Public Speaking – why you should just say yes!

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Just say yes. But make sure you know what you’re saying yes to! In this particular case I think you should just say yes to public speaking opportunities because it’s not only an opportunity to speak but it’s an opportunity to grow.

We’re going to discuss that in just a moment that first, I’m Shola Kaye, a public speaking coach and a professional speaker based in London clients all around the world. Typically, I work with business owners, with people who want to advance their career with speaking, and with organizations.

I was contacted recently by a lovely business owner who is based in Singapore and she experiences fear of speaking. She shared with me that she has turned down a great number of speaking opportunities that would have helped her with her business, with her expert status in her country and beyond because she was afraid.

Public Speaking – it’s about stepping out of your comfort zone

Now if you have a paralyzing fear of public speaking, I can understand it. Some people have a phobia and they need to deal with that properly before they can get on stages and really live out their dreams with public speaking. If that is you, then something I do have for you is an interview with the psychologists and therapists Olivia James. She is going to share some of her top techniques for getting rid of fear of speaking and indeed she is available to contact, to see if she can help you get rid of that debilitating phobia.

But if you are somebody who has a mild anxiety around public speaking, and you just don’t like that sort of icky uncomfortable feeling and therefore you don’t want to step out of the comfort zone and put yourself in the position of getting in front of audiences, then the just say yes message is definitely for you.

Public Speaking – when making the decision do listen to your gut feeling

I want to share with you a story. Obviously, I love speaking, I love going in front of audiences. But sometimes we’re all busy, we’re tired, we’ve got too much on our plates and we think “Oh, somebody’s asked me to speak, just can’t be bothered, I don’t want to do it, I’m gonna say no”. Earlier this year I was in that position. I’d been asked to speak at a conference, it wasn’t really the topic that I wanted to speak on, it was kind of related to what I do but it was kind of a side area and I had a lot of my plate. I was about to travel and speak overseas and I thought “I can’t be bothered, I’m just gonna turn this down”. Some little voice in me said Shola don’t turn it down, just say yes.

So I did say yes to this speaking opportunity and so glad I did. Because the opportunity itself was went very well. I got to speak to 100 people, they enjoyed it. Then at the last minute there was another opportunity at the same conference where somebody couldn’t make it and they needed somebody to facilitate a session and I said “Yes, I’m gonna be there, I may as well step forward and facilitate this session too”.

In facilitating that session, I got to make some great new contacts with some people who I’m looking forward to collaborating with going forward. Having said yes to that first event and then run the facilitation session, I was then asked by the same organizers to be a chairperson at another conference that they were running. Now, if I hadn’t said yes to this first event, I probably wouldn’t have been on their radar to be asked to be chair so I said “Okay, I’ll be the chairperson at this next event”.

Public Speaking – how saying yes opens the door to opportunity

Being the chair at that event gave me a lot of content to use in blog posts, videos, articles, which was very useful in its own right. In addition to being the chair at that event and in getting the content for the blog posts and things, I also met some more contacts and was asked to speak at a conference or two conferences next year. This was a as a result of one of the contacts I made.

Another person saw me, as chairperson, and recommended that I chair an event run by her organization which is a much larger event and quite high-profile as well, which I’m looking forward to doing next year. In addition to those opportunities, by being seen on the program for that first event I was approached by two other organizations, one of whom has booked me to speak on their main stage in front of more than a thousand people, and another has asked me to be the keynote at their organization conference that’s coming up.

All of that came from just saying yes to one opportunity. And who’s to say that each of those opportunities that came as a result of that will not spore yet more opportunities, contacts, business, etc. Even people who just turned out to be friends. It doesn’t all have to be about business and getting clients, it can just be that you’ve met some great people that you want to stay in touch with. So that’s why I say just say yes!

Public Speaking – be brave and embrace the challenge

Say yes and figure it out later, which I think is a quote from Richard Branson. He said just to say yes, you can always work it out later on but that opportunity may never come to you again. If you’re feeling a bit tired, if you’re feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed, you can find a way to deal with that. And I’m not saying that you need to pile the work up so that your stress levels are sky-high and you’re feeling haggard and tired and over overstretched. At the same time if they’re an opportunity and you’re not quite sure where they could lead to and you’re up for the challenge then say yes and see what happens next!

So that’s it for me, this is a brief summary of my message. Please do not contact me and say “I have this great opportunity and I take it” because that makes my heart contract and go “Oh no, so don’t do that!”. Take the opportunity and push through. It might be to speak in front of a new group, it might be you have to create a new presentation, take the time and do it. Take these opportunities that come up unless you know for sure that you don’t need that opportunity and you’re fine as you are.

I hope that helps. Keep speaking, keep speaking up. I’ll see you the next time and take those opportunities. Just say yes to life!


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 27 places to find speaking opportunities.

Find out where your next speaking opportunity might come from – whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or experienced speaker.

2 – Join my Facebook Group – Public Speaking for Female Coaches and Entrepreneurs.

Join us for tips, discussions and community!

3 – Are you an ambitious coach, consultant or small business owner? If you’d like to wow your audiences and find more speaking opportunities, then watch the FREE on-demand training video here:

4 – Find out about my VIP Days and private coaching. Book me for a VIP half or full-day session if you want to make some serious progress!