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This week, Jack Chambers-Ward welcomes Tazmin Suleman, coach, speaker and co-host of The SEO Mindset Podcast to the Search With Candour podcast.
Tazmin joins Jack to discuss confidence.
Jack: Coming up on this week's episode, I'll be diving into the latest visibility leaders from SISTRIX, talking all about the travel industry. And I'll also be having a fantastic conversation with the one and only, Tazmin Suleman from the SEO Mindset Podcast, all about confidence, how to understand your inner confidence, and how to build a bit of confidence with us professionally or personally. Hopefully, at the end of this podcast, you'll be feeling a little bit more confident and have a few techniques and tips from Tazmin to build your confidence there as well.
Welcome to episode 68 of season two of the Search with Candour Podcast. I am Jack Chambers-Ward. I am your host, and this week I'll be talking to Tazmin Suleman all about confidence. You may recognize that name because Tazmin and her co-host Sarah from the Mindset Podcast and I did a crossover podcast live event thing in Brighton during BrightonSEO, and that was also two weeks ago on this very podcast. So, you can go and listen to that right now ahead of the talk that Tazmin and I are going to be having on this episode and get an idea and dip your toes into the tips that we're really going to be diving into in a bit more detail during this episode.
Let's have a look at the second visibility leader study that's been published this time around all about the travel sec. And a huge thank you to Steve Paine from SISTRIX for putting this all together for us. And we can dive into a little bit of visibility leaders. And essentially this is having a look at some content hubs that are doing really, really great stuff and really pushing their site's visibility in terms of the travel industry. So, if you're working in the travel industry, not only do I recommend staying tuned for the next couple of minutes, but also, I'll put a link in the show notes for this post from SISTRIX at search.withcandour.co.uk, so you can have that as a reference and go and dive into a bit more detail because I'm just going to touch on the top-level stuff. So, please do go and dive into a bit more detail with that.
I think it's a really interesting place to start. Travel is a very bottom-of-the-funnel business, so if you think about that from an eCommerce perspective or from your site's perspective, I think a lot of people talk about top of funnel, bottom of funnel, bottom of the funnel is something I talked a lot about with Jon Wiser a few weeks ago as well. This comparison side of things I think is hugely important is becoming... we already know it's a big thing in travel. I'm sure if you've ever traveled or looked for traveling online, travel sites, comparing different options and different insurance things and different flights and different travel options, all this kind of stuff. People are looking for that stuff. Most people are looking to find or compare a solution to their problem. There is a very, very clear search intent to get to the bottom of this and get an answer very quickly.
I think that is very interesting. Because, I think, a lot of the top-of-funnel kind of content that we create, a lot of that more informational, more that more informational kind of content can be difficult to convert with. But this is telling us that some of the really successful places, the most successful directories, and the most successful sites in terms of travel are creating bottom-of-the-funnel content. The successful directories also do it on a pretty big scale. Big brands appear across all the leading domains with very, very few independent operators. Unfortunately, if you're looking to break out into the travel industry, you might struggle to do that. Interestingly here, there are some search terms that SEOs can forget, travel restrictions, passport requirements, vaccination requirements, all that kind of stuff, all go to official websites.
There is no point writing informational content about travel restrictions, about requirements, about vaccinations, all that stuff because that is already covered, typically, by your home country's governmental website or even the country you are going to and their official website as well. There's an element there of understanding where your audience is going to get that information from. You are probably not going to really compete with those, so it's not even worth trying. Rethink your strategy. If that is part of your strategy, going in with informational content and creating it for the travel industry, you should probably think about adjusting your strategy and focusing your efforts somewhere else. Also, in the top-of-funnel knowledge category, they found three pretty significant sub-sectors, solo traveling, packing tips, and sustainable travel, which I think make a lot of sense from my experience.
And looking to go on my honeymoon in September, sustainable travel is a huge thing, obviously. Hopefully, a lot more people are thinking about being more eco-friendly and more sustainable in their efforts and in their general lives over the last few years or so. Packing tips is a huge, huge thing and can be very tricky with size restrictions and luggage restrictions and all that stuff. And I think now we're living in a post-pandemic restricted travel world, solo travel and people just wanting to get out there and go somewhere else that isn't their hometown and their home country is a huge part of that as well, right? Interestingly, two personal websites appeared in the results and they both have the word nomad in, weird enough. nomadicmatt.com started about 15 years ago and is now a huge, huge business, but started just by one person.
And the other example is thriftynomads.com. Again, tying into that budget side of things, the detailed analysis, and I think that's really quite a unique take on that, which is helping them stand out. The last point, I'll touch on, like I said, go and read the full thing on the SISTRIX blog, which is linked in the show notes. They identified some risk, which is probably natural for such a huge sector because the travel industry is massive, obviously. But looking at it from a WAT perspective, a lot of the content was not actually accurately satisfying a lot of those requirements from Google. I guess, the big question there is how do you verify what's good, what's bad, what's legitimate, what's not? And how would you as a reader or Google understand to trust that content? And I think Steve's writing here of it being natural to a huge section is totally true, but I do wonder where travel comes under the classic YMYL classification, right? How does your money or your life tie into travel? Because you can be spending quite a bit of money on travel side of things, but it's not the finance industry.
It's not the healthcare industry. It's not going to be tied into that kind of stuff. But things that travel insurance, because of their associate with insurance and life insurance and all that stuff, perhaps could tie more closely into that thing. I think it's a really interesting way of looking at the travel industry. SISTRIX have some fascinating data that dives into a bit more of this. And the analysis from Steve and the data journalism team over at SISTRIX is really, really worthwhile. Like I said, go and check that out at SISTRIX.com/blog or click the link in the show notes to find it. Nice.
And one last little thing, I promise I will get to my conversation with Tazmin very, very soon. I've co-founded a new community with the fantastic Sarah Presch. She was a former guest on this show. We talked about the importance of cultural understanding in SEO way back in episode 53. I think it was back in January. Sarah and I are both a neurodivergent ourselves. I am currently going through the ADHD diagnosis process and basically, we want to make a safe space and a community much like the amazing work that Areej AbuAli has done with the Women in Tech SEO community. We want to do something similar but towards the neurodivergent community. So, if you have any neurodivergence, if you identify as neurodivergent, please do come and check that out. I'll put a link for Sarah's post and the invitation for the Slack where you can apply there in the show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk.
And my guest on this week's show is a speaker, a coach, someone who will be speaking at BrightonSEO coming up in September, who ran mindfulness sessions just at the last BrightonSEO in April, 2023, and someone who I co-hosted a live podcast within Brighton as well, also, host of the SEO Mindset podcast. The one and only, Tazmin Suleman. Welcome to the show.
Tazmin: Thank you so much. That's quite a lineup now, isn't it?
Jack: I know. Yeah, you've got quite the title building up, it’s building up now.
Tazmin: Oh, it's a lot of fun.
Jack: “You know you've made it when” moment when the host has to spend 15 seconds reading all of your various achievements and accomplishments. Definitely, definitely very cool to have you on.
Tazmin: And it was fun doing the podcast with you.
Jack: It was. Yeah. I think we had a really interesting dynamic. If you haven't already heard that episode, by the way, listeners, that was about three weeks ago. That was the episode just after BrightonSEO happened in April, 2023. So, you haven't gone back and listened to that, please do. The whole episode, the whole live episode is available on the podcast feed on here on Search With Candour. And you can also go check it out on YouTube on Silicon Brighton's YouTube channel as well. I'm sure we'll be referencing that throughout, so if you haven't listened to that episode yet, please do go back and check that out. And if you really want to hear it twice, you can go and subscribe to the SEO Mindset Podcast and hear it on your feed as well. I think that was a really interesting experience for me.
I guess, we'll start there with our little crossover that we did with our two podcasts. Before we get into the main topic, which is something a little bit different for the show, because often, we'll dive into technical stuff and SEO news and stuff. We're going a bit for more mindful this week and I'm interested to talk about that. But let's start with the live podcast because I think particularly, the way we were sat out I think was quite well, not only were we in height order, but also in terms of I think you are the most, like, wise, mindful person I think I've ever met. Just being able to just spout and calm everyone down and bring this brilliant advice. And I was there just rambling and talking about my worries and very high energy. And I feel you really bring everyone's energy, and calm everyone down, and have that powered husband. What was that experience for you, doing it live in front of an audience and co-hosted with me for the first time? Obviously, you're experienced co-hosting with Sarah, but what was the introduction of me? Any sort of shakeup? Any different?
Tazmin: I just found it a really lovely session because the audience were very engaged. It was a very comfortable room. It was an epic room. It felt slightly...
Jack: It was.
Tazmin: And I think everyone was just very chilled and very open and transparent and that made the topic really relevant. So, for people who haven't listened, it was about dealing with anxiety at conferences. And as for this, you know you were very polite about saying the carve. I usually get called very slow in my family. We know. And the wisdom, it comes with the age. No, it was a fantastic experience and I'm so glad we did it. It started off as a teeny, tiny idea that grew and grew effortlessly, it felt.
Jack: Yeah, everything really, once it started rolling, the ball really just started, picked up a lot of momentum, and everything clicked into play quite nicely.
Jack: And like you said, I was so amazed by the venue as well. The Globe Room project was, I felt a bit too cool for just a podcast. It felt like some spaceship control center or something. It was amazing.
Tazmin: But the great thing was that people after the event said that that was really helpful, that they learned some tips, that they were going to take into the conference with them. And that's what we were there for. It was to help and it worked, so can't really ask for more than that.
Jack: Definitely, definitely. And doing your mindfulness sessions at BrightonSEO, I attended one as well. I thought it was really interesting. It's nice to, again, have that engagement with the audience, which I think is something that is encouraged at a lot of the talks of BrightonSEO. You have the little Q and A section at the end there. But I really liked how you were just literally just taking questions, getting people involved, does anybody have any worries, all that kind of stuff. And it felt like almost natural continuation from our session and our podcast on the Wednesday night through to you doing it during the actual talks and actual event as well. So, huge credit to you and I'm very happy to hear they're going to be carrying on next BrightonSEO as well.
Tazmin: Yes, and I think, for me, that's a natural style. I don't like just talking at people. I like to have that interaction. It helps me with my energy as well, and it makes sure that I'm answering their questions rather than saying something that I think might be landing. But I'm not sure. Because then I started chilling, odd, anxious. I'd rather be talking to them. But I was in London yesterday, at the Blue Array conference, and they, too, after lunch had a yoga instructor come in.
Jack: Oh, brilliant.
Tazmin: So, it feels like conferences are now understanding that something is needed in that huge space with lots going on, which is a very unnatural environment for most of us. To have that little bit of calm, that 15 minutes, 20 minutes, seems to be really appreciated by the attendees, and the speakers, and conference people, and event managements? What would you call them? They seem to be taking heed, which is great.
Jack: Amazing. And yeah, huge credit to people at Blue Array, people at Rough Agenda, who run BrightonSEO for expanding and thinking outside the box. And like you said, not just thinking about, like, "Oh, what's the most SEO-driven thing we can do?" And thinking about people's well-being, mental health, mindfulness, all that kind of stuff, I think it's really cool that we're seeing more of that across events and across conferences, which is really, really nice to see in a, I think, a big positive step for a lot of people to be able to have those quiet moments. A lot of us need, BrightonSEO has the quiet rooms as well where you can just go and exist in silence and not need to hear that constant white noise of the buzz happening on the main floor and things like that. I think things like that are so important. I said, me as an introverted person, we were just talking about this before we started recording. Me, personally, after BrightonSEO, I just needed two days by myself doing nothing to really decompress, and recharge, and things like that.
Tazmin: No, I guess a hundred percent, Areej did it really well at Women in Tech Fest as well. And she also had a prayer room. For people, or people like me, it was ideal. After Brighton, I left and it was straight into Eid celebration, so I didn't get that chance for a few days. I walked away. But I hear what you're saying.
Jack: So, we dive into this week's topic and we're going to be talking about confidence, self-confidence, how to understand that, be aware of yourself, and grow yourself within that space. Because it's something that, I think, a lot of us are aware of. And again, this is something we were touching on before we started recording. I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding or a different interpretation of the definition of confidence. I guess my first question to you is what is confidence to you as a coach, as a speaker, as a person who seems to be, from me, coming from the outside, very aware of yourself, very mindful, and things that? How would you define confidence, Tazmin?
Tazmin: For the longest time, I used to think of it as a confident person was somebody who appeared fearless, who would command a room, who would dress in a certain way, stand in a certain way. And that wasn't me. I grew up very shy. I don't think I spoke to anyone until I was about 18. Very, very daintiful. And I think, deep down, I still am. I think, you just get to a point where you're more comfortable in your own skin. But that, for me, has been a journey. It's journey of 15, 16 years. But I came across a definition that has helped me navigate it far better. Before, when I would hear this term, "Be confident, like the badass you that you are." I didn't even know what that meant. I literally had to Google what that meant was. I think it means, for most, if you're talking about a man who is a badass, it's quite like a violent, strong, formidable character. And that didn't fit to me, that I wasn't that person.
But then I had read this definition that confidence comes from the Latin word, I think it's pronounced fidere, which means to trust. When you confide in someone, you confide in someone that you trust. And that spun it around for me. If I want to be self-confident, I had to trust myself. And I thought, "Okay. What does that mean? How can you trust yourself?" And over the last few years, it's been figuring some of that better, working on some of that. And now for me, it's become a little bit of a mixed in a game of trusting myself, and when I need to a little bit of the out again to make me feel like I can dawn that stage, whatever I need to do.
Jack: It's really, it's almost like thinking about though if you have confidence in something or someone that is, like you said, putting your trust and you think this thing is going to be reliable and trustworthy and all that kind of stuff, right? That's a really interesting way of thinking about that internally because I think that that also ties into a really common phrase of, "You can't love someone else until you learn to love yourself," and all that kind of stuff. That kind of self-awareness, I think, is a really big part and a big step. And something, again, we talked about when dealing with anxiety, when we talked in Brighton, being aware of what is holding you back or what you're finding difficult and being able to compartmentalize that, verbalize that, write it down, just have an idea of what is affecting you is such a key part of that, I think. And it's something that I massively struggle with, understanding how I think and the whole being aware of why do I think about that? Is this the thing that's affecting me or is it something else? And being able to pinpoint that. Because I think those of you are listening out there, and people who have met me before, some people who maybe came to the live show or met me in Brighton, and things like that. I think a lot of people think I'm pretty confident because I'm a talker, whether I'm nervous or comfortable, I tend to talk a lot. I'm quite chatty. And like you said, I think that's the traditional kind of "Oh."
I'm also quite physically big as well. I'm a big, often dressed in something that's stupid, some Dungeons and Dragons t-shirt or something. A big guy in a colorful shirt doing a lot of talking. I'm the confident person. And then it was a really interesting, obviously, I listened to SEO Mindset, but hearing you speak in person and especially during those mindfulness sessions, the way you are confident on stage, Tazmin, I think, is a very different way of looking at it. And like I was saying before, you come off as very calm, and wise, and purposeful with your speaking. There's very few ums or errs or you don't speed through a sentence and then worry about it and then retract yourself. You seem quite a confident speaker because you are able to just calmly, clearly enunciate everything. And I think that is a huge other side of that coin, if that makes sense. Does that make sense?
Tazmin: It does make sense. For people who don't know me, I am not tall. I mean, I am five heads. I'm not sure at all. And I don't wear loud clothes. And I, actually, on the stage, I was wearing my pearls, so I don't know if there can be an opposite of Jack, but if there was, I'm not far off that.
Jack: I think that's why our dynamic works so well, right? You and I play it off. And Sarah can be somewhere in the middle.
Tazmin: Yes, that's true. But it is that. Because at the end of the day, when we say, "I want to be more confident," it's not just because we want to be more confident, it's because we want to take a step. We want to go for that promotion or go and speak on stage or ask that person on a date or whatever it is. You want to take action and you want, and sometimes, most of the time, it's going to be something that we haven't done before. How do you feel confident? Obviously, there's a competency side of it and when you've done something a hundred times, of course, you're going to easily take action.
But how do you take action when you've never done that thing as well? How do you feel confident to do that? And you know what? I had never run mindfulness sessions at conference before. It was an afterthought. I thought, "I'm there anyway, I might as well be some of use." Contact BrightonSEO, do you want me to run this? And to be really truthful, before I started the first one, 10 minutes before, I didn't really know what I was going to say. But I knew I had enough in the bank to be able to find something that would be of use. And that's why I said to people, "What is it that you're feeling? And let me take something out of that bank that I can help you with." When you have done things that you haven't done before so many times, you think, "Oh, here is another thing I haven't done before. But it's okay, I've been here. I'll figure this out." And that's part of that inner work.
Jack: Like we're saying, you can have such a clear definition in your mind of like, "Oh, that person is confident, "or, "This person is confident." But on the exterior, they could be completely different to how they're feeling on the inside. Their bolshiness and being over the top could be their way of coping with anxiety, and nervousness, and feeling insecure, and things. I think that's often the case for a lot of people. And the phrase I hear so often is the whole, "Fake it 'til you make it," thing, right? What you present on the outside will then hopefully eventually reflect on the inside and be able to boost your confidence through essentially pretending like you are confident to everyone on the outside. And then people can be like, "Oh my god, you seem so confident." You're like, "Yeah, sure, Yeah, that's me. Yeah. Confident Jack, that's me."
Tazmin: Yeah. I don't know whether it's a common phrase, but my business coach used to say, "Face it 'til you make it.
Jack: Oh, interesting.
Tazmin: And I think that's a more, the authentic way of me.
Jack: Definitely. Definitely. I guess, let's dive into some specific characteristics of what we think about that more internal confidence. How would we go through and define some of those things, and like I said, readjust maybe our idea and our definition of internal confidence?
Tazmin: Going back to the definition that it's somebody that you trust, how are you going to trust somebody you don't know? You wouldn't, right? You'd want to know them really well. Question to yourself is how well do you know yourself. Do you know what your mind is telling you? Do you know what your triggers are? Do you know where your boundaries are? Or lack of boundaries? Do you understand what your mindset and your perception of yourself in the world is? What's your storytelling? What are your goals? All of these little facets that make up you, how well do you know them?
The first step I would say to anyone is, "Go on that journey of self-awareness." But the caveat is be really kind, be curious and kind. This isn't about you saying to yourself, "I'm always rubbish at that. I never get that right because that's not the purpose." Again, that's self-love. And I always used to dismiss terms like self-love but actually, the older I get, the more I realize that if I can look after myself, if I know myself, if I can look after myself, and that means physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, whatever, all of it, then only then am I going to have that inner strength to then be able to cope with situations. What would you think about that?
Jack: Yeah, and funnily enough, it's something you said when we were in Brighton, and I think really resonated with the audience and with me as well was about the advice you would give to a friend or a loved one, give that to yourself and don't just be like, "Oh, I'm terrible. I'm not this. I'm not that." Actually, being kind to yourself. Apply that in the same way that you would never go up to your best friend, or your partner, or your family member, and be like, "You are terrible. You're insecure. You're this. You're that." I mean, maybe some people would. We don't want to be with friends with those people, but in general you would go and be supportive and like you said, be kind, be curious, help them explore this new thing, challenge this new idea, whatever it is.
And that really resonated with me about thinking and really essentially turning the tables back on yourself, and almost thinking about the internal me as an external person, and analyzing yourself as if you were another person, and really trying to possibly have that out-of-body analysis if you're to coin a weird phrase, and think about how you would deal with that. And I think that's totally where, I think, I'm able to really turn it on, for one of better phrase, and be very sociable, and full of networking and marketing and whatever and all that kind of stuff. But then, like I said, at the weekend when it's just me, my wife, and my cat, I want to not talk for an hour and a half and just sit there silently reading or playing video games or whatever. And I think some people would maybe guess that, but knowing that I have that kind of ability to really switch has been a big thing for me over the last couple of years. Pretty much I'm coming up to two years at Candour now. And being part of Candour has really opened me up to the SEO community. Being part of this podcast, obviously, knowing you guys and going to Brighton and all that kind of stuff has been a big shift for me in terms of like, "Oh, people actually know who I am and care about what I have to say," and things like that. It's, confidence isn't necessarily the right word, but that kind of ability to talk with people and not feel completely intimidated. Like speaking with John Miller, or Martin Split, or Mordy from Wickes, or these people who have hundreds of thousands of people following them on their podcasts, and social media, and all that kind of stuff. They're just people. We're all in the same boat. And some people are more confident in certain situations than others obviously, but when you're a big conference like Brighton, you're all in the same boat, essentially. And you're all having that similar experience. And that was really a moment for me of like, "You know what? Everyone's probably feeling nervous or tired or whatever. So, why not give it a go? Why not say yes?" But then also, take an opportunity to say no, and take some time out for yourself. And like you said, getting to know yourself and understanding where that comes from has been a big journey for me over the last few years for sure. Now, I'm very aware that that also ties in almost perfectly to me turning 30 since I'm going to be 33 in September. And that sounds like a relevant thing as I get older.
Tazmin: It does happen to most people quite naturally. But when people say, "I struggle to spend time with myself to be self-aware." Imagine somebody that was really close to you, your sister, your brother, your best friend came and said to you, "You know, I'm getting married to this person." That, you would spend time with them. You would want to get to know them. And you'd get to know them not by fleeting moments, but you would sit, you'd have conversations, you'd go out for dinner, you'd go and have a drink with them. And I say to people, "Do the same with yourself. Sit down with yourself and ask yourself questions because you would ask that person questions. Maybe it would be, what's your favorite film? But as you've got that relationship deepened, it may be more deeper questions. So, those are the questions you need to ask yourself." And I'd like to give your listeners some actionable points as we go along rather than it just being a vague conversation.
Jack: Yeah, definitely.
Tazmin: Journaling. Sit down with yourself and just write. And do it. There's no set way. Some people like to write in the morning and just get everything out of their head. That's fine. Some people like to journal at the end of the day with some very specific questions. That's fine. Some people would want to buy one of these reflection and diaries where you answer set questions each day. Whatever it is that works for you. But start putting it down on paper. I started with writing at the end of the day about something that had gone right, something that had not gone so right, and what would I do next time I was in that situation. And you call me cotton. If I think back 12, 15 years ago, I had such temper. Such a temper.
Jack: I just can't imagine angry Tazmin.
Tazmin: I have thrown a lunchbox at my doorstep once. I wasn't aiming for it. But unfortunately, the lunchbox opened and the apple did fly out and it broke at it. But it was a really difficult time. We were going through the divorce and I just couldn't hold it together and it was, "Okay, I yelled at the children. Why did I do that? What triggered me? What would I like to do next time?" And it didn't happen overnight, but it took persistence. It took resilience to keep going through that. And then when I was through all of that, and time then it was, "Okay, what do I want to do with my life?" It was journaling on those sorts of things. Yes, journal, any which way you can, any which way that works for you, but always, always, always be kind.
Jack: Definitely, definitely. Let's turn the lens to the exterior now, shall we? And think about how we can channel that confidence? Maybe we've been doing some journaling. We've been getting to know ourselves. How can we then transform that and exude it externally as well?
Tazmin: I would say be comfortable being you. I, actually, a long time would think, "Why does anybody in Brighton want to talk to me?" And then here I am, a little Asian woman of a certain age and do I need to buy a hoodie in a bright color with something printed on it?
Jack: There's no need to personally attack me like that. That's very cool.
Tazmin: And I could look at people you and think, "Oh, he's confident. Maybe if I wear a Dungeons and Dragons shirt, which I have no knowledge of what that even means, I don't know this thing, what, will I be more confident?" The thing that I am, was unconfident about which, was my age, actually. That's the thing that people are drawn to me for saying, "Oh, well, she's different. You know, she's got a few years of experience behind her. I'd rather listen to her than somebody much younger talking about this stuff that is life." Acknowledge a thing that makes you, you, and be okay with that. Dress in something that makes you feel good. There'll be certain colors that make you feel better than other colors. There'll be certain styles that make you feel more comfortable than others. Whatever it is, dress in a way that makes you feel good. Some people have rituals, so for me, before we started that podcast, I don't usually think too much about stuff before they happen. I'm not one to dwell until it's too late. I think I'm in it now. I've got no choice. I'm going to do it. But just before we started recording that podcast, I don't know if you noticed, but I disappeared and I phoned my husband and for me, that was that little normality that I needed before I went back on, back into the room.
Jack: Sarah and I had the opposite reaction. We're like, "Oh God, where is Tazmin? Oh no, we've lost Tazmin. Oh no, the podcast's going to start. We need Tazmin." We had the opposite reaction.
Tazmin: I shouldn't do that. I should have told you that I'm just taking out of the heat. Posture. Posture's another thing. Stand tall, with your shoulders up, head up, shoulders back lower, the dub. It is about taking up that space because when we are feeling unconfident, we are likely to shrivel down, become small. Become as large as you possibly can. That helps. And smile. And that helps me when I was doing the mindfulness sessions. Let's just smile. Everybody will think I'm having a time here and they'll be okay with it. And it makes you feel better. It's about raising that energy. Whatever helps you raise that energy in yourself, do that. Pep talks, music. In sports world, especially in team sports, they will have pep talks before they start, when things are going wrong. Give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that. Reframe the situation. Again, going back to the stuff that we did at Brighton. We were having conversations with people. That's all we were doing. And if you can reframe it in a way that makes the scary bit as small as possible and they're not so, the thing that you're keeping hidden down, as big as possible like your own knowledge. Do that.
Jack: Speaking of Pep talks, I don't know if you've ever seen Michael Sheen giving speeches to the Welsh football team.
Jack: Oh, I will send you a link lessons. I will put a link in the show notes because he's absolutely incredible.
Michael Sheen: I hear the voices singing. Speed your journey boys. Boys back. A mission. Singing with one voice, a song of hope, a song of defiance, a victory song. It floats through the valleys like a red mist. It rolls over the mountain tops like crimson thunder, a storm, a red storm is coming.
Jack: Michael Sheen, one of my favorite actors, fantastic Welsh actor, and he has such Shakespearean gravitas to the way he's delivering the thing. And he does a whole, "The breath of Wales is against your neck. You will fight for this nation." And he makes this huge empowered, epic speech. And I felt hyped up afterwards. I don't care about football. I'm not Welsh. I have nothing to do with this thing. Like you said, that pep talk, that moment of just fist-pumping, like, "Yeah. I feel so energized and enthusiastic. I can do anything right now, and I'm nothing to do with this event at all." Something as simple as that.
And internalizing that, and thinking about that, or like you said, speak to someone you know who can give you that boost. Like you said, call your spouse, call your partner, a friend. Go away for a second. Have a quick chat with a colleague or whoever it is that can make a huge difference in those final moments beforehand. Because I remember, and again, I was speaking to my fellow Candoulorians about this, they asked, "Oh, where do you get your stage confidence from?" I was like, "I was in a band for years." I've been in a couple of bands for most of my teenage years into my twenties.
And then again, later in my twenties as well. I just got all that out of the way when I was an awkward teenager and now going on stage doesn't bother me particularly. There is a big difference between doing a talk by yourself. And then, I think, I felt a lot of the safety with I've got a guitar in front, I'm playing bass, so there is that separation there already. I can always fall back on. I am not the front man of this band. I've got the guitar with me. There's two other guitarists, and a drummer, and a singer. There's five of us on stage. Or at the same time having that backup.
But they're almost like a support group in that way, right? You're all talking beforehand, like, "Okay, guys, we can do this. Yeah, we're going to be great. We all know the songs we've practiced. We've done this thing. We're going to do it. Yeah, we're going to do it." That kind of thing. But I think having that moment of opposite of that, a calm, a moment of just thinking about, "I've been here before." Or if you haven't been here before, what's the worst that could happen? You're probably not going to die, or lose your job, or anything serious. It's going to be, oh, you made a fall of yourself for half a second. Most people will never even notice or remember, and you just start your sentence again, or make a little joke about it, and carry on. That's such a big part of that stage presence speaking thing for me. Whereas, I don't know if you've noticed Tazmin, I turn everything into a joke. That is my coping mechanism is everything is a joke. I will be sarcastic about stuff. And that is my way of exuding that confidence, to one of that phrase.
Tazmin: And that's fine. You've recognized that about yourself and you probably will know when not to go too far. But what you were saying about words. Words are so powerful. Thoughts and words are so powerful. They are the power. When you are in that situation where you need that extra boost, it is that thinking. Some people like doing star jumps, some people like doing twist pulse. Whatever it is that that will help you raise that energy, do it. For me, a lot of it is reframing. It's not even about me. That talk wasn't about me. The words may have come from me, but the talk was about helping the people in that room. When you take the focus away from you personally, and make it about what you can do to help the other person or people, that takes some of that edge off. I mean, for some, it might make it even scarier. It depends on which way you look at it. But it's not about you remembering every line, you being pitch perfect, you being in a certain way. It is about adding value, sharing knowledge. And for me, that makes it more grounding, it makes it more authentic. I'm here to help and if something I say helps you, job done. If something helps one person, job done.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's a huge thing. Like you said, reframing is such a powerful tool and something I think a lot of people, myself included, completely underutilize or don't even know exists. I'm glad we're able to share this with the listeners and things like that. That is something, I think, is a really actionable thing a lot of people can take away from this is think about it. The classic thing is like, "Oh, think about the audience naked," or all of the stereotypical, cliche stuff. But actually, thinking about what would you want to hear from you as an audience member?
I always think about this when I'm writing, whether that was writing music in the band, or writing fiction, running Dungeons and Dragons to take it in a silly direction. What would I want, as a player, if I'm running it as a dungeon master, what would I want to experience as a player? If I'm writing something, what is the kind of book, or screenplay, or YouTube video, or podcast that I would like to experience. This podcast, for me, I get people on to talk about things that I am interested in because I think if I'm interested in it, then chances are other people will also be interested in it.
And the reason you are here, Tazmin, is because I think you have something interesting to say that is unique in digital marketing and SEO, and we're having this conversation. This is the kind of podcast I'd like to listen to. Like Azeem, from Azeem Digital Asks, you guys at SEO Mindset, Marketing O'Clock, I could go on and on. Mordy from the SEO Rant, SERP's Up with Crystal and Mordy as well. All these amazing SEO podcasts have different takes and different angles and things that. And when Mark asked me to be part of the podcast and take the lead and become the full-time host of it, it was very much like, "Right. I'm going to make a podcast of the thing I would want to listen.
I'll have people on I want to listen to because I want to be an engaged host and have a conversation with you. But also, if I was a listener, this would hopefully be the thing I would want to listen to." And that's always been the mindset I've gone into with creative stuff, if that makes sense. Even professional stuff as well. Thinking about it from an SEO perspective, me working in an agency, if you're working freelance, what do you think the client want? Put yourself in the shoes of the client. Is this the kind of thing that makes sense? And that could come down to the tone of voice, the style of present. Does it make sense to do it as a spreadsheet, or a Google Doc, or a presentation, or whatever that can have that reframing that just shifting your idea and thinking like, "What would the other person, what are the other people getting"? This is not all about you. Like you said, getting out of that internal side of things and thinking externally and being, "What does the audience want from this? This is about them. This is about the people receiving this information." That is a hugely, hugely powerful tool.
Tazmin: Social media is something that, for the longest time, I thought, "I can't create a video. I don't want to be on social media." Until I flipped it, saying to myself, "Okay, is what I'm going to record potentially going to help someone?" If the answer is yes, I'll record it. If it's no, I don't think on my professional platforms, I've ever posted a picture of my lunch. Nobody needs to know what I had for lunch.
Jack: I want to know, what did you have for lunch, Tazmin? I want to know now.
Tazmin: I had a cheese and cucumber sandwich.
Jack: Good choice, good choice.
Tazmin: For me, maybe, it's the age as well. I ask myself, "Is this content something that I would want my children to have access to?" They've gone-
Jack: Yeah, that's interesting.
Tazmin: Yeah. When I'm no longer, they can watch my videos if they want to hear me rambling on. "I wonder what mom would've said? Oh, let me just check."
Jack: "Oh, turns out she did a podcast on that exact thing, so we can go and check."
Tazmin: "I wonder what mom would say to me if I wanted some more confidence." But then I'm not saying that people shouldn't post pictures of their lunch. I quite like looking at people's lunch and what they're doing on holiday. I don't want to do it. I feel uncomfortable. Again, it is about to get over that lack of confidence on posting on social media, that's how I reframed it.
Jack: That's a really interesting... I think we're talking a lot about SEO and stuff, obviously, this is what this podcast is about, what you and I have experienced in, but this applies to so many different aspects of life. And I think that's why it's such an interesting thing to talk about because something as small as, and I have thought about this so much, and like, "Should I post Twitter? Should I post to Instagram? Does anybody care at all? Should I just not bother posting at all and just disappear off social media?" All that kind of stuff. And yeah, understanding what you think you are contributing. Whether that's insight, whether that's humor, whether that's industry value, whatever it is, professional stuff. But understanding that motivation is key, right?
Tazmin: Yeah, and even within an organization, if you feel that you've learned something new and, "I think it's useful, but I'm too shy to tell the rest of the team, tell the organization." Just think that it may help someone. Reframe it to build the courage to put your hand up to say, "I want to run a training event for the team." Or, "I'd like five minutes in the team meeting to share this new thing I've learned." It's not about the thing. The other one thing that I read recently, which has helped me as well, except that the first 25 times that you do anything, you'll probably be rubbish out of that. The first 25 times that you create a reel or whatever it is, just blitz those first 25 quickly, and then you'll get to learn about what makes a good reel, or a good presentation, or a good whatever it is. But don't not do it.
Jack: Yeah, I think, no, that's a huge thing I learned when I was doing a lot more writing when I was younger. For those of you who don't know, I've wrote comic books back in the day and I've done voice acting and stuff. They were my early creative side of things. And the classes and stuff that has a very, very similar thing. Your first draft is always going to be rubbish, so be prepared for that. Never, ever, ever, ever think about publishing your first draft. You should always don't even start thinking about publishing or anything like that, here on third or even fifth draft sometimes, depending on the length of the creative output, obviously. If you're talking a hundred thousand words, maybe don't do five drafts by yourself, maybe you should probably get other people involved. But I think that principle still applies, right?
Jack: Understanding that you're not going to be instantly great at everything or anything most of the time straight away is a huge learning curve. And I think that's a big thing in SEO as well because there is that pressure to just be good at stuff. Just to understand, oh, here's the latest tool, or the latest technique, or the latest study, or whatever that's come out from the SEO industry. You want to dive in straight away and you see all these other people posting. Going back to social media, you see somebody has done this amazing thing, and they've harnessed this new tool to do a cool thing, and you have no idea what's going on. I know a lot of people feel like, "What about GA4?" and I agree. For example, I've seen a lot of people doing really cool stuff with things like GA4, and a lot of us have no idea what's going on. Thankfully, I did training in BrightonSEO, so I'm feeling a little bit more confident.
Tazmin: But tying it back to the confidence thing, if you've done a first draft and accepted that this isn't going to be published, give yourself a pat on the back for doing your first drafts. Again, it's much close-
Jack: That's a huge thing.
Tazmin: -to keep on recognizing that even if you think it's gone wrong and it's failed, it hasn't. You've learned something. You've done the work. You've gone through the process. You've built up stamina. You've built up resilience. You've strengthened your mindset. You've done so much in terms of personal development and learning. Don't ever dismiss anything that you do.
Jack: Yeah, I think that's hugely, again, hugely powerful in understanding that. I think that was a big thing for me to, again, learn that process and understand whether it's the first draft or the second draft or whatever it is. Most draft of anything never get finished. Just finishing anything creatively, professionally, or anything like that is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. I think, again, totally tying back to being self-aware and being and understanding your own confidence, there's a time to pause, congratulate yourself, and think, "You know, I did that." And that kind of thing. Maybe it's not the best thing. Maybe it's just the first draft. It's not going to be a game changer overnight, but finishing a thing is a huge, huge accomplishment. Just full stop.
Jack: Let's talk about how do we deal with having a bit of a wobble in terms of confidence? What are some techniques? And I think we're going to touch on a couple of things you talked about in Brighton, thinking about how we can take a pause and think about ourselves and think about that reframing and all that stuff.
Tazmin: I did do this in the mindfulness session in Brighton. And what was really lovely was on day two, there was a gentleman in the audience, front row, who came and said to me, "I've heard you talk about this method yesterday. I was a speaker yesterday. I had a wobble. I used a technique. It helped me. I got on stage, did my talk, and I just came back to say thank you." And surely, I was like, "Oh." I was so touched that something I taught helped somebody and he felt it enough to come back.
The methodology is B.R.A.V.E. When you are having a wobble, there's certain things that are happening in your brain, which means that your heart rate is increased, your inner chatter is going wild and you don't feel that you can even think. And the reality is that the thinking part of your brain hasn't got as much being delivered to it. It's all being delivered to the body part of your brain, your emotional part of your brain. The first thing I suggest to people is take some long deep breaths. And for me, what works is, hold and breathe in for four, hold for four, and exhale for more than four. The important thing is that the exhale is longer than the inhale. The B of B.R.A.V.E. is breathe. And once you've done that a few times you'll feel that you are calming down. Your body is calming down.
The R is reframe, which we've talked about. And what the reframe starts doing is calming down your emotions. Using conference as an example, you're making the conference small and you big, reminding yourself that you're an attendee. You are part of what makes a conference a success. A conference is just a collection of people much like you who are going through similar things as you. Whatever the scary thing is, make that small, reframe it. What's the worst that can happen? If I'm not enjoying all the talks or not enjoying being here, I can just go and sit on the beach, or sit in the quiet room, reframe the whole situation. The A is affirm or affirmations. And for those people who say they don't do affirmations, like I used to say, we are affirming things about ourselves all the time. It's usually pretty negative and it's not serving us. I'm with all these people. I don't know anything. They all seem very confident. I'm not confident. I don't belong here. You get the gist. Affirm things like, "I'm in control. I can do what I want. I'm one of the attendees. I know what's right for me. I will figure it out." Do whatever it is that is going to calm your emotions down. We said B for breathe, R for reframing, A for affirming.
Now, I would usually do all of this with my eyes closed, which helps with the next step, which is the V, the visualization. Imagine what it would look for you to be confidently part of that conference, or that meeting, or that presentation. How would you be standing? What would you be saying? How would you be walking? What would your facial expression be? How would you be interacting with other people? With visualization, we are almost make-believing in our minds of what good, in your opinion, looks like. And the brain then knows that, "Oh, so this is what Tazmin's going to do. This is how she's going to approach somebody that she's never met before. This is how she's going to walk on a stage." And make it as perfect as you want it to be. In a way that it is somebody who's about to give a talk. You picture yourself walking on stage, people smiling at you, you're remembering everything you want to say, walking around the stage without falling over, because that's a big fear, isn't it? You walk, thinking, "I'm gonna fall."
Jack: Don't trip up the stairs.
Tazmin: Yeah. Visualize the best-case scenario, Now, hopefully, by that time with the breathing, the reframing, the affirmation, the visualization, you'll be a lot calmer. Then do the last set, which is the E, what you want to do is energize yourself now. Because you want to now go to battle, or go on the stage, or go in and have a chat with that scary person that you thought was scary but isn't so scary now. And this is where that outer game of confidence comes in. You stand tall, shoulders back, head up, smile on your face, whatever it is. Again, if you are going on stage and you're at backstage, you might want to do your start jumps, but you want to get yourself to that energized state, that would be helpful in that situation.
Jack: The last little step of energizing there, I think is a really interesting point to end on because of, like you said, the rest of it is bringing everything back to reality, visualization, breathing, reframing, affirming yourself, calming yourself down. But then having that final step of, now, you need the energy to go and do the thing. I feel a lot of people are aware of take a few deep breaths, visualization, all that kind of stuff. Doing them separately is a concept, I think, is a thing a lot of people have heard of. But that final step for me is the one that I'd never really considered part of that same course of actions, if that makes sense. That kind of, "Oh, yeah. Now I'm calm." Do you want to go on stage with that calm energy? Do you need to slightly shift yourself and think well, now you are feeling comfortable and confident? Now, is it time to really be like, "And here we go." And suddenly really pump yourself up and feel, like I said, have that little rousing speech with yourself, that pep talk or with someone else, and that final moment to re-energize yourself. Because I find, you often get a lot of speakers who come on with a lot of energy, or you get some speakers who come on with very low energy, and there are two very different approaches. They're positive, negative to both sides. And I think the perfect example being me and you, Tazmin. I think you are, like I said, you have a far calmer onstage, on-podcast presence. And I think people would interpret me as much more high energy and much more. I'm doing a lot of hand movements as I'm talking about this, listeners. Tazmin, basically, hasn't moved her hands for the entire podcast. They're very different. I'm physically moving about, I'm bouncing all over the place and Tazmin is just calm. And it's two very different approaches.
Tazmin: One thing that just sprung to mind. Tony Robbins, very high energy, big conferences, however many days he runs them. And you see him jumping up and down, you see him bouncing around the stage. There is a speaker on YouTube called Sister Shivani and I used to listen to her a lot because she helps me with the whole meditation, how to get into that space. She's a mathematician by profession, but she's an amazing speaker. I would travel to watch her speak.
What really surprised me was on YouTube there is an hour session of Tony Robbins and his wife with Sister Shivani on it. He's really into her and she came onto the session and said, "I know everybody's had a very energetic morning, but now it's time to calm down." I have to watch all of it. But it just shows that there is space for both. And you should be comfortable with whatever energy helps you. Because you are you, I'm me. You work, I work. And would work for different people. There'll be some people who are attracted to your style of delivery and not to mine, and that's okay, and vice versa.
Jack: Yeah, I think you're totally right. That's part of that understanding yourself. And you being yourself, just in general, is understanding which side, maybe, you're somewhere in the middle there. There's a whole spectrum of options there. We're not just pigeonholing two options as you got to be a Tazmin or a Jack. There's plenty of spectrum in the middle there that go either way. And do a different approach to that presentation you need to do to the directors of a company, or the proposal you need to do for a new client, or the talk at a conference or a podcast, whatever it is.
There's loads of different scenarios there where you've got to understand where you are. Send to yourself and really understand where your audience is. Put yourself in those shoes, part of that reframing process. And come through, and like you said, that final stage of what kind of energy do I need to bring. Maybe you're a bit, like I was saying earlier, maybe you're able to bounce between the two. Maybe in a professional setting, you think a calm approach is much more appropriate, but if you are hosting a party or doing live comedy or whatever it is, you need a completely different energy. And some people, I think, are very adaptable in that way as well and are able to shift their energies. And I'm very jealous of those people, personally. But I think that's a really key thing to understand yourself and what people are hoping to get out of this. The energy to bring to that as that final step.
Jack: Well, I think that's been a really, really interesting conversation. I hope listeners, you take away the B.R.A.V.E. technique and a couple of things we've been talking about for the last 45 minutes or so. I'm sure there'll be plenty of actionable stuff. Like I said, I will link to everything in the show notes, so I will. If you want links to anything, to find Tazmin, where can they find you across the internet, Tazmin? Where's the best place to find you and the SEO Mindset Podcast?
Tazmin: The SEO Mindset Podcast, we have our own website. Just Google it, you'll find it. We're on Twitter. Sarah's more keen on Twitter. I'm not. I'm learning. I'm navigating it. Don't quite understand it all. I'm more on LinkedIn. There aren't that many Tazmin Sulemans. Just Google in any, or any. And then there's a tazminsuleman.com website.
Jack: Brilliant. All the links for those will be in the show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk, so you don't even have to Google it. You can just click on the show description there and you'll find a link for everything listeners. You can go and hire Tazmin as a coach. You can go follow on all the social media stuff. And go and subscribe to SEO Mindset as well. It's a fantastic podcast you should be listening to. Basically, it's more conversations like this with a lot of other very interesting people from the SEO world. And yeah, go and check it out. I highly, highly recommend it.
Tazmin: It's a lot of fun.
Jack: It is, it is. Lovely. Well, thank you so much for coming on Tazmin. I know we've been working on this for a long time and I was a terrible podcast host, where I just completely ignored my LinkedIn messages for three months. But we've here eventually. And I'm so happy to finally have you on the show.
Tazmin: I'm a patient woman, dear.
Jack: Thank God for that.
Tazmin: It's been really useful and I think these sorts of conversations are really needed in the industry, which is partly why Sarah and I do the topics that we do in the SEO Mindset Podcast because you can tell someone to develop their career. And they can go and take more tech courses, and this course, and that course, but there's a huge element of it is your own personal development, your people skills, your listening skills. And that's what Sarah and I collectively are trying to plug that call that we believe that is there. In order to help people progress in their career, maintain their work-life balance, whatever that looks like for you, and generally full-set in their mindset, in their mental health. Because that's what it's all about, isn't it?
Jack: Yeah, definitely, definitely. And if you're wondering who Sarah is, we've referenced, she was actually on the podcast many moons ago back in episode 23 of season two. We talked about imposter syndrome back then. And like I said a couple of weeks ago, you can hear me, Sarah, and Tazmin, and a few of our lovely guests in the audience at Brighton talk about dealing with conference anxiety, anxiety at conferences. Lots of Sarah, lots of Tazmin, and lots of me all crossing over each other. And hopefully, fingers crossed, we'll be doing it again in September coming up as well. You'll hear a lot more from the three of us coming up in the future as well. Well, thank you for coming on, Tazmin. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Tazmin: Mine has been as well. Thank you so much.
Jack: And that wraps up this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Tazmin as much as I did. And hopefully, you've got a few tips, tricks, and techniques to feel a bit more confident in your both your personal and professional lives. I'll be back next week, joined once again by the fantastic Mark Williams-Cook. That's right. We're back with our SISTRIX With Candour Live Streams next week, so please do tune in to the SISTRIX YouTube channel next Wednesday at 2:00 PM, British summertime. That is because we're in summertime here in the UK. And that, of course, be next week's episode on the podcast feed if you're unable to tune in live on YouTube as well. Mark and I will be doing our usual SEO recap news and all that kind of stuff with SISTRIX next week. In the next couple of weeks, I've got plenty of other guests lined up as well, and very exciting conversations coming up. And yeah, please do stay tuned. Thank you so much for listening, and have a lovely week.