SL056: Moving From Training To Professional Speaking – with Sheena Walker

From Training to Professional Speaking

In today’s episode Sheena Walker talks about moving from training to professional speaking.

Training to Professional

Sheena Walker is an international speaker, corporate trainer and radio presenter. With a background in sports and performance coaching, Sheena helps individuals and organisations apply to their lives and businesses the high performance strategies, methodologies and habits used by top Olympic athletes.

  • Online coaching
  • From athlete to speaker
  • Using your speaking skills to fundraise
  • Training & Development
  • Self-mastery
  • Discipline
  • Speaker, Trainer, Coach
  • The difference between speaking, training and coaching
  • David Newman
  • Present-Train-Mentor
  • Becoming a Tony Robbins coach
  • Andy Murray
  • Resilience
  • Pre-event calls

Tools: Apple Clips, Lumen5, Screenflow
Book: TED Talks by Chris Anderson
Official Website:

Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

Hi, I’m James Taylor and I’m delighted today to have on the show Sheena Walker. Sheena Walker is an international speaker, corporate trainer and radio presenter. With a background in sports and performance coaching. She now helps individuals and organizations apply to their lives and businesses, the high performance strategies, methodologies and habits used by top Olympic athletes my great pleasure to have Sheena with us today. So welcome, Sheena.

And thank you for having me, James. It’s nice to be here. So here

was a what’s happening in your world at the moment? Well, actually,

there’s lots of things happening that’s changed my perception of being a speaker and working in the corporate world. One of the things that’s happened recently on in the last year is doing some film work. And last week, I was out doing some film work. And for STV and class, it’s very small parts is about being able to communicate being able to mix with the people and I just love it. I can that really gives me a buy. So that’s an area that I will be And more more of. And the second thing is that in the last six months, I’ve been working with people from Australia and Canada coaching online. And they’ve had tremendous success. And so now that actually asked me to come on to the stage. So that’s a progression from doing complementing and advancing. So I’m really delighted about that.

Now, I know we have a lot of American listeners, and I know that many of them will be loving your accent at the moment as well. So you’re, you’re from you’re based in Scotland in the in the UK?

Yeah, I’m based in Blige of Ireland, just outside Sterling.

Fantastic. And and so you’re, you’ve got a really interesting kind of background. So you went from a mindset of being the manager of the Special Olympics, to kind of doing the work you do. So take us back. How did you kind of get into all this work as a speaker think about before you kind of got into the work for you’re known for today.

And so I took you back. I mean, I already He was an athlete. And then I was a national coach. And it didn’t quite pan out how I’d hoped it would pan out due to family circumstances. And then I became a coach. And then I ended up at special being the manager of Special Olympics. And that was actually amazing. Whilst I didn’t live my dream going to the Olympics, I believed I was helping other people. And the start of my speaking career was that we didn’t have lots of funding a few decades ago.

So I went out as a speaker,

fundraising, doing PR, trying to influence people try to negotiate with companies and people to actually sponsor all the athletes that we had going from Central Scotland. So that was the start of going out as a speaker. And then when I entered the world of work, I continued my sport into the world of work and then ended up working It char working in training and development, organizational change and design. So a large part of my role in the world of work was about speaking, presenting and duction. recruitment and selection. So I guess there was definitely aspects of speaking from fundraising to the professional world. So that was the stop me into speaking at that point.

And is there a golden thread that kind of runs through all these things from going back to your athlete then manager fundraising for the Special Olympics and the Olympians there to HR team development to now kind of speaking coaching is what if you were to can, is there one kind of word or thread that kind of title these together for you?


the thread I would say, and I’ve used it yesterday, it was about an extra thing

you do and then particularly when you’re a speaker, and it’s about having self mastery Each stage of your journey, I think that I discovered my speaking for fundraising was very different from when I was working in HR and during 100 people for boots, the chemist on a recruitment day. And so then I had to be have a different side of me. But self mastery, always making sure that whatever speaking role you have, that you know exactly what that role is, you know exactly what you’re going to say you’re well prepared, well planned, so that you can design and deliver and a great presentation and I guess that came from slumming, because you have to be very disciplined at five o’clock in the morning.


and I had a coach that used

to shout at me for being silly and all of that. So I still think I’ll show him. I’m not silly as he thinks it out. And so that kind of runs through the the discipline, the grit, the determination Planning and streaming has kind of gone right through everything I done.

Now I’m obviously your member of speakers use. I’m your coach, speaker and there is no shouting involved. So is that what you just mentioned there I think can go back you mentioned about this move from the type of presenting you do as a trainer at HR, HR training development to as a speaker, can you talk about that a little more cuz I think that’s actually quite important thing because a lot of people who come from the world of training or you know, learning development, and then look to make that transition into being a speaker or keynote speaker, what what are the differences do you see?

Well, first of all, I’d like to say that I’m

a speaker is not a trainer, a trainer is not a speaker, a speaker is not a coach.

And I think if you can be all three of those, like a speaker and you know how to train and then you can actually have a mentoring program. They are fairly different, and I think the Training aspect is about people learning a new skill. I see training very much as learning, maybe starting from scratch learning a brand new skill. And I think that the keynote speaking, if we look at keynote, I’ve got that two categories. And you can be a keynote, trauma daughter and I


and Keynote. Usually as someone who’s got a level of

expertise and mastery,

they have a system and a process. They’re very consistent. And most times they would have a mentor and I can speak for myself, a mentor who would guide them through speaking and presenting and being able to have that final detail to content creation and storytelling and things like that. But assuming you don’t have the same it’s much, much more basic, I think as a trainer, but Do think gyms that if you are a speaker, and you are a trainer is very, very helpful. And when you’re mentoring someone who says, Shin, I can’t do that, explain it to me. And I think if you’ve been a trainer, it’s very, very helpful.

And the final part of that is the coach, I actually got inquiry and today from a previous client I’ve worked for who was asking her or as a various a fortune 100 company, and they said, James, we’re having this issue with this thing with our sales leaders, and we’re needing to someone who could come and be a keynote speaker. And to talk about this issue. This is really related, I guess, around around mindset around sales. But then we also want that person to be able to come and do executive coaching with us as well. And I was actually thinking about what actually really is very few speakers especially on that topic that I know of that can Great keynote speakers and also can do the coaching because they always feel quite distinct skills. And I know you’ve obviously you’ve experienced both of those as well.

Yeah, I think that my business model no not

probably can a little bit more from David Newman, who doesn’t mince his words when you don’t do something, but

quite fits in and his blowin, as long as it’s been, it’s great.

But I think what I do know my model is three steps. It’s I great to present, whether that’s in a seminal event or the corporate world, and then I’d go in and do a training deep based on what the leader of the seal is looking for. And then I would do mentoring. So there’s a three step process there. And I think that one of the things that I think’s been great is that when I left school, I went to Mati hosted, pe did sports so that my performance coaching was sports related. And as I’ve gone through my career, I’ve done and looked at different aspects of coaching, looking at results coaching and transformational coaching, looking at business coaching, and pastor back Kim spending two years in the Tony Robbins camp as well. That was another very hard two years of course me I’ve done transformational coaching that you can then use in the business world. So there’s all these different areas of coaching James and I think are really good executive coach will choose the best one based on that information from whoever’s deleted and company

and use it mentioned that model you have the present, train and mentor. Do you put the things in between mentor and coach and as somebody who can they think these in different ways other people can can put them in together?

Most lots of people put mentoring coaching together. I think I have some separately mentoring like for instance and and then In the chest, for instance, doctors get men to adapt to the standard 45 years training because they’ve got to learn brand new skills when they finish and graduate. So that’s mentoring. It’s learning a brand new skill. coaching, usually people have

this skill, and you just need to look at,

well, where are they? What’s the goal? What’s the reality? What options have they had, and what have they done so far, what’s worked, what’s not worked? What’s the biggest challenge? And what’s the consequences of not been able to step up and do things differently? So mentoring and coaching it was different and then an organization when you’re there, sometimes you’ve got to spend a little bit more time looking at the skill aspect, particularly if it’s to do with sales presentations, you’ll then be doing some training and the follow up would be coaching.

And you spoke about this idea of of performance in results performance coaching discipline. These are all kind of things that you learned from your athletic background as well. How do you apply some of those things into what you do now as a presenter, trainer, mentor.

And well, a good example is that when you speak to CEOs or leaders, they say, Well, we’ve got the six months plan, and it’s not working. But we’ve done a, b and c and hopefully by Christmas or summer holidays, this might work.

But the methodology when you’ve worked in sport,

like for instance, I was up

the other day and demise hotel is three

miles from here and I was just thinking about that. When Andy Murray gets a new gets fit back

on his sim tennis, he goes

out that afternoon that night, and he applies the new tools, tips and techniques that the courts has discovered them. He doesn’t look back to yesterday.

He doesn’t look back to what he was doing at nine o’clock. Smoking. And so

that’s the methodology that I use. And when I’m working in the business world, it’s how can we start to apply this in the next 24 hours? What is the new way we can start to think? How can we apply new techniques and new actions so that we can actually do things very differently? and sports

methodology as

athletes just do at gyms?

You know,

they don’t see I’m not doing that at all. Think about it. There’s just so committed to being the very best that they can be. And using that methodology. It’s, I mean, I had a young man this morning, who hasn’t followed through what it was supposed to do. And I started off being quite nice. And then I said, You know what, that was not what we agreed. We agreed that you would do A, B and C, and if not, if done a little bit of that,

and so he said, Oh, my goodness. Are you giving me Have a backbone. I said, Yes,

you’ve got to look at

and correct and where you were at.

And I’m giving you a new direction to get different results. So we need

to follow through on that.

Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned Andy Murray they I don’t know whether you saw the I think the Netflix documentary about his recovery, going back into the game, after having some very serious and hip operations and things. And the thing I found really fascinating not not being a particular tennis fan, but just kind of watching it from a performance perspective, was seeing all those different people that he had around him and worked on different parts of his game and his mindset. So there was a someone that really worked on his core strength someone that worked on his strategic his game other people worked on his cardio someone else that worked on his, his flexibility, I think was someone else going to working on this in terms of my mindset. So you had all these different types of coaches, I guess, kind of working on him, or kind of doing what you were doing there just to that young young gentleman of saying, okay, that’s not that’s not where it is. This is this is this is the new This is what we need to be so kind of put that kind of, I suppose accountability, I guess. That’s

it’s great speaking about Andy and I think he’s just so inspired and could smile a little bit more.

He’s just built to tap the tennis courts in the grounds of his hotel, quite a small hotel, but it’s got an adult tennis court and children, obviously, if people go on holiday, and I was up with a friend, and she said to me, shut up. We’ve come to comic house for a coffee. Please don’t tell me that you’re going to go in to the tennis court, analyze it. Think about what it means to you in performance. And my friends now. I said, we’re going to leave you

someplace else, you know It’s all

the time and that’s what I did. I went in and got that feeling of being in 10. Scott, that feeling of

not being average or good or great, but that feeling of one class and how do I teach CEOs and leaders of companies to make world class decisions so that they can maximize the staffs performance, and I get that feeling standing and, and tamales and tennis courts complex and

I know that that’s that visualization thing, but it’s amazing I come back full of energy you know, it’s great.

Something else that came because really strong enough on the that documentary was his resilience, and being able to kind of come back from what would probably you know, completely devastate other people, he was able to have that resilience. Can you talk about in terms of your own work as a speaker, trainer, mentor a time when you give a talk or a presentation or you you you did something and it didn’t quite go as you’ve planned, and more Important, what was the lesson that you learned from that experience?

I can remember. And I had gone out

in San Angeles

to talk it was. It was, I mean, we’ve gone back maybe a decade, but

Adam remember quite clearly.

And it was all doctors and clinicians.

And it was about patient

patient service, and about how we improve with time. And so there’s a whole host of things. So in my head, I thought, okay,

I didn’t link up with the

organizer. They just said to me, they wanted me to speak on services.

And when I got the

agenda started to speak about what was the importance of customer service,

and how could we apply that to patient services? Why would patients were eating 22 weeks for something that should be six lately?

And I started speak about

a process there. How important All that was,

and I looked at the faces and I thought

they have not a clue what I’m actually speaking about.

And the biggest lesson I took from that was speaking to the organizer, and I do this all the time. Now, speaking to the organizer about this group of people that will be attending today. Whether they are what’s the gap in the knowledge? What’s the gap in the skill? If there’s a gap in the skill? What is it you want them to take away from here today to go back and apply in the roles in the hospital? And because I didn’t do that I just had a preconceived idea

of what I should be telling them or what might be okay. And that was a huge landing. And after that, I

thought that was not

as good as I would have liked to have been as a presenter.


but I do think working with clinicians is different and you have to be a different type of speaker Westerman tries to understand where they’re coming from,

to really spend that time on that kind of pre event call. Just really focusing, I always find it challenging sometimes where. And if you experienced the same thing when you’re maybe talking with the receivers, the event organizer, who is not maybe the decision maker at the end, so you, you can get through that you’re having a conversation at sea with the conference organizer. And he or she doesn’t really almost understand their audience. And maybe because they’re not part of the organization. So let’s see if it’s something usually if it’s an association don’t really have that problem because those people are living day in day out thinking about their members and how to serve their members or someone internally within a same HR department. They’re thinking what those challenges are, sometimes when you have an outside events company, they’re a little bit more distant and and then you can have you asked the event was what is your client really looking to try and achieve with it? What’s the thing all those things you You mentioned there, and they give one set of ideas. And then you end up in the room. And it’s it seems to be a completely different audience that you’re speaking to.

Yeah, it’s Yes. And, and I think it’s really important, though, that rehearse because we

understand who’s in the audience, why they’re there today, what that organization wants them to take away and what that organization would probably want them to start implementing or initiating or thinking about, I think that we’re in a dynamic economy now. Companies are working with 50% less staffing. And so the people that are in companies now I’ve got to be a physician. I’ve got to be effective. I’ve got to be delivering outcomes and be more results focused.

And I think my, my competitiveness and my, my sport

background comes out in some of these conversations. And I think, Oh,

I find that like a

swimming coach there just for a moment. But that’s the kind of way that we would We would speak to

two athletes, you know,

continue to do this and look at data that this is the plan. And this is where we want to be at the end of the week. So

can you tell us about an perhaps an insight or a lightbulb moment you’ve had in your life as a speaker time when you went okay, this was an important distinction or this is you taking on one of those kind of eureka moments, right. Okay, this is this is what I want to do with my speaking and this is who I want to serve, or you made an important distinction. And

yes, I got the opportunity

probably about four or five years ago, and to speak at that all too.

And it was a bit quite a small spots, 20 minutes or something like that.

And, and I knew the topic and knew the theme. And I,

I just I went up and thought

like okay,

I was so excited. It was the light

bulb moment was, this is what I want to do. No. This

is actually where I want to be been able to share your message, your expertise. To use knowledge and tips with other people. And when I look back seven, maybe seven years ago, I had a personal tragedy in my own life, which probably links to that. But it made me ask, am I in the right job? Am I doing the right thing? Is this where I want to be? And the answer to all of that Jim’s was no. And it was just shortly after that, I thought, I’d like to be on the stage. I’d like to learn how to walk in front of cameras. I’d like to be able to learn all that not just for me, but so I can help other people to do that.

So that light

bulb moment that those two was, yes, this is what I want to be. This is this is what I’d like to do. And so now I am helping people speak to camera, not just on video, but to be able to speak to camera. I’m working with a company in London just now. And they’ve been sending me the studio shorts. And I had to try and be very polite. Yes. study about feedback. Because sitting on a sofa speaking to camera is quite different from sitting on a sofa standing on stage speaking to people, I just love it.

It’s a very different difference of those skills between the coaching and the training and speaking. I often think that when I see sometimes people that make the transition between being on a small screen, and then suddenly going into theater, for example, or of reverse and you saw that you see those people who’ve been on the theater a lot and they suddenly go into into doing TV or film and it looks a bit hammy who say, you know, looks a bit over emotive, but then you watch some of those great film actors or TV actors. And it’s all very small motions, small movements, about how they hold hold the gaze or things anything that would never work if they had to try and move that on to onto larger stage because just it there’s there’s no You know, we’re looking to using the stage in that way. So when you work with those, maybe people are very used to say speaking on stages. And then they have to go and maybe go and give a TV interview or do a series of online trainings or a webinar, for example. What what piece of advice do you give them to kind of do something that’s more suited for that medium?

Let me just give you feedback on something that I

that and share what

the feedback was that gave to someone yesterday,

there was two presenters, and they had

quite a famous cattle on that set up a football academy, basically, and the three of them when she sent it to me at the weekend, we’re all sitting on the one sofa across the middle, just all on the one sofa. And so that doesn’t look very good. It looks unprofessional sort of fit back, but we spent

quite a bit of time on what’s needed to solve first. We need to get

Some photography up behind them that should really where the presenters needed to sit side by side, encouraging

them to speak to

one another. When they’re speaking to one another, they face one another. But when one of them is speaking to

the guest, they’ve got to be focused on the guest. And

sometimes you think, Well, you’d think people would know to do that, but actually gyms, they don’t. And so

she was delighted. She said, Oh, I’ll just go and I’ll just

got to fix this to do ocean. I’ll just go in and I said, I’ll send me what you fixed. And let’s see. Let’s do like a dummy run on that and to see if it’s actually going to look more professional. And that’s the bottom line and lots of things gyms in speaking of training and executive coaching as if it offered physically or is it professional and one class and we all want to aspire to that.

I guess as you’re saying, that actually makes me think when You’re doing those kind of studio things you have, feels like you have a lot more control over your space, your environment you mentioned like moving certain things, think about where the cameras going to be and where as a speaker, if we have to go, we go from speak from one stage to another one can be a big stage with a runway and everything and then suddenly, you’re speaking in a small room for 5050 people. So you have to get to work at your physicality in relation to that space and how to use and some some people are very good at being able to like do things like blocking and understanding the space how best to use the space, have fun with the space as well. So these are all things. So it’s fascinating, just that anyone is listening just now who’s speaking, there’s a lot of people moving into online courses and webinars and, and online training just now, some of the things you just mentioned. And tell us about your speaker bag, that thing you carry with you to all of your various speaking engagements that you never leave home without what is in that bag that you carry with you

What’s in my speaker bag and all keynote was in Aberdeen last week and I thought about what have I got everything I need. I’ve got my speaker bag. I have a dress, a tinge of clothes. I’ve got

my selfie stick, I’ve got a wireless selfie stick. I’ve got a spare clicker, batteries, a spare USB, and I have

a USB with whatever it is I’m doing on two USB, so in case something fails. I’ve also

got spare and handouts

and some

ebooks on what I might be talking about. So

that’s all in my personal bag. And

I’ve just I’ve got a laser clicker as well. I’ve

got about four different clickers.

That one failed on me before Christmas. And I thought, oh, what’s happened because sometimes it’s nice as speakers Talk about not just, and we did speak about this a minute ago, you know, stage craft is not about being routed to the spot stuck in like a pig in mud. Stage craft is about whatever you’re speaking about is being able to move and use the stage,

depending on your content creation. So I’m fairly particular that

I’ve got clickers and batteries that fit in them, and

is a particular clicker that you you you prefer at the moment you mentioned going through

this one and it’s just as attentive thing as it’s called Kingfisher off

the top of my head, I like

it. And it’s got a little USB that sits in the

end of it. I don’t know.

Yeah, I think I had when I did Logitech one like that as well. And then what about other any kind of online resources or tools or mobile apps that you find very useful in your work as a speaker?

Yes, the online resources I’ve just one of the things that’s

come from you just know, I

started. I’ve now got online courses and a membership site, which is

gone up just started this year.

So I’m very into online sources. What are people? What are the resources? It’s there? Do they meet any needs in the market? So I’ve the first online resource I’ve done is keynote by design. So it’s taken you from the stage to from stage craft, to actually speaking as a keynote speaker, and my membership site is for someone starting out, they can go and it’s, I mean, the cost is, I think it’s 999 a month or something like that. And you can get all sorts of resources, but my

own sources that I really like,

is a light using Apple clip

for my videos.

And I use it having a membership and have online courses or a particular platform that you’ve decided to use for hosting all of that. Cuz I know that a lot of speakers that just think about starting an online course it can be if you haven’t done a lot of technology stuff, but it can be a little bit intimidating because there’s so many different options now as to which platform you can use.

Well, I actually have trained in sync effect teachable, all of these other ones that’s fairly prominent because of Punjab is only seven. And I went and I thought they are far too complex, complicated for my little brain. I can’t follow all this decade,

it was quite

difficult. But I started working last summer with them.

A great, a great guy called john Lee, who has a company called wealth dragons.


he was quite keen for me to write material. And so I work alongside him and

he said, Don’t worry about platforms. So my material, my online courses goes on to his wealth diamonds.

So you don’t have to deal with any of that you can just do you can just focus on creating the content.

Yes, I know that I do two or three videos a week for the membership site, I have no got permission to go in and, and upload that. And that’s great. But I think it’s the way forward and

right now when we see what’s happened with the virus,

I think it’s great if you’ve got online executive coaching online membership that you can actually use that I think that’s really

cool. What else I have is some video. And software’s called the lumen five, I like that.

Now I’ve heard of this lumen five is this, the one that actually uses artificial intelligence to transcribe things is that one was five.

It’s actually just recently it’s moved on to actually, yes, if you use the script, and then when you put the script in, hit, it’ll put it into the slides, if to deal with a little bit of maneuvering, but I do like lumen five, and I’ve done a few longer videos with lumen five, and what else

without link there as well.

And the other thing is, I’ve got ScreenFlow, which is quite good if people send me videos that I can use ScreenFlow to stop it at a

particular point. If somebody sends me a video

and I can give them, I can critique and get some feedback. So then when I send them back the video they can see when I’m asking them to do something different.

I think that’s quite great.

And what about books? If you do recommend one book to our listeners, what would that be?

Well, I’ve read lots of books, but my favorite book is Chris Anderson, the TED the TED creditor. I like his book. I’ve read many books, but what I liked about Chris was his quite elegant elegance that I’m going to describe a man but he’s very eloquent and how he speaks Has description and how he thinks about a presentation just sits with me, you know, a TED talk it in minutes or 15 minutes, one idea, one direction and your own views on that direction and being able to link it into something that whether it’s education or what’s your audience I think that his his concept was really good. So highlight that

fantastic more. But all these here on the show notes people just look for Sheena Walker on the site, then they can get all the show notes for this as well. And a final question for you. You know, I want you to imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and you have to start from scratch. So you have all the tools, your trade all the knowledge that you’ve acquired over the years, but no one knows you and you know, no one what would you do? How would you restart things.

And if I woke up and had to start from scratch, I think that one of the things that I would do very differently if I had the to having everything, all things being equal, I would actually ensure that I was the brand. And I would make my brand big, I would be thinking big and deliver big. I’d be competitive a big constant attack

my expertise. And I would actually link up with people globally much, much quicker

than then I’ve done. So people that are out there on the biggest stages, link up my thumb and look and see where I could do a showcase. I think that would be a huge, a huge step forward instead of waiting and hoping. Yeah,

I think building your brand. I have a friend that has a company build

a brand. And you know if I was advising someone to do things no to his lovely artistic class, learn how to build your brand. Learn how you can be the go to pass and learn how you can have a system have a conceptual model. How you consistent and how you can be positioned as a leader in the field and everything that you do much, much quicker,

then what probably we all do. Fantastic. And then where is the best place to be able to go if you want to learn more about you and your program, the things you’ve got going on just now.

And the best best probably is, is to go to my website is www dot seannal And they can actually have a chat with me or discovery session on it can make an appointment on my website, they can email me. Sheena, Sheena I get quite a lot of referrals through LinkedIn, people see me on LinkedIn. But if anybody wants to get in touch or ask me ask a question. I’m more than happy to do that.

Well, Kim, thank you so much for coming on today. Sharing all about your speakers life all the amazing journey you’ve had from athletes to To Trina to speak and to mentor as well. It’s been absolute pleasure speaking with you all the best in the future.

Well, thank you very much, Jim. It’s been lovely speaking to you, too.

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