At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?
This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.
We had a chat with Trisha Lewis who founded her own Communication Coaching business to discuss what it takes to be a leader and what the big fear of public speaking is all about.
RISE: What is your name and what is your ‘title’?
Trisha: Trisha Lewis – Communication Coach – my own business – just me!
RISE: A ‘Communication Coach’ can you describe to us what this entails and what a normal day in the life of Trisha looks like?
Trisha: I help people communicate better! That’s a bit simplistic I guess – but it is the ultimate goal. That might mean communicating better with themselves, their team or their audience. Communication is a foundational skill and once you start unpacking what it involves, well – it’s a fascinating gift to unwrap!
There is no such thing as a normal day – which kind of suits me! I have developed good multi-tasking skills and I have a fair bit of energy – even at my age! I am constantly curious and like the aspect of my work which involves meeting so many fascinating people as well as finding ways to communicate with and grow my network. I rarely say no to an opportunity to get to know someone or brainstorm a possible collaboration. Oh – and I am also writing a book! All this means my days have a pretty random quality to them.
However – I do try and put a little structure around the randomness. If I have a day with no client coaching sessions or company workshops/talks etc… then I will often start early by walking down to my favourite coffee shop – laptop in bag. I like to work with a little buzz around me rather than silence. I will then make sure I do at least 30 minutes of business development before getting stuck into blog writing, social media engagement or book writing.
Then there will be days when I have clients coming to my home based office for coaching or I am going out to deliver talks or workshops to groups and organisations. Oh – and some days that mean a very early start or evening trip out for a networking event!
RISE: We’ve chatted in the past about this but can you outline what Imposter Syndrome is and how you begin to tackle this?
Trisha: I will share with you the definition I give in the introduction of the book I am currently writing!
A nagging feeling of self-doubt that feels real but does not stand up to scrutiny. A feeling that you are on the outside looking in but ‘they’ all have the right to be there. A feeling that if you do not work very hard at being loved, clever and perfect – you will be thrown out into the wilderness by a jeering crowd of haters who have discovered just how useless, bad (or both) you ‘really’ are. A feeling that when people do praise you – they are going to regret it as soon as you leave the room or put the phone down.
I could delve deep here – but hey – I want people to buy the book! Having said which I do give a lot of free tips in the various blog posts and videos I share!
In brief – you tackle it by getting real! You equip yourself with a good dose of knowledge about what it is – and what the symptoms and consequences are – and then you use some tactics that involve pressing pause between feelings and actions, talking with others to reveal that you are not alone and ‘bigging yourself up’!
There is no cure – it is not an illness! What you do is become more aware of the signs and quicker at pressing pause! Again – much more in the book – or for now on my YouTube channel (plug!)
RISE: Why do you think that public speaking is such a huge fear for so many of us?
Trisha: Ah – again I could go on! So I will try to keep this brief…
Actually I used to be very shy when I was younger – belief it or not! They do say a lot of actors have a shy streak!
The fear is the same as any kind of fear – fear is a powerful force for all us humans! We are wired to see the negative – it is a survival tool that can get triggered off in an unhelpful way these days! There are rarely sabre-toothed tigers to watch out for. It is a mind-body thing – and it is far worse when you keep sending signals to your brain that you are afraid – because then your body responds even more – and a viscous cycle is set up!
The main tactic involves getting ‘out of your head’! You need to be present – remember that it is about them not you – and they are not out to get you!
Our biggest fear is often fear of rejection and fear of judgement – again down to ancient wiring! If you acknowledge what is going on and get rational about the reality of the situation (no tigers) you calm you body and brain down!
I also think people get hung up on an idea that they must be like someone else – some version of a good speaker that they have in their head – but isn’t them! The more you try to be like someone else the worse the fear gets.
You also need to be at one with your content – plenty of preparation and a sense of excitement about what you are delivering.
Again – loads of tips on my YouTube channel (did I already mention this?!)
RISE: As a member of a community like YATM, do you think these ‘safe spaces’ give a platform for those that wouldn’t normally want to speak or share knowledge?
Trisha: Definitely! I love spaces like YATM. As the host of events like this it is crucial to create an atmosphere where people realise that no question is daft!
RISE: How useful is communication and the understanding of this in the marketing and PR world?
Trisha: Massively useful! Maybe I would say that – but it is true. There are 2 particularly crucial aspects to good communication that are needed for marketing and PR – connection and clarity. Connection involves resonating with your audience and building trust – and clarity involves the audience being able to ‘get’ your message and know what to do next!
RISE: What path have you taken to get you to where you are today? What advise would you give to someone else looking to do something similar?
Trisha: Wow! I am old! I won’t give you my life story! In brief – I have embraced life – the good and the bad. I have never stopped wanting to learn and I am curious! When things felt wrong – I changed them and when things felt too comfortable – I took up new challenges!
Whilst I had a number of different mini careers and the job of bringing up a family – I had a constant passion for acting. It was my career as a professional actor (theatre not TV!) that led me along a random path to various connected opportunities – all involving masses of communication and trust building skills! I built a good reputation as a speaker on a ‘non-business’ circuit – but decided I wanted to rise to the challenge of using my combined skills and experience in the business world. Just under 3 years ago I took the plunge and up my coaching business. What a learning curve!
I had to be prepared to keep pushing myself over the obstacles and not retreat! I also had to rewire my brain a bit – blending the creative with the business/sales side of things – not easy!
The main constant throughout has been my instinct that offering value, listening and relationship building would be the most effective way to grow – and I am glad to say my instinct was correct.