Is public speaking really that scary?


Some wise words from Viv Groskop, journalist, writer, and comedian ……..

“…The thing is, the more you practise, the less the fear gets in the way. People who speak confidently in public are not without fear. They just do it in spite of the fear and with plenty of respect for it – because it’s normal and natural. You learn to work with it.”

Well said!

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of zpeckler on Flickr

Don’t bang on!

2732719781_78d43746a1Moses welcomed the Ten Commandments in less than five minutes.

Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in jail, took less than five minutes to mark the end of apartheid.

Winston Churchill’s  “Blood, sweat and tears” speech took less than two and half minutes.

So, don’t bang on! OK? Don’t bang on!

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of Patrick_Down on Flickr

Professional speaker secret


“If you aspire to be one of the best in your field, ask yourself every day – How can I do this better?”

…the great Patricia Fripp, award winning speaker, executive speech coach and sales presentation trainer, who delivered two training courses I attended, one in San Francisco, U.S.A., the other in Sydney, Australia .

Bonus secret – there’s some great stuff on her website.

Lean in to life’s opportunities!


This excellent article from Forbes magazine, by Mary Kopczynskicalls on women to lean in and accept the opportunity to speak at events, a  sentiment I heartily support.

I am also reminded of the need for both men and women to lean in and accept more of the opportunities of all types that life presents.

All too often in the past, I for one, have held back too often, when the answer was, lean in and accept the opportunity!

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of jCarlitos on Flickr



What’s your dream for your next presentation?


It was so good a speech that several years ago we all celebrated its 50th birthday. So good, it helped change the world. So good, it stirs your soul just reading it.

“I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

So, with all that in mind, what are your aspirations for your next presentation?

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of UIC Digitlal Collections on Flickr

Speaking: Don’t leave your introduction to chance!

magician's tools

Aaaaaaaaaagh! This is a big one. Really big!

Never, ever, no not ever, allow anyone to introduce you as a speaker using their own words, no, no, no!

In my early years I had all sorts of introductions , and never once did they lift my heart or my audiences! And thats what a good introduction should do, make your audience keen to hear your messages, and you the speaker even more keen to share them.

Your introduction should make you bounce onto the stage!

So, write it yourself and if you get stuck give me a call. There is a secret formula. I will give it to you. No charge.

I promise you it will set you apart as a speaker and get you connecting with your audience well before you’ve even opened your mouth ….and thats magic!

Bring on your witnesses!

Old Bailey (Scales of Justice)

“A witness is someone who has, who claims to have, or is thought, by someone with authority to compel testimony, to have knowledge relevant to an event or other matter of interest. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know about the matter before some official authorized to take such testimony.”

Its not just in courts of law that you need witnesses to support your case. Every presenter needs to bring on their witnesses also. Audiences need evidence before they make their minds up.

Give them facts, statistics, anecdotes, images, photos and quotations.

Win your case!

Seven steps to speaker heaven!

Business team of two men and one woman

 If you are looking to really connect with your next audience, take these seven simple steps and you will be well on your way!

1. Define your purpose. A short simple statement that points the way for you in your preparation, and your audience in your delivery.

2. Profile your audience. Its all about connnecting with them. How can you do that if you know nothing about them? Do some factfinding to help you prepare .

3.Map your structure. Don’t just go on a walkabout. There are loads of templates you can use to give your presentation shape and direction.

4. Add drama and impact. No-one wants black and white anymore. Give your presentation colour, e.g. humour, examples, stories, and vivid language.

5. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. Don’t be a dummy and practice in the final. And don’t believe any good speaker who tells you he/she doesn’t rehearse. It’s just not true.

6. Deliver with style. Be confident.You’ve done steps one to five, thats better than most speakers already, dress well, look the part and give them both barrels.

7. Review and revise. Seek feedback. What went well?, not so well?, learning for next time etc. Make a note and improve.

Thats all it takes! Honest.