A brief interview with CEO and Founder of Global Public Speaking, Allison Shapira on Global Public Speaking’s growth over the last decade.
Why update the Global Public Speaking website now?
“Nearly 10 years ago, I launched Global Public Speaking as a solopreneur. I quickly realized the company needed to be bigger than me, both to better serve our clients and to build something of value that would help people in the long-term. Now, we have a team of 10 people, a rich array of virtual and in-person group trainings and executive communication coaching, and an incredible list of Fortune 500 clients and partners; as a result, the website needed to reflect the company that we are, not just me as an individual. This new website reflects our broader capabilities. We’ve also launched a separate website, AllisonShapira.com, with resources specific to my keynotes and my brand.
Our company is about professionalism, warmth, and empowerment: that’s what I want people to feel when they look at our website. Global Public Speaking has truly grown from an idea to a powerhouse global training company and I’m really excited about that.”
What was your first client experience like when you first started helping people with their public speaking?
“I remember my first client: the executive director of a medical research company who was hosting a high-level event and needed to introduce a dignitary. He had no idea where to begin but recognized this opportunity was important to him and his organization. Over the course of three sessions, we completed a strategic analysis of the audience, the person he would be introducing, and the event as a whole. We crafted an introduction that was professional yet personal and practiced how to deliver it in an engaging way. I remember making one specific suggestion and his eyes lit up. He responded as if he had never considered it before. At that moment, I realized I had incredibly valuable knowledge that others needed and others valued. He is now a published author and has spoken in front of the Pope. Of course, I can’t attribute all of his speaking success to our three sessions but it is an amazing feeling to see someone who I worked with early on grow and succeed, knowing that I got to contribute to the foundation of his public speaking skills.”
How did you know the methodology and strategies you had were different and powerful enough to build an entire company around?
“Let me share my first interaction with Bank of America. In 2014, I taught a program in Belfast, Northern Ireland with the Vital Voices Bank of America Global Ambassadors Program. As a small business owner, I had never even considered working with a Fortune 50 company like Bank of America. After my two-hour presentation on public speaking, a senior executive from Bank of America approached me and said, “We need this at the bank; can we talk?” That interaction kick-started a truly rewarding relationship that continues to this day and has expanded to all levels of the bank. As a small business owner, this felt like a big step, and if a company as large as the Bank of America was interested in my methodology and strategies for public speaking, I knew I really had something powerful to offer.
As our clients at Global Public Speaking grew, I saw that our methodology was used time and time again after the training ended. Clients would, and still do, connect back with me years after training to send additional thanks for the skills we taught them. To this day, I always enjoy the anecdotal stories about how their public speaking improved because of our Global Public Speaking training, whether they are using those skills at work or in their community. With interest from large companies and clients continuing to send praise long after the training ends, I knew I needed to help more people. I wanted to create a company that builds confidence in our participants and teaches them a skill that can bring them success in any situation.”
What was it like to expand your team of experts from one to four?
“I found our incredible team of trainers from within the Harvard Kennedy School and National Speakers Association communities. When I first started working with them, I was understandably nervous about how our clients would feel about working with someone else. Previously, it had been just me, and I shared a strong relationship with our clients. I had, and still have, full faith in our trainers but stepping back and allowing someone else to deliver the methodology was something I did with caution.
When I was able to review the first round of feedback from participants from training our team led, it was an awakening moment. I read the feedback reviews that stated this was the best training they had ever attended, not just the best public speaking training. That moment was a tremendous moment of pride in my team and our methodology. At that moment I knew we had the team and methodology that would make us successful. “