EVERY WEEK WE SHINE OUR LIGHT ON A MEMBER OF THE SPEAKERSBASE COMMUNITY. THIS WEEK, WE GET TO KNOW VÉRONIQUE HOEX: PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKER AND PUBLIC SPEAKING COACH AT EXPERT ACADEMY.

Hi Véronique, it’s great to have you here! Can you tell us a bit about how you started out as a public speaker?

Veronique-Hoex

Véronique Hoex

As a medical representative, it was one of my duties to train and inspire my colleagues and doctors. At first, I felt a bit unusual since I was just starting out. It really felt like a challenge.

Then I started to enjoy the whole process of inspiring people and training them to try new ways of approaching things. And it really showed that I was enjoying myself. People gave me a lot of compliments about my approach. Becoming a trainer and public speaker was the next logical step for me.

I can imagine! Do you feel that your experience as a medical representative help you to become a professional public speaker?

Of course! I had sales targets that I had to reach; that meant talking and influencing people to get to that target. In all these years, I learned which approaches worked and which didn’t. I learned the importance of the way you use your voice or how you could use your body language to your benefit. I had to learn how to become a public speaker, even before I became a professional public speaker!

Which characteristic do you think is crucial for a public speaker?

A good public speaker should know how to ‘play’ with their audience. They must be able to capture the attention of the audience and move them with their message. One thing you learn as a good public speaker is to adapt to your audience. Your audience consists of different types of people. So, it’s normal that some audiences feel different than others.

So if you’re a public speaker that’s starting out, you should know how to ‘play’ with your audience?

Well, yes and no. A public speaker that’s starting out needs to do two things.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street

First of all, a novice public speaker should sign up for some trainings from different types of coaches. And if you don’t want to, you should watch a lot of public speakers talk. By learning from the best, you’ll soon know what your preferred style is. You should really learn from different public speakers.

The second thing is that you only learn to speak in public by doing it. You really need a lot of courage to get yourself out there. So, get on stage and talk as much as you can! And don’t forget to prepare yourself as much as possible.

Besides that, a public speaker should really know how to ‘form’ their message. Start your preparation with thinking “What is it that I want to accomplish with my talk?”. You should think about what you want your audience to do or remember once they’ve heard your talk.

Sound advice! How much do you prepare for a speech or workshop?

A huge amount! People really underestimate this. I always try to be very empathic to the needs of my audience. And because I love to be inspired myself! I always look for new exercises, videos on YouTube, books, … because I want to learn new thing for myself, as well as for my audience.

I also feel that I have accomplished my goal when the people in the audience feel inspired. That feeling when they come up to me and say that they have figured out their next steps because of what I said earlier in my talk… That’s a very fulfilling feeling!

Which public speakers have inspired you the most?

There are three public speakers that have inspired me a lot. The first one is Amy Cuddy’s “Fake it till you make it!”. As a public speaker, you end up in the most unexpected situations (e.g. talking in front of 500+ people or talking in a different language).

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

The second one is the late Steve Jobs. I love his simple way of presentation, but also his insight in strategy and his courage to innovate.

A third, but nevertheless very inspiring public speaker is Barack Obama. He really knows how to present in an empathic way. I love the way he places accents in his presentations.

You should look up speeches from all these public speakers. But again, you should also try to learn as much from watching other public speakers: how much time they use of their intro, how they formulate their message, … As a public speaker, I feel very inspired when I see other public speakers talk.

I think that’s probably why a lot of public speakers do what they do: to inspire people. Is that something that you look for as a public speaker?

Sure, it’s one of my goals for the future to inspire as many people as possible to exchange their knowledge and expertise. Public speakers should also realize the power of networking. When you’re connected with each other and you acknowledge the difference in talent and expertise, you’re so much stronger than you are when you’re alone.

Amen to that! That was sadly the last question of our Q&A. Is there one last thing you want to say to the Speakersbase community?

As a public speaker, you should be inspired by other public speakers. But you should never try to copy them! Find your own style and your own way of telling your message. A professional public speaker gets booked as an individual and as an expert. Not as a copy-paste of another public speaker.

You heard it: be unique! Thanks for the interview, Véronique!

You’re welcome!

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