Hello and welcome to the Career Success podcast. I'm Jason Connolly. If you're a new listener, thanks very much for joining us on the show. But if you are a regular listener, it's great to have you back in this series. We speak to leaders in the world of business and people have had tremendous career success. We speak to people across the globe across a wide range of industries. We lead the way in conversation to understand what makes someone successful. We listen to their stories of rising to the top, the challenges they've overcome, adversity, space and what success means to them. We will discuss the lessons learned along the way. Myself and my guess will give practical advice on how to grow your business and climb the career ladder in the coming episodes. We will also speak to authors of many of the best selling business titles and a handful of Ted X speakers. If you're someone that has a passion for business, then this is the podcast for you.
In this episode, I'm delighted to be joined by Suzanne Heaton, right, from Heart Richer, Suzanne is a virtual impact communications and speaking expert for emerging leaders and the creator of the brand, the superstar communicator Suzanne isn't. International speaker the MD of an award winning music company Viva Live Music podcaster Anna former prize winning international opera singer Suzanne delivers virtual seminars, workshops, an individual training for many companies, which includes the lights of RB S share with Microsoft Access. The N HSN quintiles, she's delivering virtual workshops globally, master classes and courses to leaders, an emerging talent. Suzanne is also featured regularly in the media and has recently been interviewed on Sky and BBC News. Suzanne, thanks very much for joining me on this episode. Thank you very much for having me Jason. Now you've done that so much over the years. I've got loads of copy in front of me now. Really interesting. You've been kind of advising big companies. You've also been interviewing Sky News, BBC News and various speaking conferences. But let's rewind and go back to the start before we talk about what you're doing at the moment. How did you get into the world of being a communications speaking expert? How did this all come about? Do you know that's a really good question? When I had my son Nicholas, who's now 20, I suddenly started meeting people that I would call real people as opposed to people from Planet Opera, which is a very, very quiet world. I parallel universe. That's all I'll say on that one, but people would talk to me and they were to. How is it that you always look calm when you walk into a room or you can project your voice some? You're just able to demonstrate your your emotions very easily without being a diva. And I realised that some of these skills that I had acquired when I was a singer onstage were relevant. Poor business now I'm not saying that you should be radically God, great, so let's see. I'm a good to what you're saying. I've got so many questions. But please go ahead. But actually when you are performing part of what you're doing is, well, it is all about communication. Whether it is that you are singing or speaking. If you've got an acting role, some text, but that includes the emotion, and that includes the nonverbal communication. However, you bounce off the energy of the audience. And just like you and I are bouncing off each other in this conversation. Does that going on as well and that can be one of your biggest assets, and so that's really how I started and originally when my son was young, I would train teachers and lecturers from universities on how to they use their voice, how to be more effective, and quickly collectors at being engaging. And then I, as Nick got older, I developed more for the corporate side, OK? How long was you a professional opera singer for I was a jobbing singer for eight years because I'm a college, a little bit late. No, it's probably longer than that. I was doing professional work before I went to college and was it the fact that you have a desire for business that lead you away from it. But what made you stop doing that as the full time job? Because lots of people. That's the dream to be a full time singer. It is the dream but. It can become a nightmare if you are trying to look after a small child guy. OK, and you you know train to the level that you you have to because you are like an athlete mentally and physically and I just felt that the whole time I was compromising on what I believed was excellence. Roy. OK when you answer it, yeah that there are other challenges that come into that and I just felt I was. I wasn't delivering to the standard. I would want to sound like a bit like a self critique thing you you wanted to be the absolute best and you just, you know I wanted to deliver the very best I could and I felt in order to do that I would not have been doing the best for my son and and for my marriage as well. And I am sure that there are going to be women that are listening tonight will understand when I say yes you can have it all but. Not necessarily at the same time interesting, OK? That sounds like a massive driver. What was it particularly about the opera that you learned that you have you sort of took with you in those early days to start the business? It was definitely the discipline, and you know the passion for something that I love doing, which was communicating with other people and to be able to help people to support other people that might need some new ways of improving their communication. And I should flag you that I was one of those kids that was really quiet at school. That got very anxious when I spoke up in class because others would love me because I would mispronounce words when I read. So actually, I went through a massive shift from being that person at school that was really reluctant to be in the front row through two. Actually going to music College in my 20s so I didn't go as an undergraduate. And realising that a it was absolutely OK to be centre stage and it could be fun. Points OK, and also a number of skills that would help you with managing your nerves and your anxiety about stepping up and performing to a high level. OK, so I think you've hit on kind of a number of really interesting points there. I think it sounds like you know, not necessarily having a voice at school and then being highly disciplined. And it's fascinating what you say about operant singing and you know. That of being kind of an athlete in many ways. So tell us about how this all kind of got started from where you were leaving Opera to becoming the superstar communicator. Well, one of the reasons why I came up with the name Superstar Communicator because was because I set up my own podcast nearly seven years ago called Superstar Communicator and that really resonated with people to the point that I would start doing keynote speeches on be a superstar communicator and then literally, well, just over two years ago, when my son went to University that day after I had some business consultancy. From exam plus, which is a government organisation and the consultant looked him in. She said, why are you not calling your business superstar communicator and you need to get that name trademarked. And so it went from there. Really, I had much more time to devote to the business because I would fit it him beforehand, looking after my son and and obviously husband from being a successful lifestyle industry. To being one that was, you know, a serious business, right? OK, so you consulted for so many companies over your time? Yeah, I have and you know that's been fantastic and I should say that I have my own communications model which is called Superstar Communicator. And I've identified the five key areas that I believe will enable you to communicate more effectively spoken communication. That's really interesting. I think that leads really nicely onto Superstar Communicator. What you've done there. What obviously, we're never going to unpack all these five points that you teach companies, but are you happy to give us some of these five learnings that you've come up with? Absolutely the five areas our audience and I'll go into more details with all five audience content preparation, performance and the voice. Now I don't mean with the voice that you have to sing, but there are lots of things with the voice that you can do that can really make your message compelling. With the audience, it's everything from really understanding who your audience saw the the purpose of you speaking. And people often forget the purpose. They all I've got to say something, but it might not land very well in a meeting or a conversation, or might just be completely irrelevant and these five points that you've got. Do you think they're all of it equal, important, or some points more important than the other? It depends on the person, so there might be somebody who. Is fantastic at performing that. They are somebody that naturally has charisma and confidence. You know there are those people that walk into a room and you notice them make up yet in the room lights up you know that there and you know that and you know the jazz hands are going even if yeah, but we know those people and that they find that side much easier than perhaps honing their content. So it's very compelling. And it lands well with the audience in mind to pick a name out of a hat of somebody, that that I could describe like that before he was ill, I would say that Boris Johnson was full of charisma. Yeah, you can't deny that no matter what your political stance he images to get people talking and writing about him constantly, absolutely. Whereas in my opinion his content off the cuff wasn't necessarily. Amazing because it was. Like one of those journalists that is dictating over on the phone and then Apple will edit it afterwards. Yeah, it's true and I think I was more of a fan of his personally before he was in office at the moment when he was London mayor, but it was under viable. He was funny as well. People like funny instantly. It's a way to breakdown a barrier definitely. But but when, when it's a serious stuff and I don't believe he's somebody that and what he wants to be liked. And so as a leader, you know as well as I do, that there are sometimes we have to share a message or we have to have a conversation with somebody else that they are not necessarily going to like to listen to Roy a gap true, OK. And let's talk a bit about these kind of points and learnings that you've gotten and. Going to each point because I think they're really, really relevant, and I think a lot of people could really get value for this in this episode by hearing the superstar Communicator and the methodology. I think that's going to be really useful to people, so I touched on the audience. So really, understanding your audience, knowing who they are, what the purpose is, what's in it for them to listen to you, right? I know that you are in recruitment, it could be that in an interview, for example. You might need to spend some time considering who's in the room interviewing you. Um, some things about the company. Why is it that they're hiring? What's in it for them to listen to you to interview you? Yeah, we do. We tell people this in all day, every day. This is a great advice for audience. I also believe listening to your audience is part of audience. And I don't mean just half listening while you're. While you're doing some work, but actually properly listening, and that means listening with your eyes as well as your ears so particularly well, we're in virtual most of the time now, but it's really important to switch your video on, for example, and really demonstrate that you're listening with your facial expressions that you're actually looking at the camera, not at your phone, or obviously doing some other work. In presents it's about being present absolutely, and if you're wanting to get the energy from the audience, if you're wanting to find out about them, you've got to be present great. Yep, great advice moves us nicely on 2.3. The second one was content that I did mention before, and that is really about since you know your audience, you are going to be able. You will have some information about what. Best content to have. What best analogies? If you have people you know. I've been doing a lot of work, virtual work to overseas clients and they don't always speak English as their native tongue. Make sure that the content that I include is more international rather than British. So we have, uh, it's not just the words we have a certain way of British sarcasm. For starters, trying to explain that to people of another nationality. Absolutely. So, for example, last week I was delivering a virtual workshop for senior female leaders in the United States. The day after the election. Now that it was on assertiveness that would have been gold dust in the United Kingdom, because there would be some personalities that I could talk about being aggressive rather than assertive. We know who we're talking about, an on on all of that, but there was no way. That I would have been able to touch that with the audience that I had being respectful for them. And also I really didn't want to said to be an argument, a political argument during one of my workshops. Yeah, yeah. That that was really understanding the audience so that they would get the most out of it. Likewise, I'm doing a few things over in the Far East and there are differences in culture. I'm just really aware of those things that the language I use. The examples I use, how I structure what I do has to be slightly different and makes total sense. I think a lot of people they they might have a message to say, but it's about how to actually one articulate that message. I'm not just deliver it, but make sure it resonates and it you know has some impact to the end user, absolute or listener. However you want to Skype them. Yeah, and this is so relevant to your audience who are who might be looking for a job. The Third Point is preparation. Now we touched on that when we thought about who's going to be in the room. If you're at interview, we all know about finding out about people on LinkedIn, their back story, things like that. I know that a few months ago, for an example, I was having an initial conversation with a corporate about delivering some work. I know this by looking at her up on LinkedIn that she'd actually studied at the same University. By chance that my uncle had been professor of neurology at in the United States, a small rusty during the small talk before we started the meeting, I mentioned that to her we immediately had a bond because of that and that would through the preparation as well as dealing with, you know, preparing what I was going to say and anticipate him. Any answers you had common grounds and and that that sort of bonded you at the start. Absolutely and well. No interview or meeting is going to be entirely small talk. It's those little things that are really, really important is what we tell why I say we. It's one thing I really say to candidates at any level is if you can go on and have a look at the profile of someone who's interviewing you and find a common ground for that. You know, maybe you went to the same University or use on the same campus whatever, or you're actually listening to that person. Maybe do an interview on YouTube for their company. If you can get a sense of how that person feels is going to allow you to have a sense of familiarity when you start talking to them as well. So I really agree with that, and I think that that that's really helpful if you can find those common threads or grounds or whatever you want to say, but also preparation includes. What are you going to say? It might be, yeah, people get very, very anxious the number of times people have said to me, can you coach me and doing a speech? And I say, what are you? What are you speaking about? What don't know yet?
Which is quite funny actually, but no I shouldn't laugh but it, but it might be that you are asked to prepare some things beforehand. Also, if it's an interview, preparing, knowing where you're going to be making sure that you're there on time, or if it's virtual, making sure that we have the tech works checking early. All of those things. However, there is another thing that I think is crucial and and more and more people are asking for, and that is managing your fear. And I've done a neuroscience course with Doctor Linda Shaw, and because of my performance experience, I was already saying a lot of these things to help prepare you to manage your nerves. But actually doing the neuroscience course meant that I understood the scientific reason why it was working, and that can often reassure people that it's not mumbo jumbo. Obviously you've done a whole course on it, and we're never going to know the ends of the ounce. Is there some lineman way that you can describe why this happens? Because I think we've all we've all been there, and even sometimes I go to give talks myself and people think, well, you do these all the time. You know you're not someone who gets nervous. I do get nervous. I do. Yeah me too. This before workshop I always get nervous before a podcast interview. I always get nervous before any of these things. So when are we gotta raised heartbeat or we get you know tummy or very shallow breathing? It's because our body is getting ready to do the fighting or running away from danger. Yeah, like every like stepping on a stage brings. That same fight or flight mode, but the Sabre tooth Tiger is there. Is that true? Rap you well. One of the things is I always tell people to create their own success Journal. So when they have success is when people send them really nice feedback or they know that they cracked it. They push through the fear, then they write all of those things down so that those low moments when you think no, I got. There's no way I could do this. You can read it and it's just the memory thing. There are things that you can do. That can help you manage that fear and manage those feelings that even when you know that you're having it, you know that you can push through that fear and that you will be OK. It really interesting. I love the success Journal. It's something, but I keep actually have this. I tell you where I bought it. I think it was in home sense of all places, but it was this Journal everyday. You know what gives something that you really enjoyed and it asks different questions. And actually it's a really good activity to do. Everything you say leads me onto at least five other questions, of which I'm only selecting one and the time is surpassing us. Again, yes, you must, because I've already super spread through, you know, even just talking about you being on stage in the operates, it's all stuff that's really interesting. But time, I must make this effective for the people that are listening. So tell us it. Why is your advice for someone that 'cause you've obviously pitched in front of all these different companies? Deloitte are BS, Shell, Microsoft, the NHS, just to name a few. But what advice would you give to someone that's maybe going out there to pitch? Themselves, whether that be in a work sense or you know you're trying to secure a service, or equally you're going out there in interviewing. You've touched on a few points, but what would you say to those people? Especially now when the job market is very competitive, there is a load of roles, but it is competitive, especially in the eagle. Oh definitely, now we've touched on those three things. You know, understanding your audience, the content, making sure that whenever you speak it's relevant is not just fab ring. I'm going off topic remaining on topic and remaining focused the preparation. The next one is performance and by performance I don't mean jazz hands. I mean about having open body language looking confident because you might be saying fantastic thing but your heads down your shoulders are down, your arms are folded and you look very nervous you need. Impacts stop what you're saying does not match what your body language is, and I have this one. I'm very much when I'm listening to peep. It's not what they say, it's how they say it. A lot of the time. Oh yeah, I sent us a list of people when they started in my business in the making, sales calls or whatnot. We all get this when we get people. Call us up an example. Hi, it's Jason. Commonly this is the reason why I'm calling this is, you know, you want to bring up an hi. This is who I am. This my name is Jason Connelly and this. Is what I do and it's getting people to take them on that journey. Not having a kind of voice. That's all one level. You wanna stagger it in the performance and it isn't before. It's an art form in order to sell on the phone you lose mighty amounts of communication, but again, sorry to bring this back to the interviewing what? What else would you say? Sorry Suzanne, it's me taking the conversation constantly away because I'm finding what you're saying interesting, but I keep diverting the conversation and these people are. Listening to this thinking, what is Suzanne’s advice? Well, we've talked about performance having been a match. What we say with our body language. Now I know that in a lot of cases it's a virtual interview at the moment. So we've got to make sure that we have all of those performance things like making sure that your screen your faces is clear that you've got lighting on your face that you haven't got any rubbish behind you that could distract people from. What you're saying, but also the little tip that I have, is that I put a post it note behind where my little camera is on my laptop, like an auto cue.
Yes and right. A couple of books that I have put my laptop on so that it's at a particular level little things like that so that you can be creating as much eye contact as possible. I know it's not quite the same when we virtual, but it can at least give the impression that you are looking up and looking at the other people and then another thing, because voice is the last one and you've touched on that before making sure that the sound is really good. Now you know I'm not talking about you being in a BBC studio, making sure that there's not much noise in the background that the other person is going to be able to hear you easily because we need to speak. So it's as easy as possible for other people to listen and take him what we say so that sound is really important for when it's virtual you've touched on with the voice to make it. Make sure it's interesting because. Why should somebody be interested in you if you're just a drone like this and you've got no energy at all? Yeah, you know, show some passion about what you're saying interest and see if you can modify what you do by having pauses some energy at some places, then stop so that the other person can listen to you. And I've got one other. There's so much on my mind is going all the time. Three years ago by Stirling University, not many people have picked up on this and what that did was that they had a load them up. They were probably students that they allocated them into interviews and either they would be the senior person or the junior person and what? And they probably swap them round so they played different roles and what they found was that the person that was perceived the more senior won the pitch of their voice went down slightly. I'm going and also they used more impactful strong vocabulary that was more confident and those people that perceive themselves to be less senior. The pitch of their voice went up slightly and they used less impactful words. So what can we deduce from that now? Probably to do more research in this, however, from those initial findings, I would say that it's worthwhile listeners thinking about. What happens to their voices in different situations? So naturally our voices go higher when we're nervous. When we got that Sabre tooth Tiger running at us, or perhaps we've got an awkward conversation. You know, the voice might go slightly higher. Yep, yeah. Make totally makes sense. It does come consciously think of how your voice alters in different situations, which might actually include an interview that you might be that there might be some leakage emotional leakage going on. Something that you are demonstrating to the interviewer into emotional leakage. For what did like so funny? But you might be subconsciously flagging something up in the interviewers data points of concern, and also really think of the language that you are using, so it might be an emotional leakage because you're not using impactful enough words. I'll be using that. That's my new favourite phrase. Yeah.
Fantastic up what we have come to the ends of our time together. It's been fascinating. We must do it other episodes of so interesting where if people want to find out more about you, where can they go to? Yeah my website issuperstarcommunicator.com
and I do individual coaching as well as virtual workshops, right, fantastic? Well you heard it there. If you do want to find out more about Suzanne you can go to superstarcommunicator.com. That's it for this episode. I'm Jason Connolly. This is the Career success podcast. Until next time goodbye.