What’s in a name?

Julie Kenny. Founder of Softly Inspired and presentation skills trainer

One of the first questions I get asked is “What’s the name about?”, so here’s why I chose the name Softly Inspired for my presentation skills workshop business.

A career in software

For many years I wrote software. In the very early days of Windows, I worked on an application development product. I loved coding, coding inspired me and brought me joy. Speaking to people didn’t. The thought of me standing up giving a presentation was my worst nightmare.

A computer from the 1980s when I avoided presentations

As my career developed my coding skills expanded and took turns into different areas, I loved them all. My problem was that I still avoided public speaking and presenting. I was still terrified and my presentation skills were almost zero. On occasions that I tried, I left most of my audience confused. This meant that I could do the job but not explain it well to others – which in a large way meant I only did half the job. Communicating with the wider team, management and customers held me back and made me much less effective in my role.

Developing as a speaker

After spending far too much of my career with this issue I decided to address it. I’m not saying it was super-easy but it was hugely worth it. I began to look forward to presentations and those around me noticed the changes too. I even began to give speeches on things I cared about, just because I can and do; when you get the bug it’s immensely fun. I was less stressed, my boss was less stressed, my teams were less stressed and the customers were not confused anymore. Addressing this one issue made a huge difference to me and those I worked for and with.

Presenting at a Toastmasters International conference

Inspiring others

The difference it made to me and those around me has inspired me to help others. Some want more confidence, some want to be more skilled, many want both. I know what it feels like to have the expertise without the understanding of how to convey it to my audience. I know what it feels like to have a passion for a cause but not know how to explain it. I know what it feels like when those things change. I have designed my workshops to help you overcome those challenges too.

Hence Softly …. Inspired

Softly, in part, because I’m driven from my background in software but also because I understand the gentle support needed when the main stumbling block is confidence.

Softly Inspired logo

Inspired because what I do comes from all that inspires me, not just software but knowing that careers, businesses and life, in general, are better when we can communicate clearly and with confidence.