Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


August 13th, 2016

Mrs Brown’s Business Bites – Topic of the Week – “Public Speaking”


I’m Jacqueline Brown – more known as Shaw the Founding Director of Africa Fashion Guide and I have a lot of new things to share with you. With advice I’ve been given from mentors and experts in my fields of interest – Fashion, Research, Africa and Business, I’ve decided to commit to writing and sharing more, and promoting my business AND personal brand image through  articles on my experience and knowledge.

So do follow to stay connected on what I’ll be calling Mrs Browns’ Business Bites, a weekly bitesize journal of tips, advice and wisdom I’ve learnt from embarking on becoming a business woman and embracing the entrepreneur in me.

So suitably, I start by highlighting how I came across this article on branding public speaking and business and why I totally agree with this. (

Public speaking has been seen in my opinion and maybe yours too, as something that someone is born with. You need to have strong sales and marketing skills to be able to be a public speaker, But i have grown to realise that its not 100% true, that you can acquire these skills, and become an expert in them.

(Women of the World festival – London Southbank – image Oxfam)

I started off public speaking by first attending every event relevant to my business and watching others I admired or respected. I didn’t sign up to any courses on public speaking but just learnt from watching and speaking to those who owned skills in the area I was trying to enter and become expert in.

I then went on to organise my own events (another topic of interest that which I will go into on another MBBB). This led me to be talking at events and places including House of Lords through to London Southbank to the FIT fashion college in NYC to the European Commission in Brussels to even presenting a talk on the London Eye!

It’s been an amazing journey and I haven’t stopped and excited to do more. Having moved from London, UK to Dusseldorf, Germany I slowed down on public speaking due to my location, and simply to put my head down for a season. But though this hasn’t been, per se, detrimental to my business it has reduced my marketing. I admit I have been blessed to still be able to do what I have done because I was hardworking and wise, prior to my break, to build up a great following which is key. But it is equally important to put yourself out there for the sake of your growth, and development of your brand including the new products that you are promoting. Especially now that I am launching a host of new products in 2017 and decided to take my business up a notch, this is even more key.

(Fashion Africa Conference 2015 on Fashion Revolution Day – image AO-Photography)

I used to hide from being at the front. A celebrity style life is not what I seek because I am a practitioner, and a get-up-and-do kind of person but I have learnt  being the face of your business and brand, and being seen is part of it. I’m now recognised as an expert in my field of African fashion and ethical fashion within Africa’s textile supply chain. and I’m proud of that. Now it’s my responsibility to share my skills with others, and to build my brand.

So if you’re just starting out and want to get into doing public speaking here are five key tips for you

1- Go to every local (even international) relevant business event and network network network is prime!

(Fashion Africa Conference 2014 at SOAS University – image AO-Photography)

2- Be personable friendly professional but open. Business is built on relationships and opportunities arise not just from your reputation known, but the relationships you’ve built.

3- Read! Some of the greats in business such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Tony Robbins will swear by the importance of reading and make it a daily routiine. They understand as I do that becoming that expert is a process and that you have to know your topic to be seen as the go-to-person

4- Write – blogging is a great way to start and be respected as an expert in your field. It also gives you a place online for people to contact you and see what you have to offer before even meeting you

5- Be strategic and just ask! Offer your service if needed for free at key events where everyone then can see you, hear your stories and skills, and that’s how you build your key network and ultimately new clients and partners.

Has this been helpful and useful?

Then if you’ve liked what you have read please select the like button or have any comments (constructive please people) then do please leave a comment, share your experience, add something you feel could be missing.

Until next week!

Thank you,

Mrs Brown (nee Miss Jacqueline Shaw)

Director Africa Fashion Guide

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