Public Speaking – INTERVIEW WITH US EXEC SPEAKING COACH, BILLIE SHEPARD – Shola Kaye
This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes.
Hello hello hello! And here we are for another edition of my podcast Shortcuts to Public Speaking Success and also my video blog. I’m super excited because we have a very special guest today all the way from across the pond. We have a very special speaking coach and actor.
She’s really here with this intention to help so I’m just gonna tell you a little bit about Billie and then I’m gonna be jumping in with some questions because we really must exploit her as much as we can while she’s here with us on the show.
First of all, Silicon Valley speaking coach Billie Shepard has been an actor and an acting coach for forty years. Twenty years ago she recognized business speakers have the same performance anxieties that actors deal with and so she founded the Billie Shepard and Associates Acting Academy.
She uses acting techniques to transform all types of business speakers into powerful presenters. Now Billie is what with some amazing and super well-known clients like Facebook, Uber and Intuit and she continues to find some time to do a bit of modeling as well.
Shola: hey miss Billie! How are you doing?
Billie: I’m well, I’m delighted to be with you
Shola: excellent, excellent, we’re so happy for happy here. Weird circumstances as the world knows, this is if you’re listening to this later on right now we’re right in the midst of COVID lockdown. It’s the same for you guys in California, right?
Billie: absolutely, we’re all in the same boat
Shola: well people have been having to adapt but the main thing is to be healthy, isn’t it?
Billie: absolutely, absolutely. Everything else will pass as it does
Shola: absolutely, yeah so again I’ll ask Billie a few questions and hopefully those questions to bring out some of her amazing expertise. I know I’m someone with a performance background but I come from a singing background and singing and acting although we’re still on stages very different ways of going about things, different techniques, etc. So I’m looking forward to learning a lot from Billie today too. My first question is, I know that Billie used to be a professional actor, how did you go from being an actor to training executives?
Billie: I’ll tell you what happened and this is just you. I hope nobody’s listening to this, it’s personal. I went through a divorce and I wanted to stay in Silicon Valley and I had to figure out a way to increase income. The acting and the modeling and the teaching wasn’t doing enough to maintain the household and stay. One day it occurred to me I was invited to coach some executives to help polish their presentation skills and that’s when I realized hugely that they had the same anxieties and fears and concerns that actors and performers had before they performed and before they gave presentations. I thought they can use these acting techniques to prepare and get ready and that’s how it started. And then it occurred to me that I could help a huge number of business people get better at performing and then I just started offering my services and founded the company and here we are.
Shola: fantastic, it’s amazing isn’t it? What makes us change and pivot. With me when I started singing I was living with a boyfriend and moved out. It’s like “right I need to make some money quickly, how am I gonna do this?”
Billie: yes, mother of invention! And it’s a wonderful thing to impart to people, isn’t it? Your performance training and the techniques you use to tell a story in your songs and they need to tell a story in their presentations and their communication so it’s an easy bridge
Shola: very much so, yeah. I’ve really enjoyed every moment of it. Let’s move into a little bit, because Billie with all her many years of acting training and being a professional actor, she’s got a lot of different techniques that she can share with us. One that I’ve sort of heard a little bit about is this idea of circles. Like the first circle, second circle, third circle. Can you explain a bit more about that because I know that’s connected a little bit with Patsy Rodenburg who’s one of the best known acting coaches, speaking coaches, and voice coaches out there. Perhaps you can tell us a bit more about that please.
Billie: oh, thank you for asking. And here we are back on the other side of the pond Ms Rodenburg who’s coached a few good people like Judi Dench and Joseph Fiennes and some wonderful wonderful actors. She’s fantastic. When I was working on my graduate thesis she became one of my seminal sources. She discovered a similar thing that I came upon teaching acting which was this curiosity. This is gonna take a little bit of explanation but it’ll get us to the three circles. She discovered that when a person, an actor, or a performer is in this present moment they’re brilliant. When I was teaching acting I would became focused on trying to figure out what it was that made one actor brilliant and riveting and another actor very good. And I realized that when I could help an actor get in that present moment they would be brilliant. So talent, it occurred to me and Ms Rosenberg, was the desire to do something but after that getting in the present moment was the secret…
Listen/watch the full interview with Billie to learn about her methodology, which she uses with her exec clients, as well as useful and practical insights about performance that you can apply to your public speaking technique.
Find out more about Billie at billieshepard.com and check out Billie’s book The Billie Shepard Presentation Method on Amazon.
Thank you for listening and take care.
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