EVERY WEEK WE SHINE OUR LIGHT ON A MEMBER OF THE SPEAKERSBASE COMMUNITY. THIS WEEK, WE GET TO KNOW SUYIN AERTS: GENERAL MANAGER AT X-TREME CREATIONS.
Hi Suyin, it’s great to have you here. How are you doing?
I’m doing fine, thank you!
Let’s jump right into the interview, shall we? Could you tell me a bit more about yourself?
Sure! I started my career as a dancer. During my time as a ballerina, I’ve spent many hours on stage in front of an audience. I learned a lot about how you can use your body language to express yourself, even though you aren’t actually talking.
I then became an actress, which meant that I appeared on television quite a lot. That was the start of my speaking career, because a lot of people started asking me to come and speak at their events. Since then, I’ve also worked in fashion and together with my partner, I run X-Treme Creations.
But I’ve been always passionate about speaking in public. And after 10 years as an entrepreneur, I picked up my passion as a moderator, presenter and public speaker. Besides that, I also work as a freelance journalist and tv-presenter. I feel that my experience as an entrepreneur really enables me to have an interest in many topics, which I see as my USP (unique selling proposition).
When you say “many topics”, how many topics are we exactly talking about?
A lot! I think it is very important to adapt your talk to the needs of your client, but still show a little bit of your own opinion through the speech. Especially as a moderator, it’s imperative to ask the right questions. My baseline is “To get the right answers it is essential to ask the right questions” for a reason!
And when you’re not moderating, which are the topics you cover in your speeches?
It depends from talk to talk to be honest. In one talk, I speak about the importance of networking, in the other talk I speak about female entrepreneurship, start-ups, marketing and communication, business strategy, … Those are the topics I’m passionate about. I really could talk for hours about those topics.
One thing I frequently try to do is to draw parallels between top-class sport and entrepreneurship, because of my background as a ballerina. There are more similarities between both genres than you’d think!
I can imagine! I think that as a sportwoman, you had to prepare a lot for your time on stage, right? How much do you prepare when you’re doing a speech or a presentation?
Preparation is so important, so I put a lot of work into it. No matter how much you speak, you still have to be prepared. It also helps to handle unexpected moments during your presentation. And as you said, I feel that it’s part of my background as a ballerina and that it is has become a part of my mentality.
That’s also my advice to young speakers: prepare yourself! But you shouldn’t lose yourself in the process. Every speaker is different and you should try to find the style that fits with your character on stage. There’s nothing wrong with looking at some speakers, but don’t copy them! And if you’re struggling to find your style, you can always contact me for coaching (laughs)!
Well, you said it! Talking about finding your style, which speakers have inspired you the most?
There are many men and women that have inspired me. Such a difficult question, that list is too long to sum up (laughs). When I’m inspired by both the topic and the speaker, that’s a sign that I have enjoyed your talk a lot. That goes for both inspiring or technical speeches. I also like a bit of humor in a speech!
Which traits should a good public speaker have?
A good public speaker should be a chameleon who is prepared to adapt to their audience and the situation. That’s something that you should be able to feel on stage, your audience has this kind of energy, you know. And you should be able to use that energy to create an unforgettable moment for your audience.
Aside from that, having the right stage performance and a clear voice are two crucial traits. But more important: stick to your timing and, as a moderator, stick to the briefing of the event organizer!
A good public speaker should also be a networker: get yourself out there! Work together with people who can bring you into contact with event organizers, a bit like Speakersbase does!
We try our best, Suyin! During your many years as a presenter, what are your biggest accomplishments?
That’s another difficult question! (laughs) I feel that I already have accomplished a lot. Hearing from people that I have inspired them feels wonderful. I always try to bring the perfect mix between having a calm presence, but still having that sparkling energy that sometimes pops up on stage. (laughs) But I have a lot of time to accomplish more goals.
Oh yeah? What are these goals, if I might ask?
I want to motivate and inspire people as much as possible, letting them thing about things they haven’t thought of before, … Aside from that, I want to work with many different clients from different sectors because I feel that I could learn a lot from those differences. And yes, I still want to do more work in front of a camera, which adds another dimension to public speaking. Having my own talk show on television is something that’s on my bucket list!
I’ll be crossing my fingers for you! Thanks for your time, Suyin, and for this great interview!
Do you feel inspired to become a public speaker yourself? Why don’t you create your free Speakersbase portfolio and start pursuing your dream?!