Self Expression Through Public Speaking - Elaine PowellDec 02, 2022
Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Elaine Powell.
Elaine is an award-winning professional speaker, peak performance and public speaking coach.
She has spoken at over 200 events worldwide and trained over 30,000 people including senior leaders, c-suite executives, and thought leaders. A former TEDx curator in London for three years and recently featured in Forbes.
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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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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 Elaine Powell, who is an award winning professional speaker peak performance and public speaking coach. So Elaine, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.
Elaine Powell 00:40
Oh, hello, Tom. Hello, the listener. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to jump into our conversation.
Tom Bailey 00:46
Thank you so much for being here. And I can detect it and accent whereabouts in the world are you right now?
Elaine Powell 00:52
More or less northwest London around the Hampstead area. So nice parts of London.
Tom Bailey 00:58
Excellent. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I also know that you are a former TEDx curator. You've personally spoken over 200 events, and I've trained over 30,000 speakers. So I guess to begin with, I really wanted to find out. What is it about the speaking industry that really lights you up and keeps you coming back time and time again?
Elaine Powell 01:17
How long do we have? There's just so much that I've got out of my own speaking journey. You know, I was working with young offenders. And I loved working in that industry. But you know, at some point in our life, something says, it's not enough, you need something different. So I, you know, I went off traveling around the world came back and I thought, What do I want to do? How am I going to be fulfilled, and something just kept on coming up for me about my childhood, around self expression, my self expression had been stunted as a child through various you know, mom's telling you to be quiet not to talk. And I think it's one of those things that life gives you what you need, not always what you wanted. And I never really realized that my self expression had been just crushed as I grew up. And I wasn't sharing enough, especially in groups, what I thought my feelings. So it's like life pushed me into the world of public speaking. It wasn't something that I thought, Yes, I want to be a speaker. Yeah. But you know, life has a way of just pushing us and I started in Toastmasters, right? Excellent. And for anyone listening who doesn't know, Toastmasters is an amateur speaking club, that you can go into your local area, and they're really supporting you as a speaker. And I, yeah, I started winning competitions, and really loved how, in the process of speaking, we know that from speaking you gain the things visibility, credibility, you know, authority, but the confidence and the self belief in validating what you have to say, and people receiving it, and going, Oh, my God, that was amazing, or you really helped me is just priceless.
Tom Bailey 03:27
I can really resonate with that. That is my my story, really. And, you know, I became an expert at avoiding public speaking for about the first 25 to 30 years of my life and introverted, I was always the shy kid in school. I kept quiet. So yeah, I can really resonate with that. And I guess that's one of the things that I'm really passionate about now is more removing that obstacle, and actually, you know, setting my voice free. So I think, yeah, that's kind of very much in line with what you just said. So I want to go back to the early days for you then. So when you first realize that, you know what, I can share what I have to say, and you know, I can have a little bit of the spotlight here. What was it like? Were you were you a nervous speaker? Or did you find it quite comfortable when you when you got started?
Elaine Powell 04:12
I think because I don't know if it's because I'm the last child, you only have like a the baby of the bunch. We run around with like wild. I think I've always been in the performance space. As a child, you know, my mum took us to theatre, you know, acting and dancing, and I was just running around having a great time. And you know, I played the guitar, I sang in some groups. So I think I was okay about being in front of people, but it's only when you actually step into the world of speaking. You're like, Oh, now I have to be really clear with my communication is very different to performing something versus being yourself. Yeah. And I remember my first Toastmasters speech, they count your arms and ORs. Yeah. Will you ever toasts in Toastmasters in My Love Public Speaking
Tom Bailey 05:08
of yeah, very silly.
Elaine Powell 05:10
And I remember my first five minutes icebreaker, they counted 53, which now is an experienced speaker and coach, I know that that person is very nervous. They're speaking way too fast. They're not using any pauses. And they potentially just want to get it over and done with. Yeah, so they gave me some great tips. And then my second time around, I got it down to five. So it's, it's just been an incredible journey. Been in the world of speaking.
Tom Bailey 05:48
Excellent. Yeah. Thank you for that. And I guess, going back then, again, what would you say to a young lion right now, if you're going to live your speaking career? Again? And what piece of advice would you give to her to set her off on the right foot for this journey?
Elaine Powell 06:05
Ah, such a great question. And I've had that many times in clubhouse because I'm in the clubhouse platform speaking on speaking. Oh, I think it's the same thing I would say to people in business as well. That speaking and business is all about service. It's actually not about you. And I think if I knew that, when that was, you know, many, many years ago, I wouldn't have been so fixated on what if I missed what if I make a mistake? And what if I get it wrong? And what you know, all the things that come up in my head, or come up in our head about ourselves? Well, actually, as a speaker, we know that the audience doesn't really care. They care about what's in it for them, what's in it for them, what's in it for them. So I think the same was speaking the same movie business, service to many leads to greatness. help enough people to get what they want. And you'll get what you want in return. So if I was to go back and talk to my younger self, it will be just keep on focusing on giving value making a difference to the person listening, because in that listening, you forget about your own self.
Tom Bailey 07:23
Love that. Yeah, taking the spotlight off yourself really important. What what they can get so yeah, fantastic. Thanks for that. And I also want to talk about TEDx. Because I know that we said in your bio, that you are a TEDx curator, I think for a few years. I'm just interested. Like, what why is TEDx almost a mark of credibility or something that speakers aspire to? What is it about TEDx Do you t
Elaine Powell 07:48
I think because it's been around for a long time, since 1984. And I think how it started, which was a conference, Silicon Valley for all the thinkers and doers in the tech space, it was a time of Facebook, Google saw already they were having industry experts speak on ideas worth spreading. Yeah. And obviously, you know, people couldn't afford to go there. So they created the TED X, which is local ones that can happen in your, your community of whichever country you live in. And I think it's also that supply and demand. Because it's not that easy to get elected to speak, there's more demand, and there is a supply. Because if you think of the larger, more established TEDx events, they potentially have, one to 300 applications for only 12 to 15. Speaker slots. Yeah. And there is something when you say, I'm a TEDx speaker, that people go, they start paying attention, because especially the people that understand you have to go through the eye of the needle, in order to not only come up with an idea worth spreading that people it's a difference between someone guiding me. Okay, idea to Oh, wow. Yeah, and then you have to go through the process of being able to articulate it. It creates a you know, a messaging around it that has a curator go, oh, yeah, let's get this person in Freiburg and interview, then you also have to craft the tool. Yeah, it's actually much easier to talk for an hour than it is to talk for 18 minutes or less. Yeah,
Tom Bailey 09:42
of course. Yeah. And just to jump in there, so this this idea worth spreading. It's somebody wants to become a TEDx speaker, but they don't really know what idea to go with what what piece of advice would you give to them? How do they find that idea?
Elaine Powell 09:55
Give it all my jewels away. I hear you know, I say it's, it's like peeling back a layer of, you know, an onion. Yeah. Sometimes people will come up with the idea. But usually it's something you've been living through, you want to see that, for, in my opinion. So obviously, just my humble opinion, the people who do really well in TED and TEDx is because they're speaking on an area that they're an expert in. Yeah, they haven't had to just go, oh, I want to talk about this. And they have they, you know, when we dive deeper, when we start crafting the talk, they don't have research, they don't have stories, they don't have facts and statistics, because they haven't lived it. So first of all, find something that you're an expert in, or the other one is expertise and experience. There's a lot of people who've gone through something, whether it's an illness, or you know, running seven, marathons in seven days, or wherever it might be, because then the idea can come out of that. The challenge you'll find is that many people will feel because they have a story. Now they can go and do a TEDx talk. Well, I just want to say it's not Ted stories worth spreading. It's Ted ideas worth spreading. Yeah, so yes, you can have a story and we all have stories. But what is the idea? Yeah, I love that. Yeah, we need. And I
Tom Bailey 11:36
guess, you know, I've watched lots of Ted at TEDx and TED talks, and it always makes you, it always makes you think something different by the end of it, or, you know, you have a different bit of inspiration, or it's been thought provoking. So that's, I guess, what you're looking for, really, in terms of the idea as well, isn't it?
Elaine Powell 11:50
Yeah, we always say at the end, you want people to do one of three things or all three, you want them to think a certain way? Do certain actions, or feel a certain way? Think do or feel them? Or just at least do one of them
Tom Bailey 12:05
brilliant. Love that. Excellent. And I guess next question. If somebody's starting from scratch, blank canvas, and they're aspiring to be a TEDx speaker, what's the kind of lead time you should somebody should expect to take? Is it is it a year? Is it two years? It's six months? How much time do you need to go from zero to onstage at TEDx?
Elaine Powell 12:23
You're asking all these hard questions like to quantify time, it's, it's really difficult, because you know, people are doing so many things in their life. I, I'll tell you, what I've experienced, the quickest I've had is to work with someone. And within 10 days, we came up with the idea we articulated it, we applied, and they got accepted. Yeah. Then they delivered it. And within three months, that is really pretty quick transcript. Yeah. Because I'd say on average, it depends on how long somebody's been thinking about this idea. But I'd say on average, between three and six months, because you've got to work on the idea, you've got to work on it. Sometimes it's just space, you need that white thinking space. And then you have to sometimes they actually want you to write the talk for the applications. And that takes time. And then you have to wait for the speaker window applications to open. Unless you've got a big database, you don't always know when their applications are open. And then they, you know, they maybe have a month or six week process where they go through the applications. Yeah,
Tom Bailey 13:39
yeah. Yeah. Perfect. That's, that's, that's been really useful. Thank you. And I guess just moving away from from TEDx, just for a second. So we talked about the early days for you, you know, at Toastmasters, we talked about your journey. And what was interesting now is is what's next? So we've just been through a global pandemic speaking, industry shut down basically for a couple of years. So what's what's next for you? What's next for the industry? Would you say?
Elaine Powell 14:07
Yeah, so people want to get out. They want to be with other people again, you know, where I think virtual is here to stay. Yeah, because we've seen that we've coped very well during the pandemic. And there are times that you can't gather everybody together a conference, it costs a lot time all of that travel in person are definitely coming back again, hybrid, I'm sure hybrid is still there. And for people who don't know hybrid, it's, it's virtual. And so if I'm presenting in a live room, I'll also have a camera to look to and there's people virtual. I think sometimes people don't like the hybrid as much because it's really it's challenging to engage a live audience and on zoom as well so that they both have the same because it is all about experience. You are creating an experience for them. So, you know, I think we're now going into a new phase of those three virtual hybrid and in person. For myself, I definitely want to do a lot more speaking in the USA. So it's working on the resume. All the things that have to happen, you know, to make sure that you're always doing it the correct way. And for me just spent spreading my subject matters which I speak on transformational thinking, and obviously, how to communicate with impact that to impede performance. They're the areas that I love speaking on. So I'm doing that and just running my year long programs to get people out there speaking.
Tom Bailey 15:47
Excellent. And and I guess that's let us know if you answer that the final topic I wanted to talk about, which was the business side of speaking. So a lot of aspiring speakers come into the world, and maybe they're given free talks to begin with, that's not sustainable. So at some point, they need to transition into paid speaking or revenue generating speaking. What advice would you give somebody who's looking to turn? I'm a free speaker to, I'm now in the business of speaking.
Elaine Powell 16:13
Yeah, so I think it's like with same with your business. What is your target market? Yeah. Who are you speaking to? And who's willing to pay that type of money? You know, from three to 510? There are organizations that can't afford that. So is that your target market, then that's fine. But be aware that your payment will be capped? Yeah, nonprofits can only pay so much government can only pay so much small business owners. When you're jumping into more than more corporate space, the sweet, that's where you can do you know, the bigger conferences, that's going to do the five 710 15. So for those, I'd say, I got this, I think it was from Nigel riser. It's the three F's. At times, you are going to speak for free, even, even if you get paid 10,000. There will be times you speak free, because it's in front of your ideal clients. Yeah. And you know, there's something coming on the back end, maybe there's programs that you can deliver or workshops, then there's the fee. Now, how do you go from free to fee? You just ask, you'd be so surprised how people, I started up 500 went up to 1000. Went up to 2000. I just kept on raising it. And I wasn't attached to the person saying yes or no. Yeah. And then there's the last one. So there's free, there's a fee you asked for it. And then if they say no, you negotiate or you have conversations, but always have those conversations in person. Don't do that via email. It just doesn't work. We're talking about pricing. And it's all about value. What value can you give, and the one last one is clearly runaway, your target audience, it's not worth your time. It's not in line with your values. And you are then so I like the three F's.
Tom Bailey 18:11
I love that had Nigel on the podcast not long ago, actually. Yeah.
Elaine Powell 18:15
I love Nigel A's awesome.
Tom Bailey 18:17
And brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing all that. It's been that's been amazing to hear. And I guess the last question for me today is if somebody wants to find out more about you work with you book you as a speaker, where should they go?
Elaine Powell 18:28
Oh, well, thank you so much for having me. I've enjoyed our conversation, having having to make me work hard. Two places you want to book me as a speaker, just go to Elaine powell.com. And you can contact me there. If you're interested in working with me either to get you on a TEDx stage or to get you out speaking and getting paid speaking then just go to my mind speak one word, mind speak Academy, and you'll find free resources that you can download and contact me there.
Tom Bailey 19:04
Awesome. Thank you so much. I'll post all of those links into the show notes as well so people can click on those and find out more. Elaine all this episode really is thank you so much for your time sharing such great value with me and with our audience.
Elaine Powell 19:16
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.