Blog 5, June 2017, written by Helga Meijer, Business woman


In recent months, I received many requests to do my story as a guest speaker during various network meetings. In my role as director, I did a lot of presentations for staff, customer meetings and Japanese management. This of course was a regular part of my job and I always did it with pleasure. Now that I started as a self-employed entrepreneur, it is very different. First I had a big international company and products to represent, but now I myself am the product. I was allowed to talk about my entrepreneurship, networking, IRIS, Japanese culture, city marketing and my work for KWF Cancer Fighting, more from my personal vision.


People also wanted me to talk about, for example, my IRIS struggles, but I thought it was quite difficult and then turned it into a positive; The differences in Japanese culture. The company is dear to my heart and has given me several chances and opportunities, so I thought it was not appropriate to talk in a negative way about it. I am a loyal person and grateful for what it brought me and how I stand in life – partly because of it.


By chance, I received a request from an old friend Cyrille van Hoof. Perhaps you know her of the first episode of Big Brother, the musical Miss Saigon or as a singer? She asked if I wanted to make time for her, to coach her as a starting entrepreneur. We had already known each other, but in recent years we did not see each other much. We made an appointment and it  once again felt positive. That afternoon I reviewed the business model with her. She wants to focus fully on presentation coaching and expand it further. I told her that I find it difficult now to tell my personal story to an audience. Sometimes I was so nervous for the presentations that I started to sweat. Remarkably, the nerves completely disappeared once I was on stage. As an idea, I set out to exchange our trajectories. I’m very open to it and think I’m not too old to learn. I can use useful tips, as my next presentation is for over 500 people.


A second appointment followed when we started to work with the QandA method; Question and answer. Importantly, you are always looking for the “core message”. What should stick to the audience? I had to describe this in one sentence. A good exercise, because I’m going to start in September with my ‘real’ physical company, also my third pillar. Of course later on in one of my following blogs.


From my core message, I wrote relevant follow-up questions on post-its. I put the subjects in a logical order, so I could work the entire presentation into a few questions. The advantage of this method is that I do not have to learn the whole story and create a logical structure for each question. And each answer again raises a new question. The temptation to take a side street is much smaller, because I can just answer the question. I see it as a big advantage, because you are going to speak self-assured, creating authenticity , relaxation and space for spontaneous inspiration and humor. Then I had to stand in front of the camera and present my story. It’s really strange to see yourself, but you’ll see immediately what the improvement points are. I got tips that I had to apply for her in the next presentation.


The tips!

– Dare to REALLY contact your audience. You can look at people, but if the contact is not real, you do not really see them, people feel that.

– Tempo not too high. This makes your story clearer and gives your audience time to let the story sink in so that they can follow your story without effort.

– Take some rest after every sentence. A breath in / breath out is enough and then continue again. After each segment you can pause a little longer. That’s how everyone knows something new is coming.


Although I initially looked sceptical at first, I’m fine now to introduce my new company presentation. A simple methodology and new insights only make your presentation  better. And it should be a pleasure to give your presentation.


I believe that you can only shine when you not only experience your unique story by yourself, but to share it on stage with an audience. Only then you can connect to others and something may develop. And that’s magic!


Love Helga.