Every entrepreneur and businessperson has a story and a voice that can make them stand out; we give them the confidence to develop it and grow their career. Through group and one-to-one coaching, we help enterprises with fun, empathetic, and human-centred communication training programs, as well as support entrepreneurs learning to pitch their companies to V.C.s and customers. Storytelling is the future of business, and we want to support good companies that care about people and have human stories at the forefront of their mission.
Tell us about yourself?
I started acting in film and T.V. when I was seven years old. I thought for sure I was going to be a professional actor, so I went to theatre school instead of university, thinking I’d have a great time doing what I loved. But I actually had a terrible time there due to the toxic nature of the program; my mental health suffered, and I ended up quitting shortly after I graduated. I had no idea what to do, so I ended up teaching English in Spain and discovering a love for education. I started my first company in China, an English language and business coaching agency, and then came back to Canada to start my current company OutLoud Speakers School.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
The problems never go away, and you just get better at dealing with them! I’m learning there’s no moment in a business where everything starts working perfectly for months on end; it’s a constant game of problem-solving, and the most important skill to learn is staying calm when things seem desperate or impossible.
What problem does your business solve?
Many talented and hardworking professionals get overlooked because they lack leadership skills like communication, storytelling, empathy, and self-awareness. The companies they work for suffer because good ideas are left unheard and promising leaders never get promoted, and they either quit or perpetually underperform.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
I saw my co-founder, who was my audition coach and acting mentor, teaching a class to a group of Masters’s students at U of T, helping them pitch their 2 million dollar research ideas by improving their voice, body language, clarity, and storytelling. I was struck by how fast and thoroughly people were able to improve their public speaking with the kind of acting techniques that actors use every day to warm up, get into character, and move an audience. We decided that day to start OutLoud.
What is your magic sauce?
Our method is based on acting techniques for stage and camera, and we only hire coaches that have both a performance and education background. We offer a combo of training AND coaching, which means we teach exercises and principles, but we also work with individuals on the specific problems they face, whether it’s a conflict with a team member, intense stage fright, difficulties presenting in English, or a speech impediment. There are so many things holding us back from communicating effectively, and our small cohorts and hours of one-to-one coaching built into our programs mean everyone can truly transform.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
In the next five years, I’d love for OutLoud to be synonymous with public speaking training in North America, like an advanced Toastmasters. If companies want to invest in the communication skills of their teams, hopefully, they’ll think of us first. Also, we’re building a B2C offering for individual entrepreneurs to teach them how to build a brand and pitch their startups to investors and customers from the ground up. We want to have clients on every continent, and I’d like to create much more video content for people who can’t afford one-to-one coaching.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Sales outreach continues to be tough; we have gotten a ton of work through referrals and inbound leads, but figuring out exactly who to target and how for email marketing and paid ads is a trick. Luckily, we’ve added a small sales team, and I can’t wait to see how they improve things this year!
How can people get involved?
If you want me to come speak about transforming your team’s speaking skills or inquire about our programs, you can email me at [email protected], call me at 647-551-5034, book a call with me at: www.calendly.com/willspeakingcoach/15-minute-zoom-chat, or visit our website at www.outloudnow.com.