Ahead of Women in Tech Africa 2020, find out more about our speaker Ashlea Evans, Founding Director of The King's Speech — a communications training and development agency based in South Africa.
Internal and external communications play a major determining role in the success of a business. All too often, executives do not posses the skill set to present their brand, effectively communicate with investors, or persuasively pitch to clients.
Ashlea Evans will be providing delegates with the presentation techniques and insider secrets used by expert speakers, to bring out their ability to influence as business leaders. Ashlea will cover everything from the method and mindset for mastery, how to plan and prepare properly, how to profile your audience and tips for shaping your message and designing your slides.
What will attendees learn from your workshop?
My workshop will be on '10 Tips to Become a Better Public Speaker from a Media Training Expert'.
Whether you’re addressing intimate internal teams or external pitches to new customers, public speaking will feature in some form in all our career lifetimes. Being able to add strong public speaking to your repertoire will allow you to perform better in interviews, boost confidence and develop your communication skills. We can’t guarantee this workshop will cure all public speaking anxieties, but it will give you the tips and tricks to fool your audience into thinking you’re a seasoned pro.
- Understand the key telltale signs of a lack of confidence
- Tips on how to gain and retain audience attention
- On-the-spot problem solving — how to react when something goes wrong
- Receive real-time feedback for improvement on your public speaking approach
What inspired you to create The King’s Speech?
As a TV Reporter for CNBC Africa, I was always baffled by the fact that I would sit across from CEOs and executives live on camera, who were not presenting their company in an effective manner. While individuals can be leaders in their field, it doesn’t mean they know how to communicate with an audience like a business leader pro.
So, I started The King’s Speech to help train individuals to effectively communicate brand messages and ensure that when they step in front of an audience, or the camera, they do so with confidence, direction and professionalism.
Can you describe your typical day?
Every day is different, I have research days where I deeply investigate potential organisation crises, as well as develop crisis plans and reputation management proposals. On other days, I am in productions in front of the camera from morning to evening, interviewing asset managers or CEOs on a range of financial topics.
On training days, I go in to clients' offices, where I conduct specialised media training, presentation skills trainings or corporate communications workshops. These trainings are heavily practical, and require a lot of on camera training and critique. All in all, every day is different, and each client has different needs, weaknesses and strengths that we need to work with and develop to ensure they become their best self.
Is there a particularly exciting or memorable story that you have worked on that you can share with our readers?
I know how terrifying it can be presenting to an audience or going on camera. Presenting isn’t something that came to me naturally, it required practice and development from my side. The first time I did a live crossing from the World Economic Forum was terrifying for me. I was sure I had done my career a huge disservice, but I got up, dusted myself off, and tried again.
I studied those I admired in front of the camera, and soon started imitating the attributes that I thought made them confident, poised and professional. Today, I am able to present to large crowds, present on camera and pitch to potential clients with self assurance and influence. If I can learn to do that, so can you.
How does the media landscape in Africa compare to that of America, where you studied?
The media landscape in South Africa is very much behind that of the USA. There is more freedom in content creation, more support, and a clear celebration of thinking out of the box. I think South Africa is very much hindered by our data rates and the lack of connectivity.
I believe South Africa is getting there and we need to move away from the traditional way of thinking around media, and be more open to adapting to a mobile-connected audience. Elements, such as optimising content for mobile, realising that most videos are watched without audio, and that people do not have the time or attention span to watch a whole two minute video is something that we, as South African media, need to take into greater consideration.
What advice would you give to people looking to boost their confidence and public speaking skills?
I have trained hundreds of individuals, and I have found one common denominator: a lack of confidence and believing in oneself. We all have insecurities and fears, and standing in front of a crowd highlights these vulnerabilities. We second guess ourselves, and question what we know to be true, because of the fear of being judged. But that uncertainty is reflected in our presentations and body language, and if we don’t present with confidence and enthusiasm, how can we expect our audiences to believe in us or be interested in what we have to say?
Sometimes it takes a pep talk to yourself before walking into a meeting, and sometimes it means faking it till you make it. But ultimately, it takes the very difficult task of realising your potential, your value, your expertise and what you bring to the table. So, next time you walk into a room, stand tall, smile and project your voice. You will notice the marked difference in how people respond to you and each time it will be easier to be that confident you, we all have inside.
Who inspires you in the media industry?
I have always admired Christiane Amanpour for her grace, intellect and poise. As an interviewer, she embodies fairness and balance. As a host, she holds her own with such presence. She demands respect in the most subtle of ways, purely through her body language.
However, I am also in awe of Piers Morgan, for his boldness, humour and audacious interrogations. Perhaps opposites, but both leaders in communications.
About the speaker
Previously, Ashlea (or Ash) has worked for CNBC Africa, Business Affair, ABC News and Al Jazeera in Washington, DC. She has reported from The World Economic Forum, The Mining Indaba, The World Bank, Fashion Week and the JSE; and has interviewed some of the world’s most prominent business professionals, South Africa's top politicians and various celebrities. She regularly presents at events, contributes to media outlets, as well as reporting for Business Affair.
In 2019, she launched her personal brand, Ash Evans. A platform dedicated to empowering businesswomen and entrepreneurs through tailored media training and presentation skills workshops to help them become their best, bold, powerful selves.