Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I work with you, Mel?
Whether you hire me as a speaker, a trainer or you work with me one to one, I am completely committed to your success. My expertise and varied experiences in business and the performing arts industry enable me to be flexible, adaptable and as one client said, ‘Mel exudes what she teaches.’ As a speaker and host, people have described me as charismatic, engaging and riveting on stage and professional, friendly and easy to work with off stage. I do everything possible to ensure my talks and hosting meet the needs of your audience and your event. When running masterclasses, I’m not a ‘chalk and talk’ type of trainer instead I use adult learning principles and accelerated learning techniques to ensure that my sessions are fun, interactive and delivered in such a way that the learning sticks and participants go away with tools, techniques and an action plan that they can implement straight away. One to one clients say that I’m encouraging, understanding and non-judgemental. I provide a safe and supportive environment and I’m very intuitive, so I can tune in and adapt my approach to each individual providing advice, guidance and support to help achieve the objectives of each session.
What happens in a One to One session?
I’m often asked what happens in a one to one session and the answer is ‘it depends.’ I work with each individual client to meet your specific needs and this is established and agreed at the beginning of a session. You may have a particular pitch or presentation you are preparing for and need some guidance on the structure, content or delivery (see PITCHtastic or TEDtastic). We will work through it to ensure that the message is clear, concise and appropriate to the intended audience. If it is the delivery that requires work, we will look at how you can use your voice, body and mind to engage your audience and enhance your message (see PRESENTastic). I’ll provide tools and techniques for increasing your stage presence, using effective gestures and incorporating vocal variety.
Maybe you want to overcome your fear of public speaking or you’re looking for ways to effectively manage your nerves (see Weed Out Self Doubt). If that’s the case, I’ll ask some questions to help us get an understanding of where the fear or nerves are stemming from. I often use NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques which are extremely effective in creating powerful shifts in perspective and mindset. NLP techniques are also great for ‘anchoring’ feelings so that you can access your desired state at any time; for example, you might want to anchor feelings of confidence and calm. As I have a background as a performer I also use techniques from the stage which include relaxation and deep breathing to help with focus and presence, and using your nerves to bring positive energy to your presentation.
Is it true you were in the Aussie soap, 'Neighbours'?
In the late nineties I had three different speaking parts in the Aussie soap, Neighbours. Only one of them had an actual character name in the credits: ‘Megan Ruttelidge’. The others were ‘Receptionist’ and ‘Nurse 2’ – according to some, this was the highlight of my acting career!
After working as an actor, singer and presenter as well as various communications type roles in business I wanted to set up my own business and came up with an idea for an online platform for the performing arts industry. I resigned from my job in Learning and Development, pitched the idea to a start-up accelerator and started in the programme. However, very quickly I realised that while everyone agreed it was a great idea, no one was willing to pay for it and it wasn’t going to make any money! I also realised that while it was for an industry I loved, the role I was potentially creating for myself was not utilising my skills and passion for communication.
Despite all of this, I was very good at pitching the idea and was winning pitching competitions and gaining the attention from other start up entrepreneurs who also wanted to be able to clearly and confidently talk about their ideas. So, after seeing so many people doing themselves a disservice when speaking about their business, I started working with entrepreneurs helping them to distil everything they wanted to say into a clear and simple message and confidently deliver it. Everything went from there and I have now helped over 5,000 people to take centre stage in business through my speaking, coaching and training programmes.
Looking back it doesn’t surprise me that I’ve ended up in this field. Ever since I was a young girl I have seen and believed in people’s potential and helped them to believe in themselves. One of my friends from high school often tells people “Mel gave me all my confidence” (I think alcohol may have had a helping hand but I’ll take the compliment!)
How did you get into this field, Mel?
Were you always confident?
No! Despite the fact that I have been appearing on stage in some way or another since the age of five, I’m a bit of an introvert and can be a shy wallflower at times. In the past I have allowed lack of self-belief and extreme nervousness to completely sabotage my success. Rather than taking centre stage in my career or in life in general I spent many years ‘waiting in the wings’. Sometimes I literally didn’t even turn up to the theatre to audition for dream roles, or even a role in the chorus, because I was too nervous! Even now, like most people, I have moments of self-doubt. But I learned very early on that confidence is a choice. Through my own personal development and training over the years I have discovered loads of valuable tools and techniques to feel and look calm, confident and in control when the pressure is on.
I absolutely love that I now have the opportunity to share my knowledge, experience and passion with others. One of the best parts about what I do is seeing people exceed their potential and transform their lives and businesses through improved confidence and communication skills.
What do you do for fun, Mel?
At the risk of sounding cliched, some of my interests outside of my business are salsa dancing, singing (I’m the lead singer in a covers band), walking, yoga, theatre and travelling (that’s how I have ended up living in Scotland since 2006!)