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My Top Tips For An International Keynote Speech by Fiona Small

How to prepare for an International keynote Speech

My first international keynote speech and how it came about might surprise you. However, some of you might consider it unconventional, but it was a matter of trusting my innermost instincts. Further

more, it was an informed business decision. Instinct, alongside logic and reason, are above all, the qualities I believe you need to succeed on the international stage. My new venture supports this

The Guide My Heart Organisation

It wasn’t until I was asked why I was visiting Atlanta by the staff at passport control, did my decision to visit truly compute. I had struck up a friendship based on common ground and shared values with Guide My heart’s CEO, Syreeta Ziegler. Yet, this was an untried and untested situation; we had never actually met! Our virtual friendship had proved to be successful, but what if we did not quite hit it off in real time?

Syreeta S. Ziegler, CEO and Founder of Guide My Heart organisation

The moment of our initial meeting had been much anticipated by both of us. I needn’t have worried! Syreeta proved to be how I had imagined her. A ray of positive energy and sunshine, passionate about her cause and focused on achieving her goals. Her organisation’s mission aligns with the same goals and key motivations of Young Mums Support Network of which I am CEO. Our aim is to get young women to a place where they can help themselves; empowerment. It’s a popular soundbite, but our mutual goal is to give this tagline serious substance.

The Big Day

The Day of my keynote speech arrived, but not before I gave a helping hand to the final venue prep! As Syreeta exclaimed;

” Even in her newly purchased heels, Fiona helped me load and unload for setup!”

Once the day’s itinerary unfolded, Guide My Heart played host to many inspirational women who talked about their experiences in shaping the community they belonged to. Syreeta shared her personal narrative and experiences which had led to her founding her wonderful organisation. Her knowledge and insights into domestic violence shed much light on the causes, and how her organisation would build awareness, by creating educational prevention programs.

Then it was my turn! My speech focused on the aligned values our organisations share and how we can develop educational programs on both sides of the Atlantic. My goal was to discuss how we could build, connect and collaborate with women all around the world to bring programs that would enhance their life skills and career chances. These aims, I reiterated, could be achieved; the Young Mums Support Network is proof of this.

Keynote Speech success and feedback

I listened in awe to the many talks given, and as a result, learnt so much from the other inspirational ladies I met. Dr Stephanie Ricks of The Ricks Shaw Promise really stood out as a superb example of an educational mission. Furthermore, her professionalism and articulation of what her project aims to do resonated with me. She’s incredibly gracious and stated:

“Fiona’s experience has allowed her to mentor and empower women to continue on this journey called life and to never give up. she continued to reference the fact that women should grow together and make a change in the world. her words are wise, true and inspirational. I encourage everyone to hear her speak.”

My Top Ten Tips for Success

Overall, the feedback was incredible, with everyone saying how positive my speech was. As a result, the advice I give myself is exactly what I now give to you. Try it, and let me know if it worked.

Prepare and plan your speech with meticulous detail

Dress for success.

Avoid empty soundbites.

Be authentic.

Work the room.

Remember the names of those you meet.

Show an active interest in the other keynote speakers

Be prepared for Q&As

Show passion for your cause

Keep Smiling

Goodbye Atlanta, you were fabulous!

My stay in Atlanta exceeded all my expectations. Above all, Syreeta and the many other ladies I met gave me a big-hearted southern welcome that reached deep into my soul. I might not be catching a midnight train to Georgia, but Georgia, you’re on my mind.

Courtesy of

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