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Be a Podcast Guest – how to find opportunities to speak

Be a Podcast Guest – how to find opportunities to speak

Being a guest on a podcast or a radio show is a fabulous way to get your ideas in front of more people and to offer value in your area of expertise.

Podcast guesting is an effective way to build your brand and credibility, plus it can be a lot of fun. 

Being a guest on a podcast is rewarding and with time and patience you can build up a profile as a desirable guest, but it takes time to build up relationships.

Having an outreach process can help you save time as well as find the best fit for you. It is also strongly recommended that you have a streamlined process for being booked as a guest, this can include scheduling tools, links to guest info and images and follow up processes. 

So what’s all the fuss about podcasts? 

According to Podcast Insights there are currently over 2,000,000 shows, and as of April 2021, there are 48 million episodes. 

That’s a lot of opportunities! And there really is a podcast for everyone – whether you are a listener or a potential guest. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much choice, so avoid a stab in the dark approach, and make a plan so you have the best chance to get on the right shows. Your aim is for a seamless experience,  a win:win opportunity and overall fun and positive experience. 

I started my podcast earlier this year. My first episode of Business Chat launched in February and I am now up to episode 22. It may not sound like a lot, but podcasting is a slow and steady journey. 

Hosting my own podcast was on my ‘nice to have’ list for quite some time, and what held me back from getting started, was simply that the ‘why?’ was not strong enough. I wasn’t clear about the purpose of having a podcast (and justifying the additional work that came with it) and how having a podcast aligned with my overall business goals.

So, I resisted the urge to jump in and waited until some clarity came to me. I also had several discussions with business mentors and podcasters to find out what exactly is involved. 

One thing I did before having my own podcast was to be a guest on a podcast at least once per month, so my suggestion of having an outreach process to help you find the ideal show is tried and tested. 

Why be a guest on a podcast?

  1. You have the opportunity to add value to another audience, and share your knowledge whilst showcasing your area of expertise.

As a podcast guest you are building your credibility as a known and trusted expert.

  1. Podcasters do their best to make sure their show is successful. No one wants to be another podfade statistic. So your content is likely to be heavily promoted by the podcast host. They will do their best to highlight your episode so it’s a great opportunity for you to gain exposure to a different/broader listener base. Ideally, the podcast listeners are likely to be your ideal clients too. 
  1. You may get calls and leads leading to collaborations, additional guest opportunities and ultimately paid work. 

What to look for when searching for podcast guest opportunities 

With such a large volume of podcasts out there, how do you choose which ones may be a fit? 

I suggest you begin by identifying what podcast shows or hosts your ideal clients may be listening to. For example, if you are an expert speaker on finance and investing, then head to that category on your favourite podcast provider and listen to a few episodes to get a feel for the style. Bookmark the ones you like, or feel are a good fit (or add to favorites) and this is the beginning of your outreach list. 

Note the style of podcast too, as there is not much point reaching out to a podcast host who only has solo episodes.  Many podcasters have guest episodes and some do a mix of solo and guest interviews. 

Check out any star ratings and written reviews the podcast has as well as the number of episodes and the length of time the podcast has been online. Quality and consistency is key. A podcast host who publishes sporadically with an inconsistent approach may not be the right fit for you as they may not have a stable audience.  

When you listen to some episode, what do you feel?

Can you see yourself sitting opposite that person having a coffee and a chat (this is likely to be a virtual call but still good to think of it like a quality coffee conversation). You can only get a good vibe happening if you feel a connection to the other person. 

What about the quality? 

There is no right or wrong way, it is personal preference. I have listened to podcasts where the host has a mobile phone going off, cars, planes and pets in the background and generally poor quality audio. 

Does this distract from the message if the content is awesome? That is up to you! Personally, I am not interested in listening to or appearing on any podcast without quality audio. But for some of you, that might make it feel more authentic.   You need to feel aligned with the type of podcast before approaching them.  

What type of questions does the host ask guests? 

Does it sound more like a monologue, or is it a friendly, easy to listen to conversation? Do the questions sound prepared or read aloud, or is it a more organic style? I personally prefer the latter as I think it makes for better conversation. 

There are plenty of podcast booking platforms out there, some paid and some with free plans. I recently tried MatchMaker FM and it’s a very active platform. In fact, the first week I was bombarded with emails for guests who wanted to be on my podcast. 

With a planned approach to getting booked on podcasts, you will soon be a regular guest speaker on podcasts.   

In the next part of this blog series, I am going to outline an outreach strategy that will help your plan and approach to guest speaking and most importantly to help you ‘be delightful to work with’.

If you would like to do more guest speaking on podcasts or radio, but you lack confidence in public speaking, you can sign up to my newsletter list where I share lots of tips and tricks for public speaking and receive my new e-book “How to build your confidence and overcome nervousness”.

Check out my recent post on microphone tips for guest podcasting. 


About Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my new E-book How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

How to become a public speaker

How to become a public speaker

As a professional speaker and public speaking coach, how to become a public speaker is one of the most common questions I am asked. Here is one exercise you can do to help you start with the basics.

My answer is, well it depends. It depends on what your overall objective is in becoming a public speaker. 

Let’s start with Why

Purpose drives action. Before you consider the what, let’s look at the why. Here are some questions for you to ponder as you think about why you want to become a public speaker.

  • Would you like to use speaking as a medium to boost your sales?
  • Would you like to speak in public to build your network and professional relationships?
  • Would you like to inspire others with a message that they want to hear?
  • Maybe you have a TEDx talk on your bucket list, with a single idea that you’re burning to tell. 
  • You are a purpose-driven leader with a desire to leave a legacy, and speaking is a way of getting a message across one to many. 

You may have a desire to do all of the above, or you may begin in one direction and over time, your public speaking will develop and evolve. 

Once you have considered the reasons why you want to become a public speaker, the next step is to determine what you are going to speak about – your speaking topic. 

When I began my public speaking journey eleven years ago, I knew that I wanted to speak, despite feeling terrified at the thought of standing in front of an audience. And I also knew that I would need to dedicate time and resources into becoming very comfortable speaking to an audience, as well as mastering the craft of speaking.

But at the time I didn’t have a strategy. I hadn’t thought about public speaking as a business. I was in the hobbyist mindset.  I went about learning the basics of public speaking, but I wasn’t clear about my speaking topic and I didn’t really know who I was going to speak with, even though by this time I no longer feared having people in the seats. 

I certainly hadn’t considered the most important question of who would be willing to pay me to be a guest speaker? I thought I would figure it out as I went along, and I did. 

Knowing what I know now, I could have shaved off years of experimentation and saved time and money by investing in the right skills and the right people, to help me at the right time. If you are ready to explore becoming a professional speaker, you may be interested in one on one coaching. It’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you. Let’s make a time to chat about how I can help you.

How to decide on your topic as a public speaker 

You can speak about anything you want, but if you want to get booked and paid as a public speaker, then getting clarity on your topic is essential.  

My advice to anyone who would like to get started, is to think about a broad topic you would like to speak about, and then narrow that topic to a single focus. 

Begin by doing some market research into what topics are hot and relevant now, as well as the topics that are likely to be evergreen. 

There is no point speaking about a topic that won’t get you a booking if you want to get paid to speak.

What do you love to do? 

What do you love to do? Speak about that! This is an ideal place for a beginner.

What is something that you really enjoy doing that you could speak about? Maybe a skill or craft, a sport, your travel adventures, or possibly some adversity or stories. 

When you speak about a topic that you love your energy and enthusiasm will shine through.

This is where most hobby speakers start, and then many stay stuck playing in this space even though they want guest speaker bookings and to move from free speaking to paid speaking opportunities. 

Truth Bomb!

No one cares about your story, until they care about how your story helps them.

Choosing a speaking topic that you enjoy is ideal when you want to be a volunteer speaking for free to clubs, associations and peers. If you want to get paid as a public speaker, read on. 

If you are serious about making a career out of being a public speaker, this article about becoming a professional speaker will help you.   

What is it that you know? 

What’s your area of expertise? Do you have skills, qualifications or certifications, or perhaps awards and accolades in a particular industry? 

When you combine speaking about what you love with speaking with what you know, then your credibility is higher and you get ahead faster. You may consider guest speaking opportunities that are a fit with your brand and are unpaid. 

Like anyone getting started it is likely you will be speaking for free until you are confident and ready to ask for a fee.  

Still not sure on your speaking topic? 

Speak on a topic you have earned the right to speak about.

What topic will the market pay for? 

If you aspire to getting paid to speak or even becoming a full time professional speaker, earning as much as a C-suite executive, then you must be very clear on what the market is paying for. 

Speaking is a business, and the role of a speaker is to not only be skilled in the areas of platform delivery and crafting a message, but also highly skilled in sales and marketing, branding and positioning, and relationship building. 

Fundamental to your success as a public speaker, is the commitment to investing time and energy in finding and working with people who can help you. 

Is working with a speaker coach right for you? 

If you are ready to work on your speaking business as well as your speaking craft, then I recommend that you consider finding a skilled and experienced public speaking coach who can help you navigate the process. 

Getting paid to speak

It becomes a reality that you will get paid to speak when you combine what you love, what you know, with what the market will pay for. 

Do some research to find out which speakers are also speaking about that topic.
What is their angle and how you can be different (it’s not cool to copy others ideas or to become a cookie cutter). So think about what unique insights you can bring to the topic. What experience and skills do you possess that are different or unique, and how can you package that in a sellable service. 

Becoming a speaker is primarily about running a business and that means being very comfortable with sales and marketing, having a standout brand, being visible, and being able to adapt and, if necessary, reinvent your brand and your topic to remain relevant.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers.

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Virtual – Live Online Training – Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Business Storytelling and executive Speaker Coaching is available online.

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference live of virtual event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

I heard Rory Vaden speak at a conference in 2014. I have heard him speak several more times since then. Each time, his words resonate with me. His message ‘Take The Stairs’ has become a metaphor that I adopted as I was taking my first steps in  a new career as a professional speaker. 

When I first decided that I wanted to become a speaker, I was working full time in a government department. The job was stable and well paid, yet predictable and unfulfilling. I enjoyed much of the work, but I knew there was more. I felt compelled to teach, inspire and serve others, and I decided that speaking was the medium to allow me to do so. 

There are no shortcuts. Focus and determination will set you on the right path. 

Just over a week ago, I got to stand on stage with 11 others at the Professional Speakers Australia conference and received the Certified Speaking Professional recognition. This conference was one of the last to be held in Australia, before all large public events were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

As a novice in a new field there is so much choice. It is overwhelming. 

When I made the decision to become a Professional Speaker. I knew it would be hard. Having a story to tell and some public speaking skills was not enough. I knew nothing about being a business owner or the world of professional speaking. 

 In October 2017 I exited the workforce with a one page plan and a commitment to give it my best shot. 

As a novice to the world of professional speaking it can be overwhelming working out what’s next, who to turn to for help, and what professional and personal development is required. I was that speaker. 

My 20+ year career taught me many things that I am grateful for,  but I was ill-equipped to run a small business. 

In the early days, I made some mistakes that cost me time and money. However, these became some very important lessons that have served me well. If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested in the right help sooner. it’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you.

Things began to fall into place when I decided that 2020 was the year that  I would become a Certified Speaking Professional.

Slow and steady wins the race

According to Rory Vaden successful people achieve results the old fashioned way, with focus and self discipline. By ‘taking the stairs’ we are resisting the temptation of ‘quick fixes’, eliminating distractions, and overcoming personal setbacks to achieve our goals. 

So what is a Certified Speaking Professional?

CSP

The Certified Speaking Professional accreditation is an international designation awarded to only a small percentage of professional speakers globally. 

The CSP has gained global recognition as an indicator of dedication to excellence in the field of speaking. 

I am aware that there are less than 150 active CSP’s in Australia. 

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

The five most important elements which led to success

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

1. Clarity

In the first year of business, I lacked clarity. I was trying to serve a wide market and I was targeting a market segment that did not feel right for me. I decided to follow the age old advice of ‘picking a lane and sticking to it’. This felt like a weight off my shoulders. 

This included becoming really clear on who I want to serve, what services I will offer and when to walk away, and why I am doing this in the first place. I revisit exercises and activities on clarity every 90 days. Doing a simple exercise such as mapping out your niche and topic using Ikigai is a useful thing to do.

More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.  

2. Focus

I have always been a planner and a detail person, and I love any tools that assist me with the process of planning and organising.  This year I made the decision to work a four day week. This meant even more focus and self -discipline. My productivity increased and I now get more done in less time. I practice Deep Work. According to Cal Newport, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. I always do the hardest tasks when I am at my sharpest mentally and physically which is early morning, and after coffee. 

3. Consistency

I have built a brand that I am proud of, and I continue to show up true to that brand. If an opportunity comes along that is not aligned with my brand, I am happy to let it go. Yes, I do still get FOMO at times, but I now fully embrace the thinking that when you say no to something it paves the way for something that is better aligned. I believe that by showing up consistently and true to my brand it builds a higher level of trust. 

During the current crisis I will strive to stay on brand, even though change will be inevitable if my business is to thrive.

4. Values

When I began working with a new coach last year, I took a closer look at my values and did some values exercises. I have five values that guide me in both my personal and business life. I like the compass analogy, as my values guide me to navigate my way. What became apparent to me is that once I got clarity on my values, I began to attract more clients with similar values. Staying true to my values has also helped making it easier to say know and when to walk away. 

5. Support

I lost some friends along the way! This is a tough one and something I never anticipated. I have a wonderful family and I must admit it took them a while to fully understand that I was serious and it was not a sabbatical from my previous career. I am a member of many virtual groups and I love the fact that I can connect with so many people around the world and they are so supportive. I have a core group of close friends and business associates. 

So what’s next?

I am approaching this next chapter of uncertainty with an open mind. Like any small business in Australia I have been affected by the situation. 

Fortunately my programs and coaching are all able to be delivered online. I have a range of interactive live webinars and virtual presentations to help leaders communicate with confidence. 

How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3 or a 90 minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching via Zoom or where practically possible, in person.

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world. 

How to give a TEDx talk

How to give a TEDx talk

TEDx refers to independently organised events held in the community under licence from TED.

You may be considering applying to speak at a TEDx event, or you may have been invited to give a TEDx talk.

TEDx talk

Even if you’re not an aspiring TEDx speaker, this short style of presentation is popular among event planners. Having a line up of more speakers giving shorter talks, with a minimum or even no slides, is becoming more common in place of longer keynote presentations.

Features of a TEDx talk

  • One big idea is the premise of each talk.
  • Delivered without notes.
  • Minimal or even no slides. If slides are used, they are highly visual and the images are high quality.
  • TEDx talks are concise. Any superfluous information is removed so that the talk gets to the point.
  • Every second counts. The aim is to keep the audience wanting more, not wishing you’d hurry up and finish.
  • TEDx talks take the listener on a journey often with a narrative style.
  • The best TEDx talks tell a story, evoking the imagination of the audience and allowing them to experience the talk with salient sights, sounds, textures, tastes or smells.
  • The speaker is not afraid to open up and show their human side.

TEDx talks – Where can speakers go wrong?

Too many slides or too much information
TEDx is not the time for Death by Powerpoint. If you choose to use slides, keep them simple. A clear, high-quality image with minimal words works well.

Too much information
The timing of a TEDx talk is capped at 18 minutes. Speakers often increase their pace so they can fit more in. Practice so that you can stick to the allocated time.

Lack of practice – a “wing it” mentality
TEDx is not the time to wing it for the sake of spontaneity, you can still be natural and authentic with preparation and practice. Allow enough time to practice.

A lack of vocal variety and changes in energy
In order for the audience to stay with you, offer them some vocal and visual highs and lows. If you speak at the same rate, tone and pitch for the whole talk or have a consistent energy level it gets uninteresting after a while.

SCORE a TEDx talk

S –  Simplicity
One idea. What is the one thing that you want the audience to take away as a result of your TEDx talk? Stick to that one theme.

C – Clarity
A simple message told simply works best. Clarity of message, of voice and of any slides you may be using is essential. Have a clear structure and transitions, so that the audience can easily follow along.

O – Outstanding
Aim to make an emotional connection with your audience. Ordinary speakers present facts and information. Outstanding speakers evoke emotions in the audience. Be yourself, prepare well and practice, practice, and practice more. This is your time to shine.

R – Relevant
A good talk exceeds the expectations of the audience and the talks that we resonate with are the ones that are of relevance to us. When you are preparing your material, make sure it is audience-centric. Leave your ego behind.

E – Entertaining
People want to hear a great idea presented by a confident and credible speaker. Aim to add humour and personal stories wherever you can to make your talk memorable, entertaining and engaging.

This image is of Conor McLaughlin TEDx UWA speaker and myself, at TEDxUWA 2018


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Whether you have a hidden story of your feet, or you want to nail your next presentation, I can help you.

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Changing Hearts and Minds. How to Speak Persuasively.

Changing Hearts and Minds. How to Speak Persuasively.

When we speak, we are selling our message, our unique insight, our brand, our ideas, and our service. If that service is intangible, it’s even more important to be able to speak persuasively, so that others are aware of the value that we offer. 

We are all in sales, whether directly or not. 

A presentation with a strong persuasive element can provide information to people in a way that inspires them to take action. 

The art of persuasion is a skill worth learning. The ancient Greeks believed that every person should study public speaking and the art of persuasion. 

According to Aristotle (c. 384 B.C. to 322 B.C.) an Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, there are three forms of rhetoric used to influence people. 

Ethos, Pathos and Logos. 

To speak persuasively you need to understand and apply each of these three elements.

To speak like a leader and stand out with your presentation skills, consider the wisdom of Aristotle when you next speak.

Ethos

Ethos

The Greek word ethos refers to ethical appeal; it’s how we convince an audience of our credibility, character and reputation.

In establishing your authority to speak early on in your talk, you can demonstrate expertise in your field. You can include this as part of your speaker introduction or by reference to a particular piece of research or work in the area. A well-crafted introduction and opening that has a balance of establishing credibility and addressing the ‘what’s in it for them’ is an ideal way to start. 

It’s easy to call yourself an expert. How do you demonstrate ethos in your presentations to back up your claim? 

So, how do you consider ethos when planning your next high stakes presentation?

1. Know your topic  

Ideally, you will be speaking on a topic in which you are a subject matter expert and keep abreast of current trends and insights into your theme. No one expects to attend a talk with stale or irrelevant information, so keep your content fresh and topical. 

2. Know your audience 

What does the audience understand about your topic of expertise? Are they fellow industry experts? Or do they know little to none about the subject? When you take the time to find out what you can about your audience, you can pitch your message at the appropriate level. No one wants to be baffled by jargon, and equally as ineffective is to water down material to an audience who crave the details. While you can never please everyone, if you find out who will be attending your talk, you are more likely to deliver content that reaches the intended audience. 

3. Demonstrate confidence and presence

How you deliver the message is as important as what you say. When you work on your body language, natural movement, gestures and voice, you can present in a way that gains attention. Things to avoid are; saying sorry, shrinking, speaking in high-pitched tones, and speaking ‘at’ rather than ‘with’ people. Learn to work and control your breath and your voice, so that you can stand grounded, and speak with authority as well as authenticity. 

Logos

speak persuasively using the concept of logos

Logos is how we appeal to logic and reason, and we can do this by providing evidence to support our message. Think about what data, facts and figures you can include that supports your message and gives it logical appeal. When we don’t get the right balance of logic versus emotion, we are less likely to appeal to our audience to take action.

Here are three ways that you can include logos to your presentation:

1. Use stunning visuals

I am not a fan of slides, as too often they are used poorly. However, when the right slide is used at the right time to provide relevant information to support your case, it works well. Think about how you can present your information and data in a way that is highly visual, engaging and memorable. 

2. Develop a logical argument

Your audience won’t be on board if your material is not presented in a clear and compelling way. A sound and logical argument is part of the premise for your speech. Use vivid, descriptive and sensory language. Providing a persuasive argument does not have to mean overloading with technical blurb or jargon. So long as you can make the connection between your point and your case, your overall message will be more persuasive.

3. Use real examples 

Real examples and case studies that are relevant to the context and content for a particular audience will go a long way. If the audience is unable to connect with your logical argument, they won’t come on board with your message. 

Pathos

speak persuasively using the concept of pathos

Pathos is how we appeal to the emotional side and connect with the feelings of our audience, and is a tool that we can use to create a shared experience. If they don’t feel anything, they don’t do anything differently, and it’s not necessarily the warm and fuzzy feeling you want to elicit. There may be times when creating feelings of anger and frustration may be the required catalyst for change. As speakers, we are not in the business of making people feel good; we are in the business of helping people to change for the better. 

Here are three ways that you can add pathos to your next talk

1. Use analogies and metaphors

When you use figures of speech, including analogies and metaphors, you can create an emotional connection by tapping into the emotions felt by your audience. It may be a simple image or model that you show or a brief example. 

 2. Have some fun

To help your audience to take action, allow them to enjoy the experience. Even if your topic is heavy, consider how you can use light and shade so that you can lift the room. It’s not about being deliberately funny; it’s about uncovering the humour using everyday examples and observations. You don’t have to be a natural comedian to add fun and humour into your talks. Humour elicits emotion.

3. Tell stories

There is no better tool available to us as speakers than the ability to weave stories through our material. Let your stories do the work, use storytelling as a tool and take people on a journey.  

If you utilise pathos well, your audience will feel the same emotions that you do. Your audience will feel the pain, the joy, the hope, and the fear of the characters in your stories. They will no longer be passive listeners. They will be motivated to act.”

Andrew Dlugan

Here’s how can I help you

If you are looking for a keynote speaker for your next event let’s chat about how I can help make your event a success.  

If you would like to work with an experienced and certified Public Speaking and Business Storytelling Coach to help you prepare and deliver a pitch, award or conference presentation, then let’s chat about how we can work together. Wherever you are located in the world we can work together via Zoom or if you are based in Australia we can work together in person.

If you’d like a complimentary analysis of your speaking style and message or you’d like to chat about how I can help you transform your communication and speak persuasively then please get in touch.


As a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver captivating stories for your business or brand and speak persuasively. Whether it is the boardroom, ballroom, platform, podium or stage, together we will craft powerful presentations with compelling stories that are hard to forget.

I help leaders who want to make an impact with their message through speaking and storytelling so they can be confident, memorable and credible as a communicator. 

Bullying led me to a career as a professional speaker

Bullying led me to a career as a professional speaker

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. How bullying ultimately led me to a new career.

A toxic workplace almost destroyed me.

On 15 March 2019, it is the annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. A day for schools and the community to stand together on this issue.

It’s a long time since I was in school. I do remember we had a set of unspoken rules and some people you simply avoided. I didn’t really pay much attention to bullies during my school years because it did not directly impact me or my close friends.

My three daughters made it through school without any incidents. I can only imagine how awful it is for kids who are bullied at school, the heartbreak their parents must go through, and the resources that it takes to try to stamp it out.

I became the target of workplace bullies

I first wrote about this in 2016 and have spoken about the issue of workplace bullying a few times since. Each time I speak about this issue people share similar stories. Some of the people I have spoken to have feared for their lives and have suffered devastating consequences of a toxic workplace. It is all too uncommon and bullying is one of the top reasons for absenteeism and lost productivity.

Face to face with my former bully

I was one of the escalating numbers of Australian employees targeted by bullying behaviour in the workplace.

As a former nurse of over 20 years, I often heard the expression that nurses ‘eat their young’ but my years of nursing were not like that.

Maybe it is because I worked in an intensive care environment for many of those years. When dealing with life and death situations, it takes focus and teamwork as well as trust and empathy, most of the time we were simply too busy! So I survived intact through that stage of my life.

It was when I had a complete career change and moved into the public service that I experienced bullying.

I was already coming to terms with a major life change

At the time, I was coming to terms with some major life challenges. A virus wiped out most of my hearing and as a result, I had to walk away from a career of over 20 years as a midwife.

I was fortunate to get the gift of a cochlear implant, and that was the beginning of my journey learning to hear again.

I was going well in my rehabilitation (it takes a long time for the neural pathways to learn to hear differently). I was juggling frequent visits to the audiology research team, intense learning at home as well as a full-time job and three teenage kids. Then the new manager started, and so did the systemic and prolonged bullying.

Smart bullies often don’t get caught

The bully and her allies were skilled at their cunning craft. They made sure they spoke out of earshot of others, waiting until no one else was around to verbally attack. Other behaviours included: sabotaging work, taking credit for work others had done, tossing humiliating remarks in meetings, spreading rumours, excluding members of the team and giving subordinates meaningless work.

I became the new target after speaking out after I saw others bullied by the same individuals. Initially, I didn’t understand why I was targeted. I was excellent at my job and respected by my peers.

From what I now know bullies often target people who are more technically competent or perceived as more successful than themselves.

As the toxic workplace became unbearable, it became harder to go to work. Some days I’d get off the train in the city, cross the platform and get back on another train home. The final straw came when I suffered a panic attack in the lift of the high rise building where I worked.

It got to the stage after 18 months where I couldn’t function at work. I sought the help of an independent counsellor. Up until that time, I had naively thought, perhaps the bully and I could talk things through, maybe even form a positive relationship. I was hoping management would stand by the policies that were there to ensure a safe workplace for all, but that did not happen.

The counsellor said to me that bullies don’t change, she recommended two options; either I could lodge a lengthy formal grievance process or walk away and get another job.

It was eight years ago that chose to walk away. What makes me disappointed is that I shouldn’t have felt like that was the only option.

That night

One evening I attended the book launch of  Bitch Fight by Vanessa Vershaw – a book about women bullying women.

As I arrived at the registration desk, I looked down at the sea of name badges, laid out neatly in surname alphabetical order, and I scanned the table for the letter E’s.

The brain is powerful when it comes to self-protection. I wasn’t looking for it, but one name leapt off the table, grabbed me by the throat and took my breath away (her surname was not the same letter as mine).

It was the name tag of the woman who was the leader of the small group of the nastiest women I have ever encountered in any workplace. At that moment I had an intense range of emotions purely by seeing her name in print. At that stage, I didn’t even know if she was in the room.

The impact of bullying is massive

How ironic that I was at a book launch on the topic of bullying, and the very person who led me to a complete meltdown was listed to attend the event. As I stared at that name on the registration table, her name in print screamed at me and I felt the same rise of bile in my throat that had become a daily occurrence at the start of my working day.

My survival instinct kicked in

I wanted to bolt through the door and leave as fast as I could, but I feared I might come face to face with her in the lobby.

I didn’t run despite my gut feelings. I managed to sit and listen to the speaker who bravely shared her experience of being bullied at a workplace.

My former bully was in the room sitting not far from me, a few rows behind. I wondered what was going on in her mind? Perhaps she had been a target of bullying behaviour herself. Maybe she felt some regret for her behaviour. I’ll never know.

Sending love and forgiveness

I didn’t speak to her, but if I had the chance (or the courage), these are the words I would have said – thank you.

In a new supportive workplace, I thrived. I got back on track with my cochlear implant rehabilitation, and I began my public speaking journey which helped me to build my confidence.

For the past eight years, I have immersed myself in learning the art of speaking and storytelling. I have discovered my voice and now teach and empower others to do the same.

I probably wouldn’t have followed this path if not for that person who bullied me – thank you.

We are the authors of our own stories. Fear is one of those stories we tell ourselves. That night I chose to write a new chapter of my story.

To my former bully – if you are reading this.

Thank you for giving me the courage and resilience to walk away and start over. Thank you for allowing me to redefine and recreate my story.

Every day we have choices and challenges. Today I choose to surround myself with positive people who support me. I don’t stick around with those who pull me down, and I have a zero tolerance for any form of workplace bullying.

Take care and above all be kind to yourself and others.

How can I help you?

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Image. Max Lovensly Unsplash

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.