Interview with Vanessa Vallely
How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
It depends on what keynote I am delivering, if it’s any one of my usual four, I tend to think about how I will make my content resonate with a particular audience. If I need to concentrate and prepare I will tend to take myself out of my normal working environment, invariably somewhere tranquil.
What is your main motivation for being a keynote speaker?
My speaking career evolved from my corporate and business experience. I have always enjoyed sharing tips and telling stories. I am extremely passionate about the key topics in my keynotes and I think that comes out when I am on stage. Passion is contagious. My only thought when I am speaking is how I can share my experience to help other individuals, again it is something that I live and breathe so it is something that I don’t have to think about consciously, it just comes out in me and invariably motivates and inspires my audiences.
How do you engage audiences while sharing your personal corporate experience?
I like to connect learning points with stories – people remember salient points that way. I have had a 25 year career, and I run two businesses therefore I have lots of stories. I present rhetorical questions to my audience and I keep them engaged with questions they might ask themselves. My talks are practical and contain direction and structure for individuals who want to enhance their career, I don’t do theory, instead I do: “Here are some tips, mix them up with what works for you, now let’s get up, focus and make it happen.”
Do you have some tips for females who aspire to conquer the corporate world?
I would advise anyone regardless of gender to focus on building relationships. People buy people and it’s not who you know, but who knows you! Networking is the key in terms of progression as well as nurturing the relationships created in that environment. It is not about just meeting them and never following up. I would also suggest seeking the help of mentors, never be afraid to ask someone to help you and on the flip side, offer your help in abundance.
I am a true believer that together we are stronger and that collaboration drives progress far quicker than what we try to achieve on our own. On a final point, I would add that there will be times that people doubt your capability or tell you that you won’t ever achieve your dreams – my advice is that, you, and only you are a true judge of your own capability, thank them for their opinion and carry on regardless!
Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?
I have many. As I write this I have just completed 2 keynotes in Mumbai. I was interested to see how the content from my signature talks, The Power of Profile and Heels of Steel would resonate overseas, however they did and the feedback has been excellent. I also love the follow ups I get after I have spoken, especially when someone emails to say they followed my advice and lead them to their own success – surely having the opportunity to play a part in the success of someone else’s future has to be the best job in the world!