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How To Make Yourself A Little Bit Famous - The Penny Haslam Story

succeed through speaking tom bailey Jun 22, 2022

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Penny Haslam.

In this episode we hear about our guests journey with confidence, public speaking and presentation skills and how it has helped them succeed in life and in business - in other words, how to succeed through speaking.

Penny Haslam is an award-winning motivational speaker, based in the UK. Before she started strutting stages she could be found presenting the business news on live national breakfast television. And now she shares with her own highly valuable content, around personal communication and confidence, with employees and their organisations. She's the author of the business book Make Yourself a Little Bit Famous - How to power up your profile and get known for what you do, that helps individuals do a great job of it when THEY appear on TV or radio, speaking or take part in panel discussions. Going from live television news presenting, reading from an autocue, to standing on stages, or being at the front of the room, might seem like an easy transition - so was it 

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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 episode, I'll be getting to know Penny Haslam who's an award winning motivational speaker and author of the business book make yourself a little bit famous how to power up your profile and get known for what you do. So Penny Hello and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Penny Haslam  00:43

Hello, a warm hello back at you.

Tom Bailey  00:46

Thank you so much. And just out of interest whereabouts are you in the world right now,

Penny Haslam  00:50

I'm in a very glamorous location, which is called Warrington. Better known for being slap bang in the middle of Liverpool and Manchester in the northwest of England.

Tom Bailey  01:00

Lovely, lovely place. Thank you so much. And I want to just share a little bit more about you before we do get started. So before Penny started out as a speaker, you'll have found her presenting the business news on breakfast television. And now she shares her very own highly valuable content on the topics of personal communication and confidence with both employees and their organizations. So, Penny, I've read the book, and I love the concept of making yourself a little bit famous. Could you tell me a little bit more about this concept and where it came from?

Penny Haslam  01:31

Yeah, so this is one of those titles of a book. And in fact, if you know something that you might fetch for for 10 years, you might be thinking about it. So the guy who wrote men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, apparently the title took 10 years. Yeah. And it did take me a good few years to come up with this title. And it wasn't born out of some sort of creativity session. It was born out of frustration. So I was on the call when I was on the phone with someone who was trying to help me write some content. And we hadn't started working together yet. And I wasn't quite sure whether she could help me and I was getting my messaging as a solopreneur. Quite tangled. And I didn't know what I was trying to say. And I knew I wanted to help people with all sorts of things to do with raising their profile, sharing their expertise, that kind of thing. And it's all a bit dry. And she was pushing me and pushing me and I got annoyed with her. And myself probably more likely actually. And I went off for goodness sake, I just want people to make themselves a little bit famous. And we both went. There we go but have a bit of a hairs on the back of the neck moment. Really, and people love the title because it's not the huge onerous task of becoming hugely famous and celebrity which is showing off, isn't it? A lot of people don't like to show off or feel like a show off. But nor is it being a best kept secret. And that's the danger, isn't it when you're in business on your own is that you're so busy, that you don't have time to share your expertise, showcase what you can do and how you can help. Yeah, so that's what I hope to introduce people to is the idea of getting out there love without feeling like an idiot. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  03:11

I love it. And I'm sure a lot of the audience will resonate with that. Because you know, some people that I speak to are, they're amazing at what they do. They just do feel like the best kept secret in the world, like you said, so this concept of being able to get yourself out there, build your credibility, reputation, your personal brand is so important. And now I have read the book, but what are some of the key things that people can do to make themselves a little bit more famous?

Penny Haslam  03:35

Loads of things. I've got 10 ways you can make yourself a little bit famous as a download going out at the moment, actually. So if you check me out on social media, you might be able to come across that or I might make it available to the show notes. Yes. It's small ideas for some people which, for example, having a coffee with someone having a coffee with someone who's senior to you, or, or is part of an organization that you want to be working with. Just trying to get in front of people one at a time, that is make yourself a little bit famous. And the list goes all the way through to putting yourself forward for TV and radio appearances, podcast appearances, also making video that you can use on social media, lots of activities that you can do that, you know, a freely available to us now, as business owners, we should really be grabbing hold of these things like the media and being on TV is perfect for solopreneurs entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, because the media really needs experts. And I say experts, it just needs people who have got some experience and knowledge. And I think most of us have experience and knowledge and they've got hours of airtime that needs filling. So in my book, I really helped make the bridge between Oh, who am I to go on TV and radio with my little bit of knowledge that I've got an experience well actually, you're really required to help out the journal So the greater the radio producers and TV people, I've helped loads of people appear on TV and radio. But also speaking, treading the boards, whether it's a local networking event where you do a 15 minute talk, or whether you're working more towards becoming a paid speaker like I am, where you maybe deliver great content for 45 minutes, an hour, half a day, whatever it is, but it's all about trying to get yourself out there as the figurehead of your business, making yourself a little bit famous. So basically, I mean, it's not new stuff, is it but people get to know you, like you and trust you. Now, I this all came for me into sort of fruition when I set up my own business. So I'd been on TV, I was talking about the business news. And that was all right to a point a bit boring, but says up footsies down, stock markets are doing this don't really care. So when I set up in business, I needed to find customers, I went to my first ever networking event, thinking that's how you do it. This is how you take your business to the next level. And unfortunately, I didn't quite know how to do it very well. It's very nervous, very nervous. And I spoke to someone for 20 minutes, I spoke at someone for 20 minutes, and remembered eventually that I should ask them a question. Yeah. And I said, So what do you do? And she said, Well, I'm not really meant to be here. I'm just with the photographer helping out. I thought what wasted my time I apologized to her for wasting her time, obviously. But what a waste of my time. A few weeks later, I got asked to go and speak at a networking event. Whoa, now Surely, I could transfer my on the air skills to in front of a small group of people put some stuff together, say it. I did, I did it and I shook hands with the whole room in one go. My talk was terrible. By the way, it wasn't great in any great shape. It didn't seed in any ideas. I didn't convert any people in the rooms into customers. I just raised my own profile a little bit. So since then, I've learned how to be more strategic with things like going on TV and radio, when you're speaking when you're taking part in a panel discussion, which is a similar sort of idea of getting in front of people is is being useful, but also helping them come back to you. Yeah, or, you know, for work really.

Tom Bailey  07:22

Yeah, absolutely. And you've covered lots of amazing points. And then when you want to drill down into this public speaking one, just because that's what we talk about a lot on this show. And so would you say that was your first memorable presentation and delivering that at the networking group? Or is there a memory that goes back earlier? Maybe in school or university when you had to present as well? And, and if so, how did that go?

Penny Haslam  07:48

So my first job as a stage speaker, it was paid and I was asked to do it because I was on telly look, they approach you don't know when you're on telly, they go with your as speak, you can use can do this on telly, you can speak to our audience live. No, you can't. So I ended up with a 13 page script full of ideas, you know, quite good ideas. But they weren't strung together very well. They didn't hang there was no linking there was no signposting. There was no take home, sort of a lecture. On my knees were knocking and I was gripping the lectern. And I had one of those, you know, in your eye twitches, and you've got no control over whatsoever. So it's kind of winking at the audience the whole time. And trying to, you know, take these pages over licking my finger, turning the page, trying to work out what I was saying that's trying to smile at the audience while reading at the same time. And it was dreadful. I mean, it was okay, I smiled, and I said some stuff. But it wasn't brilliant. And I thought, right, I need to be brilliant at this. Yeah, my own integrity and pride in my work as well. I want to stretch stages, I want to be that person who helps loads of people in the room, do better and grow and evolve and enable them to do more in the world. However, that sounds like very grand thinking, which I didn't really have at the time. So I was quite frustrated. I've never had a problem with confidence around being in front of people, or speaking, as you might tell, but even when I was little I love the camera. I used to play TV presenters when I was little in my bedroom, just used to talk to anything and just pretend I was on tomorrow's world and that was that was Maggie Philbin. And however, that translation of your skills from being a radio and TV presenter or reporter, taking that talent if you like that skill to the stage, I went through I think the same sorts of issues that most people when they are getting used to being in front of people live go through, so I could no longer rely on an autocue. He was scrapped. I had to speak from a different part of my brain almost and connect my mouth fluidly. So that during a period of heightened nerves, and adrenaline and be fluent and make, you know, remember things, and it is like driving, I don't know, a massive lorry with 12 gears on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country having never learned to drive before. You can go along in first gear for so long. And then you want to add a bit more, and add a bit more, do some more bells and whistles, try something out. And that's the journey, isn't it? People think so often, I can't speak I can't present because I'm not like the person I've just seen presenting or speaking. What you got to remember is that you probably didn't ever see that. You didn't see that person's first ever go. And they might have been as rubbish as you are. Yeah, they might have felt as rubbish as you feel. So let's say there's a journey there isn't that variance and learning?

Tom Bailey  10:57

Absolutely. So so let's go back to that moment. Then you talked about these knocking, gripping the lectern. You talked about the eye flicking so physiological responses to to nerves in reality. What what do you think you were nervous about? Was it people's opinions? Was it about something going wrong? Like what what were you nervous about? Do

Penny Haslam  11:16

you think it was all of that it? Did it? Did my message land was relatable. Did it make sense? Is it coherent? Does it hang together? Well, as a story, I didn't know these things. And the lack of experience, you know, you need almost like a pilot, you need some flying time under the belt dating for you can really pass you get your license, same as we speak. Same as with speaking. So to do a run through on stage in front of 500 people, it's not really very comfortable. No matter how many times you practice in your bedroom with a hairbrush in your hand looking in the mirror, it's not quite the same as that experience of being in a massive room. So those worries are just heightened at the beginning of your journey. They don't necessarily go away. You can correct. That's what I was worried about. This makes sense. I'm gonna just waffling on, I had no idea. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  12:12

I guess for most people, they won't have the problem of their first gig being a paid one. In most cases. It's extra pressure. So that was that was extracted, we talked about the pilot having that they're flying time. And, you know, get out there and speak is the reality, if it's in front of a room of 10 people, 20 people 30 people just start to get the practicing. Because it is a skill that you can learn and you will get better. And but you do need to start somewhere else.

Penny Haslam  12:36

Yeah, and I did all of that. You know, I did a lot of my first couple of years as a speaker, I did loads of free gigs, we call it free. But actually, if you can get some value from them, like vote, if you're looking to become a professional speaker, or you just want to get booked more, as a conference speaker, whether you get paid or not, you might have that business message that you want to share. Maybe it's about setting up a web page dedicated to you as a speaker, or maybe on your LinkedIn profile, you use the banner photograph, section, you know to be king or being on a panel or whatever you're doing. But if you can get something from speaking like video footage, photographs, testimonials, it all helps build your own marketing presence as a speaker. So again, you're not the best kept secret. You're not going to work too hard to build all that stuff and go, someone's asked for a biog and a high res photo. Have it ready. Yeah,

Tom Bailey  13:32

this Yeah, brilliant. Okay, great. So we've given some advice there to people who want to get paid to speak with you about that building that presents the website that the B roll or whatever you want to call it. And what about advice for people who are just starting out or even for a young Penny? Like what other than get some air miles and other than, you know, practice? What are the pits of tips and advice might you give to somebody starting out as a speaker?

Penny Haslam  13:57

I'd study it like an A level, not degree level that's a bit high, not GCSE. It's a bit low. Think a level right and lean into and I hate this phrase because it's not it's a Sheryl Sandberg thing to do with women in business, but the phrase is brilliant and applied well, just to learning more stuff. Lean into your subject. Yeah. Get into your subject and read some books, watch some TED Talks. Get a coach. I mean, I had that experience of my knees knocking and holding on gripping onto the lectern. And I thought, right, I can't, I can't be doing this on my own. I have no idea what I'm doing. So I got a coach to help me. And she shared with me what I've got in the book actually, is the presentation planner. It's a framework just for you know, being able to be coherent in how you get your message across. So it's getting tools, getting advice, getting support, being kind to yourself as well, Tom, isn't it rather than going Oh, I'm such an idiot. Why did I say that? Or I missed that bit out or, Oh, I'm so nervous. I went red and I didn't like it or my voice goes wobbly. And you know, we layer so much interior experience on to what is essentially an audience experiencing you. And those two things can be very different. So our internal experience might be the thing that is the most dangerous. And you might need to do a bit of work on that. To help support yourself. I did a bit of work on that I was really lucky actually, years ago, I joined the professional speaking association. So I'm in the mix with that 650 other like minded professionals, we really should be in competition with each other, but we're not we're very, very supportive of each other, which is lovely. And one of the speakers shared this kind of visualization technique, which at the time, I thought was a bit woowoo. Okay, well, I'll go along with that. And she said, you know, imagine a time and you had a great time, and you're feeling really good and full flow. And then now, grip a bit of your body, like your wrist or your finger, you hold on to an anchor point, nothing too dramatic. So the audience can't, you know, doesn't recognize that's what you're doing. And then it'll take you back to that time and did it uh, and also imagine something that's really glorious on you. And I imagined a cake, like a big snow queen cake, you know, like swishing about on a stage. I thought, Oh, yeah. So the next time I went to speak, I was really nervous. Again, I was thinking, Oh, this is gonna go badly wrong. I thought, No, I've got to stop this. I've got to put a spanner in this wheel. Because it can't keep spinning like this. It's detrimental, isn't it, it's tiring, if you feel like that after it's after speaking. So I did the gripping onto the anchor point in my wrist. And I imagined the case for the cloak. And I actually thought sod it, I'm just going to be this free on the stage as I am when I practice the you know, back then. And it absolutely was a game changer. So I now don't knock the internal work that I think you need to do as well.

Tom Bailey  16:51

There's another part of this internal external perspective as well. And a lot of speakers telling me this is when we stood on stage thinking, What do I look like? What are my hands doing? How's my posture? What do I sound like? Is my accent coming across? Okay? That's really bad to do that. Because really, what you should be focusing on is, am I giving value to this audience? are they learning something? What's their one big takeaway? And that change perspective will change everything for you? I think if you stuck in that internal dialogue, mindset, good

Penny Haslam  17:17

advice. It really is. And that's why I say content is king. Yes, performance is your queen, really, it doesn't really matter how you perform, if you've got great content. And I think the performance looks after itself to a degree, when you're really proud of what you're saying. And you know, that it's really relatable. And is, is getting, it's being useful to your audience exactly in the way that you say, if you're adding value, bring in content, that's good and wholesome and useful, not just showing off. And yeah, I think you're proud and proud to perform doesn't really matter how you perform after that, does it? Well, actually, I would say, don't put too many bullet points in your slide. If not, everything needs to be now you can change some of the things that you do quite easily.

Tom Bailey  18:03

Yeah, that's another can of worms altogether, PowerPoint slides. But you've got to, it's got to look good. It's got to sound good, you know, everything ties into that, that, that the memorable how memorable the event is.

Penny Haslam  18:16

And not to put too much pressure on yourself to be all those things in first gear, or the fifth gear or the 10th. do is say, right? Okay, so actually, I'm working with a slide guy at the moment, because I've realized that my deck is a bit. It's all right, but it's a bit flat. It's a bit white background, Black Writing, and I've not got any bullet points and it's not overloaded with fingers, you know, it's clear enough. And funny enough, however, I know, it can be so much more. So I've been speaking for seven years. I'm just about getting round to really polishing my slides. Yeah. And my stories as well. I'm working with the stories coach to help really near to stop the bad habit of just telling half assed anecdotes, which you know, kind of has a point but actually really focusing on how you tell a story within a talk. Yeah. And again, it's about leaning into your topic, isn't it and seeking professional development on it? So yeah, I'm enjoying this work, actually, at the moment more than ever so

Tom Bailey  19:14

amazing. And I could honestly talk about this all day, but I'd better not. So there's been a ton of value here. But the last question for me is if somebody really wants to book you as a speaker or find out more about you, where would they go?

Penny Haslam  19:29

The best place for me and I do have two businesses two websites if you like. The one for speaking is Penny has and on it is a podcast if you love podcasts, obviously you do if you're listening to this brilliant one with you. It's Penny forward slash podcast. And there's also an email which is great to sign up for because it's full of tips on confidence and speaking and presentations as well as taking part in panel discussions and going on TV and radio and doing video and All the stuff that you need to stop being a best kept secret

Tom Bailey  20:03

of it. What I'll do is I'll post some links in the show notes as well so people can get ahold of the podcast and the email and the website whenever they need. So, Penny, thank you so much again for your time today and for bringing such great value to our audience.