We love all of our members equally, but Tiffany Tolmie has a special place in our heart because she was part of our very first cohort. Tiffany is the Manager of Investor Relations at Zymeworks (Canada's largest public biotech/biopharmaceutical company) which requires her to manage the communications between the company's management team and its investors.
On any given day, Tiffany supports the releasing of important company information, handling inquiries, facilitating meetings and providing feedback to management. As you can see, her job involves a lot of communicating. We sat down with Tiffany and asked her a few questions about her public speaking experience and how training has helped her. Here's Tiffany Tolmie, Manager of Investor Relations as Zymeworks....
Why did you register with Speak for Success?
"I was finding it challenging articulating complex scientific and business topics in a clear, comprehensive, and confident way. I knew I needed to work on my public speaking and communications skills, particularly when it came to impromptu speaking (being put on the spot). I was looking for place I could practice and learn new public speaking skills as traditional groups like Toastmasters didn’t resonate with me."
What did you enjoy most about the training?
"The team! Great leadership makes an experience what it is. The Speak for Success team offered a very lively and supportive environment to practice all sorts of speaking techniques. I love that everyone gets multiple opportunities per session to get up and actually practice. You can request to be recorded on your phone and you get real time feedback after you’ve gone up which is always supportive and constructive.
As a more experienced public speaker, what are some of the ways you manage your nerves before a presentation or speech?
"Practice, practice, practice! The only way to get over your nerves is to set yourself up for success by being well rehearsed and actually getting up and doing it. There is no other way to get better at public speaking than to actually do it. I find being prepared helps me tame those nerves and come across more knowledgeable and confident."
Where have you most improved as a public speaker?
"My nerves haven’t necessarily gone away but my relationship to those uncomfortable feelings has evolved. I find when I get anxious now, especially when I am put on the spot or challenged, I am better able to navigate through those difficult emotions and still deliver the message I need to. This has been an important lesson for me on my public speaking journey in that anxiety is normal and if harnessed can be used as a tool to help enhance performance. Don’t ever let your nerves discourage you! They may always be there but how you manage them can change and that makes all the difference."
How did public speaking training help you at work?
"Overall, I felt more compelled to put myself out there at work even if I wasn’t always comfortable. So much of the S4S program is geared toward taking risks and putting yourself out there, which I found really fun in the end. The group is extremely supportive and offers real time feedback so you can work on areas that challenge you. Because of this structure and environment, I felt like I excelled much quicker."
What advice do you have for other women who are just starting off on their public speaking journey?
"Start practicing and addressing your public speaking fears as early as you can! No matter what line of work you are in, the more you advance in your career the more you will be required to lead and give presentations so start practicing early. This gives you more time to conquer your fears and refine your communications skills, which can stop you from advancing later on. Just as important, find a group that fits with you. In the right, supportive environment you’ll be able to progress a lot quicker than you imagine!"