Past Events

Its the best for a reason
In an ideal world, we would all want our children educated by the best that the public or private education sector could offer. We would all want our health checked by eminent surgeons, and our meals cooked by a celebrity chef. it is always something of a surprise to me when I see training firms spring up from nowhere who have jobbing actors, out of work musicians, and a range of other seemingly unrelated misfits all claiming to have acquired overnight a lifetime of business presentation skill and experience. Like the millions left to me in an undiscovered account in an African Independent state, it is of course rubbish. The saying goes, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, then the chances are, it is a duck. There are competent training firms that, like us, offer a good service, based on knowledge, skill and experience. We all try and offer something better, different and unique, but we are all competent. I hope you come to us for your training, if not, I hope you go to someone else competent. Most of all, I hope that when you pick your options, one of them is not a disguised duck.
Sun, 17 Feb 2008 11:09:00 +0000

The swinging watch
Several people know that I am a hypnotist as well as a trainer. I acquired this week a gold pocket watch and chain. I do not know anyone who uses this method of inducing hypnosis, but I am often asked. As I have just done some lectures, have a couple more to do and generally love speaking, it seemed a good, easy to use, easy to carry prop. I can produce it, talk about it, and people will remember it, and link my words to their interpretation of the significance of the watch. Think about that. One simple, cheap, portable visual aid. Compare that with flash animated, graphically designed slide that competes for attention with the speaker. Sometimes less is more. Simple but effective props, leaving the speaker centre stage to impress with the words, content and delivery. The moral then is be comfortable with simple props, but don't let them take over the message. Happy speaking!
Mon, 05 Nov 2007 00:49:00 +0000

Enjoy your art
Despite the weather, an organisation I am a volunteer for managed to have an all day event without a drop of rain. Many attractions were booked to appear and one of them was Adrian Smith. Several times he has won the Strongest man in Britain title, come 5th in the world, been a finalist for Mr Universe and appeared on programmes such as Gladiators. All in all a busy man with rippling muscles. His strong man act was fantastic. What was also fascinating was Adrian himself. With all this success, he had time for everyone, chatted and joked with me in the public address tent and generally was a charming and interesting man to meet. He said that after he had retired from competition, he missed the buzz, the adrenaline of being 'on show'. He liked the attention of performing. This is why he had set up his 'act' and he enjoys every minute of it. He was not aloof, not arrogant, he just recognised that pleasure he got from his 'art'. I had complete empathy with every word. With speaking and presentations, I feel the same. I enjoy the thrill of speaking to an audience, of building the rapport with them and getting the message across. Unlike Adrian, it does not take 25 years hard work in the gym to begin to gain the results you need. Speaking in public is an art form, but one that anyone can learn and begin to develop easily. Building confidence, dealing with nerves, adding the skills and practical techniques are within the grasp of anyone. We cant all be the strongest man in Britain. We can all be good motivational speakers. In both cases an amalgam of dedication, practice, determination and training is required. Begin today, reap the rewards tomorrow.
Tue, 24 Jul 2007 17:11:00 +0000

Wimbledon, Rain and Plan B
Wimbledon is getting a soaking as I write this. The thunder and lightening ensuring that there will be no play today. These things happen. The ball boys and girls will cover the court and all will be well. A plan is put into action that is sufficient to ensure nothing terrible goes wrong. Simple analogy coming up which I am sure you have already worked out. In your presentations, some events are like rain at Wimbledon – predictable, and others are rarities. Ensure you have a plan B. For those of you using PowerPoint – remember that it is a tool to help you, not a substitute for a good speaker. Maybe your plan B is to prove that – just speak without it! Enjoy your speaking.
Tue, 03 Jul 2007 16:35:00 +0000

Happy New Year to you all. Traditionally a time for new resolutions, I actually think resolutions is the wrong word. Resolutions implies hardship… Stopping smoking… Cleaning the car more often… Chores, impositions and negatives. Instead of resolution… Try thinking of active positive choices. Gaining new skills, enjoying new challenges, speaking with confidence. The last one of course might need some help… But that is where the fun begins! Decide to take a course…. not just any course, but one which you will enjoy, and which will lift your speaking to a new level. As it happens, we know of courses like that and would welcome you contacting us. Whether you do, or not might depend on a number of things…. What is certain is that every time you speak you can open or close doors. Every time you speak you can influence, impress and inspire others. Every presentation you give, whether impromptu, prepared and with PowerPoint or not…. every presentation is your shop window. Let people see your skills, admire your talents and listen to your words. Enjoy your speaking in 2007.
Wed, 10 Jan 2007 22:43:00 +0000

We coach a winner for hospice funds
Sometimes we get to meet some wonderful people. A lovely gentleman, in the true meaning of the word, approached us looking for some help to give a public speech for the first time in his life. This was the last stage of a competition and was proving to be a daunting prospect. With the outright winner getting £1000, Matt was determined to make the best possible speech. He had already decided to donate every penny to a local children's hospice. We decided it was nearly Christmas and we would love to help. We donated to Matt a training course place, a little bit of extra support, and on the night, both our principle trainers went along to the competition final to offer our full support. One brilliant speech rendition later, and I am delighted to report Matt won the competition, the hospice got their donation and we left feeling absolutely great! Not everything needs to be money-driven, and Matt had worked hard for this good cause. We were delighted to have helped him achieve not only his personal ambition, a huge amount of confidence and of course this lump sum for the children. It also goes to prove that whether it is for competition, part of a wedding speech or indeed any occasion, a little training makes a huge difference. Congratulations Matt on winning this competition – enjoy your success. The full story is here where you can see a picture of Matt and Margot holding the trophy.
Mon, 04 Dec 2006 17:01:00 +0000

Face the Fear and do it anyway!
Sometimes, despite the best training, the most enthusiasm, a measure of hypnosis and a supportive training course, those nerves will not fully let go. This happened recently when progress was substantial for one of my trainees, but she was still not quite conquering the anxiety. Exactly how we overcame this to a very successful conclusion is a long story but briefly we did it with impromptu speaking, patience, and a great deal of facing the fear, and achieving step by step improvement. The reason I mention it here is almost as a tribute to the trainee, and to motivate others who think they can't. We all know the Henry Ford Quote "If you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are absolutely correct". However, you can add to that, if you work hard enough to achieve the change you want, it will happen. If you want the change so much you are prepared to work through your discomfort, then the result will be yours. Congratulations to my trainee who worked through the fear and emerged the other side with the confidence to apply the skills and to enjoy speaking. It can be done…. So just get on and do it!
Sun, 08 Oct 2006 17:51:00 +0000

Control the environment
Recently in the UK, the temperature has reached record heights. As might be expected, this communicate with an increase in the breakdown rate of air con units, a shortage of bottled water and a number of presentation events where people were melting. This last situation may be not within your immediate control with regard to the cause, but certainly you can consider the effect. How would you feel if you were in the audience? Is your carefully honed and crafted presentation being ignored because of the personal discomfort of the audience? As the speaker at the front, you are given the ascribed status of a god. Take control. Get more windows open, arrange for more water, have more comfort breaks and create more movement opportunities. In other words, you can win over the audience to a degree by being practical. Announce what you are doing and why. 'Because of the heat I intend to…..' By taking control, you will win respect, increase the comfort of your audience and therefore they will listen more attentively to your words. One final thought on the subject of heat. If the best anti-perspirant really cannot cope with your body's attempt to cool down…. consider carefully the choice of clothes/colours etc. A huge spreading stain on a dark shirt is more noticeable that on maybe a white or light coloured shirt. If you can, take a lesson from the sporting world. During the rest period in tennis, often the players will change shirts. It refreshes them, and avoids sticking etc. A spare shirt/blouse might just add to your personal confidence and comfort.
Thu, 03 Aug 2006 17:31:00 +0000

Putting your foot in it
World cup fever is amongst us. Matches, reports, interviews, comments – its all happening. Clearly there is a great deal to talk about. Sadly the dexterity of the feet with the ball is not matched when foot and mouth come together. The papers are littered with 'gaffes', Comedy shows are awash with material at the moment quoting or mimicking the players and managers. It is open season! Now when you earn thousands a week, I guess it is less important to you. But just imagine if players were trained to speak with some element of skill. That would enhance the interviews no end. In some sports players are coached as it is as important to get the support of the public as it is to achieve in the arena. I have been asked to coach up and coming motor racing stars for example. The reason is simply because you are never judged solely on your specific skill, but as a whole package. Big money sponsorship deals go to those who can be evangelists for the product, ambassadors for their employers and communicators to the ever demanding media world. For most of us, the weekly salaries are more modest, our goals more business orientated and our speaking more local then global. But we are still judged as a whole package. Remember that next time you are invited to speak or give a presentation. It is not enough knowing the content, you need to know how to deliver that content. It is better to be in demand for your communication skills than to watch as someone else attracts the attention, the promotion and the glory!
Wed, 21 Jun 2006 23:44:00 +0000

Excel Business Start-Up 5/6th May
We have spent the last two days at the Business Start-up exhibition. We spoke with hundreds of people over two days and generally enjoyed the event. We were pleased to have been asked to deliver a seminar on Public Speaking and that event went very well apart from one problem. We filled all the seats. We filled all the standing area at the back and sides, and still over a third of those who were queuing did not get in. I am sorry for those people, and at the same time honoured that so many people took time out to come and learn how they can improve their public speaking. Every seminar is a learning event for the speaker. My original plan A had to be modified as there was a lot of outside noise which restricted me to the two static microphones. The lighting made the audience hard to see past the first few rows, and timing of pauses after funny comments had to be judged visually rather than audibly. There are two ways of looking at these issues. The first is the half empty, panic-struck thinking that nags you into believing it is all going wrong, and the other is the half full, this is fun and I know I can rise to the challenge thinking that makes life so interesting. Of course in reality the audience never knew that I changed my structure and words to suit the environment as they only ever heard one version of my speech! I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking – try it for yourself. Meanwhile, those who were there and want to know more, please pop across to where you can read about our courses, ask for information and join our newsletter.
Sun, 07 May 2006 10:12:00 +0000

Don't Spoil that special day
Whether it is your wedding, or you are one of the special people involved, it is a day to remember. For many people it is one of the few occasions when they will have to speak in public. For these people, this is a one-off event that can suddenly take over their thoughts. I get emails mentioning words like terrified, frightened, panic-struck. This is not how that special day should be! For most of those people, a full-blown course is not the best answer. Instead I would suggest a shorted half day one2one session that concentrates on that specific speech, writing, editing, practising delivery and gaining confidence. A half day is a long time when it is individual coaching. A lot can be achieved, allowing the rest of the wedding preparations to be enjoyed. As we approach the most popular months for weddings, why not have a chat with us to see how we can ensure that the whole day – including the speeches – is wonderful, memorable and perfect. Click onto our site and start to put your mind at rest.
Sun, 16 Apr 2006 10:04:00 +0000

Competitions for 2006
I mentioned in an earlier posting the structure of competitions – club to area, area to district and district to National Finals. In March I was competing at District for the South East. Sadly, that is where the competitions ended for me this year. Having made it to the finals in the past, it would have been great to do it again, but pretty unusual as well. On the day, my speech was not chosen to go forward. I suspect virtually all of you will choose not to speak just for fun in competition. That does not mean there are not lessons that can be learnt from the process. Preparation is vital if you are going to succeed. For some that is a longer process, for others shorter. Learn what is right for you. You want to be rehearsed, but not just give a recital. Find the balance where the structure is in place, but the filling has an element of impromptu or spontaneous speaking about it. That way your presentation will be clear, logical but retain interest and vitality. Remember content is important but so are the delivery skills. Don't neglect one in favour of the other! For all presentations – have fun. Enjoy your speaking.
Sat, 15 Apr 2006 16:16:00 +0000

Dare and make life easier!
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. (Seneca the Elder). I got sent this lovely quote today and it struck a chord. Public Speaking is the number one fear for so many and at the same time, so many fear other people speaking in public! How many times have you been virtually bored to death as a speaker drones on and on? I would guess that if you consider the speakers you have enjoyed listening to, that they all did something slightly different. Maybe an interesting prop, a good story, something enlivening about their style. If you get into your speaking you will enjoy it. If you enjoy it you will be a better speaker as you will dare to be different. Try it and prove me right! If you struggle with speaking in public, visit and enquire about one of our courses. Our training can change your life.
Mon, 06 Mar 2006 21:17:00 +0000

Competition getting closer
To those who are terrified of public speaking, the mere suggestion of speaking competitions might horrify them. However, once the fear has been overcome, competitions are a good source of fun, practice and in some cases acknowledgement of your skill. I was fortunate in 2004 to win Club, Area, District and National Championships for impromptu speaking. 2005 saw me get to the District Finals having won Club and Area. I am nervously looking forward to 2006 competitions. So far I have got past Club and Area and the District competition looms ever closer on the 13th March. Success there takes me back to the National Finals and into a very small club of people who get to National more than once. This year it is prepared speeches where my focus is.
Thu, 02 Mar 2006 21:21:00 +0000

One opportunity – make it count!
I took a call today from a freelance trainer looking for work. It was fascinating to note that in the first 60 seconds, he said 'umm' 9 times. That is almost once every 7 seconds. He may be a very good trainer, he may be nervous at what is almost cold calling, but nevertheless the chance of him securing work with me was severely damaged in that first minute. It is said that you can get or lose a job interview in the first 30 seconds. So it is with presentations. If you have not impressed your audience and inspired them to pay attention, you will be wasting your time. This is why one of the things we teach on our courses is specifically related to the opening part of your presentation. Make that first impression count and you can be forgiven errors later on. Blow the opening and you may never get your audience back on side. training courses are available for beginners as well as those with experience. Visit Ian
Thu, 02 Mar 2006 17:24:00 +0000