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How to use Communication Skills to Enhance your Personal Branding

How to use Communication Skills to Enhance your Personal Branding

Every personal brand has a story, and its potency lies in how compellingly it’s narrated. In today’s episode of The Zista Podcast, we’re joined by Dan Ram, a voice that has resonated on TEDx stages five times and has been shaped by a myriad of experiences from 10 countries. 

In this episode, we venture into the essence of communication in personal branding, its role in cultivating trust, and its impact in resonating with the right audience. 

Moreover, for those seeking inspiration, Dan delves into his own passion for public speaking and shares the techniques he’s fine-tuned over the years. 

There’s immense value waiting to be unlocked; all geared to refine your personal branding strategy. So, dive into this episode and harness the full potential of your personal brand.

In the intricate landscape of personal branding, the art of communication remains an unmatched tool. 

We are joined by our guest on today’s episode of the Zista Podcast, Dan Ram. With five TEDx talks under his belt and experiences spanning 10 countries, from the halls of Yale and Trinity College to roles in groundbreaking startups and the United Nations, Dan’s journey epitomizes the transformative power of effective communication. 

As we navigate today’s discussion, we’ll uncover why effective communication acts as the backbone of standout personal branding. Recognize how seamlessly articulating our brand essence can lead to authentic connections, fostering trust and credibility with your target audience. And for those eager to capture the audience’s heart, Dan shares insights from his own voyage into the world of public speaking, revealing invaluable skills and strategies he’s embraced over the years.

So, whether you’re looking to refine your communication prowess, elevate your personal brand, or simply get inspired by a global communicator’s journey, this episode is for you. Join us in this enlightening discourse and let your personal brand flourish!




  • Communication is more than just spoken words. Facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues play a vital role.
  • Recognizing that you may have different target audiences with varying interests is crucial. Tailoring your message to each group ensures you resonate with them effectively. Prioritize by deciding on the primary audience to maximize impact.
  • Direct interaction, especially eye contact, establishes a sense of familiarity and trust. Presence and authenticity are key. The closer and more genuine the interaction, the stronger the bond is established.
  • Drawing inspiration from diverse sources – beyond one’s immediate profession – can provide new perspectives and methods of communication.
  • Taking small steps towards a larger goal is often more effective than waiting for the perfect moment. Incremental progress, with patience and persistence, can lead to mastery.



Q1. What are communication skills, and how do they play a crucial role in enhancing personal branding?

A: According to Dan, while most people understand communication skills primarily as verbal interactions – the usage of words and sounds – there’s a broader dimension to it. Communication is multifaceted; it encompasses facial expressions, body movements, and the myriad nuances that come without spoken words. Although statistics like “80% of communication is nonverbal” or “90%” are speculative, what’s undeniable is that non-verbal communication is as critical, if not more, than verbal discourse. This broader interpretation of communication is pivotal for personal branding. To illustrate, Dan cites Mr. Bean, a globally revered character. Despite his minimal use of words, his humor, body language, and facial expressions resonate universally, exemplifying the power and reach of comprehensive communication.

Q2. How can an individual pinpoint and effectively convey their message to the right target audience?

A: Dan candidly admits to grappling with this dilemma. He elaborates that there are three distinct audiences he encounters:

  1. The Audience Attracted to Him: A significant portion of men aged between 12 and 35 find his content appealing. This is because he discusses business development, global travel, finance, communication, and more. These topics resonate with this demographic’s aspirations. However, while they avidly consume his free content, they are not the segment that purchases his courses or workshops.
  2. The Audience He Sells To: Corporates hosting tech conferences are the primary audience that engage with him financially. They value his talent in articulating ideas, narrating compelling stories, and energizing a stage. This audience views his offerings as an investment, aligning with their corporate objectives.
  3. The Audience He Aspires to Impact: This group aligns with his personal mission of “start now, start simple.” Dan seeks to inspire budding entrepreneurs, future innovators, and emerging leaders. He envisions himself as a mentor and supporter, fueling these individuals to make significant changes in the world. His goal is to stand alongside them, guiding, funding, and empowering them to manifest a better future.

Dan underscores that while these audiences overlap, their motivations differ. Communicating distinct messages tailored to each group is a challenge he’s refining. His pivotal advice? Decide on one primary audience. For anyone wishing to make a mark, focus is essential. Whether it’s the group that’s organically drawn to you, the one that boosts your financial goals, or the audience that fulfills a personal mission, the key is to select one niche and channel efforts in that direction.

Q3. How can individuals foster trust and establish credibility with their followers or audience?
A: Dan emphasizes the profound impact of eye contact, describing eyes as “windows to the soul.” He believes that the intimate nature of social media platforms, which allow us to seemingly connect face-to-face, has contributed to its massive success. Drawing an example, Dan illustrates that while celebrities like footballers, cricket players, or Bollywood stars typically appear distant on a cinema or TV screen, social media offers a closer, more personal interaction. Fans can directly look into the eyes of their idols, fostering a sense of familiarity and connection.

To build trust and credibility, Dan offers two key strategies:

  1. Shorten the Gap: It’s essential to be present and accessible. For instance, there’s a perceptible difference between addressing someone from a room’s corner and having a direct conversation with them, even if through a screen. While technology offers options like changing backgrounds or creating immersive metaverses, these can sometimes detract from the genuine connection. The goal should be to minimize the perceived distance with your audience.
  2. Authenticity: Authenticity remains paramount. People possess an innate ability to discern pretense. Hence, it’s crucial to be genuine, own your narrative, and avoid presenting a contrived version of oneself. While social media might be the platform where one learns or displays this authenticity, it’s vital to be consistent and genuine in real life too. After all, true credibility arises when one’s online persona seamlessly aligns with their offline self.

Q4. What strategies can individuals adopt to continuously evolve and refine their communication skills?

A: Dan provides several insightful suggestions for those looking to hone their communication capabilities:

  1. Diversify Your Inspiration Sources: Dan recommends not just sticking to the usual role models within one’s immediate profession or area of interest. Instead, one should “go wide” in seeking inspiration. Drawing from his experience as an anchor and MC Moderator, he found value in observing magicians, as they excel in storytelling on stage. He also watches late-night comedians who masterfully engage and warm up diverse audiences using humor. Musicians, with their ability to narrate tales through sound, and pastors, who reintroduce age-old wisdom from the Bible to their congregations weekly, also offer unique lessons in communication. To amplify this point, Dan explains that a politician shouldn’t only tune into their party’s views but should listen to diverse opinions to be more informed and effective. Similarly, an engineer might possess exemplary math skills, but without teamwork and communication, those skills could go underutilized. Thus, the key is to broaden one’s horizons and seek knowledge and inspiration from various sources.
  2. Practical Application is Essential: While acquiring knowledge through books, podcasts, or videos is beneficial, Dan stresses the importance of practical application. You truly grasp a concept only when you try and embody it. For instance, if Dan wants to experiment with a new game format to engage an audience or introduce a fresh interview style, he might first test it in a smaller setting, like a school, before presenting it to a larger crowd. Finding a safe space, be it among friends, family, or community members, to test new methods and get feedback can be instrumental in refining one’s skills. These foundational experiences, even if not grand, help in laying a robust foundation for future endeavors.
  3. Stay Alert and Adaptive: In a world characterized by rapid changes and evolving dynamics, it’s crucial to stay vigilant. Dan emphasizes that irrespective of age, success level, or past achievements, one should never become complacent. Continual growth and learning are paramount. Keep your eyes open, stay curious, and embrace new experiences and challenges with zeal.

Q5. How did Dan’s journey shape his passion for public speaking, and what essential techniques did he embrace for effective communication?

A: Dan’s passion for public speaking emerged from an unexpected place – his personal challenges. Despite the confident speaker he is today, Dan recalls his earlier years marked by introversion and shyness. Being the son of an Indian diplomat, he often felt distinct, perceiving himself as different in terms of looks, behavior, and even cultural nuances. This led to a significant hurdle in his young life: even when he knew the answers in class, the weight of stage fright, coupled with anxiety about being judged, kept him silent.

However, Dan’s story is a testament to transformation. He underscores that his current prowess in public speaking isn’t a reflection of natural talent but the culmination of a journey that involved facing and overcoming deeply-rooted fears. It’s essential, he notes, to recognize that many accomplished individuals have an origin story marked by struggles, which they’ve learned and grown from.

His experience and transformation are the pillars of his coaching approach today. Believing in the interconnectedness of confidence, assertion, attention retention, and overall communication, Dan now helps others navigate their communication challenges. He advocates for his guiding principle, “start now, start simple.” This mantra highlights the importance of incremental progress, urging individuals to take small daily steps – be it through a podcast, a course, or a workshop – towards conquering their fears. Patience and persistence, according to Dan, are key. Regardless of one’s starting point, with dedication, everyone has the potential to evolve and master the art of communication.

Podcast Host: Amit Ahuja, Associate Director, Communications & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Guest: Dan Ram, Global Event MC & Moderator, 6x TEDx Speaker
Video & Audio Editing: Raj Soni, Communications Associate, Zista Education
Podcast Manager: Russel Aldridge, Sr. Manager, Creative & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Transcript: Tanya Kakka, Freelance Copywriter