Interview with Jeff Zelaya: Techniques to Enhance Your Speaking and Become a Great Presenter

 About Jeff: 

Jeff Zelaya is a leading social selling and LinkedIn expert. He’s a professional public speaker, an entrepreneur and the Head of Sales at the venture backed startup: Triblio. Jeff, his wife Emma and his son Elijah currently reside in the Washington D.C. area. You can follow Jeff’s blog at and learn about Triblio at


Tell me a little about your background.

I started public speaking in college. I was majoring in Marketing and saw how social media was impacting the way marketers did their job. I made it my personal mission to find out more about how social media impacts sales and how to use it to create relationships with people, especially with LinkedIN.

I became well versed with social media, and used LinkedIn to secure multiple job offers.  After college, I was invited back by my professors to teach more on the topic, as well as to talk about how businesses use social media to reach business goals. Currently, I work for Triblio, a startup that’s developing a tool for content marketers.  I am the Head of Sales and responsible for generating new business. 


Why did you decide to work in this field?

Throughout my experience in college, I had 7 internships. I wanted to learn what I liked and found that I enjoyed sales. Previously, I had experience working with the government, but I saw a better fit in the sales profession because I really liked how you can better control your destiny and paycheck. With a career in sales you can work hard, work smart, provide good service and can have all those attributes reflected in your compensation. I also love closing deals and getting to talk to people throughout the day.


What are the biggest problems you see with public speaking? How can people take their speech to the next level?

Speaking has changed over time, and social media has become a big part of that change. Today, people are on their phones, tablets, and mobile devices while people are speaking. We used to not be distracted, but now we have to be really darn compelling to engage an audience. But, we also have to realize that even if audiences are looking at their mobile device, they are also paying attention. They are tweeting, pushing out your message and spreading word about your presentation via social media. In fact, whenever I speak, I encourage people to be on their mobile devices. I actually put Tweetable moments into my speech. I leverage my audience’s social media presence to help spread my message and to pass on the value that they’re getting live, to their network. 


As a professional speaker, what tips do you have for people to overcome presentation anxiety?

Practice. Take every opportunity you have to get in front of a group and present. We all have fear and anxiety in college, and then we realized that everyone has that fear. Use the fear to propel you forward. Volunteer, raise your hand, and take opportunities to practice. You may not be getting paid originally, but you should do it because you want to get better and potentially reach the point where you are getting paid for your speeches.

Secondly, be prepared. Know your material and you will feel more ready. You will still feel anxiety, but that anxiety will be channeled into a great delivery instead of a bad performance.


Do you include visual aids when you speak to enhance your presentation?

Yes, my slides contain little to no words. I focus on the story and the words in my message. Visual aids and pictures help complement my story. I think that is a better way of presenting, instead of having all facts on a slide and the audience being distracted by too much text.


What technology channels or resources do you use to amplify your reach as a speaker?

Twitter is my main channel. I create tweetable moments in my speech that I schedule ahead of time, so my twitter account will be automatically posting message while I am speaking. Audience members can retweet these moments, and I am able to extend my brand and message to my audience’s twitter network. Add a hashtag to your presentation so people can tweet their thoughts using that hashtag. By doing this, people can go back and see what people tweeted about the presentation and network among each other.

Finally, record every speech that you do, even if its on an iPhone, and then post a video of that presentation. You can post on youtube, get it transcribed, etc. This is great marketing for your speaker brand and will be seen on search engines. Plus, people can see a video and example of what you do, which also helps to build your brand as you develop your career you can consider hiring a professional to record and edit your video.


What advice can you offer our readers – presenters, designers, or public speakers?

Have a good personal brand and be visible online. Make sure you have a good domain, your brand is consistent throughout different platforms and that you are active. Speak and build your audience through your platforms. You don’t need all of them when you start, you can always add more networks as you grow. Think about what you want to be known and recognized for, then, build your brand by using social media, blogging, etc. Also, regularly Google your name to check on your personal brand and how it appears to people searching your name.  

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