Last week I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Sihle Tshabalala at the Durban Entrepreneurs Club held at the Durban Country Club.
Sihle, for those who don’t know of him, is an ex-offender, and spent about a decade in jail, part of which, a member of the infamous 26s gang. It was during his sentence that he made the decision to turn his life around.
Subsequently, he’s become an entrepreneur and digital coder with three coding languages under his belt. In addition, he speaks around the world sharing his story. I have to say that his talk has left such an indelible impression on me.
Premised on his talk, I identified three core branding lessons I took to heart from Sihle’s story, and thought I should share them with you:
1. Storytelling – In my experience, the best talks are personal, relatable and are underpinned by a story. Sihle did just that. Instead of using the typical PowerPoint presentation, Sihle showcased photos of his family, community, his prison initiatives and his work now. The visuals complemented his story rather than depending on them. The key lesson here is to develop the ability to tell a story as people engage more effectively with this style of delivery.
2. Message – Your message is what you want to say to your intended audience. To resonate, you need to ensure its concise and memorable. Sihle’s message was premised on the power of mindset. This theme was reiterated throughout his talk. As a consequence of his single minded message, the audience understood and remembered it. The key lesson here is that less is really more.
3. Authenticity – Authenticity, in my view, refers to being true to oneself and sincere in every aspect of life. Sihle was himself, no airs or graces. While he spoke to everyone, it felt like you were the only person in the room. That’s a rare skill in my opinion. The key lesson here is to be yourself. People respect that.
A special thanks to Grant Gavin – Entrepreneur, Speaker, and founder of Durban Entrepreneur’s Club and PR specialist Glenda Thompson Communications – Get.U.Noticed for organising the event.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Sihle’s talks, I would highly recommend it!