Women in business

As printed in the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times, 26 January 2012

Launch event, Lancashire Speaking Club

PHENOMENAL: Club members, from the left, Lou Booth and Sally O'Donnell, Louise Clough who runs the Inn at the Station and Karen Hands at the launch of the Phenomenal Woman Speaking Club

Clitheroe businesswoman, Karen Hands, has launched the Phenomenal Woman Speaking Club at the Inn at the Station in Clitheroe. Aimed exclusively at women in business, the Club meets monthly for members to gain the confidence, practice and the techniques to deliver five-star presentations.

“I was at a women’s networking event recently and when the chairwoman asked everyone to stand up and introduce themselves, I was amazed to see almost half the women at my table turning to their neighbour to say they wouldn’t have come if they’d known they’d have to speak to the group,” said Karen. “How will anyone discover the fantastic products and services that we have to offer if we never speak out?”

Members range from those with little experience or confidence in presenting; to those who speak regularly but who can see the potential to increase their impact, their influence and their income by becoming more inspirational.

Phenomenal Woman takes its name from a Maya Angelou poem and is a partnership between Karen Hands, who runs Thought into Action in Clitheroe, and Catherine Sandland of White Hart Training based in Cheshire.

A shared belief that more women should be speaking in public has led them to create a series of seminars and workshops running in locations across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire in the coming months. For more details please contact Karen Hands on 07775 707140 or

Wow! Didn’t we have a fabulous time! This is what some of our Phenomenal delegates said they gained from the workshop:

  • “Friends!!
  • How to structure a presentation
  • How to tell my story in a way that has universal appeal
  • How to translate my passion into an ordered logical presentation
  • Confidence not only in my presentation skills but in myself and what I have to offer
  • What my story is…”

Alison Colyer, Yoga Teacher, Blissful Living

“Oh what a fabulous, uplifting, life-confirming weekend. I have been on a wonderful journey of development and it’s been a real privilege to see everyone else’s journey too. It has massively improved my confidence and given me really useful, easy to understand techniques to begin to powerfully and effectively deliver presentations.”

Amada Jackson, Tigerfish PR

  1. “A structure to speak my story in a way not to tell it all and create a curiosity
  2. How to hook the audience
  3. How to give something to the audience to take away
  4. Grow my confidence in a safe environment.

“You are absolutely Phenomenal – I feel so privileged to be on the first seminar. Thank you :-)”

Roslyn Bell

“Confidence to speak in front of an audience, especially about such a personal and passionate subject. Good techniques and great pathways and simple tools to piece together. A safe environment to practise speaking and to be allowed to make mistakes, improve and be supported.”

Becky Campey, Director, Blush

“So much more than presentation skills! I’ve learned so much and gained confidence and am sure that I can stand up in front of a crowd and speak well – something I could NOT do before the course. I’ve learned so much about structuring a presentation and how to stand and speak. It’s the most useful course I’ve ever done. Phenomenal!”

We ran a seminar in July and wondered if we might start a northern franchise of ‘Formidable Woman’ because we were so impressed by the Lancashire business women in our audience! Such intelligent and determined women deserve success.

From Panic to Poise is our two-hour seminar specifically targeted at women in business or women who have their own business and is tailored to give you a step by step approach to  increasing your impact, your influence and your income through engaging, professional and targeted presentations.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What value would it add to your business if you were supremely confident about standing up and speaking to groups of people?
  • Have you ever thought there must be some other ways out there of reaching and having an impact on your customers and potential customers and clients?
  • Have you ever wished that you knew what to say and how to say it at networking meetings, conferences and client meetings?
  • What are your nerves and lack of confidence in speaking in front of groups costing your business and your career?
  • Do you want to hone your presentation skills so that you can create more opportunities to stand up and speak out about your business and your passion?

What will you learn?

  • How to prepare and deliver an engaging, powerful presentation which persuades and influences using a ‘five star’ approach
  • How to get into a state of perfect poise whenever you deliver
  • How to spot opportunities to reach your customers and potential customers through public speaking
  • How to create immediate impact when introducing yourself at networking events

We’re running another series of events in November: click on the link above to go to our blog Events Calendar. We hope to meet you there!

Catherine and I were delighted to be invited to speak at what was surely one of the most glamorous events on the women’s networking calendar this summer, East Lancashire Chamber’s Lunch & Learn at the Inn at Whitewell.

Appropriately enough, the theme of the day was ‘speaking skills’ and we were joined at the top table by fellow presenter Kim Chamberlain of Chrysalis for Women. I’d love to think that between the three of us, we gave the Chamber members a taste for public speaking and the business benefits that are within reach of any woman in business: entrepreneur, owner/manager or executive.

Several of the members subsequently joined us for our seminar, ‘From Panic to Poise’, in Haslingden a month later and we’ll be adding photos to the blog soon. Proof if it were needed that speaking skills are great for winning business. Just think for a moment how much simpler it is to stand up and talk for half an hour to an audience of 30 or 40 people, some of whom will undoubtedly be interested in your products or services, than it is to work the room every time you attend a networking meeting, hoping to reach those same people by good luck alone.

All of us are far too busy these days and here is one way to maximise your time and energy to great effect. Don’t let a lack of confidence hold you back any longer!

If you’re a member of a women’s networking group and you’d like us to come and speak to you and your fellow members, please contact us directly or post a comment on this blog. Our focus is North West England but we’re branching out, so please get in touch wherever you’re based and we’ll do our best to meet your needs.

Thanks are also due to Kim Chamberlain who paid us the greatest compliment of assuming Catherine and I had been working together for a long time, based on our polished performance together. You’ll have to come to one of our talks to Cherchez Networking or Forward Ladies groups this autumn or join us at our ‘From Panic to Poise’ seminars in November to find out the real answer!

“A fantastic, inspiring, well structured event. Thank you Karen and Catherine, you Phenomenal Women, you! I learned to build in more physical interaction and I’m going to change my 40-second intro as a result.”

Isla Wilson, Ruby Star Associates

“ I really liked your clear messages about presenting and I’m going to approach presenting in a 5 star manner!”

Anne Moore, Vocal Excellence

“I really liked the exercise, ‘what do you do?’, thinking about MY business in terms of the seminar content. I need to think and prepare what I say in terms of the 5 star approach, to come up with the ‘model’ of my message. I learned to shift my focus when I am presenting/talking to potential customers: what I can offer them – the experience – not just desperately trying to sell, sell, sell! Thanks, I really enjoyed it!”

Liz Stainsby, Little Treasures Company

“I learned to think about how I can help the audience with my skills deliver it through examples. I’m going to plan my pitches, thinking about my success and practice because I need to shift my focus to being positive.”

Sharon Charteress, Mood Design Solutions

“Friendly, fun, informative. I need to think what I do for my listeners, be more prepared and be enthusiastic in delivery.”

Christine Lewis, No Limits flp

“The relaxed atmosphere allows people to learn better. I learned to focus.”

Nasim Yousaf, Women’s Housing Action Group

Catherine speaking

Catherine speaking at our seminar in Haslingden

We share a frustration that too many women sit back and let the men do the talking in the workplace, and we passionately believe that women can and should hold their own. Each of us has got a point of view that needs to be heard!

Phenomenal Woman launched in early 2011 and we’ve been running seminars across the North West of England to attract women to our campaign to get women speaking and influencing more effectively in the workplace, whether as employees of bigger companies or as entrepreneurs and business-owners.

Karen speaking

Karen in Haslingden

If you could benefit from our 5 Star Model of Presentation Skills, the next event in the diary is the Phenomenal Woman Experience, a weekend workshop at Manchester Airport Marriott on 16 – 18 September 2011. You’ll leave on the Sunday walking 2″ taller because you’ll be brimming with the confidence born of preparation, practise and feedback among a supportive yet challenging group of your peers. You’ll build friendships that will support your career over many years to come, as well as leaving with the 5 Star Model as a means to keep on improving your performance.

We’d love to see you there.

More details on Eventbrite at