A close female friend guided Elaine to a three-day personal development course as she was very far off track in terms of her career, being stressed and was in severe debt. On top of this, Elaine was informed that she could no longer have children.
Elaine believes that by choosing to take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, stories, and life, we cease blaming external forces or circumstances and instead become powerful in creating new pathways forward.
Out of these life lessons, Elaine created her T.H.I.N.K Methodology which enabled her to leave the darkness and walk into the light of possibilities. Elaine has trained with some of the world’s foremost personal development and public speaking experts, gaining skills and knowledge that have impacted people worldwide.
I have been coined The Thought Disruptor™️; my T.H.I.N.K. methodology has been designed to do that specifically.
Assuming you agree that there are formulas that help, what are your most successful formulas for public speaking? If you disagree, what would you say was the key ingredient to your most successful talk?
Formulas are a concise way of expressing information.
Oratorial formulas are pillars that hold up our presentations. They help us to communicate our points succinctly and clearly and, most importantly they make it easy for the audience to follow our train of thought.
One of the most successful formulas is Aristotle’s mode of persuasion: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.
They say that the 2012 London Olympic committee used this formula in their bid to win.
Using logos, they appealed to the reasoning and logic behind London being the choice destination due to having a solid infrastructure to host athletes and visitors.
Building Ethos, the committee drew attention to London’s authority and status as a world leader who has hosted many global events.
Then, successfully using Pathos, the committee engaged the emotions of those listening with stories of UK based athletes who trained hard to showcase their abilities.
What is the T.H.I.N.K Method? Can you explain its vision in detail?
The T.H.I.N.K. methodology is five thinking principles that when applied individually, or collectively, as presentations or workshops, are groundbreaking tools. They are tools that individuals and organisations can apply consistently to excel in their performance as well as their productivity.
It is the culmination of personal experience and having trained over 35,000 people in the art of peak performance, transformational thinking and public speaking.
I have been coined The Thought Disruptor; my T.H.I.N.K. methodology has been designed to do that specifically.
It has been said that we are on autopilot 40-60% of the time, with thoughts and beliefs that have been ingrained since childhood, this model is designed to interrupt this.
Each of these disciplines are designed to have us be “self-aware, so we can self-correct” – Elaine Powell.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. What are some of the challenges you have faced in life that led to the birth of the T.H.I.N.K Method?
Over the past twenty years, I have been involved in the world of personal development to help me navigate the challenges of life a lot easier.
In 2012 I went through the most challenging time in my life. My work as an associate speaker trainer for a charity waned, resulting in my inability to pay my mortgage.
I was renovating a property and couldn’t pay the builders, so I found myself at an all-time low financially.
Then I found out that I couldn’t have children anymore.
I went on a six-month spiral of depression. I went back into the world of personal development as a way of refreshing myself with thought principles that worked when life throws us curveballs.
I managed to not just survive but thrive. Since then I have built a successful speaking career and business and take 100% responsibility for all the results in my life.
This led me to create my ground-breaking T.H.I.N.K. methodology.
It brought me back from that dark place into a place of loving life, feeling inspired, and living inside what is possible. Something we need right now in the current climate.
Giving a presentation is a difficult and complex skill that features in multiple TEDx talks will have required, what advice would you give someone who is about to give a presentation for the first time?
I would say get a public speaking coach or go on a speaker training program. Just because you can speak, does not mean you are a speaker. Most highly successful speakers have been trained in this ‘art form.’ Speaking is a performance and as such, I would like people to give it the respect that it deserves.
Most of those who perform are trained to perform. For instance, actors are trained to act. Singers are trained to sing. Dancers are trained to dance.
Why do so many people think that just because they can speak, they are a speaker? Do you know how hard it is to keep an audience engaged for a full 45 to 60 minutes? It is not easy.
Those who are able to do that have learned how to do that. If you want people to pay you to speak, don’t be a hypocrite who also won’t pay somebody to train you to speak.
I have spent over £60,000, participating in speaking programs or having speaker coaches. These irreducible components have shortened my learning curve by years and accelerated my earning power exponentially.
If you do not have the income, then I would suggest that you join Toastmasters where you can grow and practice in a safe space.
Time is our most valuable asset.
The audience’s time is valuable too, therefore do not waste their time by not using your time wisely to grow and learn the art of being an impactful speaker.
As a mentor, you will have seen what it takes for the unique voice inside all of us to be found, although you yourself will have had mentors or role models that helped you reach inside. Who are your mentors and how have they influenced you?
My first speaking role models were from a local chapter of Toastmasters International in Bromley.
I walked into a room of around twenty-five people who were super friendly. As the evening progressed, I was captivated by three white-haired middle-class English men, each of whom delivered a five-minute presentation.
I remember saying “I want to be as good as them.” I eventually was as I began to win the internal club speaker competitions and then regional Toastmasters competitions.
I was hooked and spent the next three years enjoying the growth, support and confidence that being part of a speakers’ club can give you.
I was also exposed to the granddaddies of speaking, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn and Les Brown who showed that with simple, and engaging stories we can take an audience on a journey of discovery and exploration.
I have always had a speaker coach. All high performers have a coach: Serena Williams, Tiger Woods or Magic Johnson.
Coaches have years of experience, see our blind spots and give us invaluable feedback on how to improve. Therefore, I will always suggest that all those who want to succeed in their field hire a coach.
As Ken Blanchard said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
There are a lot of people who would love to “take the stage” but find themselves with cold feet. What do you think can cause someone to freeze when speaking in front of an audience?
There are many reasons why people are scared of public speaking and could ultimately fill up many books on this subject.
Therefore, let me share a simple thinking discipline.
One of the most important aspects of speaking is to “be of service to the audience.”
When we spend too much time thinking about ourselves, “what if I freeze, what if I make a mistake, what if the audience gets bored?” the spotlight, is on us the speaker. This puts a lot of pressure on us.
When we put our focus on the audience, we elevate ourselves as a speaker.
We then can focus on questions like:
- How can we serve them?
- How can we make a difference in their lives?
- How can we transform their thinking, perceptions, and occurrences into one that will elevate and expand them?
When we focus on the audience, all our concerns about ourselves disappear because we are not thinking about ourselves.
As the saying goes “Speak from the head and you will speak to the audience’s head, speak from your heart and you will speak to the audience’s heart.”
“Focus on connection rather than perfection” – Elaine Powell
What advice do you have for people who want to organise their first TEDx event(s)?
In my first year as a TEDx curator, I had a team of thirteen volunteers—including eight-speaker coaches from my local Toastmasters. I micro-managed everything.
This meant that I was overwhelmed with so much to do that I vowed not to run another event. The event happened and we loved it so much that we decided to do it again.
In my second year, I realised that in order to have people ‘step into their leadership,’ they needed to own their roles and be free to make mistakes if that meant they would learn faster, and grow quicker.
Micro-managing inevitably leads to trying to eradicate that part of the learning curve which doesn’t support leaders that want to step into their own greatness.
Lastly, choose your leadership team wisely. They are going to lead their teams, so you don’t have to.
Do you believe in the power of positive thinking and if so, how has it helped shape your life?
I actually don’t believe in positive or negative thinking. The same principle carries over to positive or negative emotions for me.
It is just thinking and it is just emotions.
We add additional layers saying, ‘it is positive or negative,’ when we usually can’t see the whole picture. History has repeatedly shown us that the challenges that people have gone through (which some label negative) have made them into who they are now. Oprah wouldn’t be Oprah if she hadn’t gone through the challenges in her life.
So, is it really negative?
As they potentially needed to experience the challenge, in order to learn what they needed to learn at that time in their life, it might even be termed necessary.
Also, many times when people say positive or negative what they are really referring to is the ‘right or wrong’ way of thinking. I don’t deal with right and wrong as it hampers curiosity and shuts down a conversation.
For instance, people will say that being angry or sad is negative. Well, sometimes we need to be angry.
Anger has inspired civil-and-human-rights change in the face of atrocities.
Sometimes we need to sit in sadness to discover something for ourselves. Although when we sit inside those emotions for too long, they can potentially cause dis-ease within us.
Linguistically I do not use right or wrong, positive, or negative (which can be the same thing). I choose to use wording such as “does it work?” or “does it not work?” I believe this fosters an open dialogue and conversation about what we can improve in these situations.
Instead of saying positive thinking, how about saying there are thinking principles that work well when applied, such as:
- “We cannot solve problems with the kind of thinking we employed when we came up with them.” — Albert Einstein
- “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston S. Churchill
- “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” —Estée Lauder
Language creates our whole reality, so let us choose wisely how we use it.
Applying successful thinking principles consistently and course correction are the amplifiers of growth and success. — Elaine Powell