The topics I speak about – the story behind them and a bit about me

I was recently asked what topics I speak about, and I thought the best way to answer was to give some context and explain why I started my journey as a professional speaker.

If you don’t have time to read the full post, the short summary is that my speaking topics tend to be on social media, leadership, and digital balance. I’m based both in Sweden and London, UK, and I speak internationally as well.

I’ve done public speaking on and off for many years. The year I trained to become a ski-instructor we did lots of public speaking, and I sort of got ‘out of my shell’ back then.

For as long as I can remember I liked teaching and sharing knowledge and experiences with others. Speaking in front of a large audience can be pretty scary, and as it is with many people, I didn’t feel it was pleasurable at all to start with.

The first time I was asked to speak as an expert was in 2009 when I was working as first social media manger/e-commerce manger/film producer at a large publisher in London. There were guests coming in from other similar companies and they wanted me to share what we were doing and what we were up to.

The next step was to educate all my colleagues about what this new thing called social media was all about, as well as what’s happening in the world when we connect online and publish heaps of information online.

Sofie Sandell speaking

Sofie Sandell giving a talk in Belgium

After this I started to talk about social media, marketing and communication for some other businesses and at Junior Chamber International (JCI).

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I have some kind of flow when it comes to understanding how marketing, media and PR works and which stories will get attention. It’s hard to explain how I’ve got this skill, but it seems to have been in me for many years. Maybe I see connections and angles that others don’t?

I have plenty of experience from my engagement in JCI. This has given me the opportunity to talk about strategies, branding and leadership for JCI and other membership-based organisations. The question of why someone should care about your organisation’s mission and vision is deep and complex, and it is interesting to ponder over.

Randomness leads to more randomness. I love listening to talks live. I like networking and meeting new people. This has led me to get to know lots of people, and many of these connections have in turn invited me to talk about different topics.

Now that I have some more experience under my belt and a good visual picture of how the world of professional speaking works, I feel more confident in what kind of events I should speak at.

After I started to talk about social media, I got more into speaking about leadership and wrote a book called Digital Leadership. I also started to give talks and workshops on digital leadership and creativity, and spoke about creativity and collaboration at some events. This led me into to deliver some advanced social media training for large and complex businesses in which communication is sensitive.

To open up the topic of digital leadership to a larger audience I’ve developed a talk named Digital Inspiration, which is more inclusive than leadership. Sometimes the word ‘leadership’ puts people off.

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It is natural to think about branding when you communicate online, and some of my talks have a focus on branding in the digital age. What you say about yourself is as important as what others say about you.

I’ve also taught digital marketing at a university in London for MBA students. When I worked there I was responsible for four different courses.

Some of my talks are more focused on thoughtleadership, and how you develop online content that people trust. I’ve spoken about personal branding and social media. We are more exposed when we are online, and what we say online affects our personality.

I’ve been invited to talk at conferences about design where the focus has been on our life online and the questions that people ask me after my talks. Over the years I’ve been asked the most personal questions about life online, and some of them are published in my blog under ’Social Media Q&A’.

Finally, I would like to mention that all of my talks are customised to fit the audience. I’ve spoken in front of people of all ages, from teenagers up to senior citizens. My approach of combining social media, leadership and how the world is changing can work for all kinds of people.

Sofie Speaking UCL March 2014

I’ve spoken in front of audiences from all continents. I’ve trained directors of social media for large Asian businesses based in China. I’ve worked with companies in Nigeria, as well as providing training in companies based in the Gulf area.

This week my work led me to give a talk at Volvo’s headquarters in Sweden. I spoke about digital agility and the effective use of digital tools. What I said really resonated with the audience.

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There are many areas to explore for me as a speaker and digital expert. I’m open-minded, curious and I deliver talks to all kind of organisations.

We are going to share more data every year, buy new digital devices and be more concerned about our personal brand in the future.

And we are only at the beginning of discovering all the new digital devices that are going to influence us.

One last thing to mention, I’ve coached lots of people 1-2-1 helping them prepare a new talk. It’s fun and I enjoy helping people.

If you would like to work with me you can either contact any of the speaker bureaus that I work with, or you can talk to me directly.

Thanks for reading.


Sofie Sandell