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How to Fly by Dumbo – how I overcame presentation anxiety by Kathryn Ebdon

We are about empowering you to get amazing results in your business.

Thank you Kathryn for sharing your inspirational story and we hope it inspires you too. 

Last Friday was one of those Eureka days, you know the ones, the days you acheive something you never expected you could.

On Friday I finally beat my presentation anxiety and spoke to around 150 people at a networking event, it wasn’t planned, I wasn’t prepared, I have no idea how I came over but right now I don’t care, that can all be fixed now I can manage the fear.

How did I do it? I have to give thanks to Mandie Holgate of The Business Woman’s Network for providing me with a safe environment to challenge myself and deal with my demons and also for introducing me to Mark Rhodes, Millionaire Mentor, positive thinker and NLP wizard.

This time, for the first time, as I walked up to the podium there was applause and it transported me to last year, when again, I’d been walking to a podium but it was to collect an environmental award at the 2009 Essex Business Awards for which I’d led the management team of my previous employers EPC-UK (Bramble Island). It was my moment, a positive experience, I was nervous but it was less crippling and maybe moving closer from blind fear to performance enhancing anxiety.

I believe that two things came into play for the first time on Friday, one, like Dumbo who thought a magic feather enabled him to fly, I have a magic feather in the form of my new business cards (a story for another time) and two, I was able to attach a positive emotion to public speaking.  Since then, in a Business Woman’s Network workshop I have had the opportunity to do my pitch in the worst environment possible, under attack from flying chocolate … the rumours are true, they really do fly!

I may never be a great orator like Obama but thanks to Business Woman’s Network, practice and the power of positive thinking I can do something many people will never have the courage to do, I’ve found my voice. I have always been a believer in the phrase “Feel the fear and do it anyway” if this rings a bell and you’re terrified you’re in great company, most people are, the thing that sets us apart is what we do with it, go for it, you’ll be glad you did.


Thanks to Business Woman’s Network, Ebdon Management Systems ( stands a chance of being a start up business which thrives rather than a statistic quoted about the number that don’t make it past their first year.

 Thanks Kathryn for this amazing story of getting out there and doing it!

If you would like to overcome your fears, why not join us on the 29th of September when Mark Rhodes will be empowering a room full of business women, and yes there will be flying chocolate and lots of great results – what will your story be?

  • August 23, 2011

Are you living in fear?

Could you be living in fear within your business? Seems unlikely, right? Well actually many business women fear public speaking, cold calling, networking just for starters. Others procrastinate over accounts or legal matters for fear of getting it wrong, so they do nothing instead.

If you are honest with yourself, is there anything you fear in business? Anything you avoid like you would choose to avoid strolling through a field of over excited bulls in a red dress?

Because if you decide to not deal with these fears then they are obstacles to your success. They are things you are choosing to not have in your arsenal of opportunities for your business success.

So how can you overcome the fear?

Here is your simple 4 step process to overcoming fear so that nothing stands in the way of your success.

  1. Fear can start because we create a belief about what it will be like, so challenge your belief. Is it a useful belief? If not, what new belief would give you a positive result? From “I can’t stand in front of all those people and talk” to “I am nervous about standing in front of all those people and talking however I am expert in my profession and it is a great opportunity to share some of my knowledge and ideas.”
  2. When you hold a thought that is empowering instead of depilating you need to have a go but before you do. Have you practiced? Have you asked confidentially for feedback? If you do this on area of fear you can build a trust in your ability. Before you put yourself in that environment and you move out of your comfort zone it is imperative you have had an opportunity to do this. In this way you are getting to trust in your ability. Try cold calling a friend (warn them first what you are doing) Get feedback – “what did you like?” What didn’t work?” “How would you say I can improve this?” “Were you genuinely interested?” Remember you want your trusted friend to be honest. It’s lovely if it’s your Nan and she say’s “Well done dear, you sounded great” but how is that really for constructive criticism? How is that really for your opportunity to improve and grow?
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice and then just for luck, practice again – every time you practice you are reinforcing your inner belief in your ability to do it. The “I can do that attitude” I call it the Catherine Tate attitude – watch this to find out why –
  4. Go for it! Ultimately fear is there because you lack confidence and confidence can only grow from doing it. And once you have done all the back ground work, once you have practiced and are empowered to within an inch of your life, ultimately it comes down to getting on with it. Accept that it may not be perfect the first time; however every time you do it, you will get better and better as long as you follow this simple 4 step process.

 If at any time you don’t feel ready to move on to the next step. Then give yourself a time frame to work on that step for. Do not say I am going to keep working on step 2 until I feel more confident. Remember confidence comes from doing it. So set a realistic time scale to work too. Put in your diary. Give it the same level of attention as you would a new customer. Because if you do not, what are you agreeing to?

  • August 23, 2011

What next?

I find myself asking this, because I remember recently a social media Business whiz told me that Generation Y uses email less and they concentrate on the beloved free tool available to every business – social media.

This thought leader from the world of online marketing was explaining that within 20 years email could be a thing of the past.

How, I asked?

The like of Face book that is now bigger than, well it grows by the hour doesn’t it? So it’s pointless giving you a statistics here because by tomorrow it will be false. But be safe in the knowledge that it’s growing faster than our economy for one.

And with this massive growth, many people are sidelining email in favour of the world of social media.

But I for one wonder, what next?

As founder of The BWN and running my own business I get well over 500 emails a week, and that doesn’t include the junk special pill ones, or my social media, that all gets filtered away to deal with every week.

However less than 2 years ago, I could safely ignore Face book,  Twitter and linked in for a few days, so I was not at risk of procrastination to get on with business, but now I could miss people wanting to book events, people wanting to learn more about coaching or the network, the list is endless.

I remember years ago, and we are not talking when the pidgeon and telegrams were great forms of communication, we loved our fax machines. I can remembering telling my boss that we could save a fortune if staff emailed purchase orders, he feared that men would be standing around with no work to be done, or parts to do it with, so when the new fangled fax did save us time he was impressed. The office staff cursed that it was not as much fun. Where was the human contact? Where was the “How was your weekend conversation?” that they used to start their phone calls with before they got down to business.

I now feel that I am beginning to mourn the loss of the phone. I actually love to surprise business owners by picking up the phone and answering their enquiry over the phone, it can really freak people out.

Is there a large sector of the business community that does not want to talk to people? If so how do they do business? I wonder when they have new customers and they need to do business do they stand next to them eyeing the floor and sending them a quick twitter on their blackberry or iPhone?

So I do ask what next?

Will it be good to only use social media? Will we have virtual meetings only? Are we at risk of only knowing what someone looks like if they have a profile picture?

I think as with all things there is a fantastic level of progress to be appreciated here, but let’s not forget the power of conversation. The ability to be able to gage what someone is saying before they have uttered a word thanks to body language.

So bring on the new world without email, and who knows what, but please don’t forget to talk to people, to connect with your staff, your suppliers and most importantly YOUR customers. And I don’t mean just send them an email.

Pick up the phone; schedule a catch up – because if you don’t go that extra mile and use ALL forms of communication to your advantage, I can guarantee there is a competitor out there that is!

And on that note here is my mobile 07989 935556 (brave you say, No, it is just another form of communication to add to your list to ensure I am always able to keep in touch with you) If you ever need anything for your business success, The Business Woman’s Network is happy to oblige, so get in touch and tell us what that is, and how we can help.

  • August 23, 2011

The Business Womans Network Mission Statement.

10 years on, we still ask – Are we getting this right?

We value your feedback and aim to all we can to assist your professional career.

The Business Womans Network feel incredibly passionate about business women’s success, and because of this from day one we have had a mission statement. It means from the very first time we meet you we can always be sure that at every event, every email, every contact with you we are reminded of our commitment to you.

Here is our mission statement;

The Business Woman’s Network is as passionate about every business woman’s success as they are. Providing proactive networking, the place to learn new skills with some of the country’s finest speakers on Business and Success, get the solutions they need, road test their ideas, practice their skills and promote their business. We believe in every woman’s ability to achieve what they want to and will always be there to support that in a relaxed welcoming environment that encourages personal and professional development and ultimately success.

The BWN networking mission statement to women in business essex herts suffolk london norfolk cambsWe would love to know from you if we are getting this right?

If you tell us good or bad, we would like to know and obviously the good ones will get tweeted, so please add weblinks to your comments, to make it easier for us to spread the word about your business.

Thanks for your time and your thoughts.

  • August 23, 2011

What really makes my business successful?

I am surrounded by business women every day and its great I can tell you.

However I am not blogging today just to tell you how much I like my job, the reason I am blogging today is because I get asked (a lot!) “What do I need to do to make my business more successful?”


This is a bit like asking how big is a piece of string.

Because Success looks different to different people. One person’s ideal of success may be happy making a £1000 profit a month, working 9 to 5 and taking Friday afternoons off to go shopping with friends, while another’s could be to be chucking Sir Alan Sugar off of The Apprentice because you are so rich and famous you make Alan look a Saturday boy at your local newsagent.


So before you start running around the country (or the world) looking for success, have you sat down and asked yourself what success looks like to you?


This may seem a bit “airy fairy” but the fact is if you don’t know what it looks like how are you going to get it?


You need to be able to visualise every last minute detail of your business and personal life. What time in your ideal business world do you get out of bed? How often do you check your email, who works for you? Where are you working? Do you want to travel with your work? What kind of lifestyle does your business give you?

Answering these questions (and plenty more) will really bring your ideal of success alive. Notice I say ideal. Because that is what you want to concentrate on. No one wants to aim for “that will do for now!”


When you have thought about this, you need to start getting specific. If you are going to be driving this car, and employing this many people and working across the UK, How much money do you need to be turning over? More importantly how much profit do you need to make? What do you do with that profit? How do you spend your time enjoying your business? Celebrating your successes?

Get Specific on every detail.

When you get this specific you are programming your brain to look for clues. Ever noticed when you want something where ever you go you see one? The world has not tipped on its axis to put more in your path, it’s just your brain is concentrating on it so much, it spots every last opportunity to get it.

So use this tool to great effect, where ever you go, think about the outcome you want, how this slots in with your ideal of success and GET SPECIFIC!


For more ideas on achieving your goals and having the success you deserve – sign up to our top tips on the home page, alternatively get in touch, it would be great to talk more and learn what you want and how we can help you get it.


And don’t forget Mark Rhodes will be talking about just this hot topic on the 5th of July at The Business Woman’s Network Chelmsford event.

Are you visualising yourself joining us and learning how to make this work for you and YOUR SUCCESS?

  • August 23, 2011

Football is not only a game. Football is connecting people.

As the world cup starts, lets just say I am not the bigggest fan. But South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said words that I loved;

“Football is not only a game. Football is connecting people.”

He told the huge crowds a the concert more than just this is the start of the 2010 world cup. He took the opportunity to tell the world;

“Africa is hosting this tournament. South Africa is the stage,” said Zuma, 65. “South Africa is rocking. South Africa is cool.”

Why was I smiling when I heard this and thought of successful business?

Firstly this man is passionately proud of his country – That’s always essential in business.

Secondly he saw the chance to reinforce to the world that South Africa is more than capable of hosting interntational events in a beautiful country – always good to let everyone know what your good at.

Thirdly for all of us that are not going to be glued to our TV’s for the next month (is that how long it is?) he told us that this was so much more than just about some guys kicking a ball about a pitch.

So when I heard this I smiled because I realised that the world cup has a lot in common with networking and thus The Business Womans Network.

We love great events, We love successful Business, we love passion, we love telling everyone about how great the business women are that we know, and we just love Connecting People!

Quotes taken from the top Google rating;

  • August 23, 2011

Public Speaking nightmares and Flying Chocolate – 8th June 2010

Yesterday’s event was great fun both for us presenters and for everyone that attended.

But more importantly it was good for business and great for helping with the things that you hate but you know you should be doing for business success.

Okay so we all know that we should be able to jump up and do a great presentation on any area of business at any given opportunity, right? But how many actually would if they were given the opportunity? And more importantly how many would feel that it was a great opportunity and that they did a good job?

At yesterday’s event we looked at public speaking and how it is essential that you are able to give great presentations but what is it that holds you back?

We looked at these obstacles and had some very original ideas to get people starting to change their attitude to public speaking.

One of the tools we used was getting into pairs and asking one person to be the speaker and the other person to be the audience. The “audience” was asked to look bored, sigh, make no eye contact and basically act like it was John Major talking about the merits of soggy cabbage. The effects were brilliant. 

Business women quickly appreciated that although it is a scary thing to stand up and be in the limelight it is completely achievable for most people on some level.

This exercise showed our brave business women that you can get people interested (however much they act like they are not!) and that if the worse does happen, you can get through it.

Tools like this help you appreciate that many of your fears are unjustified. Unfortunately we live in a very judgemental society that constantly picks on everyone. “She’s too fat” “She’s too thin” “She can’t sing” “What is she wearing”

No wonder when we step up to speak we worry that we are being scrutinised like that too!

But the fact is the business women yesterday not only got free chocolate and some gorgeous Arbonne products for being so brilliant but they also reduced those fears.

The reality is that the best way to overcome fears is to take up the challenge and just do it. So what better place to start than in a supporting and genuinely educational environment that only wants the best for you?

We know the next time those Business women have to give a 60 seconds pitch or an hour long presentation to a potential buyer that yesterdays chocolate, fun and education will be with them and the belief that says “I can do this!”

It is always a pleasure to run workshops like this and we can’t wait for the actual workshop on the 21st at the Ramada Hotel in Colchester. 

Social media, cold calling, follow up, presentation skills and values and beliefs will all be covered and more importantly lots of business women in this area will be stepping up the challenge and destroying some barriers to their success.

And you know how we love that at the Business Woman’s Network.

We hope to see you there too!

And don’t forget with the Business Premier Pack you can get this workshop for half price!And if the BPP is not for you, if you book and buy in advance we would still love to give you a great discount!

If you would like to learn more about the Gorgeous Arbonne products either join us at the workshop on the 21st and get some for free or check out Bridget Greenwoods website

And here’s the first of the great comments from yesterday’s event;

 “Great flying chocolate today, and a informative introduction to the workshop. Would love to have come along, other commitments. Fiancée would not be best please if I were to miss our wedding! ” Siobhan Parker

Now Really Siobhan is that a good excuse!

  • August 23, 2011

Stepping up to the Precipice

When we launched the BWN, the idea had just been to support local restaurants and hotels on their quiet days and get a few business women together to share ideas and opportunities.

It’s turned out just like so many businesses, very differently.

Because of the proactive nature of the BWN and the fact we really do listen to what business women want and need, we have stepped up our game. This is key in business. To listen to your customers. What are they saying? What are they asking for? Even if you do not currently offer what they need, could you?

The BWN did and now look at us!

But I wanted to share with you a secret – Just as everyone has a “That’s it I am going to go and work in Tesco’s” Day. Everyone does the following (at some stage);

Business starts – Business grows – Business listens to customers needs and developes new products – business grows.

That’s the fact, but this is how it feels.

You see, you start off on a path and you don’t even notice that in actual fact it has a bit of a incline, but you keep going and before long you look round and you realise that you can see quite a long way from you higher vantage point. Congratulations you have stuck your head above the rest and people are now noticing you and your company. so you keep going, and before long you are now climbing a steep mountain, but it feels good but then suddenly you turn around and you realise in actual fact you are alone. On top of a big mountain, Your first thought is “Wow, what a great view” and then you start to worry…..How did I get up here? Gulp everyone can see me, am I ready for this?

The fact is stepping up to the Precipice is a scary moment. For a long time you had that worry of “Can I make it?” and now you have to contend with a new thought “Can I sustain it?” “Can I continue to achieve as much as I already have?”

Well the fact is yes you can!

Remember that everyone has these moments. Many business women are very enviable of you and the fact that you are already there, so appreciate that.

Think about your support network – who can you turn to on the days of worry and self doubt and just importantly who will sap you of your belief in you and your business?

For more tips and ideas, join us on our top tips.

And always know that at the top of your mountain the BWN can see you very clearly and we like what we see!

  • August 23, 2011
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