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Diana Vitan is a 32 year-old Romanian public speaker and the owner of Diana Vitan Consulting & Training, a company specializing in personal and business development programs. At the end of 2012, she became the first woman to win the Best Public Speaker Award in Romania, running against an all-men competition made up of experienced speakers.
Although always on a tight schedule, she managed to squeeze in a little time to talk to Toonari Post about her experience and key moments in becoming Romania’s top public speaker.
Toonari Post (TP): How would you describe public speaking?
Diana Vitan (DV): Like any other aspect of life, I can really say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The art of speaking in public is a general notion, which can translate either into a job, a necessity or a terrible fright – it mainly depends on who you ask. For me it has definitely been a passion turned into a job. I consider public speaking to be the art of delivering a message in the most beautiful, clean and appealing way.
TP: How is this profession evolving nowadays?
DV: In the 21st Century, the era of technology and speed, communication has new meaning, new form and new priorities. People feel more comfortable communicating through email, chatting or socializing online, so one might think that live interaction is more and more scarce.
However, for public speaking, this is actually a step forward. You see, my grandfather taught me that it is not the new that is to blame for the loss of the traditional, but the lack of imagination and persuasion in adapting the traditional to the new. I firmly believe that this century is the time for strong speeches, for concentrated communication, that combines the technical and the emotional in the most efficient way.
You have to be better, more concise and more connected in order to deliver the best message. The best people are those that keep reinventing themselves.
TP: Is there a difference between Europe and the U.S., regarding your area of expertise?
DV: Let me ask you a question in return: Have you noticed the difference between the Academy Awards and the Cannes Festival? The U.S., the land of motivation and positive messages vs. Europe, the Old Continent of theatrical art and artistic detail? Each style has its own pulse and, although I really do appreciate the elegance and reasoning of the European speech, I’ve nurtured myself with American motivational literature and American public speaking role-models.
Lately, I’ve rejoiced at seeing Europe make more and more room for the wave of personal development initiative, that needed to successfully complete the public speaking family – and this trend has swept Romania as well! Here, the transition from sales training, to business coaching, to life coaching, and finally to personal development has happened in a natural and beautiful way.
The Romanian audience is becoming more and more receptive to personal as well as business development through guidance (events, books, consultants) – and this has translated into a market demand and a success story at the same time.
TP: What does your audience look like?
DV: I get to talk in front of students, young entrepreneurs, corporate players, freelancers, people in need of personal and professional development – people who want more.
TP: More of what?
DV: More clear objectives, this before anything else! Because if you start with a wrong “why,” i.e. a wrong motivation, you end up setting wrong objectives that you can either not reach – and that’s when you become frustrated – or reach only to find yourself dissatisfied and constantly searching for more.
TP: How do you work with your audience?
DV: You start to touch people’s lives the moment you help them discover two magical buttons: : “potential” and “passion” – this is where it all begins. I’ve noticed something strange: While people search for passion, they forget to live passionately. How can that be? Most people are searching for their area of genius, of excellence, for their way. Unhappy for not getting there soon enough, they become dissatisfied and frustrated.
When I ask them “What is your passion?” I can see it in the eyes of many that they’re confused and sometimes downright angry for not having found it – and I ask them this: “How can you discover your great passion if you’re not doing everything you do with great passion?” If you’re a telephone switch operator – be the best telephone switch operator in the world and you’re not going to be stuck there for much longer.
TP: You’re the first woman to win the Best Public Speaker Award in Romania!
DV: This is true! But this is also the first Romanian contest of its kind, organized at a national level within the Business Days circuit of events by Laszlo Pacso, the president of the Online Communication Solution Developers Association (ADESCO). There were more than one hundred Romanian speakers talking in front of more than one thousand participants in a two-day event that toured the major cities in the country.
The feedback from the public helped trim the number of the speakers to a top fifteen, and these top speeches were posted on YouTube, where a voting poll decided the winners. I came up on top after the online poll, but I don’t believe that it necessarily means I am the absolute best speaker. I have a lot of respect for all the other speakers, some of whom have a lot more experience than me.
The best speaker is the one that resonates with a specific audience and the one that adapts the fastest and in the best way. I intend to continuously work and improve myself for the people that choose the hear me.
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Image Courtesy : Diana Vitan