Facing the Fear..the First Public Speaking Engagement – Andrea Medd, PA to Dame Kelly Holmes

Last Friday was the Pitman International training conference.  Kelly was all set to do one of her motivational talks. The presentation and videos had been sent ahead, logistics were all sorted, the only difference was that for the first time ever I was going to join her on stage for the Q & A session talking about working as a PA for Kelly.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that the thought of public speaking terrifies me. I’m always very impressed by those people who have no concerns or nerves when addressing a crowd. I wasn’t too bad first thing on Friday but the nerves kicked in when I looked at Twitter and saw a picture of the conference under way. It definitely became real at that point. Instead of clock watching and getting more nervous I headed into London early and spent some time browsing House of Fraser. I could have easily bought about 10 handbags in my slightly agitated state, I wish I had now!

Still early to meet Kelly I sat in Costa and people watched across London Bridge which was strangely relaxing.

We arrived at the venue and were met by Maggie, Managing Director of Love and Tate and were shown around the venue. The Grange hotel was a great central venue and the conference rooms had been decorated with lots of flowers and plants by Jo the event manager. I was fitted with my mic and at that point there really was no escape.

I sat side-stage in the conference room where the PAs were all seated to hear Kelly’s talk. Kelly spoke about motivation and the importance of believing in yourself with examples from her own career in the military and athletics. As a double Olympic Gold medallist with an MBE she definitely knows the highs of success but also the real lows, so can share how to pick yourself up and keep the belief alive. She also stated that she knows ‘what an important job all PAs and your support team do’ a message that I am sure the audience appreciated hearing.

After this I joined Kelly on stage for the Q & As. Amazingly there was no tripping up the steps and falling on to the stage, yes that’s a scenario I’d pictured! It all went smoothly and once we got going I found myself able to relax into it and focus on the questions and share how Kelly and I make our relationship work. We decided the most important aspect of the relationship was developing trust and a mutual understanding of what we needed from each other to make the whole busy organisation of her diary and events work. So excellent communication is a must.

One of the nicest bits for me was meeting some of the PAs straight after the talk. They had clearly all been motivated by the day and I spoke to a few people about challenges they face in their roles as well as training that might be valuable to their job going forward.

Well done to Pitman for a great day and I hope there will be many more in the future. I also hope that more companies will start to see the benefit in investing in their PAs and support staff and encourage them to attend training conferences such as these. Not only does it make us all feel valued but we acquire new skills and ideas to take back to develop in the business. It is also great to get the chance to network with other PAs from all industries which will provide a support group to reach out to in the future.

I have now done nine blogs for Pitman Training at London EC2 talking about my role as Kelly’s PA. I have really enjoyed doing them and adding a bit of creativity to my day. I hope to do more blogs in the future either via Kelly’s café social media or as a guest blogger with Pitman.

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