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Interactive & engaging keynotes on how to communicate effectively in the workplace


Shola Kaye

travels from UK

Award-winning speaker & founder of communications training company Speak Up And Shine. Shola speaks on Diversity & Inclusion, and on communication for teamwork and influence.

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5 out of 5 stars

"Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great."

Francesca Laudat - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles See all references
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The keynote speaker Shola Kaye is founder of the communications company Speak Up and Shine. Shola delivers keynotes, masterclasses and consultancy on communication and on diversity & inclusion. She has been a guest contributor at the BBC and has appeared in Forbes and Harper’s Bazaar. She is a truly inspiring and unique speaker who knows how to entertain and engage an audience.

Award-winning speaker Shola Kaye helps individuals communicate effectively to build a work environment where everyone feels they belong. She inspires you to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, all the while sharing powerful stories and interactive exercises that will move and engage your audience. She encourages you to create a more empathetic atmosphere where difference is valued and people feel they can be themselves, leading to greater productivity, feelings of personal recognition and increased contribution.

She is also often called upon to inspire STEM, technical and professional services audiences and to speak on the importance of combining technical know-how with excellent communication. There is an increasing need for those who prefer to work behind the scenes in technology or data roles,  to step up into sales and leadership positions and to speak at conferences. The talks of speaker Shola Kaye deliver practical, actionable advice to help them do just that. Teams work better together and become more innovative, more creative and more cohesive. Individuals develop the mindset and pick up the tools to step forward into high impact roles.

She is the author of two books including the soon to be published “Speak Up On The Spot” which helps readers become more effective during meetings and high pressure situations. 

Speaker Shola Kaye has an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and has consulted for and spoken to global organisations. She has worked with clients from the fields of healthcare to finance to IT and beyond. 

As a speaker Shola Kaye is energetic, humorous and insightful. Shola’s keynotes are interactive and engaging and she customizes them to fit the exact audience and event. Shola is ready to transform your audience and help you achieve success. After her talks, your staff will work better in teams, there will be a more inclusive atmosphere,  and individuals will become more empathetic, creating a productive and welcoming environment where diversity is encouraged and celebrated.

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Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

INFLUENTIAL: Transforming technical know-how into leadership skills using the power of communication

Whether you’re a STEM professional, a lawyer or an accountant, these days technical know-how alone isn’t enough to ensure continued career success. What got you here, will no longer get you there. This talk equips audiences to lead and persuade through powerful communication.

  • Become an effective communicator using speaking frameworks.
  • Tell powerful stories quickly and effectively to connect and engage.
  • Understand and use the principles of persuasion to influence colleagues and clients, and to work more effectively in teams
  • Employ empathy to create a productive and supportive workplace where teamwork is supported and encouraged.
Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

INCLUSION THROUGH EMPATHY: how to communicate so EVERYONE feels they belong

In a highly competitive market for top employees, company culture is becoming increasingly important. How do you use workplace empathy to attract and retain great staff, creating an environment of belonging and cohesion? This is an insightful, practical and interactive session for leaders, managers and staff on the ground, that will change your workplace for the better.

  • What is empathy and how does it help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
  • How can you ramp up the empathy in your workplace using the N.E.T. framework?
  • How to skyrocket your listening skills so everyone feels heard
  • What would you do if… scenario-based group exercises

Available as a keynote through to half-day workshop.

Keynote by speaker Shola Kaye

Speak Up, Make an Impact

During this highly practical and interactive presentation, you’ll be inspired to step forward and represent your organisation in high impact roles

  • Get the mindset and tools needed to speak with confidence at conferences , tradeshows and important meetings and learn to  invite further interaction with prospects and potential clients
  • Learn how to think on your feet and speak coherently with minimal preparation; use frameworks and structures that will enable tight, focused answers during Q&A sessions and tough situations
  • This presentation is useful for anyone who has to communicate under pressure, from execs and managers to those starting out in their careers.
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    Shola Kaye Showreel | A-Speakers

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    Why we need more empathy in the workplace by speaker Shola Kaye at TEDxPeckham

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    "It was an absolute pleasure working with Shola at the Women in Engineering and Women in Technology Events that we ran this autumn. Shola is incredibly professional and flexible in her content set. It was evident from the start that her calm personality really put the conference delegates at ease, making them happy to take part in the interactive break out sessions. Her natural story-telling technique and humour kept the audience engaged throughout. Thank you Shola!

    Campus Media- BigChoice Group

    Campus Media- BigChoice Group

    Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great.

    Francesca Laudat

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

    How to be a presentation all-rounder using D.I.V.A.

    When audiences hear that I’m about to deliver my ‘How to be a presentation D.I.V.A.’ speech, the men sometimes worry that the talk won’t be relevant to them. However, D.I.V.A. is an acronym and represents what it takes to be an all-rounder at presentations so have no fear, this talk is most certainly relevant to all.

    Did you know that the word ‘diva’ is derived from ‘divine’?

    So, in this blog I’m going to describe what the D.I.V.A. acronym means and give a few examples of how to be a divine speaker the next time you make a presentation at work.

    D is for DYNAMIC

    Do you need to ramp up the energy when you speak, or at least provide a little light and shade in your delivery? That’s what it means to be a dynamic speaker. No, you don’t have to jump up and down, punching the air like Tony Robbins. There are a variety of ways to be more dynamic on stage without breaking into a sweat. You can do it with your voice, with your words, with your movement, with audience engagement and more.

    I like to use examples from the world of pop music to bring things to life for my listeners, so I liken a DYNAMIC performer to someone like Pink. She’s a bit quirky, she does her own thing and she’s not afraid to grab your attention.

    One super simple way to become a more DYNAMIC speaker is to use more pauses when you speak. Yes, it seems a basic change, but whenever I ask my audience to practice a short poem or rhyme with additional thoughtful pauses, they’re amazed at the difference it makes to their expression, their meaning and their delivery. Even their diction and emotion changes.

    I is for INSPIRING

    Being an inspiring speaker is all about telling stories. These could be powerful stories that move your audience to take action, as well as small, simple stories about everyday life that show you’re human and help to build a connection.

    People remember stories more easily than they do facts and figures, so wrapping your message up in a story is like sugar coating a health-giving pill, or making a controversial or difficult idea much easier to take on board.

    Performers like Ed Sheeran are all about stories and during my speech I give the audience two simple but highly effective storytelling frameworks they can use at work.

    V is for VALUABLE

    To be a valuable presenter, do your audience research and make sure your content is suitable, interesting and relevant. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time so make sure any charts or diagrams are clear and easy to read, your slides are impactful and don’t contain a jumble of bullet points and tiny text, and most of all, that your message is useful and actionable.

    I think of the valuable entertainers as the all-rounders with big shows that keep everyone happy. Like consummate all-rounders Beyonce or Prince, the valuable presenter makes sure all the boxes are ticked and they put the audience first and foremost.

    A is for AUTHENTIC

    Authentic speakers are truly themselves on stage. They’ll hopefully be their best self, but they don’t try to copy the words or the motions of anyone else. They know that being themselves is enough. But being yourself doesn’t mean being the same person all the time. As humans, we’re all multi-faceted. We might behave in one way with, another with a partner and yet another way when we’re with a child. It’s important to not limit ourselves and our behaviour so a thorough exploration of our different personas in different situations can reveal a lot. We see the range of expressions and behaviours available to us, and can use them in our public speaking.

    I love using David Bowie, who had multiple personas like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as singer Adele, who is much-loved for being down to earth with no artificiality, as two examples of authentic entertainers.


    I hope you have a better idea of how to make your next presentation stand out using the D.I.V.A. framework. Becoming a divine presenter is only a few steps away!

    How to Actually Increase your Confidence

    The internet is filled with blogs on confidence, and I decided to take a look at the subject of how to increase confidence. I noticed how advice on confidence ranges widely. One blog recommended ‘Spritz yourself with perfume/after-shave’ while another advised readers to ‘Stand up straight!’. Over the years I haven’t always felt confident in every situation but, one thing for sure, is that as time has gone by, my self-confidence has increased.

    Here are three tips that have served me well and I like to share when I’m speaking or training

    1. Screw perfection. It’s unhelpful to hold ourselves to another’s standard (or even to our own standard) of perfection. Achieving a 95% result might be relatively straightforward while that final 5% that leads to perfection could be excruciating. Is it worth it? A good question to ask in these cases is: what does excellence look like, rather than perfection?

    2. Hear no, say next. When we’re rejected, it can sting and our confidence can take a knock. But hearing ‘no’ is just a fact of life. And in fact, as many a salesperson would probably tell us, “no’s” are expected on the path to “yes”. So, instead of seeing rejection as something to avoid, we could ask ourselves: how did a rejection or setback serve you? Maybe we saw that by not getting a particular job, or going on a date with the person we had our eye on, something better or preferable eventually came up instead. Audience members are typically happy to share near-misses where in hindsight, things worked out better when they didn’t get what they thought they wanted at the time.

    3. You can’t please everyone. Most of us have people in our lives who are very difficult to please. Maybe they have impossibly high standards or very different tastes to our own. Rather than contorting ourselves to make these people happy, and probably make ourselves unhappy in the process, we sometimes have to make a choice – us, or them? And if we decide on us, then we have given the other party the best we can but are at peace understanding that it’s too hard (or impossible) to please them, and we should give up the fight. In certain situations, it can be more empowering to be 100% ourselves and know that person X won’t be happy, than to be 90% ourselves and person X STILL isn’t entirely happy. In these situations, we can ask ourselves: what would being yourself look and feel like?

    The key to being confident is having a good level of self-knowledge and self-reliance. Enjoying who we are or, at least, having a very healthy dose of self-acceptance comes into play too.

    So rather than confidence being a simple matter of standing up straight or spritzing ourselves with perfume/after-shave, as those blog posts suggested, maybe what’s more important is enjoying the perfume/after-shave not because others will think we smell good but revelling in the choice we made to buy that particular scent in the first place.


    Interview with Shola Kaye

    How did you begin your speaking career?

    I’d been working as a professional singer for a number of years when I read one of High Performance Coach Brendon Burchard’s books about sharing your message. In one chapter he described the life of a public speaker, and what it felt like to inspire an audience and transform people’s lives. That chapter made me feel incredibly emotional and I took it as a sign that public speaking was for me.

    A while later, I signed up for some speaker training and as soon as it began, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to speak professionally and within a year and a half of that day I secured my first professional speaking opportunity.

    What are your biggest goals in your life/career currently?

    One of my current goals is to complete my second book, called ‘Speak Up On The Spot’. I need to make a few more corrections before I send it off to be edited. I’d wanted to complete it last year but life gets in the way! The book contains strategies for communicating with more power using frameworks, dealing with difficult questions and being heard during meetings.

    As an introvert who once had a corporate career, it’s a book I would have benefited from hugely during my days as as a consultant and an account director and I’m hoping that many who struggle with communication in the workplace will find it useful.

    What are 3 habits for success?

    I actually have a speech about this! I would say that three habits that have served me well are

    • To think as an experimenter rather than an expert. We can get really attached to being right which leads us to take fewer risks and to be less innovative, so I think it’s important to realise we don’t have all the answers.
    • To delegate certain tasks so I can focus on my areas of strength. I have a mechanic type personality profile which means I like to try things out and get involved in everything. But sometimes that’s not the most efficient or effective behaviour.
    • To realise that done is better than perfect. Roll up your sleeves, get on with it and don’t procrastinate!

    Who or what inspires you most?

    I’m inspired by people who make the tough decision to speak out and stand up for the greater good, even when it’s easier to hide away or stay quiet.

    Why do clients typically hire you to speak?

    I tend to combine communications skills training, storytelling and (sometimes) a bit of singing in my speeches, as well as lots of interactivity and audience engagement. Clients typically want me to wake the audience up, make them smile and transform they way they communicate, whether during workplace meetings, tough situations or more conventional public speaking scenarios.

    Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

    I recently gave the closing keynote at an event here in London and afterwards, several attendees approached me and said that they were inspired to speak up and be more visible at work as a result of my speech. I inject a bit of humour and lighthearted fun into every talk but ultimately, it’s a huge honour to be able to influence people’s lives and it’s one I take very seriously.  

    See keynotes with Shola Kaye
    Non-binding request for Shola Kaye

    Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Shola Kaye

    5 out of 5 stars

    "Shola was professional and friendly. She delivered an engaging speech and got the entire audience interacting with each other which was great."

    Francesca Laudat - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles See all references

    Keynote topics with Shola Kaye