Speaking of Influence

I feel for you. With guest Shola Kaye

December 11, 2020 John A. Ball and Shola Kaye Season 2 Episode 22
Speaking of Influence
I feel for you. With guest Shola Kaye
Chapters
Speaking of Influence
I feel for you. With guest Shola Kaye
Dec 11, 2020 Season 2 Episode 22
John A. Ball and Shola Kaye

I was fortunate enough to be joined for my show by Shola Kaye. Shola is an amazing speaker and she's become known for speaking and teaching empathy and inclusion in the workplace and taking this message out into the corporate landscape to change how we see and do business. Operating with empathy is not optional and the old models of hard as nails, low empathy business leaders are heading to the graveyard of bad business ideas, where they belong.

Shola has been a TEDx speaker and she talks about that experience with me and how a pair of earrings ruined her TED talk. We had a great time chatting about what happens when things go wrong and also about being heard and stepping out of comfort zones, and more besides.
I'm sure you'll enjoy the chat as much as I did and Shola also shared a free resource from her website SholaKaye.com and to download her FREE resource, click here. Take a look for her book 'How to be a DIVA at public speaking'. You can connect with Shola on LinkedIn and other social networks.

Next week my guest will be The Bucketlist Guy himself, Trav Bell. Trav is a terrific and highly entertaining speaker who has been helping people all over the world create and fulfil their own bucket lists. Make sure you like and subscribe so you don't miss this or any future episodes.


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Show Notes Transcript

I was fortunate enough to be joined for my show by Shola Kaye. Shola is an amazing speaker and she's become known for speaking and teaching empathy and inclusion in the workplace and taking this message out into the corporate landscape to change how we see and do business. Operating with empathy is not optional and the old models of hard as nails, low empathy business leaders are heading to the graveyard of bad business ideas, where they belong.

Shola has been a TEDx speaker and she talks about that experience with me and how a pair of earrings ruined her TED talk. We had a great time chatting about what happens when things go wrong and also about being heard and stepping out of comfort zones, and more besides.
I'm sure you'll enjoy the chat as much as I did and Shola also shared a free resource from her website SholaKaye.com and to download her FREE resource, click here. Take a look for her book 'How to be a DIVA at public speaking'. You can connect with Shola on LinkedIn and other social networks.

Next week my guest will be The Bucketlist Guy himself, Trav Bell. Trav is a terrific and highly entertaining speaker who has been helping people all over the world create and fulfil their own bucket lists. Make sure you like and subscribe so you don't miss this or any future episodes.


Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

John Ball  
Welcome to speaking of influence the podcast for speakers and professionals or anyone who wants to present with impact, hosted by presentation persuasion Coach John Ball, remember to like and subscribe. If you're thinking of starting a podcast, there couldn't be an easier way to get started then getting started with buzzsprout. They have all the tools and resources you need for starting our podcast and getting out to all the major podcasting networks. Check out the link in the show notes and get your podcast started today. Welcome to the show. I am very lucky today to have with me a guest who is a specialist in empathy and leadership with empathy, and a communication specialist as well. She is also a professional coach, both one to one and group and we're gonna have a bit of talk about coaching. She is a TEDx speaker, a keynote speaker on the subject of leadership and empathy. So let's please welcome to the show. Okay.

Shola Kaye  
Hi, John. Good to be here. Thanks for having me.

John Ball  
Great to have you here. I'm really glad that you agreed to come on the show. And we have some very exciting things to talk about today that I haven't talked about too much on the show before, I am really interested to know a bit more about the relevance of empathy and leadership and what you're talking about in relation to that.

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, thanks for asking. Well, it's interesting the way that I came to empathy as a topic, because years ago, my first corporate job, and I was working in the States as a consultant, and as this little green, of District out of university person that didn't have a lot of knowledge of leadership or corporate matters. And so I will say a timid, that I didn't really want to speak up in meetings. So what happened was, I was very summoned to my managing director's office. And I thought, Oh, well, they're going to send me on a training course, or they're going to get me a mentor. And they announced, right, we're putting you on probation. But like, what? So. So that was my kind of introduction to the importance of communication skills. Because if you can't speak up, and share what you know, and people think you don't have any value. And then it was years later when I got the opportunity to do a TEDx talk. And I was thinking, Well, what should this be about? And I was thinking about empathy and realising that all those years ago, there wasn't a lot of empathy being shown to me in that position, in what in the workplace. And so it's interesting because now empathy is a really huge topic with the obvious sort of dealing with COVID dealing with remote working, dealing with diversity and inclusion. So So yeah, it's sort of come back around some I am very inauspicious beginnings in the corporate workplace. And sort of ended up serving me Well,

John Ball  
yeah. So I'm not sure that empathy is always the emotion or the feeling that gets associated with people in the business. Well, it's usually one of those things that we're kind of expected to shut off. And this actually is something natural, but a bit on the show before about, it's sort of, if your archetype of business people as beings or hard-nosed and tough on decision making, and not emotional and very, very stoic about everything, and it's all and there's nothing personal, it's just business and you make the tough decisions, and you're ruthless. That's the sort of archetype that we genuinely care about people, especially people who are successful in business. So is empathy, a welcome message.

Shola Kaye  
It's, it's interesting because I think years ago, you know if we'd looked at this, say, 510 years ago, you've been, it would be seen as this kind of wishy-washy, quite sloppy, why, why even bother, as you say, get down to business, transact transact. And I think with the, a lot of the millennials in the workplace, there's a lot of studies by Gallup and other organisations saying that they actually require empathy to be shown. And if it's not, if there's not enough, there, they're going to walk. And of course, you know, situation sort of post-COVID is a little different, because obviously, the number of jobs aren't quite as plentiful as they once were. But nevertheless, it's very much something that the younger generations are looking for in their workplace. So I think a lot of companies now to be more competitive are realising that they need to up their game in terms of how caring they come across, and how understanding how much they listen. And of course, you know, tying into bring your whole self to work being inclusive. Empathy really does underpin a lot of those sorts of initiatives because it's about listening and understanding what people need.

John Ball  
Yeah. So I mean, in the business world getting red-faced and chancing snowflakes a lot of time for these kinds of things isn't really going to fix it. It's going to make the issue worse, right?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, It's interesting because as I say, when I started coming into this, I sort of came at it because I'd been shown a distinct lack of empathy. And I feel like a lot of the work that's coming to me at the moment is with senior leadership teams. And they're actually understanding, Well, look, if we want this sort of workplace, it's got to trickle down from the top. We can't just say, Hey, you, you guys, just go and be empathetic amongst yourselves. And we just sit here doing our own thing. they realise that they've got to set an example. So it's, so yeah, there's a lot of obviously looking at how empathy can work not only making connections with your employees and creating a better workplace, but even people like sort of setting it Adela, who is the CEO of Microsoft, he gave a speech at Wharton, and he talks about empathy being a strategic advantage because obviously, you can empathise with your clients and customers, you can put yourself in their place, understand their problems, that they're facing the challenges, even take their perspective and walk through their business processes with that hat on. And then, of course, you're more likely to come up with better solutions, be more innovative, and so on. So I think people are really realising that it's not, it's not just a nice to have, but especially with all the rise in automation, and AI, and so on and so forth. The skills that we as humans are needed or required to bring to the workplace are becoming increasingly complex. And, you know, there's often when I give a give presentations I took about five years ago, LinkedIn, every year, they release the top 10, in-demand soft skills, you know, as as they see, you know, in them, job postings. And just five years ago on that list with things like communication, punctuality, which looked like you must be on time, very, very soon, right, almost call it like a caveman, like required. And then we flash forward to 2020. And those are gone. It's all about creativity, adaptability, collaboration, and, of course, and there's the skill of being able to empathise with other people and emotional intelligence. So so we're seeing that those sorts of skills are really, really important these days. And I think the workplace is beginning to cotton on to that. And they're delivering these sorts of programmes of sorts that I am I deliver myself, yeah.

John Ball  
So I think sometimes when I've talked about empathy with people, I've been aware that we don't always necessarily understand the same thing when we say empathy. So So can you give us the definition of empathy that you are working with?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, good question, actually, because it's funny, even among practitioners, I've talked to people and they've said, Well, you know, my view of empathy is this or, and I tend to think of empathy, as it's the ability to understand the feelings of another person, and being able to get into their shoes. It's not a trivial activity. I mean, it takes a lot of courage and energy to do that. And so the idea is that you can only be empathetic with a small number of people at a time. Whereas there are other practitioners who say, well, empathy is just a sort of state of being it's, it's just being open-minded to what people are feeling and being more considerate. And so I tend to take the former perspective on this. And typically, when I talk about it we, with clients, we say, Well, one of the downsides of using empathy as a tool like this is the fact that you cannot be empathetic with hundreds of people at a time, you got to choose who you want to be empathetic with. And then, of course, that's where the biases come in. Because you end up you know, typically, you might choose those people who, you know, you get on well with, or you went to school with, or they like you. So, even with, with empathy being such a fantastic skill to have, we still got to be aware of how we employ the empathy and you know, who we use it with. So one of the things I often do is at the end of the session, I give people a sort of 30-day strategy. When I say, well, it's all very well to say, I'm going to be empathetic, but choose those, that the people that when they come to you, you know, it's them again, you're really they're the people that you want to try this live not with your buddies that you love hanging out with,

John Ball  
yes, of course, where you naturally have empathy and rapport anyway. And that was kind of the reason why I asked about whether it was a welcome message as well in the business well, because the archetype of business bigger is more of the sort of sociopathic narcissistic personality, which is not empathetic at all. It's not empathic and probably from frowns or sneers at empathy is as being a weakness as being something that It has no place in the, in the world of business. So you're saying that now it very much does whether people want it to or not, there really is no option but to address this and, and to have this in your business environment.

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, very much so. And sometimes we look at examples from the 80s, like there have been a lot of catastrophic, you know, loss of life, for example, the space shuttle where eight engineers spoke up and said, hey, there's the shuttle should not be flying in the cold. And that message never got any further. Or, for example, there's a very hierarchical kind of cockpit culture that we had in the 80s. And we had at least some very old and even into the 90s and beyond, but some very high profile, very tragic loss of life where the copilot was kind of hinting to the pilot, hey, well, do you think we should, we should be taking off and let your eyes just shut up and listen to me sort of thing. And then of course, what happens is there's a crash and loss of life. And so part of empathy is, of course, around listening and being able to have the humility to listen to, you know, we're talking about a leader, the people that have beneath them, so that you don't have these catastrophic things happening. And I think you know, what, giving people those sorts of examples. And of course, in the corporate world, it's not necessarily going to mean that you're going to have hundreds of lives lost when somebody doesn't listen. But nevertheless, I mean, those kind of extreme examples can often help to bring it home to people that hey, oh, yeah, I do. You need to listen to these people every now and again, and, and keep my team in mind and not just kind of blunder ahead. Because I'm the boss, and I know what I'm doing.

John Ball  
Yeah, I would maybe even say that in, in a business or any kind of culture where, where a lack of emotion is frowned upon where emotion is seen as a weakness that encourages people more to switch off, switch that off, suppress that within themselves, and therefore perhaps make decisions that aren't based on things actually looking after people is the kind of decision that allows you to say, Well, you know, if we, if we release this Chi, yes, sometimes it's going to explode. And this many people will die. But, you know, but we look how much money we're going to make the last season even gonna cost as much as that is like what that if you can make those kinds of decisions? I would say that's not coming from a place of empathy. Kindness for other people, as someone who was, was a flight attendant for 12 years, which I was that, yeah, definitely, that the airlines, teach their staff, these things over there. There was a time I even remember this in the airlines, there was a time when you really could not say anything much to some of the captains on the plane that they much like, sort of surgeons in hospitals, sometimes they're like this God complex, sort of personality, where, wherever what they say goes, and any dissent won't be tolerated kind of thing, that that has had to change because it's caused, it's caused problems and is caused deaths. And whilst it may not be that in every situation, yeah, bad communication. Can I mean, good communication has to have a level of empathy within it?

Shola Kaye  
Very much. So yeah. And it's funny, he's talking about this, this little CEO and sort of people with power, there actually been some studies where they measure the amount of empathy that people empower have, and they find that there's a dip, you know, so the higher up the ranks you rise, the less empathy you have. And whether that's because people with without empathy, are more ruthless, and naturally will kind of get to the top anyway, or whether it's because there is actually some something that switches off the empathy in you, as you continue to rise up the ladder. I'm not really sure, but it's quite interesting to see that, you know, can be measured, and there is, is a correlation between, you know, rank and, and, and anything.

John Ball  
Yeah, I do think when certain things become part of a culture, that very much people who might otherwise be empathetic and, and have kindness and emotion, for others might find ways to switch that off to justify doing so as well. It's always surprising what we can, what we can actually justify to ourselves and rationalise. And we tend to underestimate just how good we are at doing that even in thinking I'd never be that kind of person. Who's that? Well, I think we all have the capability. But and perhaps we don't all have such a capability for empathy, that some people may be just dying. But for the vast majority of us, we do

Shola Kaye  
it all that there's a study that quite a lot of it when you read the social psychology books, they talk about this study where people were given the option to kind of give subjects electric and sort of fake electric shock. So there's someone sitting in another room, and these people are told, well, you know, I think it's important to Give this person this electric shock. And some people are no, no, I can't do that. But with persuasion, most people are not yet. And they see this person like yelping and yelling in the other room. And they because they thought that that's what they should do. And that's what they've been told to do, they'll just go ahead and do it. So it does require and I guess if you're in that sort of culture where it's sort of frowned upon, or people aren't particularly warm or empathetic or caring, I think people can very quickly justifying that, Oh, well, if this is how it is to get ahead, this is what's needed. I'm going to do it as well. So, so yeah, it's quite an interesting one, the way that human psychology wraps up all of this.

John Ball  
Yeah, so so many kinds of ends up not? Maybe it's one, maybe it's the other, maybe it's both. I don't know if we necessarily need a definitive answer on that, but just know it exists. And then it's something that needs to be addressed. What what in your experience have been, have been the benefits within business where that has been addressed, and where something has been done to create that greater communication, that empathy between the different hierarchies of a business?

Shola Kaye  
Well, I think this is the classic things like your teams working better together, more flow of information, both up and down the organisation, because transparency, for example, is is is a huge factor in people feeling motivated and wanting to, to help the organisation move forward versus having this very hierarchy, where we, you know, we only need to know this information, no one else needs to know. So that sort of thing. And then also, it's all going to sort of bias an inclusion, this idea that As humans, we need to be part of an in-group, you know, we need to be part of a group. And so the idea of kind of creating more of a warm and ingroup atmosphere amongst the entire organisation, and putting your competitors as the outgroup, so that you get those stronger bonds, you get the listening, you get the caring, the empathy, etc, within the organisation. And there isn't that kind of competitiveness from one team to another or even individuals within the team. So I think when people understand the benefits of, of empathy, and even of just listening as a precursor to being more empathetic, and they may start thinking about what is empathic listening, which is, you know, not debating, not challenging, not interrupting, but just letting somebody talk about their lived experience. And of course, there are times for debate, there's time for challenges times for all of that. But there are moments where you've just got to let somebody speak and acknowledge and respect what they're feeling. And I think all too often, especially in the workplace, you know, we feel we've got to interrogate Well, what do you mean, you feel like, you know, we're interrogating someone simple feelings, and then, of course, that person will never open up again, they'll give less that work, etc. There's a cycle that comes from that. So I think just in a very basic level, it's just about, you know, just to say teamwork and transparency that just just

John Ball  
Is part of this as well about teaching something like emotional intelligence?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, absolutely. Because, um, emotional intelligence is comprised of empathy, along with four other skills. So most definitely teaching about emotional intelligence. I mean, some people I was on, I did a post on emotional intelligence on LinkedIn a couple of months ago, and there was a leadership expert. That's all that's been knocked around for 20 years now. Cut, you can't read something new. But a lot of people still find it a useful tool in set of skills to develop. So I think just because something's been around for a while, doesn't mean they should check it away. So yeah, very much so. And as I mentioned, this LinkedIn survey now where emotional intelligence, it's in this top five, soft skills, it's number five for the first time ever, it's in that top 10. And it's number five. So yeah, absolutely.

John Ball  
What are some of the things that people who've never done any kind of emotional intelligence work before would start to do to get an idea of how to be more emotionally intelligent?

Shola Kaye  
You? Probably my mom, say so. I'm sorry, John, what did you say again? So what kind of

John Ball  
so is say someone has never really had any experience of emotional intelligence before working with that? Where would you start working with them? Or where can they start to understand it and implement it more?

Shola Kaye  
Well, part of it is around having social skills. So being better at negotiating office politics, for example. That's a big one. Then of course, being able to manage yourself Because you get people that fly to a rage or something happens and they get triggered. So another place to start would be looking at your responses what triggers you? And how can you deal with it? or How can you? If something does trigger you regularly? What can you do? Is it about taking more time for yourself so that you don't fly off the handle so quickly? Is it about the sort of self-care is it about being able to communicate how you feel when somebody does something that irritates you? So instead of flying off the handle, you can actually have a conversation about it. So I think there are different places, you could either start with the communication side of things, or you could start with self-knowledge. And doing a lot of looking at your values, looking at, as I said, what triggers you looking at your past and how that's affected you up to this moment? So there are different ways to get into this mess. Definitely.

John Ball  
Yeah, so so injecting some conscious awareness into what you currently do, gives you the possibility to start to look at Well, there may be other options, then the ones that I have been traditionally done before I often use the example of people People often drive are and for those who drive, you may get from time to time, someone who isn't driving quite so well. And might cut you up on the road or on any variant to the side of you trying to pull out where you're driving that kind of thing. And the automatic response to that is usually some very choice words, as my mum experienced recently, sorry, Mama, I forgot she was in the car with me at the time that happened. But sometimes it's just that immediate response. But then, generally over the years, I think something, it's very possible to keep angry about that to get really emotional, and be really angry with that person. But I've decided that that's not how I want to be. And I consider that part of life. That's part of me having some level of control, exactly exerting some control over my own emotions over my actions and responses and saying, actually, I think there might be a better way to respond to that, then the way that I probably would, if I didn't really think about it, and just let it go, where I keep thinking about it, I keep getting angry about it, and stay with me all day. And I'd be telling everyone and is like, well, well, maybe I just let it go. And actually just wish that person to have better driving in the future and, and let it go out my mind. And this is someone who has so many life situations that we have these automatic ways of responding or reacting, like unconscious strategies, if you like how we deal with things, our brains don't want to have to work too hard. So we tend to just run an automatic. But when we stopped doing that for a little while, we really start to see some that there may be better ways of doing these things than the ways that we've been conditioned or conditioned ourselves into.

Shola Kaye  
Absolutely. And sometimes it's about just putting in a little bit of a circuit breaker, you know, so if something happens, even if it's taking two or three breaths, you know, like, okay, I don't have to just switch into this automatic response mode. Just set this and set the circuit breaker. Oh, okay. I'll decide how I respond to this. And so yeah, in some of these tools can be really simple. But they can be incredibly effective. But it's having that awareness to apply them at the right moments.

John Ball  
If you could wave a magic wand and corporate culture could be transformed to a way that you see as being more beneficial, more empathic, what would it look like in those organisations?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, good question. I think it would be that there's a lot of listening. Obviously, company has to the typical things and be quick off the mark. Obviously, they've got to, I'm not saying that to be in business, you've got to have a bit of ruthlessness, but you've got to have a bit of speed and agility and, you know, rapid communication and decision making happening, that doesn't take too long. But I think even with all of that, I mean, I've got a client in California, they're a tech company, they're incredibly successful, but they have a very, very warm atmosphere since I stepped into the London office, it just felt like everybody was really was friendly, very supportive. And that came comes right from the top of the organisation. So I think it can be done it can you can have an organisation that successful and empathetic as well. And I think especially now with there's so much choice but for consumers. And I think a lot of people out there want to know they want that story of the company they want to hear that there's that it's consistent what the message the brand message is getting out there is consistent with what's happening behind the scenes. And so here you know, we've even people like Ellen, you know, the big kerfuffle recently where It's, uh, you know, I think her ratings have parently declined, like dropped dramatically because of what happened there. And, you know, with where, what, with the George Floyd killing and a lot of companies coming out and saying, Oh, well, we this is our anti racist policy. And then employees coming out from behind the scenes saying, well, this is Bs, because this is what happens here behind the scenes. So I think people really are looking for that consistency. And so I think I think it can be done. I think it for some companies, it takes a lot of work, it's going to take a huge effort. But I think that it can be done. And I think that there is an advantage beyond happy employees. There's an advantage in terms of the way that they're perceived in the bike by by the industry and also by consumers and customers.

John Ball  
Yeah, certainly with some of the people I've had on my show recently, where we talked about marketing, we've talked about the development of relationship marketing. And I know from my own experience, as well, that has become seemingly a much more important element in the mode of marketing this year, perhaps more than ever before. And that was what I think was already happening anyway. And I think maybe this year has accelerated that. But that relates very much to what you're saying people feel that they need to be able to like and trust and know what's going on. And, and people care about the ethics they want to feel cared about as well by, by the people they buy-in from by the people that they do business with, much even with the companies and businesses that they work for on the side. And so that has become almost a non-critical part where perhaps in some ways critical part of doing business. There certainly is its importance is increasing.

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, very much would agree with you. And I think also now with a lot of people at home, we've got more time even to, to read the story, you know, I remember I felt on the website, I think or looking a brochure just a couple of days ago, and I was looking for this, I wanted to read the brand story I wanted to figure out, you know, they also weren't so where have they come from how they built this brand up, I was interested, and I think probably looked at where we were perhaps 510 years ago, people weren't really sharing those sorts of stories. But equally, a lot of us weren't really, really that interested. It's just doesn't do the job. Boom, let's buy it. But I think now people are much more concerned about where their money's going, essentially.

John Ball  
Yeah. And I think this comes down something to what sometimes on the show shifts in values levels of moving from but there's perhaps the most all-powerful power and control focus values levels, to the more collaborative to the more caring the more interconnected kind of feeling of values were, as they were, I think things were moving that way anyway. And if anything that as good as coming from COVID is maybe been to accelerate that, because I do see it as being. Do you see it as being a positive? I do see it as people caring more about, as you said, People care more about whether whether the companies they are actually big on diversity or whether people are actually being cared about and looked after or, or if it's just kind of being ignored. They just want the sale. But they'll say what they need to say, to at least keep their public profile. Okay, okay. Well, you know, that's not enough it doesn't cut it people actually want to want to know and want to look deeper than that and see what's really going on. And I think I see it in a lot of the people who I connect with, for being on my show for doing client work with and the lies that people want to definitely want to feel that relationship that they have a connection.

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, very much. So any. And it's a good thing because I think I'd rather have a smaller number of clients and just work with them on a repeat basis. They're just kind of revolving door of, okay, you boom, next, next, next, next next, and I think a lot of practitioners and people in business would rather be that way because as we know, it's much easier to have a repeat client than to just have to keep finding new people all the time.

John Ball  
So in your coaching work, then is that also specialising on on empathy and communication within the business world?

Shola Kaye  
Well started out primarily doing a lot of communication coaching. So I think I've shared this with you when we chatted, but I started out as a professional singer. So after I had my sort of awkward moments in the corporate world, I decided, well, as a kid, I always wanted to be a singer. So I'm gonna branch off and do some singing. So I ended up working as a professional singer for about 15 years singing internationally. And after sort of not particularly enjoying communication, having spent several years as a professional singer, Of course, I was very used to standing up in front of audiences used to be My voice etc, etc. And so then I kind of looked back into public speaking and speaking of meetings and things, again, took some training. And then from there I, I kept getting people saying to me things like, oh, you're a singer, that that's amazing. And that being a speaker and a singer, there are two, there are a lot of similarities. So I moved into using some of my performance skills and my communication skills to be a professional speaking coach and a communication coach. Sometimes with people who worked who had their own small business, sometimes it was with people who worked for companies. But I was using that sort of performance background and what I call my diva framework, which I've kind of put together. But using that as the tool that I would help people to communicate with, so most of my coaching, and until fairly recently has been and still I still do a fair bit now has been around communication skills, whether it's speaking up impromptu in meetings, high stakes, situations, q&a sessions, or prepared speeches.

John Ball  
That's cool. I forgot that I meant after we last spoke, I meant to go and search on Spotify and see if I could find any of your songs.

Shola Kaye  
I've tried to pull them off Spotify.

John Ball  
That's great. Because some of the people I've had on my show, certainly I speak to other people who teach and train presentations and public speaking skills as well. And there's all sorts of different takes on it. And, Nick, the circumstances where I head-on is an actor really is and is that a trained actor who's bringing those skills into a presentation and isn't my back man he's also been on the show is trained in and run the Opera in New York ranches that she mentions directed people at Pavarotti and Domingo, people like that. And she's bought those sorts of skills and her background into the public speaking training and presentation skills world as well as it is fascinating what just hear what can be so powerful, and all these different takes and different elements that people can bring. And now I think you can go and learn from everyone has these awesome backgrounds and come away with different things that are really going to benefit your performance and, and take you to new levels. Can you tell us a bit more about this diva framework? I'm curious.

Shola Kaye  
Well, it's funny because I, yeah, I've got my book here how to be direct public speaking. And yes, and diva stands for D stands for being dynamic. I stands for being inspiring, which is about storytelling and connecting with people's emotions. V is about being valuable, which is all the bits to do with structure and content, and so on. And then A is about being your authentic self. And it's interesting because I started out from early working with women. So it was fine to have this framework that was called diva, and living like the diva framework of a diva. And then as I started to work more with men, and even some women said, Well, I'm not a diva, I'm more of a rock star myself. So luckily, DIVA even though it's only four letters it can be it can spell out a few different words. So then I started calling it my avid framework, so avid, meaning enthusiastic and keen. And then someone said, well, it also spells out Vida. So sometimes I say, Well, why don't you speak with a bit of life, the Vida framework. So, fortunately, for me, it's been fairly adaptable. But the essence of it is the same, which is you've got to bring a bit of life. Whether It's Your Tony Robbins, you don't put them down when you speak and you do 10-hour workshops, or whether it's that you're somebody who loves the language, and you use really choice, choice language and descriptive language when you speak. There are different ways to be dynamic. And I am, as a person, introvert. So for me, I always tend to do a lot of interaction. And when I started out speaking, I would think, gosh, I don't speak for whole hell, how can I? How can I cut down to speak? And so I was building a lot of interactive exercises. And then I found that people rehiring me rebooking me because it wasn't all about me it was because there was a lot of time for people to, to self reflect and come up with their own solutions in my sessions. So that, as I say, being dynamic, a lot of people think, oh, I've got to be super high energy. No, you don't, you just find a way that works for you. So I think what people clients have liked about the diva framework is it's, it's not prescriptive, it just gives you enough to go on and to tick all the boxes, but you can find your own way around it. And make sure that you tailor it to your own particular style and the way that you want to want to come across.

John Ball  
That's fantastic. And so we usually work with men and women at work, what sort of fit is your Is the climate you generally like to work with.

Shola Kaye  
I love working with small business owners because when you've got your own business, there's no fighting around basically got to make it work to put the food on the table. So I like working with small business owners because of that, and because that typically a business owner will do anything they have to do to make it work. But more recently, I've done a lot of work with people in corporates. And in particular, I had I been working with an organisation called Women in Data, and they have a debt as you can imagine, data is every industry and every so and so there are a lot of people there who want that bit of extra gravitas so that they can present comfortably to the C suite or to the you know, exco level etc. So I do enjoy working with those people as well because often it's just a tiny tweak, it's just a little thing that they need to get in place and suddenly their presence and gravitas and confidence can skyrocket. So it's it can be fascinating just trying to find what that what looks that thing was that little thing, that little key for that person that once it's turned, boom, their potential is unlocked. So yeah, I like working across. I love coaching. And I, I've got to admit I prefer big groups, then working one to one. And I think perhaps that's because I'm an introvert. And so as an introvert, when I'm doing big keynotes, I've got to step up. And then you just bring everything you need to the table to speak up. versus when it's one to one, it's much easier to be a bit more relaxed and kind of more low key about things. So I dislike the big, the big challenges as well as the small ones.

John Ball  
Yeah. It's amazing how many people I speak to who do presentation skills public speaking, public speaking training, who are introverts, naturally introverts, and you know, I've often described myself as that, but I really, I'm not sure I'm not completely sure I am anymore. And I think I've actually, I'm more hovering around the sort of ambivert that can be a bit of both. But I think that has essentially been because of years of coaching years of public speaking, presentation work and things like that, that that have pushed that needle for me a bit more to the centre, whereas I know I can actually recharge really well, being around people just as much as I can being on my own. But I feel like I kind of need both now, not just one or the other.

Shola Kaye  
Hmm, that's interesting. Yeah. I mean, the idea of recharging around other people is that, how can it be done. But that's great that you, you can do both. That gives you a lot of flexibility there.

John Ball  
I feel so I have to apologise that might be a bit of banging going on in the background here. There is a drastic refurbishments and repairs going on to the building next door. And so I'll try and keep myself muted when that's going on. But I don't want to stop the conversation. But when we had a chat a little about one of the other things you did tell me about was that, that one of your experiences of speaking didn't go quite so well as you hoped it might. And so Can Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Shola Kaye  
Okay, yeah, I guess we've all had several of those were things happen that weren't planned for. But I was doing a talk, I think it was Women in Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering in central London. And they had this stage. And I guess it's a temporary stage, and there was a gap between the stage and the wall. And I was sort of quite a comfortable stage. And so I decided to sort of lean my hand back against the wall and step back a bit. And of course, my foot just kind of went in this gap between the stage and the wall. And so I tripped over and felt fell down, which is kind of everyone's worst nightmare when you're speaking. And it's like talking somebody about this the other day, and I think it's the audience are will go wherever you as the speaker, take them. So if I looked really upset, and oh my gosh, I fell over my lifesaver. They would have probably thought, Oh, no, this is awful. Whereas I just stood up loved and they all laughed as well. And it's it's, it's kind of like when you have you know, little child where they fall over. And they look at their moms and really good. Mommy, Daddy, should I start screaming? Or should I just laugh? And then if the parents love it, oh yeah, we laugh and then if the parents like oh my gosh, my child and they start screaming and yelling and it's an awful thing. So it's, I think when things go wrong, and especially as a singer, you know, have things where the PA have been performing in front of 100 people and my pa cut out, you know, all the iPads that I was using kind of stopped working or there's all sorts of things can happen. And I think that the obviously beforehand, you got to make sure that Is few things that can go well, you know, go on do but on the other hand, it's that's part of live performance. I mean, we could all sit at home and just programmers speaking to Alexa or Siri and just sit back and listen to something that's perfect word perfect but there's no energy there's no life there's no charisma there's no spontaneity so so I think being things going wrong within reason I think it's a good opportunity to connect with the audience as opposed to you know be worried that they're going to judge you or think that something's awful

John Ball  
Yeah don't be like the person walking down the street trip and over again flying and then to correct them themselves like it as nothing happened. Hoping nobody noticed. Yeah, absolutely go with it. Is that is part of utilisation? It's part of flexibility adaptability on the stage as well. And not to ignore these things, but to address them, utilise them more for connection, utilise it in maybe it relates no conveyed in some other way to something that's going on or can highlight it to make a point. But when things go wrong, I don't think people really judge you negatively for anyway. And they, they empathise, they're more likely to empathise with you and oh, my goodness, I would have if that was me, I'd die. And so when you come back friends say, It's okay. I'm okay. So it's so good. And we carry on and you address it like that and acknowledge it. I think that gives them a sense of Oh, goodness, thank goodness for that. Oh, how you carry on after that? I'm not sure I could know that I think people actually start to have a bit more respect and think oh, that's, that's pretty good. I know. I know, that's been my experience in the past as well. And I've both been I've had things go wrong on stage, which I certainly have. I think most speakers and presenters do at some point. And also when, when I've seen that happen for other people as well. It's, it is an opportunity, or an opportunity, and in some ways, which is really cool. So for you at the moment, what's coming up for you what your plans for the coming year.

Shola Kaye  
It's, it's a really interesting time, actually, because I'm at Samsung doing law speaking of empathy now, and linking that with leadership with sales and also with diversity inclusion. So I've got a few interesting projects. So some which are more working on a retainer basis for some clients and helping them to build up their diversity inclusion strategy, others, with one global organisation, we're looking at rolling out an entity programme across the entire organisation. And so some really interesting projects, as well as the smaller ones like the one to one coaching. And I just have a new book that's come out, which is on pre-order at the moment in is out, I think next week, which is on communication skills. And it's a scenario-based. So it's quite an interesting one because I have sort of come up with, I think about 50 different scenarios and how If this happens, how would you respond that happened? So so that's something that I'm sort of looking at promoting at the moment. And in that,

John Ball  
what's the name of your book for anyone who wants to go and check it out?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, it's got some hex, it's called big talk, small talk and everything in between. and then the publisher did a really nice job of with the sort of lovely illustrations inside as well. So it's beautifully coloured in even without the tips on communication. So So yeah, feel free. That's I think that's going to be around retailers, including target even.

John Ball  
By the time by the time the show's published, it will be available. So that's great. People can go and order. I'll make sure there's a link to that and your other book in the show notes as well. Might that you have a podcast as well.

Shola Kaye  
I do. I have a podcast. It's called shortcuts to public speaking success. And it's interesting is when we were chatting before you were saying that your podcast you like people to have as much time as they need to share. And when I started out doing mine, I started out just I was doing video blogs. And I thought well, why not just turn it into a podcast as well. So people have see have as many ways to sample the content as they need to. And so my videos were typically, like most people kind of reluctant to do videos at the beginning. So I thought, what, I'll just do them, but please keep them short. So my videos are typically like five to 10 minutes long. So I was released in this podcast of like very kind of snippety kind of length podcast episodes. But fortunately, people I think people can consume, you know, a few in ago, and they found them useful. So I think it's interesting how the long-form podcasts like your own can be really helpful because they dig deep don't mean you really get a lot more insight from the speaker. But then the short ones can also be helpful because you just get like the tidbits that you need and then off to The rest of your day.

John Ball  
Yeah, so most of my shows are certainly some interview-based and that's been my preference I gave podcasting a try years back. It was a bit of a week try to be honest with him for too long, but I was just doing it by myself and I maybe I don't know if it was just I didn't feel like I had enough for but I find that the energy of talking to other people is much more powerful encouraging and, and I don't where maybe it's because also when I listen, I listen to podcasts that rather listen, usually to a conversation. I have put outside episodes that are just me by myself. And I may do that again in the future. But primarily my the way I love doing the podcast is is having guests on and getting to have interesting conversations like the one we're having today. And I love doing that further show that you have which is shortcuts to public speaking what sorts of tips can people find come and find there on your show?

Shola Kaye  
Oh, that's a real mix, actually. So I've got quite a few tips for people who are perhaps getting business networking. So how to present yourself when networking is I don't know if you've ever done any business networking, but you know, the 62nd pitch, yeah, you'll get people that just don't try and cram every facet of their business into the 60 seconds. And it ends up being just too much for people. So So talking about business networking, how to create a bit of intrigue, so that you get that next conversation with whoever it is that you've met at the networking event. And then also sharing frameworks. So frameworks for storytelling frameworks for speaking under pressure. And then some of the tips have been around just sort of motivation and because a lot of people see is you know, john, have a lack of confidence when it comes to speaking up and being heard. So tips around finding your voice tips around just visit there's a great book actually called How to be an in perfectionist by Stephen guys. And he has some really good little tips in there about how to banish perfectionism and just kind of get on with things. And one that I particularly love is just telling yourself that you're the best at whatever this thing is maybe just in the room that you're in or in Sainsbury's. But I think if we tell ourselves that I'm the best person, I'm the best person making, making cheese salad is the best person that there's something that in the brain just, yeah, Hey, have you just set up a bit taller, and it might be the most bogus thing to be the best bet but it just gives you an extra boost. And I remember I was in Cyprus doing some gigs last year. And I like a lot of people you know, sometimes have a crisis of confidence. And I was in Cyprus didn't speak the language and I was in the supermarket. I was like how the hell know what when I get to the till they don't understand. And then I just said hold on. You're the best Diana Ross impersonator in the supermarket. It's like. So this is kind of silly little thing, a little game to play. But just telling yourself that it can give you an added boost.

John Ball  
I'd like to think I'm the best Diana Ross impersonator in my office. But he's just me here. So there's not a lot of competition.

Shola Kaye 
It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. You're still the best.

John Ball  
That's great. Well, that's one of the things I did want to ask as well about book recommendations. I always like to get book recommendations for my guests. So definitely include that. But, but to actually asked that specific question, is that a book? Is that the book you would recommend? If I asked you for a book recommendation or other than your own books, what else would you recommend?

Shola Kaye  
I think that's there are so many out there. So I think that's a good one. And it's one that I just really listened to. Recently, like it's very easy. When you listen to audiobooks, sometimes things go on, and you kind of miss a little bit and you sort of red zone and zone out. So it was nice to listen to that one again. But yeah, I mean, how to be an imperfection is by Stephen Guys, do you I see. It's the first few chapters are all about the sort of theory and human psychology and why we tend towards perfectionism and the different kinds. And then he sort of stacked up all the tips and the hardcore takeaways for the last chapter. So it's quite nice because you can just zoom to that chapter. Once you've got you've kind of got a grounding, and then just get some serious insights from there. So yeah, why not? That can be the book that I recommend. Yeah,

John Ball  
great. It's one I haven't come across before. So I'm happy to add that to my list of books to check out for the future as well. It sounds like a good one. I often talk about in perfectionism and the problems that people often have with Brucker, procrastination because of perfectionism, and the whole thing of just not even getting started sometimes and I certainly had that issue myself when I was much, much younger. I did a lot of music myself. No such thing as more of a keyboard player, I used to do a lot of composing and the likes and often would just think, oh, that's rubbish and throw stuff away, and then get to that or we like that idea. I had the other eight, I threw it away. Yeah, man. And that was, that was where I think I started to recognise that that perfection is and that thinking that it wasn't ever good enough was actually a problem as I was maybe it's not good enough right now, but it might be good enough a bit later on with a bit of work and a bit of time to develop it. And so I stopped being a bit stop being quite as hard on myself when I realised that But still, it's still a journey to not falling into that perfectionism trap. So I love the recommendation. Thank you. And one thing I do like to do is give my guests an opportunity to, to share how we how our audience can get in contact with you and find out more about you.

Shola Kaye  
Oh, wonderful. Well, yeah, I'm active on LinkedIn. So feel free to find me there show, okay, and please do connect and say that you listen to this podcast, I'd love to, to have you connected that way. And then also have my website which is shown a k.com. So k ye. And then on the usual social media, I'd rather not be sometimes but on the usual social media channels, say Twitter and Instagram and

John Ball  
All your social links are in the show notes for everyone to check out so they can come and connect with you and find your website as well. And hopefully, people who want to come and work with you and maybe even check out your TED talk. It must be on YouTube, right?

Shola Kaye  
Yeah, absolutely. It's, I have a speaking page on my website, so you can find it there. Or just look me up on YouTube. Because I did have a bit of a nightmare with my Ted TEDx talk, where basically what happened was, they said to us, okay, don't take up any earrings. take anything that might knock against the microphone when you're speaking. And because during our soundcheck, I had the earrings in and there was no interference of the mic. I just thought, okay, I'll be fine for the real food. But they might think slightly differently. So I stepped out, and the second I moved, you could just hear this earring, kind of banging against the microphone. And it was really loud, because, you know, the mic was turned up pretty high for speaking. So, so yeah, so when the TEDx was ultimately recorded, and there was just this horrible interference all the way through with this earring banging. So, fortunately, that when they put it up online, and then I just begged them, please take it down, take it down to give her let me edit the audio. So I took it down, I was able to edit the audio and put it back up again. So yeah, I always say to people that there is a dark side to TEDx. It's not all. It's not all a bundle of joy and laughs. But yeah, it's there. It's there.

John Ball  
So people can go and go and check out your talk, which has been digitally remastered, or the knocks from the earrings. And there is now much more reasonable. That's fantastic. I encourage people to do that. And it's been a real pleasure speaking to you today. I always like to get some closing thoughts from my guests that could be a call to action or something that's on your mind or just some words that you'd like to leave people with today.

Shola Kaye  
I'd say something around taking action because I think it's very easy to ruminate overthink things. And imperfect action is is better than perfect planning, basically. So just take some action move towards where you're trying to get to. And as you sent you with your composing, you may not make it perfect with the first step. But as long as you keep moving in the right direction vaguely in a zigzag pattern, you will eventually get there. So just take action towards whatever it is that you're trying to achieve. And I have faith in you you will make it.

John Ball  
So, before we finish then you had you mentioned to me that you have some things that may be helpful to our audience and giveaways that people can go and check out.

Shola Kaye  
Absolutely, John and one of the things that my clients have struggled with is speaking impromptu. So whether that's being in a q&a session or in a sales meeting, or whether it's speaking to sort of high profile clients or board meet members and so on. So I have put together a sheet have different frameworks about five or six frameworks, and I call it my short speech frameworks, but they don't necessarily have to be prepared ahead of time. They can just be things that you keep in mind how to frame your ideas. So if you are interested in grabbing hold of that, you can just go to shoulder k.com slash short speech, all one word, and you can download that

John Ball  
That's a great point to leave things, with apologies again for the banging in the next room. It is must be some really heavy earrings for that kind of noise. Although they seem to have stopped, for now. I really want to thank you for coming on the show it's been a delight to speak with you shared some lovely messages it's been lovely to hear about empathy and to hear about your diva plan and, and your books and everything else as well. I really appreciate it. And I look forward to connecting with you again in the future. And for anyone who wants to come and check you out. Check out the links in the show notes and go and connect with Shola.

Shola Kaye  
Fantastic. Thanks a lot, John, it was a pleasure.

John Ball  
I hope you've enjoyed the show. Please remember to like and subscribe and if you're on apple podcast, leave us a review. Whilst you're here, why not download a free copy of my new ebook the five key beliefs of bulletproof business speakers available from my website presentinfluence.com Next week, I'll be talking all things bucket lists with the bucket list guy himself Trav Bell, please make sure you join us for that he's a really entertaining guy, a great speaker, and someone who I've been connected with for years and finally had an opportunity to have a really good chat with. If you've ever thought about creating a bucket list for yourself, you're not going to want to miss that conversation. Keep a lookout for some bonus episodes dropping over the holiday period as well. Making sure you don't have to go one single moment being bored during the holiday season. And lots of fun chats and extra material coming out there too. So join me next time for speaking of influence. See you then