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Breaking Through The Fear Of Speaking - Dagmar Bryant

succeed through speaking tom bailey Dec 07, 2022

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Dagmar Bryant.

“Life is not about sitting on the side-lines. To achieve success, you need to take calculated risks.”

Dagmar Bryant PhD is a UK based, Australian Motivational Speaker and Business Coach who lives this motto.

She encourages women to pursue their dreams and desires. She herself has fought against real-world obstacles:

A super-controlling father who always wanted her to do things his way;

A (ex-) husband who continually held her back.

She has achieved results by breaking free of limitations:

A determined young mother wanting something “better” for herself and her kids;

A resourceful woman who found a novel way to pursue a law degree and successful corporate career;

Someone who uprooted her life in Australia to take a chance on a new one in America and then in the UK;

A woman with an entrepreneurial spirit who built a successful coaching business to help others.

Her powerful blend of world-class intuition AND real-world experience gives her a message that deeply “speaks” to audiences of her events.

Resources / Links

More from Succeed Through Speaking

Succeed Through Speaking helps Coaches, Consultants, Entrepreneurs and Experts how to amplify their Expert Authority & get their message to market with both confidence and clarity so that they can raise their profile and attract new clients.

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Listen to the Podcast -


Tom Bailey  00:07

Hello and welcome to succeed through speaking the place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results. Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's speaker stories episode, I'll be getting to know Dagmar Bryant who is a motivational speaker and business coach who encourages women to pursue their dreams and desires. So Dagmar hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Dagmar Bryant  00:42

Tom, thank you so much for having me. It's an absolute pleasure to be here. And hopefully give your tips and so your audience some great tips on how they too can use the speaker journey.

Tom Bailey  00:53

Amazing. And thank you so much for that. And I can detect an Australian accent but I understand you're not in Australia. Whereabouts in the world. Are you right now?

Dagmar Bryant  01:00

I'm in Lincoln in the UK? And yes, most certainly that is an Australian accent. Yeah, hubby and I moved here in September 2019.

Tom Bailey  01:11

Okay, so just before locked down. So you spent the first two years trapped in the house, maybe? Well,

Dagmar Bryant  01:17

It hasn't been a bad thing. I mean, I find that a lot of the world has caught up because of having lived in Australia, the USA, and now the UK, my business has always been very functional, with moving with me. So I've always had clients who I've either either coached through zoom, and Skype as it was back in the day via phone. So I'm quite used to this. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  01:43

Well, we'll talk a little bit later on about the pandemic and how it affected the speaking industry. But for now, and thank you, again for being here. And I know that in your talks, you really do lean on your own personal experiences and challenges to help motivate others and obviously to connect with the audience. And I really want to look at your experiences and challenges today when it comes to your life as a speaker. So my first question to get that conversation started is would you say you are a naturally born competent speaker? Or did you used to be a little bit shy as a child?

Dagmar Bryant  02:16

Oh, my goodness. That is like, so loaded a question. I have never considered myself to be a natural speaker. Although having said that, I remember being a kid and saying to my parents, we were living in Melbourne, at the time that I wanted to go to NIDA, which is the National Institute for Dramatic Arts when I grew up because I wanted to be an actress. My dad said, Oh, no, no, no, no, you'll never make it as an actress. Do you know how many people fail at that? And it's like, Thanks, dad.

Tom Bailey  02:51

knocks you back a few years, I'm sure.

Dagmar Bryant  02:53

So I've never been what I would consider to be a natural speaker or being on stage. I mean, I loved I was always in school plays, and I loved being on the stage. But it was never something that came naturally to me. And in 2015, I joined Toastmasters in a club in Melbourne. And I remember people saying to me, Oh, you look so confident, you know, you speak so you speak so well, and all that. And in the meantime, I've got the biggest butterflies in my stomach. And if you'd see my hands, they'd be shaking, but don't hold it all together as you do it. There was a lot of fear, I guess, in some way. And it was about breaking through that do I know, public speaking is one of those top five fears that people encounter. And I wanted to break through that because I knew that I had a message to share. And my story does help other women. It was like, Well, how do I do this? And the other thing is to I'm an introvert as well. And so people go an introvert and you're on stage as well. Yes, absolutely. I mean, an introvert doesn't mean that you're in your little hidey hole and hiding away, never doing anything. It's just how you manage your energy. But it is being yourself learning about yourself and adapting I think they're the key things

Tom Bailey  04:15

perfect, I can really resonate with the introvert comment and we'll talk about that as well. But I want to get back to the word fear that you use. So back when you in Toastmasters your first time standing in front of that audience, what do you think you were might have been subconscious but what do you think you were afraid of?

Dagmar Bryant  04:33

laughing my words, yeah, I forget forgetting what I was gonna say or what I was supposed to say.

Tom Bailey  04:39

Maybe embarrassment, fear of judgment, opinions.

Dagmar Bryant  04:44

Yeah, all of that. I think. I think probably more than fear of not remembering what I want to say or how I'm what I'm going to say is being perceived. So you're there is an element of judgment there. You know, are people going to think that you just deserve to be on that stage? Are you worthy to be listened to?

Tom Bailey  05:03

Yeah. And I think that's a couple of things that really hold people back is that fear of other people's opinions? And I guess impostor syndrome as well. So if you can break through that, I think that's gonna really help people listening today. Yeah. And then you also mentioned as well that you obviously went to toastmasters to start to build that confidence. And you came across really well, at what point did you realize that you thought, You know what, I can do this? And I want to turn this into a bit of a career.

Dagmar Bryant  05:30

Would you believe that I actually wanted to make it a career before I decided that I was actually good enough to do it. For me, it was always about Yes. Because I'd had that acting experience in my teens. I knew I could do it, it was just about developing it and being able to produce the content when you're on stage. So in a lot of ways, I had decided I was going to be a speaker, before I ever stood in front of that audience at Toastmasters.

Tom Bailey  05:59

Amazing. Excellent. I guess from that point onwards, would you say, you know, are you now a full time keynote speaker? Is this what you do?

Dagmar Bryant  06:08

I have a few Well, definitely the business coaching and the speaking. So there's a duality to my business. I'm not a full time keynote speaker, I do do a lot of speaking through podcasts, through events of my own and through other people's, but there's a lot of elements of the speaking, but then I also have the coaching, because because I really am passionate about helping women break free, and really living a life that they love. So like they kind of go hand in hand, I want to speak to be able to bring people in to help people.

Tom Bailey  06:38

Yeah, and that's that's a really good point, actually, is that, you know, a lot of people who speak to me about becoming a speaker, they think about paid keynote gigs. But you know, you can also monetize speaking through having that likes at that coaching business and having that as a way in to find out a little bit more about you, and the next logical step for them to be, you know, work with you as a coach. So your coaching, is that group coaching, is it one to one, what is it you do for people?

Dagmar Bryant  07:03

I know a combination of coaching. So there is definitely one to one. And there's group coaching as well.

Tom Bailey  07:09

Excellent. So I guess for people, I'll put the links in the show notes, whilst we want to find out more about you and what you do and how you can help them there'll be opportunities to look at that as well, in the show notes. So in terms of no problem at all, in terms of speaking then. So when he first realized and decided you wanted to become a speaker and use that as part of your career, and you then started off on that journey, was there a point at which you had to begin with free talks and do lots of free gigs before you could get paid to do? How did that transition happen for you?

Dagmar Bryant  07:43

Yeah, definitely, it's one of those things that the more you do it, the better you become. Because no matter how much you can do a talk in your head, and say it to yourself, it's never going to be the same until you actually present that. So whether it's a keynote, whether it's a workshop, whether it's on stage in some way, you you've got to get out there and you've just got to keep doing it. That's the only way to get better.

Tom Bailey  08:11

And people talk about having this one signature talk or you know, this one talk that's been pre populated? Should that be a 30 minute talk a 60 minute talk or a three hour talk? What do you think people should do? If they're going to think about starting developing their first talk to go and start delivering?

Dagmar Bryant  08:29

You know, I would start with a concept. Yeah. And that can I think in these, shall we say strange times post COVID. I think there are talks that are universal. And then there are talks that will evolve over time. So I think if you're going to start with a talk, start with a concept, but be mindful that that does need to evolve over time. As times change, people change circumstances change. And I would have a few versions of a particular talk. Because sometimes if you're speaking at an event, you might only get allocated a 15 minute slot or a 30 minute slot. So then how are you going to present the key components of your message and adapt that for the different presentations that you're going to run? Obviously, you can then also present your material in a workshop. And that can be offered, even if you're doing a short talk at, for example, a corporation as a kind of company, you can offer a one or two day workshop, that's going to be a great big extension to I say adapt and have lots of versions of it.

Tom Bailey  09:39

And that's a really good point about having that that one concept that one idea that one thing that you can really hinge your your ideas off. Does that should that come through life experiences? Should it come through qualifications, or can people just create an idea based on research of a particular market? How do people get that one concept do you think

Dagmar Bryant  10:00

My answer to that is experience, essentially, the more you can draw on your own experience your own story, the easier it will be for you to make it relatable to your audience. So for example, if someone asked me to talk about it, I'd be coming like, Have you got a pre prepared talk? For me, then I can prepare that definitely. But you need to prepare it because I don't know anything about it, that I can't claim to be an expert in, in it. Whereas I can claim to be an expert in empowerment, mindset resilience. So because they are the key components of my, my story. And, yeah,

Tom Bailey  10:45

and I guess you can really bring that story, if you if you're talking about it, you can't bring it to life with your own experiences, anecdotes, you know, things that have happened. Whereas if you took that empowerment and mindset, you can really bring that to life with your own lived experiences as well.

Dagmar Bryant  11:00

Well, let's just say if I was talking about it, there'd be a lot of Shi T. 's, and other other words that are probably not so nice in there, because I'd be going on and on and same things to me. So that would be my experience. Yes, as you say, you can bring it to life, your own story. And there'll be elements that you can add to that story, where, you know, your audience will say, Oh, my goodness, I've had exactly that experience. And that's when it really comes home.

Tom Bailey  11:31

Yeah, and I guess having that then, you know, trust factor of your stories merging is, is going to really help driving people. And such as suggesting people move towards your coaching as well. Because you can connect on a personal level. So, so one of the groups of audiences of people who listen to this podcast are, let's call them aspiring speakers. So they're not doing it yet. They're, they want to, and maybe got a lack of confidence, or there's something holding them back. What's kind of your one piece of advice you'd want to give to that aspiring speaker who, who for some reason, it's just holding back,

Dagmar Bryant  12:11

only going to limit me to one, oh, my goodness. All right, well, one we already talked about, and that was getting out and speaking and love it or not love it. Or if you don't know much about it. Toastmasters is actually very good for that. Because you get up there, you can do your speech. And one of the things that they are very good at is picking you up on your arms, and arse, there is nothing worse in a speech to go. And all those kinds of filler words, it sounds terrible. And get those get that confidence into your speech without having those filler words. And it'll sound so much nicer to your audience's ear. And the other eye. Now I'm gonna go into two other thing that I was going to say is, don't be afraid to make a mistake. Because remember this, you can have practiced your speech, you can have it down on a piece of paper word for word, and it will never come out the same as when you're doing it on stage. But guess what, your audience has not read that piece of paper, they don't know what's on that piece of paper. Very true. Even if you make a mistake, nobody's gonna know just keep going. Just keep going.

Tom Bailey  13:31

And be okay with the mistakes look for them, in fact, because you know, you're going to learn from them, and you're going to keep growing. So I think that's a really good point, just get out there, you know, start doing it. And the best keynote speakers today would have been where you are now aspiring to one day, get out there and start speaking. True. Perfect. So thanks so much for that. Another thing I like to ask to help people who are maybe on that journey we're at the very beginning is, have you got any speaking, failures, mistakes, any catastrophes that you'd like to share with us to really help us understand what might happen on the journey as a speaker?

Dagmar Bryant  14:10

So you use an interesting word there, you talk about failure. And because I have a mindset of success, I don't actually believe in that word failure. I think pretty much most of the things you can do. You can mark them up in somehow but are they are they failures? No, they are learning bumps in the road make you better. So even if you have a so called bump in the road, you're gonna learn something from it. You know, even if you totally muck up a speech, you can go oh, okay, well, I can what what can I learn from this situation? So was it that I didn't do my preparation? Didn't I do for example, what what is your preparation? I would always say to have a great preparation, is it that you need to do a bit of meditation and breathe thing you did to run on the spot and get your adrenaline going, what is your learning from that? Whatever you did that you didn't feel that you did very well. Take that away and make it better next time because there is no failure. There is just a bump

Tom Bailey  15:15

bumps, bumps in progress. Love it. Excellent. And okay, great. So and I guess I guess just taking that on the next stage a little bit further. And there's a transition point between doing lots of these free events, Toastmasters, speaking at your local venues to one day deciding, you know what, I want to get paid to do this? What What was that transition point like for you? And do you have any advice for anybody else thinking about asking to be paid to speak?

Dagmar Bryant  15:42

Just do it. Once you get to a certain stage, I think you know, within yourself that you're ready to say, Okay, I'm worth it. Even if it's even if you're only charging a nominal amount for the first one charge anyway, because it gets you onto that stepping stone. And one of the sayings that I've heard is under charge and over deliver, because it gives you that more confidence. So charge charge something, just get a charge onto the get onto onto that page, you have to have an invoice you got Oh, yeah. Doesn't matter if it's only 50 quid off. Yeah. And that just gives you such a boost of confidence. And even on your speaking journey, as you go along. There will be times when you go well, okay, I can. I'm speaking for charity, don't don't ever underestimate charities do have funds. But you might say, Okay, well, instead of charging 1000 pounds, you can say, well, because of you know, I'd feel very passionate about what we're talking about what message I want to deliver is, I'm going to reduce that for you, my invoice will say, still 1000 pounds, I'll cross it out. And I'll make it a reduced amount. So there's ways that you can still go and get around your fee, even as you speak and become more experienced. And I would just say allow there to be a certain amount of fluidity with it.

Tom Bailey  17:04

Yeah, yeah. You know, you don't have to be the $10,000 an hour speaker straightaway, you know, just start off, like you said, Get get paid anything, whatever, whatever you can get, and then it'll just build from there. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. And, and, and finally, a couple more questions, but one of them is, we've we've talked about the pandemic, and, you know, you've come out to UK in 2019 pandemic was 2020, probably, you know, wiped out the entire inperson speaking for you. And a lot of people it's transition to virtual and hybrid events. What's the future we're going to bounce back to? Loads of in person events? Was there gonna be? Is virtual hybrid here to stay? What What's your take on that?

Dagmar Bryant  17:48

Personally, I'd say there's probably going to be a hybrid, that's going to stay. I don't think we're ever going to go back to what it was the old world is gone. And I think the sooner we can say, okay, draw a line in the sand that that is what was and just allow there to be both I think there's merit absolutely and having but having both, for example not having to travel not having to spend time away from family and accommodation and all that kind of stuff. So there's definitely benefits for both and I'd say there's a place for me personally, I love connecting with people. So if I can do it in person, I potentially will but by the same token, I'm just as happy to like, like speaking with you today. Happy to connect online.

Tom Bailey  18:36

Yeah, yeah, I completely agree and, and the ice just see what happens next in terms of the technology advancing and how it can really bring the experiences to life online as well. So fantastic. Thank you so much for your help and advice so far. The last question for me is if people want to connect with you online book, who is a speaker join a coaching program, where should they go?

Dagmar Bryant  18:55

I would absolutely love that. Thank you, Tom. It's Dagmar As you said, Tom will have a link for you. And or you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn as my favorite platform. So check out Dagmar Bryant, you can catch me on there as well. Awesome.

Tom Bailey  19:10

Thank you so much. And again, really appreciate your time coming along and sharing your story with our podcast listeners. Thank you