can be risky. Comedians are good at making people laugh but not all of us are comedians. The moment we say, “Let me tell you a joke.”, we are setting ourselves to a big dramatic finish. If we have the capability to make people laugh then we must leverage that talent, otherwise it is best to smile, have buoyancy and be approachable that will eventually amuse people and get them to reflect in the right manner.
This is as good as making people laugh.
Personal Branding and Business Presentation Expert/Coach
Steve Dawson helps business people share data and innovations with an audience. Whether you’re presenting in a boardroom, ballroom, on social media or as an industry expert on television, Steve works with you to get your message both understood and embraced.
Most of us will recognize Steve Dawson, if we follow football in ESPN Star Sports (now Fox Sports). He presents live football for the channel from Europe and Asia. In addition, Steve also wears three interesting hats that add to his personality – A Business Presentation Coach, Author of two sports biographies and a Chartered Tax Consultant.
Steve talked to GCL about his experiences and learnings from Sport Superstars. He also shares some specific tips and tricks for successful online presentations and building your executive presence.
Steve, in your coaching practice we see you use the word “GulAsahi”. Tell us about how it reflects you, and how it fits into your coaching space?
Steve: GulAsahi is a word born of an accidental synergy in connecting culture with my interest in science fiction.
The word was formulated combining “Gul” which means commander in the Star Trek Universe (Cardassian Language ) and Japanese word “Asahi” – which means the first dawn of daylight.
In simple terms, the combination of these words means seizing and gaining command of the day. Seizing the day helps us take control of life to experience it in a Positive and Planned manner. This has become my personal and work mantra.