Speech Making Guide

Be an entertaining speaker

I wish there had been a me or the service I offer when I was starting out.

I used to envy speakers who were entertaining. And I noticed they were admired, sought-after and successful.

But I was daunted by the challenge. Terrified sometimes. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it.

So I set out to find the secrets and see if I could become an entertaining speaker. And I did, as my engagements diary now shows. I am in demand at conferences, at business meetings, as an after-dinner speaker (and I even do pure stand-up comedy from time to time).

And take it from me:

  • Most people can master the techniques
  • A good number can get ahead of the crowd
  • You don’t have to be talented (I wasn’t, though I was a comedy writer in my youth)
  • It can be done surprisingly quickly (and sometimes it needs to be done in a hurry)
  • It is often about context: not every occasion funny, not every laugh a belter
  • Get a co-pilot before you go solo (you don’t have to be self-taught; I can teach you all you need to know to succeed)

So where could your entertaining speaking take you?

How do we make that happen for you?

And when do we start?

 

Me and the team can support you with a bespoke service to help you become an entertaining speaker. We won't make you do anything you don't want to but the three elements you might consider are:

  • Humour
  • Story-telling
  • Interactive audience participation

Get in touch for more details and book your first free
session (Face-to-face, on the phone, however you want for your challenge).

We now run taster sessions and workshops. Get in touch if you want to join one near you or your organisation wants to have an in-house session.

 

Use my enquiry formto contact me.

Look at my brochure

Read the book, see a review of it

 

Frequently asked questions

Q: Surely the most entertaining speakers never need your
sort of coaching and support?

A: Wrong. There are a few who do it on talent alone but you
would be surprised how many top entertaining speakers have had the sort of
coaching and support I offer. Most of them would like us to think they are
naturally talented and didn’t need any help. They get their training and support
behind closed doors. And they don’t want you to know how they got on because
you might think less of them and might even compete with them. So when you see
an entertaining speaker in your own field, I bet they had some good training and
support. I know most have (I’ve been involved as a fellow-traveller or as their
supporter).

 

Q: Ok, so I want some training and support. Why can’t I just join a public speakers forum?

A: There are many of these and they are excellent at what they do – allow people interested in public speaking to network, see each other in action and learn from their peers. That’s not what gets people to the front of the crowd. When I started out, I joined a well-known speakers club but I didn’t like the fact that I did all my learning in front of others (and made my mistakes there as well), and that the “others” were not a real audience but a group of enthusiasts who all wanted to be up on the podium instead of me. And their “expertise” was well-meaning but mediocre. Do join one of these for the company and practice. But is you want to get ahead, get individual coaching.
Get practice in front of real audiences, no matter how humble they may be.

 

Q: What about fees for speaking?

A: Here’s a terrible admission – I prefer to perform for a small fee/expenses only basis. It’s partly because I have retired; but it’s mainly because you get a much friendlier welcome and the speaking is better received and more enjoyable. If they pay to hear you speak, it becomes a job
and they are often colder on the night.

 

Q: I have my set piece but find I am not in demand as a speaker.

A: When I started out as an academic (where you have to publish papers in good professional journals to survive) I struggled to get into print on a regular and reliable basis until I went on the best training  course there was – where they taught me to write for an audience (the editor of a journal). Before that, I would write an article and try to flog it. A bit like sending the same CV to lots of employers; not targeted therefore useless. Same goes for entertaining speaking –
you need to know your audience and tailor your performance to them. Each time.
I can help you do this in general and specifically for different audiences
(though I expect you to come with the essential information).

 

Q: What sort of problems do you find?

A: When someone comes for help, I usually get them to show me an excerpt from
their favourite/current presentation and ask them what they think is the
problem/why they have come. Problems are either with the material or the
performance and I find people think the wrong thing is the problem: if they say
it’s the performance, I usually find it’s the material, and vice versa. We
can usually cure the problem

 

Q: I have been tempted to go to acting-based organisations that offer help.

A: They may have the answer but they will tend to over-diagnose acting as the problem/solution. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If I think acting is the discipline we need, I can supply just as much as is needed, no more. So I won’t be tempted to over-cook the acting element if
you don’t need that degree of thespianism.

 

Q: There are many experts out there offering advice, checklists, formulas and solutions to my problems. Why should I choose you?

A: There are some great people out there with a good deal to offer. But there are a lot of sharks as well. Look at their credentials: have they the requisite skill set (Writing/performing/structuring and coaching/teaching) and have they practised the art enough? Have they the
experience? Are they mature enough to be able to relate to people from all walks of life (The high-flying academic, the professional person, the business executive, the best man……..)?

 

Q: It is an emergency: how can you help?

A: Depends on the emergency. If it’s a short deadline, phone may be the only
way to sort things and I won’t realistically be able (or want ) to undertake any
major changes. But tidying up, reordering, adding structure etc may help, as
may advise on what to include or leave out. I might also be able to advise
on to pitch your material at you audience (by, for example, cleaning up the
racier stuff). If the emergency is that you have an important deadline and are
stuck with what to do: I can help you identify material, knock it into shape, guide
your rehearsal etc and help you quality control the end product. And
face-to-face is best for that if we can.