Business, Motivational Talks, Success

From Sports to Speaking: Tips to Improve as a Speaker & Gain More Clients

Below are my experiences of growing as a ‘professional speaker’ this year, generous testimonials, and three powerful lessons learned along the way, which may undoubtedly help you in your own development in public speaking. I love sharing tips and tricks, so let me know in the comments whether these public speaking tips have helped you and, for more tips, check out this previous post. 

Breakfast meetings in Fortnum & Mason and at Soho’s The Ivy did not disappoint. 

As an athlete, I don’t only have the privilege of jumping into a sandpit in front of thousands of passionate fans in historic stadiums. I also have the privilege of standing in front of smaller audiences (tens and hundreds), with equal amounts of adrenaline, excitement and increasing levels of dedication and preparation accumulated over the years.

This year – 2023 – I challenged myself to speak at 1-2 events a month (with the exception of August and December). So, effectively between 10-20 speaking opportunities across the year. 

These events allow me to deliver motivational talks, keynotes and facilitate workshop. And I am so grateful that, over this year, I have had the work drip in consistently, always at just the right time, often at the most unexpected of moments. 

Here’s what 2023 has looked like to date:

January17thDoddsWomen into Leadership for Female Civil ServantsLeadership in Action: Lifting Others As You Climb – Keynote
March8thMedia City, UKInternational Women’s Day PanelOvercoming Imposter Syndrome
9thGumGumOnline Company SeminarAchieving Greatness – Keynote
21stBloom North NetworkInternational Women’s Day PanelMindset of Success

February  – Though I didn’t book any events in the diary, I am pleased I created time to record several episodes of the Define Your Success Podcast.

April27thFriendly CEOs / IanMastermind Group MeetingWorkshop Facilitation on Performance & Resilience
June14thPSA NW (Unpaid)Speaker FactorAn Olympic Journey
9thPSA NW (Unpaid)Speaker ShowcaseBeing Tigger: On Resilience
July3rdBritish Olympic Association School visit with students from Motomiya, JapanMy Olympic Journey & Experiences in Tokyo, Japan

June – 14th – PSA NW Speaker Factor AND Speaker Showcase (Lesson learned: DO NOT prep for two completely different talks on the same day!)


September7thDentGamechanger Online Business SeminarWhat Does It Take? Peak Performance
7thUndisclosedUnfortunately, I did not learn my lesson of not prepping for two very different talks on the same day! Argh! But I will NOT do this again!
October10thGongBreakfast Event for Revenue LeadersMarginal Gains
11thGongBreakfast Event for Revenue LeadersMarginal Gains

Even typing this out and flicking through the ‘pages’ of my online Google calendar, I’m filled with awe and gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been afforded this year. And, as I was driving earlier today, I actually started to tear up in prayer and gratitude for the fact I am being offered opportunities based on seeds planted years ago. (More on that when this project is released.)

Anyway – that’s enough soppiness. For you, my friend, a few lessons – 

[1] Crafting a coherent talk is much easier when you focus on three words: KNOW, FEEL, DO. 

I owe Sue Evans (North-West PSA Fellow) a debt of gratitude for this wise counsel. 

When crafting your talk, every paragraph, every thought, every statement needs to be able to answer one of these questions: 

What do you want your audience to KNOW?

How do you want your audience to FEEL?

What do you want your audience to DO? 

Using this simple filter: KNOW, FEEL, DO has been a game-changer. It allowed me to curate a 15-minute coherent talk on ‘Marginal Gains’ for a client where I previously would have struggled and/or sunk in pursuit of fulfilling their request. 

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to public speaking? Have you ever tried using the ‘Know, Feel, Do’ approach in crafting a talk?

“I’ve seen lots of speakers trying to do the crossover between the sports world and the biz world. Your presentation really nailed that in a credible and relatable way.”

Andrew Laughlan – Attendee at Gong Event
Laura Farrell at Gong

What else?

[2] Find your tribe. Invest in your community.

I really think the key shift I committed to this year – investing my time and money into becoming an associate member of the PSA and attending meetings in the North-West branch, as well as even checking out other regions (shout out East Midlands led by Charlie Whyman) was essential for levelling up. 

I had and continue to glean from this group for skills-sharing and mentoring. 

A few stand-out sessions with the PSA included: pricing and sales (David Abbott – Pricing Your Platypus) and, at the Spring Conference in Manchester, hearing from and speaking with The Telephone Assassin, Anthony Stears

I’d previously attended Toastmasters (read my thoughts and praises here), but I have found that the PSA has been a good step-up and I personally currently prefer this particular model of community and learning.

Want to find out more? Drop me a message! (I don’t earn any commission from sharing this community. I am just really so passionate about equipping people, particularly if you want to improve your public speaking skills.)

[3] Set a goal.

As I wrote above, my initial goal was 1-2 events per month, 10 out of 12 months in the year. This equated to 10-20 events in 2023. 

To date, I have completed 10 and have one (possibly two) more in the diary for the year. Wahoo!

I had originally set a ‘low’ goal because I didn’t want to over-stretch myself. As a new speaker, curating uniquely tailored talks and facilitating sessions is a lot of work. Yes, I have keynotes, but I really enjoy working to a specific mandate that supports the company’s or team’s specific vision or needs. Now that I’ve grown in confidence and have a few more tools under my belt to meet this goal, I’m excited to force an expansion of my capacity to 2-4 events per month in 2024! Ah! I’ll let you know how I get on… 

But, you can book me if you’d like to help me meet this target! 🙂 

(I travel abroad to speak, too. In November 2022, I spoke at ISDE, Barcelona and one of my first corporate speaking gigs, if not my actual first, took place at Kitchell Corporation in Phoenix, Arizona; so please don’t be put off if your event is in Europe, Africa, America, Asia or even Oceania…)

So, that’s it! 

These are my experiences of growing as a ‘professional speaker’ this year as well as the lessons learned along the way, with a dash of photographic evidence and positive testimonials for good measure. 

Let me know in the comments what you liked or, even better, what you may try out for yourself! 

And if you know somebody seeking to get into public speaking or grow in proficiency in this area, please share this post with them. 

By the way, if you’re new here, the benefits of these blog posts are two-fold: 

1/ to share my journey with you, my seasoned or new (hi, friend!) reader, so that you can learn from my wins and losses, and hopefully find some inspiration and equipping in whatever field of life you’re looking to excel in; 

2/ to share my journey with my future self (sort of like an open diary – think ‘Dear Kitty’ vibes) who is often pleasantly surprised and inspired by things she has done in the past that she had forgotten about.

Let’s stay connected!

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