My name is Annik and I am heading up the PONY Express Speakers team. In the past, I would run a hundred miles at the thought of speaking to a group of people. I always had the idea of one day creating my own business but I was so scared of putting myself out there – what will people think if I get it wrong or what if no one would turn-up to our events?
In May 2011, I ran the first PONY Express Speakers Club from a pub in Islington with 20 people. We have since helped thousands of professionals to speak on more stages, grow their business or successfully raise investment – all through the power of public speaking.
Public speaking is much more than speaking as such – it’s about becoming who you really are, daring to voice your real opinions, standing up for yourself without trading your authenticity for approval, it’s about playing a bigger game and showing the world that your belief and certainty are bigger than your fears. It’s about doing something your future self will be proud of!
THE ‘PONY EXPRESS’ WAY
PONY Express teaches in an interactive and experiential way. Experiential learning is a high-impact educational training practice. It’s a learner-centered approach that gets you off your chair, out of your comfort zone, actively involved and responsible for your progress in a safe environment. This training format guarantees an immediate and noticeable difference in your communication approach.
The philosophy behind PONY Express is the concept of risking something. The 1860’s American PONY Express was a mail delivery service where young pony riders like Buffalo Bill risked their lives delivering a message. Same today. It might feel daunting to present in the boardroom, pitch to a panel of serious investors or a room full of industry peers – will you be impactful enough to present your ideas? With the right training, even novice speakers can make an impact.
PONY Express does public speaking and pitch training so you can develop clarity on communicating your brand and vision to charm your audience and those investors. We believe that everyone can overcome nerves and be confident in front of even large audiences. We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs to successfully pitch for investment and funding, gain the confidence and clarity to start their own business, speak on TEDx stages or landing corporate contracts.
Annik Petrou – Founder
Annik has over 30 years experience in being scared of speaking, declining speaking opportunities due to the fear of looking silly in front of peers and other nerve related issues. This all reached its peak in 2011 at a speaker training course – enough of wasting time worrying about what others might think – PONY Express Speakers were born. Since then, PONY Express has helped thousands of entrepreneurs to successfully pitch for investment and funding, gain the confidence to push their business from home office to the stage, speak on TEDx stages or landing big corporate contracts. Besides training and speaking Annik loves her strawberry blond cockapoo Roxy, exploring the English countryside and red velvet cupcakes. Usually (but not always) in that order.
Annik’s Speaking Tip: Get speaking as soon as possible, ready or not. You are perfect now, even though you will continue to improve FOREVER.
Elliot Kay – Commercial Director
Elliot has been doing stage performances and public speaking since he was 11. Starting out as a professional dancer, then moving on to entrepreneurship and building three successful businesses, Elliot has a unique knowledge of both what makes great stage presence and how to utilise that to build a profitable business. At PONY Express, Elliot knows how to stretch speakers to reach their full potential. He spends most of his time as a business mentor, working with start-up businesses to grow them strategically. Speaking is a big part of his marketing strategy, he has accumulated 6,000 hours of stage time speaking globally to audiences across Europe, Africa, US, and the Middle East – and he brings that expertise and experience to the PONY Express members. Middle East – and he brings that expertise and experience to the PONY Express members.
Elliot’s Speaking Tip: Know your content inside out, respect your audience by adding value and always make your talk about them, not yourself.
Emily Kay – Head of Training Innovation
Emily is our organisational talent, keeping the team grounded and focused. She has experience creating and delivering training programmes across the world. She loves a challenge and has innovated a training qualification for some of the most hard to reach people in the world; even delivering training in a war zone in Northern Nigeria. She knows what it takes to put together a world-class training that has IMPACT with students. With PONY Express she ensures the highest quality for all our training content and streamlines our training materials. As we grow, she continues to systemise the training element of the business to make it scalable. Also an experienced trainer herself, she is a living example of making dreams come true and is looking forward to supporting you on your journey to spread your message to a wider audience.
Emily’s Speaking Tip: Be yourself. All you can do is be authentically you. And if people don’t like it, they are not your people!
Allison Kaye – Operations Support
Allison is Annik’s VA. She operates remotely ensuring the admin operations at PONY Express are ticking over. Also, as Elliot’s VPA, this role forms a bond between their two businesses, partnership and friendship. Although not a speaker herself, she would relish the opportunity and it will only be time before she steps up on to the stage as she thrives on challenging her abilities and mindset. Allison is a GB athlete in duathlon/triathlon and loves the flexibility of her VA role as it relaxes her from her hard training to succeed in a competitive field as an athlete.
Allison’s Speaking Tip: Speak from the heart! Speaking from an open heart can feel very vulnerable but it’s the only way to truly connect as it inspires support and open-heartedness from others.
Little Pony – Head of the PONY Express Stables
Don’t let his youngish appearance fool you; Little Pony is probably one of the most experienced ponies on the London speaking circuit. He is best known as the co-creator of PLP (Pony-linguistic programming) and created his own unique programme, re-framing speaker mindset, building up our very exclusive Speaking Accelerator & Members Club and simply makes everyone fall in love with public speaking. Little Pony is also passionate about a raw diet and recommends raw carrots before a speaking gig because of the high level of beta-carotene that act as antioxidant slowing down the aging process of cells because as a speaker you want to look fresh for your audience.. of cells because as a speaker you want to look fresh for your audience..
Little Pony’s Speaking Tip: If everybody likes you, you are clearly doing something wrong. SPEAK UP, have a voice, let yourself be seen. WE HAVE YOUR BACK here at PONY Express Speakers and will always like you.
Gabi Glover – Associate Trainer
Gabi used to be painfully shy. Doubting herself and her capabilities. Repeatedly. Today, she is giving professional people practical skills, tools and strategies for growing confidence and having a better relationship with the inner-self. She is firm advocate of the ‘being your own best friend’ concept. Likewise engaging emotional intelligence. Over the years she has crafted her own models and has utilised accelerated learning techniques with great effect. To say her energy is infectious would be an understatement. Alongside her BA Hons in International Business is fifteen or so years corporate experience (8 in training and development). At PONY Express Speakers, Gabi delivers the Falling in LOVE with Public Speaking workshop for beginners. And if she’d got a penny for every litre of Ribena ever consumed, Gabi would be a millionaire by now!
Gabi’s Speaking Tip: Ask yourself how would you behave if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Rachel Bird – Associate Trainer & Sales
Rachel has been speaking and performing on the stage since the age of 7 and did her drama degree at Rose Bruford’s Speech and Drama College in London. She could play any character and loved to perform. Later, at the end of her Masters in Film and TV Production, she was delivering a presentation to her group as herself, when she became so nervous that her notes slipped from her hand, her leg gave way causing her to fell over on stage! This was the start of her quest to overcome her public speaking nerves. Rachel, with her true Irish charm, loves working with humour, play and storytelling. She knows that it’s never too late to be who you really are.
Rachel’s Speaking Tip: Know your material, speak for your audience’s attention not yours. Smile and send the energy of your voice to the back of the room. Get up, get on and get your message out there… AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: ENJOY!
Gary Albert Hughes – Voice Performance Trainer and Coach
Gary blends Vocal Coaching, Holistic Medicine + Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy to coach clients through their personal challenges enabling them to access their most confident and vibrant self on stage and in life. Before his 13 year career on stage and TV, in the music industry and as a vocal coach at some of London’s’ top drama schools for actors, Gary trained as a musician, singer and actor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Academy of Music where he also did a diploma in technical Vocal Coaching. A lot of speakers and performers call Gary their ‘secret weapon’, a powerful anxiety crusher & performance enhancer. With his PGDip, RAM, LRAM, TACT and Cert ASK we are thrilled calling him our in-house vocal coach.
Gary’s Speaking Tip: Start practising reading poetry aloud as much has you can. It gets you connected to your voice, your creativity, your emotions, colour, tone, inflection, rhythm, musicality, resonance, storytelling … everything you need to get in touch with to be a world-class speaker.
Claire Anstey – Media Trainer
Claire Anstey is a TV Presenter with a 15 year career working for Nickelodeon, Discovery and Virgin Media. She is also the founder of Gamechanger Casting a platform that connects business owners and industry experts with speaking, publishing and publicity and changes the way that industry experts get discovered by using technology and heartfelt passion. Claire believes that authenticity is the key to your magnetism on both, stage and on screen. At PONY Express Speakers Claire teaches Media Training, authentic camera and interview techniques. When she gets really stressed, she will go to a park and shout at a tree, her favourite stress management method to get this negative energy out of your system.
Claire’s Speaking Tip: When you speak from the heart with authentic passion, people will listen to you talk about absolutely anything.