Elliot Kay currently runs 2 businesses – a strategy business and he is the Commercial Director and lead trainer for Speaker Express.
Elliot has worked across the globe in the UK, Africa, USA and Europe. He has a combined seventeen years of experience in both training and coaching, having designed and delivered training for Sky Television, Talk Talk, the NHS and many more.
After almost losing everything, Elliot has turned around his businesses to form one of the leading strategy, training and coaching companies for both self-development and strategy in the UK – using his own experience to ensure others don’t make the same mistakes as him.
As part of giving back, Elliot has been a mentor for the Princes’ Trust for the last 5 years. Elliot has unlimited passion for results. His passion is to help business owners to live The Elite Business Lifestyle through strategy boardrooms, workshops and mentoring. Elliot is a certified coach, cognitive behavioral hypnotherapist and accredited strategist.
Victor Ahipene: Speaking nation, what’s happening at welcome to another episode of public speaking secrets. I’m your host, victor, he penny, and as always, thank you for joining us as we take you on the journey to make your speeches and your talks more exciting and more impactful and more powerful to get out to a bigger audience and I’ve got just the persons who helped you with that to do. Got Elliot Kay and he is the lead trainer and founder of Speaker Express, which is one of the leading training organizations in London and even further so welcome to the show, Elliot.
Elliot Kay: Thank you for having me. What a pleasure.
Victor Ahipene: It’s a, it’s, it’s, it’s going to be great, but I’d love to get a bit of a background on you. I guess partly on what you do and the other part, how it kind of all came about. How did you build up to where you were, you had the justification to, to, to be teaching these people.
Elliot Kay: I love what you said that the justification, because as you and I know, there’s plenty of people that are like, Hey, I want to teach public speaking and had zero experience in actually delivering. So my justification of teaching, public speaking is I’ve got 6,000 hours of delivering talks internationally here in the UK. I’ve done the USA, I’ve done Africa. Well not the whole of it, but you know, various parts of Europe. I’ve, I’ve delivered trainings internationally. So that’s what gives me the rights. And the reason I got summoned to be a cofounder for speaker expressed was because at the time we were both training because I believe you always train, right? You never get to that level. And those speakers make the mistake. They get to level go, Hey, I’m making 10,000 pounds. I don’t need to change or dollars or whatever currency when a token, right. And um, the woman that set up speak or express with me, she was like, there’s no safe place for speakers to train. There’s lots of, you know, calm, do four or five days and then they’re booted out and there’s nothing. And so she turned, she said, look at the time, I think had 3000 hours. You’re the most experienced person I know, would you come and blowed and help me with this? I was like, show up at the time I was a coach, I don’t coach anymore, but I was coaching and I was doing was talking once a week at the time. Um, and so that’s how that happened. And then after two years of her messing around with it, I was like, look, there’s the businesses here, let’s get serious. We really have an opportunity here to really impact people’s lives and help them change to the use of public speaking. And that’s when it became a business. So it was, it was two years in when it finally became a business. And that’s what gives me the right to do what I do. I think, I hope I’m also a published author, best-selling author. I’m, I, I run another business as well. So, uh, I’m, I’m pretty out there
Victor Ahipene: and with all lives that. So if we’re to try to, I’d love to try and extract nuggets from not necessarily just what you’re doing now but, but also in the past, because there’s a lot of aspiring speakers who are outside of, some of them are just looking to get their first meet up Gig in there and they are local in the local town for, for free to get that experience. And, and on a side point, I really liked how you said yeah, this is not a safe place a lot of the time for these, these people, because I mean I think of toastmasters like AA. It’s, it’s like a place that you can go to, but they might not be anyone qualified there to necessarily advise you. It’s just like this place you can kind of, you can kind of hope that things happen and in a way versus it’s a completely different barrel offish when you’ve got a people who have huge runs on the board that you can fast track your success, which I think is the big difference in a lot of these. But going back to it, how A. First of all, I guess, what were you, what were you talking about around the world, and then secondly, how did you springboard, because I mean you don’t just happen to stumble upon international speaking gigs that you know, all of a sudden I’m on a speaker. How many continents are they are I might just go and speak and all of those. So what were some of the key points that you took away for becoming an international speaker and getting those thousands of hours on the board?
Elliot Kay: There are those people who just go, right, I’m going to think nicely and I think there’s an element of that. The hustle, I don’t like that word is not getting out there. Self-promotion, love to speak to you. How do we make it happen? So one of the points you raised was how do people get their first speaking gig in their local town for free? You know, you approach people. Oh you put on an event and you say, look, I want to hone my speaking skills. I’m going to get this room for an hour. Come buy a beer and listen to me talk or you know, who’s doing what you’re doing and just approaching them with respects and say, I’d really love 10, 15 minutes to speak on your stage so I can build my hours. I’ll be honest, you know, don’t pretend you’re further than you all because anyone that’s experienced can see right through that. The mum you said you step on stage. Um, so that’s just an address your previous question. Um, in terms of getting international, I mean, you know, you’ve got to put in the hours, you need to put in the time, and you need to build the reputation. You need to build yourself as a brand. You need to really think of yourself as something more than a speaker, you know, um, because the days of, you know, hey, I’m gonna, speak and get paid lots of money. Well really you either have to been along for a long time down something amazing or have absolutely brilliant content. Right? And the way to get out that out of any of those three is to be consistent with having a presence. So I’ve been around now for 10 years, right? In both businesses and with Speaker Express, this is coming on. Well, we’d been around for eight but serious five and then my other business I’ve been around for 10 and it’s just about being consistent, consistent, consistent. So the way I’ve got my international gigs when I was in Rwanda of the person I went to see was like, right, you’re in town, let me tell everybody your coming. And then I was invited to speak with local entrepreneurs and you know, speaking out there’s a very different experience. And very similarly when I was brought to Spain, that was like, hey, I want to bring you to Spain. And they filled the room for me. That doesn’t happen all the time by the way, video. Right. And then the way I ended up in Vegas with someone else, you know, who’s one of the leading – who are the leading trainers in the UK and someone recommended me. Then the woman reached out to me, this one called Tanya. Uh, we had a challenge zoosh like, look, I’d love to invite you to speak at my conference in Vegas. Could you do it? And you know, well that wasn’t paid, right? I went to the opportunity, she was like, I’ll give you a slow pay you would you still be interested in. So do you know? Well, never spoken in Vegas. Love to speak in Vegas. Happy to take the cost on. And then from the clients anyway, which covered the cost. Right? So it’s also understanding the structure of what we call free, flee or fee. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that before.
Victor Ahipene: No, I like that. I think I know where it’s going but run us through that.
Elliot Kay: Sure. So you’ve got, obviously it’s free and when you speak for free, that needs to be something in exchange for you. Either you get their contact details or you can sell a. preferably you can sell, right? Uh, so you know, you’re not gonna get paid, but you can sell your product, your services, your books, whatever that might be. The fee you get paid for, you don’t sell. That tends to be the way it works. If they pay, you sell or you get paid too little because you’re selling the fleas. If you, if, if they don’t pay you and you can’t promote and there’s nothing in it for you, you flee, you just don’t take the Gig. Right? Um, and, and it’s just because at some point, I guess when you’re cooking up your hours it’s okay, but at some point this is a business. You’re a brand, know something that stands for something. And if people are like, look, we can’t pay and you can’t sell unless you believe in the cause. You need to completely like, just your time is far more precious. The letting people use abuse, your expertise, your knowledge and who you are. I speak for free, uh, charities events, I believe in, you know, when it’s fundraisers, I’m like, cool, look, I don’t need to be paid. I’m happy with that. I cannot understand icon. So I believe in the court’s different versus I’ve got, you know, 20 entrepreneurs, 100 old printers or we don’t have a budget to pay you and you can’t sell because they get offended. Well, I’m terribly sorry. As entrepreneurs, you know, we need to make a living and I’m going to look for that Gig that will pay me or let me sell. There’s going to be some form of exchange and it doesn’t always have to be a high ticket sale. Right. You know, a lot of times when I do sell, when I do speak at small meet-ups or any meet-up, I tend to sell them into something which is 30 pounds, which is, I don’t know how many dollars. 50 bucks. I, I don’t need to do the high ticket item.
Victor Ahipene: Yeah. And I think something is really important for people to understand is, you know, even if you’re speaking at a meet-up, it should be the friend. You can offer them something of the continuation of something where you’re building that know, like, and trust. And even even with the, um, I had a similar experience. Went and spoke at a, a, a podcasting conference in New Zealand. And then happened that one of the emcees there a ran a TedX event and then he’s like, you are great. Can you put a submission in for this? And then all of a sudden, you know, and literally when I, this was when he was looking for speakers, I had the week before, emailed five kind of ones near me and seeing if he didn’t hear a thing back because it’s kind of knowing somebody who, who put you forward. So yeah, there’s, there’s those sorts of opportunities that come with it, but at the same time it’s, can you offer something from stage or can you get, can you get paid to do it? Uh, but I mean a lot of your international gigs, I’m sure came from killing it in one place and then you’re talking to business owners or you’re talking to corporate executives and then they go back to somewhere else and your name keeps revolving around and other doors and opportunities open.
Elliot Kay: Yeah. From one, speaking to the reputation is really important. Reputation is so important and what you want that reputation to be. It’s completely individual. Some people and the reputation that they can sell from stage and they can close a big room and so they get invited to those big events. Some people want the reputation of being authentic and congruent. Therefore they get invited back. It really depends what your reputation is. You know, my reputation is I always add value. I always engage the audience. I’m entertaining and I have good Combo, great content, and that’s what you want. It really depends. You don’t want to get a reputation for being a stroppy horrible steak. I, you know, that limits people who might want to book you. I’m so, yeah. It’s also about your reputation as well as everything else you mentioned.
Victor Ahipene: Let’s jump into you offer training. Who’s your target market and are you, is it just, hey, we’re going to show you how to be a more confident, charismatic speaker or is it we’re going to show you certain aspects of their craft. I guess it reflects off who your target market is, but take us through like what your offering is and, and how you fought.
Elliot Kay: So our approach is slightly different. So we did do a lot at the beginning, like, we can work on your confidence, help you with your nerves, let’s turn you into speak. Uh, but we’ve evolved and what we realized is our passion, our big white, who we want to service those CEOs, managing directors and ultra-runners who, who want to use public speaking to gain more leads, convert more sales and make an impact. So it’s more, um, you can, we obviously we can turn you into a speaker if you want it to be that way. It’s really giving you the tool of public speaking to further your business, your brand and your positioning. So we work with a lot of business owners who then incorporate public speaking as a lead Gen. so it’s not about them being on speak. It’s not about, you know, hey, I want to be the next Tony Robbins or anything like that. It’s actually how can I grow my business and you speaking and we tend to look for those six figures upwards, gone through the growing pains. Uh, they know who they are, they know what they stand for as a brand, but they want to get their message out there much further than their current opportunity. They want allow them crave connection with their market versus online, you know, lack of connection or lead generation, which of course they do online too. So we, we attract a lot of that, that scene and that’s what, who we train and the way we do is we do experientially, we have, we offer three months or six months once called the Kickstarter was for the accelerator. I really, we do get people who literally just don’t have the confidence. Like we had a girl just join, you know, she’s raised funding, she’s okay speaking with one investor, but when you put it in front of a panel of six investors, she freezes. So for her it is very much about the confidence for giving her the tool of how to utilize public speaking. And we’ve had much more advanced, you know, business owners already, six figures upwards, but then they’ve managed to grow their turnover and scale because of being able to go and speak about their brand and their offering. So it really does depend where you are. But we don’t lead with. We can make you confident. We lead with, let’s use public speaking to grow and scale your business and that’s a very different positioning and it’s all done experientially. We are trainings or once a month, every month. Well of course we have an online community. We do zoom trainings as well on the practicality of being a speaker, not just the speaking techniques. We do everything from tone to position your body to how you use the stage to how to weave story in to how to sell. So it really is, is it’s looking at that, but also essences, you know, we’re not, we don’t want robots, right? We don’t want stand here, put your hand up, hey, say like this. We give people those tools, but they have to take it and become themselves in an enhanced manner. So that’s what we do is Speaker Express. Um, it’s, it’s a really exciting time to Speaker Express. We’re tinkering with things and we’re launching our next level program, which is really aimed at your, you’re slightly further advanced people who want to really influence and make big impact, make massive waves in the world. And we’re tailoring a program for those guys and, and, and that will be an incredible program.
Victor Ahipene: Your legacy, your legacy type speakers and company owners. It’s cool.
Elliot Kay: Yeah, exactly. So that will be perfect. And you know, the price point will reflect that. It’s really for those committed, you know, hey, we’ve got our brand to this level, we’ve got, I want to go out there, I want to influence, I want to wear micro or they want to be a Gary V influence. It’s up to them. But you know, our aim is to really support them in that journey, both practically from a business point of view, but also how to speak to that.
Victor Ahipene: I love it. Gary V, uh, for that person that you’re talking to at the next level is as, he’s just such a shining icon of, hey, this is what getting in front of your target audience on a regular basis with concurrent content that speaks to them. And I mean he’s obviously nick’s liberal and everything, but those are the people that are going to be dealing with. And you’re just like, look, this is the journey. You can go down, watch every if you don’t know what rock have you been hiding under, if, if you do go watch all of stuff and then you’ll understand the path. Like is he, he’s Your Business God almost of the, you know, the, the highest level that they can get to.
Elliot Kay: The question is of course do you want to get, because you can be a micro influencer, if you look at it from a marketing point of view, microwave, there’s up to $500. Then you got midterm up to a million and then Gareth visa million upwards, right? In terms of followings. So it really depends where people want to play because there’s lots of people that can be a massive influences by now Micronesia. So you know, it doesn’t have to be the big stage and with all the speakers that you work with.
Victor Ahipene: So when you said you meet once a month every month, is that a small group setting?
Elliot Kay: Yeah, we have between, depends on the intake of members. We have anything. We take 20 to 40 people in the room, but the way stripe to this, we will have a theme. So I think this month about over dealing with nerves and dealing with judgment, which we will come across the speakers, whatever level you’re at and the way we set it up is we will teach and aspect of it and then they have to get up and deliver. So for example, this month we will have, we set people up to be heckled and they have to learn how to deal with Haeckel, but in a way that’s graceful and respectful, not like, hey, you shut your mouth, sit down and get out of my. I mean, they’re on the speakers like that, right? Um, and, and, and you have to like when you’re a certain level, like if you are Tony Robbins, you can throw someone out because you’re not going to get 10,000 people walking out and protest. Although he wasn’t far off close to that. That’s another conversation. And then we’ll do things that will purposely create the judgment. So that way it’s so embedded in their neurology and then their mindset of when it does happen, let’s say out there that they know how to do with it. Recently again, what about former members? She send us a message saying, thank you so much. The other day this happened, like this guy, he started heckling me and boom, the training kicked in. Even though it’s the first thing since our training, I knew how to deal with me while I was calm. I was measured so much so that the end people came up to me like, well done for dealing with him so well and not losing the audience. So they’re always seen them their next month would that say will be held, use storytelling to weave in and lead to a sale and all these bits and boss, but it’s all get up and do. It’s not like here’s a flip chart is his seven slot, you know, like his file boy, you know, that’s how you learn to speak. Thank you. Go home without actually applying it. So that’s how we approach things.
Victor Ahipene: Out of the two or three of the most common limitations or things that are holding them back, or is it the fear side of things? Is it just you’re crafting a tool saying there’s no safe space? I think one of the biggest things we always get is how do I get paid?
Elliot Kay: That’s one of the things we get. Like if I could tell you the top question that we get consistently monthly through not just members, everybody has. I get paid to speak. The next one is, I believe, yeah, I think a lot of the obstacles is the fear of selling yourself as a speaker because a lot of people still associate sales to sleazy and common and stuff like that. And that’s not true. Um, listen moment. And I told the two tall guys into the people listening. The moment you open your mouth as a speaker, you’re selling, right? Even if you’re not selling a product, you’re selling yourself, you’re promoting yourself, right? Especially our target audience. Best-selling a brand. They’re promoting a brand standing for something that you know their business. So you need to go over this whole notion. I hate selling, I can’t get over that if you’re standing on stage of selling, even if it’s yourself. So that’s the second thing. So I think one of the biggest obstacles is that notion of I’m selling that, I mean sales as a speaker regardless if I’m selling or not. I think the third one is really not only get paid is where the people get speaking gigs, like how do they find speaking gigs? And I say those are the top three things. How do I get paid? Where do I find speaking gigs? And the fear of appearing as selling I suppose say those are the top three things and we counted it, but that’s not right. It’s something that’s continuous, right? Even though we’ll do a whole training on how to overcome, then it comes up again and again and again, and it’s not for lack of addressing. It’s just a continuous fear that people have.
Victor Ahipene: And it’s interesting because I say to people, you’re selling an idea when you’re giving a talk anyway. Like if you were giving a good high quality content talk, which everyone should be aiming to do every day of the week, whether it’s in the Board Room, a eulogy at 21st speech, whatever it is you should be aiming to get to entertain. Otherwise you know, why you even up there, you’re trying to sell that, whatever that one idea that you’re trying to make them more walk away with, whether it be a product that you’re selling with. You know, Ted Talks are a perfect example. There’s no salary at the end of it in the sense of a monetary exchange, but man, they’re trying to sell an idea like you know, all the best speakers and that’s what they do. And if you’re not comfortable with that, then you know, either you’ve got to figure out ways to do it. Finding people who can help you do that or not do speaking or sales or I don’t know what you’re going to do. You have a, yeah, you gotta work on the confidence side of things.
Elliot Kay: Okay, but remember that Ted or Tedx is an idea worth spreading. So it’s not actually about being a speaker and a lot of speakers make the mistake. They did the Tedx route thinking it will enhance their speaking and a good Tedx organizer will eliminate that immediately because they can see it self-promotion versus the idea was spreading because I’ve done a Tedx and I remember the organizer. I was lucky enough he invited me to speak, but when I submitted he was like, no, no, no, no, because you know, you’re, you’re not sharing an idea here. You’re doing your normal talking thing. I want your idea was spreading. And then he pushed me hard, which is what I came up my, my Tedx about Shaolin and my experience of training with full monks, you know, out in China is like that what you’re talking about that, that that’s what’s interesting about that experience. It’s more about the difference between Western mastery and eastern mastery, which was the idea was spreading. No nothing to do with the food. I was just.
Victor Ahipene: Yeah, and that’s what I think it is, is it’s that they taught you are selling and you know, you had to put all your effort into selling that idea so that the people who it resonates with a, yeah, it sinks in it some better than them and you’re sold them on an idea for hopefully some sort of change or some sort of letter or thinking or whatever. It might vary. But yeah, in regards to your business at the moment, whether, you know the speaker express side of things, we’re, we’re, we’re fast forwarding two years down the track. Um, you know, you said you’ve got some extensive exciting period at the moment. What, what does the business look like in two years’ time?
Elliot Kay: It looks like that we, the key people of influence behind the influences. So, you know, we’d be running these nine month programs where we get the influences and we’re behind them. And again, myself and underneath the CO founder a touring ourselves, talking about how to become an influencer as a speaker. Um, and that’s really what it looks like. But for us it’s really important that we’re behind companies that are really doing some great impact in the world. They’re doing some great stuff, not, I’m not attached an industry they can be, they can be service industry based, but it’s really the, the, the, the, the core essence of their business, their brand and why they want to be influenced is for good. And that’s a next few years. Looks like working with those key people of influence, working with those real big influences, all becoming big influences to really help them shift, um, the messaging or to get them out there so they can make more change in the world. It’d be great to, you know, be behind the next Gary V or the next Obama or you know, you know, that we were behind. That’s why I’d really love to get behind. I don’t need to be at the front. I’ve got over the. I don’t need to be at the forefront. Yeah, I mean, I love it. I still welcome and I still want to do big stages. I still do it, but I’m more than happy watching people become it. And that’s what we really look like. So the next two years going to be that.
Victor Ahipene: With all of that, I mean, that’s how you can create that ripple effect and create change. And you know, I have to sec or whose book in a box with um, with, I can’t remember his name of the guy who, uh, uh, Ryan Holiday. So, uh, someone else. Anyway. And yeah, that’s how, that’s how they pass on the legacy in the sense of they get these huge influences that people have started. Um, like the Shopify and things like that. The people who are too busy to be able to create a book, you know, the team sits down with them and interviews them, dissects them, you know, puts this whole book together using all of their words because these people have got so much knowledge and ability to share and they don’t have the time, the expertise or the knowledge to be able to put it out there and know it’s exactly the same thing with speaking. We can jump on a Facebook live, but you know, or you can run a webinar. But the, the, the attentiveness and the and the things like that that you’re going to get off that versus locking 100 people in a room or a thousand or 10,000 people in a room when you’re an influencer and all those other things add up to helping to it. But yeah, the way that you can in a nice way to get people to eat out of your hand and take that message on if it’s delivered well is super powerful because a lot of, a lot of those top people are experts at what they do and what they do often doesn’t involve, you know, sharing a message from stage. So I think it’s really cool what you guys are both working on to, to create that change and in regards to just to finish off, books that have with whether it’s in the speaking world or the, the marketing of it or, or just marketing and general business, that sort of thing from the speaker. What’s, what’s the biggest one that has had an influence on you or helped shape you?
Elliot Kay: Definitely in his earlier day, Gary V’s Let’s Crush It was a big, by the way, I have not. I like Gary V, he’s not, he’s not my favorite. And that’s again, that’s another podcast that’s more to do with his whole hustle thing, but massive respect for the guy. So it’s going to. There’s another one called How The Mighty Fell. Uh, and that’s by the same author that did from good food. Great. And Malcolm Gladwell, Malcolm Gladwell, what?
Victor Ahipene: Probably both. I can see Jim Collins’ book good to great, but it might not be from.
Elliot Kay: No. Yeah, sorry. Good to great. Jim Collins, my bad. Um, but anyway, how the mighty fall, I’m pretty sure it’s Jim Collins because what they did is they looked at why have big companies like fallen and he looked at her, the whole formula and I thought that was really interesting because loads of books and Greg, here’s how your success, but no, let’s look at companies that have got it really wrong and how to avoid it. So those are the top three that really jumped out for me besides my book power to succeed, which is an incredible book.
Victor Ahipene: We’ll link all of that, including your book at apublicspeakingblueprint.com. And if people just firstly thanks and I just want to welcome you to, to speak a nation and uh, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on and I’m sure a lot of people have got hopefully an insight into what it is to truly share your message to a bigger audience in the ways that that can be can happen if people want to check out you and find out a bit more about what you’re up to either as you personally or in your business. Where can I go and what can they do?
Elliot Kay: Well, if they want to get in touch, they can either just go into this and it’s speakerexpress.co.uk, or they can go means like twitter, facebook, instagram, reach out. There’s a speaker express page on facebook. There’s also personally, if they want to get in touch, it’s just lenk, ptss and Lenk power to succeed. Instagram, twitter, facebook. It’s all the same and reach out to me and say, hey, how’d you on speakers nation? Also like, you know, can we have a quick chat and we can have a quick chat non there’s no. We can just have an informal 20 minutes conversation and that’s fine. We’re more than happy to do that.
Victor Ahipene: Brilliant. Well that is super. Appreciate it. I know that some of the lessons that they will be taking that up. I will link all of their publicspeakingblueprint.com. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I look forward to hopefully catching up when we’re on the right side of each other’s world, whichever, whichever one that may be.
Elliot Kay: You’ve got more chance of catching up with an eight because I have my husband’s Australian, so likely to be over there over there.