British-born Tracey Hughes had visions of becoming a barrister before she listened to her naturally artistic heart and found a career in hair rather than law. “The day I started styling, I knew I’d found my calling,” she shares. Her classical training began with a post-high school apprenticeship at England’s Christopher Boyton salon. At age 19, the budding pro experienced a second breakthrough when she delivered her first presentation. “At that moment, I learned that I’m a naturally confident public speaker,” Hughes recalls. The convergence of these two realizations shaped the course of the stylist’s life. She moved to Australia and opened her first salon, Mieka Hairdressing, in Melbourne in 1997, and after a stint as a Redken artistic director, Hughes assumed her role as renowned educator, now leading the educational charge for Pulp Riot. Today, the speaker travels the world to ignite creativity and help fellow salon professionals achieve success through the development of core technical and business skills. She’s stood on stages in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, headlining top beauty events and inspiring more than 500,000 stylists to date.
“My presentation manner is informative, interactive and dynamic,” says Hughes. “I focus on increasing individual confidence, and I believe my point of difference is that I genuinely strive to bring out the best in those I teach.” Though currently based in Las Vegas where her husband works as an executive chef for three resorts, the globetrotter travels nationally or internationally every week. “People would be surprised to learn that I’m also quite a private, insular person,” confides the pro. “Onstage I have a strong presence, but the rest of my life is pretty simple.”
Get Up, Stand Up
"Public speaking counts as one of people’s greatest fears,” says Hughes. “However, I’m blessed to not have that phobia!” The pro shares her top five tips for conquering the stage.
Learn the fundamentals. Take a course on how to structure and format a presentation. Practice both verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
Know your material. Don’t share if real content isn’t there.
Engage with the audience. It’s about them, not you.
Become a storyteller. Share the anecdotes you’re most afraid of divulging; they hold the gold.
Be present. Don’t worry about what others think of you while you’re speaking; what matters is that moment.
This story first appeared in the February issue of Beauty Launchpad magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
[Images: Courtesy of Tracey Hughes]