Wednesday 8 August 2018

Speaker Training Workshop, Saturday 15th September 2018, Edinburgh

Even though I have been speaking in public for many years now – representing charities or speaking at conferences or in churches – I still do occasionally get nervous if I am asked to speak in an environment that is somewhat out of my comfort zone! This happened a few weeks ago when I was asked by friends to speak at their wedding. I have never given a wedding talk before and although I felt really honoured to be asked to play such a special part in the wedding day, I was a little nervous as to whether what I would present would be what they had hoped for. 

My brief for the talk was a little challenging  in that I was given the fabulous text from John 10:10 - about life being lived to the full - to speak on and just 7 minutes in which to share my thoughts on the subject! I wasn’t sure that I could do justice to such a text in 25 minutes – let alone 7 – and so I needed to hone my thoughts and consider the key thing that I wanted to say? This took some consideration. Consideration is good...

Did you know that the shorter the talk or presentation that you have been asked to give – often the more amount of time is needed for its creation? Woodrow Wilson (28th President of the USA) once said:

“If I am to speak for 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”

For any talk that you are asked to give you should be prepared to give the time to construct it carefully and thoughtfully. For any presentation, it is imperative that you begin with the end in mind; what key message do you want your listeners to take away? 

I knew that my friends were passionate about hospitality and community. I felt that these themes were also key to the passage and so using them and the word “Gather’, (that I had asked a friend to design into a picture as a wedding present that could hang alongside the newly - wed's dining table), I constructed my talk, about living life to the full, around these ideas. It is impossible, in any length of presentation to explore every angle of a subject, therefore it is always key that you decide clearly what you will include and what you will leave out.

A talk needs to take your listeners on a journey. From the moment that you begin to speak it is as if you take them by the hand and lead them from one place onto another. The more thought you give to that journey and the more carefully you create your talk, the easier it will be for them to follow were you lead.

If you have ever wanted some public speaking training and would like to know how to prepare a talk – long or short – I am hosting a one day speaker training workshop on Saturday 15th September (10:30am – 4:30pm) in Edinburgh.

Throughout the day I will take you on a journey.

 Initially, you will be introduced to some of the key features needed for a presentation that will inspire your listeners to hear what you have to say. We will then open up the fact that authenticity and vulnerability are the key traits of an effective communicator and we will look at what it means in practice to present yourself effectively and honestly in order to engage your audience.  We will spend some time focusing on the personal stories we carry that will be important to hold in focus when we present a talk to others.

We will learn that the word ‘Why’ is actually the starting place when we want to motivate others support and engagement. A good communicator never manipulates, focusing on ‘Why’ helps us to inspire.

The use of story will be a dominant theme throughout the day. We will discover that story is the medium that our brains respond to; we will learn how to tell a good story.

Finally, we will learn how to create a story - based talk, a presentation that will keep an audience engaged from beginning to end.

The workshop will be held in my home. I have found this works really well in providing a relaxed and warm environment. Lunch, homemade cake and good coffee will be provided! You will also receive ‘Cue Cards’ to take away that will aid you when writing your own presentations. The cost of this one- day course is £125. On the day there will be the opportunity to book a further session where you can present a talk of your own and put into practice all that you have learnt and where I can also help you to hone your presentation.  For more information or to book a place please e-mail

And to Ruth Donaldson – Cameron and Mark Cameron – HUGE congratulations on your marriage! Thank you for asking me to be part of your beautiful day, it was fabulous and so are you!


1 comment

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