Learning to be seen and heard – Ep 106 with Sarah Denholm

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Trained as a classical pianist in Music College in the UK in the 1980’s, Sarah was familiar with the demands of being on stage. Although she did experience performance anxiety, her determination initially allowed her to push through the stress. But the development of a significant skin disorder took the challenge of being seen to a whole new level and Sarah lost her nerve.

“Even after treatment had dramatically improved my skin, I still felt the audience was scrutinising me. I instinctively knew the only way out of this was to work on my public speaking, to address this fear. And so that’s where I placed my focus”.

Over time, Sarah’s amazing expansion was noticed by other professionals who began to ask “how did you do that?” and it became a natural move to begin to open to the entrepreneurial world. Today, Sarah continues to run a very successful Speaking Consultancy and helps an enormous number of people overcome their own fears and develop their skills and, in our conversation,, she shares many of the valuable insights that helped her with her gradual transition into a very different Next Chapter.

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Show Notes

  • You need to pursue that dream you have, even if it terrifies you! You’re likely to have so much regret if you don’t
  • You may have to consciously rearrange your values to follow those dreams – Sarah originally valued safety and security, but she recognised those values were not going to help her step into her Next Chapter. Learning and Growth were also values, so she moved these ones to the top of her list!
  • Fear is always a companion on this journey, so remind yourself, this is what you want and just take small, consistent steps. The confidence and self-belief will come and the compound effect of small actions is significant over time
  • Keep your vision roomy, let go of expectations of exactly how it needs to look
  • Open and turn to the Universe – it delivers…
  • Too often us women don’t leap until we really believe we can do it – we need to trust ourselves more to take chances
  • Public Speaking is all about connection with the audience – choose to turn towards the audience with your heart
  • Breathe and ground yourself, tune into what the audience is feeling and saying
  • Have a sense of clarity about your message but then let go – you are not just conveying information
  • Curiosity is one of your great tools as a presenter

About the speaker

Sarah’s original training was as a Classical pianist: and it was because her music career in the 90’s was nearly ruined by performance anxiety - and she had to find a way through her fears - that she learned how to speak in public.

What she found out about confidence, stage presence and connecting with an audience, led to Sarah’s next chapter: becoming a presentation skills coach. Sarah founded Improve Your Public Speaking in 2010, and has since worked with thousands of clients in groups and one-on-one, coaching them on how to build confident, engaging and persuasive presentation skills.

In her workshops and coaching (ranging from large companies down to solo entrepreneurs), Sarah draws on techniques from presentation and communication skills, the performing arts world, and resilience and psychology research. She loves helping clients to step up with new confidence, enjoyment or renewed excitement about their public speaking!

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