How it all Started – Two Years of Speaking without Limits

Two years ago, back in May 2011 – a pub in Islington, twenty people in the audience, three speakers – three judges, the ‘getting your heart racing’ Impromptus and PONY Express Speakers Club was born.It’s our BIRTHDAY this month – two years of PONY Express – two years of speaking without limits!

The pub closed down last year but PONY Express is going strong! Especially on Facebook – our favourite hang-out!

There is enormous power in learning and testing out your skills in front of an audience. The growth has been unstoppable, both for PONY Express and for the speakers in the Members Club, which we launched last November. Just this week, a few of us spoke at TeachMeet – an event for and with inspiring teachers. With 200 people in the audience, yes, we all were a little nervous but the power and passion for your message should always be greater – and they were. Topics we shared were teaching through nature, digital leadership, experiential learning, teaching through TWEETS and the importance of nurturing an entrepreneurial mind-set in kids. It was incredible to share the stage with some of the best teachers in the UK.

Looking back two years ago, PONY Express started as a place for speakers to train techniques learned from different international speaker trainers like Clinton Swaine, Joanna Martin or Chris Howard.

With experience we realised, yes, techniques are important but too much technique takes away from your authenticity and your ability to really connect with the audience.

When you speak from the heart you need no notes – you know what you and your topic are all about.  Yes, even accounting can be interesting, if the speaker is truly connected to the subject and allows that enthusiasm to shine through.

If you are speaking on a more professional level, preparation of course is crucial. This is a technique. Structuring those ideas for maximum impact is a technique.

Before you get in front of your audience, there are different techniques to calm those nerves.

Planning to use space (stage anchoring or blocking) is a technique. How you actually use the space and incorporate whatever happens in the moment might not be technique.

We believe that everyone can fall in love with Public Speaking – no matter what you experienced from stage before, we grow and improve by doing, especially when things go not the way we anticipated.

This is to say THANK YOU to all our members and professional speakers, who continue to share their expertise with us! WE LOVE YOU AND PUBLIC SPEAKING!

PUBLIC SPEAKERS have one thing in common. They learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To have this courage is NOT a technique but a CHOICE.

Entrepreneurs and Public Speaking – Action is more Important than Perfection

You put an idea forward and no one listens? Some other ‘boring’ idea gets more attention than yours? Can you relate to his? We can, been there, it hurts and this is probably one of the main reasons we PONY Express loves to support you communicating your ideas in a way so they resonate with others.Ideas without taking ACTION aren’t really worth anything – right? Are you still sitting on the fence? Here are some reasons for you to kick-start your speaking, now! I mean right NOW, you want to grow your business and play a bigger game, don’t you? Being great at public speaking is a fundamental part to it as it as it displays confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.

HERE ARE MORE REASONS FOR YOU TO SPEAK OUT LOUD:

You are pitching for funding! Leave them impressed and ready to invest as your professional & calm appearance leaves them assured you will get them their money back.

You are asked to explain your vision in front of a camera! Believe us, talking in front of cameras requires all the skills of public speaking, and more.

Your company grows and you are hosting seminars and workshops! No matter what business stage you are at, you will likely have a better chance with any client if you appear like a professional speaker.

You are updating employees or stakeholders! As a CEO your team expects you to be an inspiring example of a speaker.

You are asked to be on a panel of experts! Your communication skills outside your company are even more important than inside. You will be critiqued by industry analysts, potential strategic partners, your competitors and the media.

External perceptions often determine the reality of your company and your success.

TAKE RISKS – if you want something you never had, you must do something you never did – it might be PUBLIC SPEAKING for you.

I am a Virgin – My first experience at PONY Express

‘I’m a virgin!’ I shouted when Elliot Kay, one of the hosts of the evening asked ‘who has never attended a PONY Express Speakers Club event before?’ I soon realised I wasn’t the only virgin in the room!

PONY Express Speakers Club

A friendly energetic group of people find themselves collectively brought together by the talented Annik Rau. Annik founded PONY Express Speakers Club in 2011 after struggling to find a place that offers a stage to people who want to use public speaking as part of growing their business, running workshops or doing platform selling. The existing places she found did provide peer-to-peer feedback, which is good for starting out but they don’t feature professional and experienced teachers on a regular basis or tailored long-term training modules.

What an amazing platform she has created. They started a Members Club at the beginning of the year and with now approximately 50 members (and growing), Annik’s humble approach and enthusiasm creates such warmth – it is not surprising her business is becoming so successful.

Before the evening really got going, I mingled amongst the crowd. I found myself talking to a lecturer, a digital video marketer, a business coach and a guy who had to deliver a Best Man speech at an up and coming wedding! What an eclectic mix – all there because they want to create impact when speaking to an audience – authentically.

Elliot Kay, also know as The Coach with the Hat and part of the business provided the intro to the evening and guest MC Nav explained the programme of the night to everyone. If you are wondering where the name ‘PONY Express’ originated from, Elliot kindly took a few minutes to educate us. Back in 1860 America the PONY Express was a mail delivery serves where young pony riders risked their lives delivering a message. The point being, a message had to be delivered and this is what The PONY Express Speakers Club does support you with when you are ‘risking your life and reputation’ stepping into the limelight to deliver your message with impact, clarity and authenticity.

How to be PRESENT on Stage

The event was kicked off by guest speaker Todd Acamesis, a Spiritual Teacher. He was speaking on ‘how to be PRESENT on stage’. He really highlighted the importance of being authentic with your words.

Be yourself, relax into the flow and talk from the heart.

He emphasised the point of being ‘present’ by not allowing the mind to wander and distract you. We were soon given the opportunity to put this into practice ourselves. We (the audience and students) found ourselves being asked to establish a group of four and one person to talk from the heart about a given subject. The topic for the impromptu exercise was: ‘If there was one thing you could change in the world today, what would it be?’. Ever the enthusiast, I eagerly volunteered myself to talk about the first topic that entered my head …and that was – trees. Talking from my heart and not my head, i.e not even thinking about what I was saying I found words flowing out of my mouth effortlessly for 90 seconds. The feedback from the group was really surprising! Comments such as ‘structured well’, ‘passionate’, ‘really well delivered’… I have never talked to ‘Joe Public’ in all my life, let alone on a subject that literally just popped into my head. It certainly boosted my confidence beyond measure!

The evening progressed with more eager voluntary speakers. A panel of three judges, all of whom are experienced presenters or public speakers, carefully observed each speaker and responded with constructive feedback covering areas like confidence, delivery and body language.

For anyone feeling the fear for speaking in public or to a large audience, this is a great place to learn and practice in a fun and friendly environment; supported by professional advice. You are guaranteed to fall in love with public speaking and make new friends along the way!

PONY Express Speakers Club July 2013, The Science of Being Present

Michelle Offord at Black Grape Consultancy

7 Tips to a Mindblowing Speech

Collected by Steve Beckles-ebusa at www.scaredtospeakingpublic.com from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) community members:1. Don’t Write a Speech
‘The best way to really motivate an audience is to connect with them. And the best way to connect with an audience is by not reading a printed piece of paper verbatim. It’s the extemporaneousness that will really get them. Through my company, I get to speak to a lot of larger groups of high school students and their parents. I always go in with a very detailed outline – but no sentences.’ ~ Jessica Brondo, The Edge in College Prep

2. Use the Fact-Example-Fact Method
‘I’m not all that funny, nor am I really a storyteller. I focus on providing insightful information — which makes you think people may not come away moved – but at least it’s memorable. I use the Fact-Example-Fact method. Get an interesting fact, illustrate that fact with an actionable example, and restate the fact another way. Put three of these chains together – and you’re set.’ ~ Liam Martin, Staff.com

3. Be Vulnerable
‘I think sharing vulnerability is one of the most important and powerful parts of leadership. It has to be genuine. That’s what makes it such an emotional, personal, effective speaking tool. Everyone has vulnerabilities and everyone has weaknesses – what are yours?’ ~ Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

4. Hire a Brilliant Copywriter
‘I wouldn’t hire a copywriter to write a full speech at this point because it’s a process I enjoy. But I think hiring a copywriter to polish your key points is money well spent. I think the most value a copywriter can bring is to make sure you have sound bites and tweetables that people will want to share with their audiences.’ ~ Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

5. Make It Stick
‘Owning a speakers bureau, I listen to and give a lot of presentations a year. The most important book that I have read on the subject is ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip & Dan Heath. Basically, you consolidate all of your points into a core message of 1-2 sentences. Then you use the SUCCES (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories) to build out your message in an engaging way.’ ~ Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

6. Use Humor to Your Advantage
‘Combine climaxes with humor. I talk about starting my first company at 14. I needed a loan to buy a computer; after discussing the challenges I say, ‘I went home and, finally, founded my first business’. After the applause I follow with, ‘I called it Apache Ax Cybernetic Enterprises Limited.’ Because the audience was emotionally attached, they laugh out loud when they hear the company’s name.’ ~ Alexander Torrenegra, VoiceBunny

7. Keep It Simple
‘I’ve given a TED talk and delivered 100+ keynote speeches. The most important thing for writing a great, memorable speech that moves the audience is to make sure that your message is understood by the audience. An audience can’t move if it doesn’t understand where to move to. In my experience, there’s no better tip than, ‘Tell them what you’re going to say. Say it. And tell ‘em what you said.’ ~ Brett Farmiloe, Markitors