Alison Talks The Qualities That Make A Successful Speaker

Author: Ian

Date: March 1, 2016

Picture yourself ten years from now. Where do you want to be? And more importantly, how will you get there?

Learn to love public speaking and forget your nerves by following your passion and believing in yourself. Likewise Alison Edgar, a passionate business woman, spoke with us about transferring her business coaching and caring skills into public speaking.

Your first speaking experience might be nail-biting and it takes a lot of courage to persuade yourself to even think about standing on stage, but Alison provides some helpful tips on calming your nerves and learning to enjoy yourself.

Hi Alison, what are you up to at the moment in your career?

Well, to be honest it has been a whirlwind of a year for me as Managing Director of Sales Coaching Solutions. Sales Coaching Solutions provides bespoke sales and customer service training and coaching for entrepreneurs and SMEs.

We equip business owners and sales personnel with the vital skills needed to sell their products or services successfully and confidently; ultimately enabling them to maximise sales, increase profits and grow.

What was your first public speaking experience like?

My first public speaking experience was at a business event in Wiltshire several years ago. I love to public speak so, it’s always a pleasure, but even now to a big audience I get a few butterflies in my tummy.

My top tip to myself would be to slow down and keep a good pace, if I’m excited I tend to talk very fast and very Scottish!!

You’ve been voted as ‘one of the UK’s top 10 business advisers’ – congratulations!  What qualities and experience helped you to be awarded with this?

Thank you, sometimes I still cannot believe it! I think that one of the main reasons I was lucky enough to be awarded one of the top ten business advisors is because of my passion for small businesses and over 30 years in the sales and customer service industry.

What do you think the secret to success is?

I think that whilst this last couple of years have been truly bountiful for both myself and my company, there have been obstacles that I have had to overcome. The secret to success is to remain loyal to your ethics and go with your gut.

How do you reduce your many years of experience into a speech?

I’m honest. I think that there is nothing more inspiring then someone successful and determined remaining genuine and sincere to their audience.

All of my success has come through my experience and my journey, so by sharing that with my audience I hope that they are able to learn from it.

What are the most common mistakes you see business owners make in their early days?

Not investing in specialist advice. Whilst working for Yellow Pages, I saw so many companies constantly investing more and more money into their advertising space and then sitting back and waiting for the orders to come in and as a result, losing everything.

This is one of the main reasons I wanted to teach small businesses how to go out there a sell!

At your speech for University of the West of Scotland, you encouraged young people to “sell themselves”. How?

You must have confidence in yourself; if you don’t, then no-one else will. My phrase is “I think I am, therefore I am”.

Engagement early on is also key. Most people listen when there is something in it for them, so bring it in early when you pitch, so it attracts the attention.

It may sound simple but smiling is always a winning thing to do – when we are nervous we sometimes forget!

You’ve done plenty of volunteer work throughout your career. Do you believe that wanting to make a difference to our world makes you a better keynote speaker?

Definitely. It is so important to give back to your community and more importantly the future of the UK Economy. The work that I do for Small Business Saturday and Enterprise Nation demises purely from my passion to help small businesses.

It makes me a better speaker because it proves that I truly care about helping my audience.

What are you passionate about?

Sales, small businesses and young people.

What do you think makes a strong team of employees?

Like-mindedness, loyalty and positivity. I would also recommend having an all-round mix of skills and behaviours.

We all want to be successful, but getting there isn’t easy. Alison is a prime example of following your gut and never giving in to the easy life.

Starting a new business isn’t easy, and there will be constant challenges along the way, but when a driven spirit you can see it to the end.

Always give back to your community and never forget where you came from and what your intentions are when speaking or starting your own business.

If it’s to soothe your ego, then think of another career path, because the people want to see your passion before anything.

Alison chooses to focus her talks about business growth, because that’s her specialty and what she’s passionate about. Take the time to become the best ambassador of your industry and use your speeches to inspire people. Be the role model you want to see.