Browse Category: Coaching

Quick Tips: 6 Steps to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

For many people, public speaking is not easy. For some people, it is simply terrifying. Speaking in front a large crowd, particularly of your peers, has been likened to the trauma of buying a house, going through a divorce or going to the dentist. Of course, it is far worse when your career depends on it and the stakes are high.

Taken from a post I wrote over on CityAM (found here) titled ‘How to overcome the fear of public speaking’ here’s the summarised, Quick Tips version covering six easy bullet points to conquering your fear of public speaking.

  1. Bring real value.
  2. Keep practicing.
  3. Don’t calm down.
  4. Know the audience.
  5. Tell a story.
  6. Breath. Pause. Smile.

If you need some help to conquer your fear of public speaking, to ensure your next speech creates real impact and triggers action – learn more about my SpeakerCoaching service, or get in touch today to see how I could help you call: +44 777 550 4299 or email:

Debate Prep for the Leaders Debate

Leaders Debate

At last the Great Debate or the Great Bore-a-thon is with us. Guy Bentley has a useful rundown in City AM on the format and the logistics for the night, who stands where, who speaks first etc.

Debate Prep

Debate prep and coaching is standard these days – avoiding the gift of the gaffe is the first priority. But how to win? Or will they all just want to survive?

What will the party leaders be thinking about today while they are being coached and during last minute debate prep?

David Cameron’s debate plan?

Cameron would be happiest saying nothing apart from listing the government’s achievements, talking about his “long term economic plan” and then repeating both in his closing statement. He is helped by the fact that he has the last word and his podium position keeps him away from the schoolyard. He will want to keep above the fray sounding like the only grown up amongst the squabbling kids. Cameron’s biggest risk is sounding patronising and only talking about his Government’s quite remarkable achievements and policies and forgetting that policies are only relevant if they improve the lives of people. He should have a little rule – only use the word policy if you have already said the word people 4 times.

Ed Miliband’s difficult debate

Miliband will want to do several things starting with not being called David and not being asked about David. His is the hardest gig tonight – not least by his central podium position that will make him look like the bullied kid in a schoolyard fight. He will try hard to ignore those around him and look straight and earnestly at the camera. Luckily for him, he is not as weird as his opponents paint him but enough to undermine this success strategy. He will want to ignore his dirty texting and pending fling with the SNP which is supposed to be Jolly Top Secret and definitely not spoken about in front of SNP hating Scottish Labour or the Press and the Conservatives who love the sordid affair.

Ed has other issues though. The SNP, the Greens, Plaid and the Lib Dems all need Labour voters and will all be attacking him for not being left enough, not grown up enough, not having had a real job outside Westminster, taking Scottish voters for granted, screwing up the NHS in Wales and being a remote control Union toy (amongst other things) – while his own team will be dreaming of David.

I agree with Nick – or do I?

Nick Clegg will dream of his first debate outing. Now people know him too well. But. He speaks well and sounds reasonable and can do grown-up. One to watch out for. Again.

The Ones who will hate Ed tonight but who will happily sleep with him after the election

The Greens will be the indignant, ideologically pure and socialist and green hybrid trying to steal votes from the Lib Dems and Labour. They risk being snappy and angry and would do better to sound grown up, reasonable and responsible.

Plaid has a huge chance. They will be desperate to make the most of it. But they risk being tea break time for everyone outside Wales.

The SNP will be focused on winning big in Scotland – post-election niceties will be determined by post-election numbers. Nothing nice about tonight.

Debate Farage

Farage will try to ignore the carefully selected TV audience of 200, reflecting the UK’s ethnic, age, gender and social make-up, and reach out to the pubs around the country without football on the TV. Knackered from being The UKIP Face and stuck in a heavy suit between Nick and Ed, he also has a problem with sweating under the big TV lights and two hours of studio heat may cause him trouble. He desperately needs grumpy Conservative voters so he may be awfully nice to Ed and just rant loudly at Dave. His position means that this will produce lots of shots of him, Ed and Nick looking at Dave – great images that support the Conservative’s accurate point that if you vote for UKIP or the Lib Dems you get Ed as your Prime Minister.

eam Peter Botting CPC2014 Curryphoto

Conservative Party Conference – guest post by Danny Bowman

A Guest Post by Danny Bowman who is interning for Peter Botting.

This week in Birmingham was my second Conservative Party conference and the last conference before the General Election in 2015.

We arrived on the Saturday – Sam, myself and Peter. We joined the councillors and activists, the blue rinse brigade, the ambitious/naive/thirsty CF’ers, the lobbyists, charities, businesses and the media. The Hyatt was busy from the first night with old friends meeting up, everyone offering their shiny new business cards (I did that a lot too!) and most people enjoying a good drink. Or two. 🙂

The first day saw the annual “Hate the Torys” march – happily I didn’t hear of any violence this year. We didn’t get in the hall as Peter was focusing on the fringe events and it was my job to get him from one event to the next – which was not always easy as he keeps meeting people and I have to chase him to keep to his schedule.

Mark Reckless’s defection actually invigorated the conference and the mood seemed very buoyant from day one – and then improved. Dunkirk spirit etc.

Then saw the start of the real action with major speeches from all the Ministers. Theresa May, George Osborne, William Hague (his last speech to conference) and David Cameron were always going to be the big ticket speeches for conference. And they were all top quality. Theresa and George were serious people giving serious speeches about serious jobs. Boris was very funny and very cheeky – teasing both Theresa May and David Cameron. William Hague was classic William Hague – funny, self-deprecating and grown up. David Cameron gave the best speech he has ever given – most notable about his speech though was the huge difference between him and Ed Miliband. One is Prime Minister material – one is not. In fact, if Miliband was a Conservative it is doubtful that he would even be a PPS.

The final day saw David Cameron’s speech started with referencing the successful Scottish referendum then moved onto a fierce warning to British citizens fighting for Isis/ISIL as being “enemies of the UK”. He teased and praised William Hague, showed real anger about Labour’s attacks on his attitude to the NHS and outlined a series of significant tax cuts for people earning less than £50 000 including no income tax for people earning the minimum wage.

This was my second conference. I was working instead of playing. I drank less and listened more. This conference was very different to last year. People were much more accepting of mental health and accepting of me. In fact, for many of the people I spoke to, mental health seemed an absolutely normal and non-stigma issue to talk about.

We managed to find time to go for a curry – at Sam’s insistence. It was the best curry I have ever had. I asked for the mildest curry while Peter and Sam tried out something much hotter! Even Sam rated his curry as the tie-first place curry he has ever had and he is quite fussy and critical about food!

eam Peter Botting CPC2014 Curryphoto

Articles published in City A.M. this week

City A.M. articles for this week.

CityAM Screenshot2

I’m really enjoying writing for City A.M. each week, I hope you are enjoying reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them. Here are the articles I published this week, be sure to check out what I published last week in City A.M..

Here are my articles published in City A.M. this week:


Stalled career syndrome: What to do when your job’s going nowhere

Are you bored at work? Passed over for that promotion? Find yourself procrastinating or spending time surfing the net to make up office face time? Feel like you’re not getting anywhere? Then you may be suffering from stalled career syndrome.

Two ways to really annoy your boss

Want to annoy your boss? Why wouldn’t you? By simply and consistently annoying your boss you could leave those boring office days behind, forget the early mornings and that rubbish, crowded commute and spend the rest of your days at home in your underwear watching daytime TV. Whoop whoop.


Here are my articles published in City A.M. last week

See all the articles published on the blog this week



Keeping your speaking knives sharp: Executive Coaching for the seasoned speaker

This is a guest blog from a friend and a client, speaker coach Denise Graveline –  It was emotional for me to read. To say the least. 

Denise GravelineKeeping your speaking knives sharp: Executive Coaching for the seasoned speaker

When I shared the news with my clients and readers that I, a speaker coach, had hired Peter Botting, also a speaker coach, to get ready for chairing a conference, I got some pushback from the curious. “Why would you do that?” they wondered. The implication was that I’d somehow admitted I wasn’t as good as I make myself out to be. After all, I’ve been coaching speakers for nearly 30 years, at first within large nonprofit organizations and the U.S. federal government as a senior official in the Clinton Administration, then for the past 10 years in my own consultancy. I’ve put speakers in front of the U.S. Congress, on the TEDMED stage and on, and on national television. And I’ve done the same myself, delivering industry keynote speeches, testifying before Congress, speaking in the British Parliament.

One might consider me, after all that time, to be an expert without having to stretch the truth. A seasoned speaker, certainly.

Of course, Peter had the right comeback for me: “It’s a poor chef who fails to keep her knives sharp,” he said, dismissing the critics and wonderers. I didn’t want to stretch the truth. I just wanted to stretch myself.

I wrote about being a seasoned speaker and getting coaching from Peter on my public speaking blog, The Eloquent Woman:
A trainer who seeks no training after she hits ‘expert’ status is just sharing the expertise of long ago, over and over again. I wanted to set the bar higher for myself. Peter struck me as a professional’s professional, someone who could add value to the skills I already bring to the task. He agreed that I should push beyond rote and strive for exceptional.Then I got what I asked for, and I clutched….Despite knowing better, I acted as any speaker might when pushed. It’s been a while since this shoe was on the other foot, and you’ll be relieved to hear that I’m just like anyone else on this score.
My coach listened, advised, nudged, and teased out the needed results. “I want to stretch you. Quality needs to be pushed,” he’d say, reminding me that “good enough seldom is,” a challenge to the ambitious lion if ever there were one…I knew without question that I’d picked the right coach. He was doing just what I’d asked him to do, and my feeling turned inside-out was something I could control. I went back to responding, rather than reacting, to the challenges. I decided to say “yes” to my coach, and even better, “got to yes” with myself. Instead of running from the power, I ran toward it. At one critical point, my coach reminded me that “turning yourself inside out is a bit like spring cleaning–you find old treasures and assets almost forgotten.” I’d been in search of grace notes and mindset and themes when I decided to seek coaching, and I found them…..
In Washington, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a speaker coach or media trainer. I’ve hired or worked with many of them, and have heard them say the same things over and over again. It’s a cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf, robotic method of coaching. Peter takes a personalized approach, uncomfortable yet powerful precisely because it focuses on you as a unique speaker. Far from merely spouting tips and advice, Peter listens and reads with care, catching nuances and seeing gaps I miss. His ear is especially sensitive to what an international audience will hear, a real advantage as I head into this global conference. But it’s also good at catching woolly thinking and flabby language.
He’s also good at pushing and insisting you do better, saying, “Good coaching can change my clients’ careers, their reputations, their income and their lives. So I apologise for not apologising to my clients if I am sometimes tough with them.” Peter’s seismic approach to speaker coaching can make you feel as if there’s earth moving under that once-stable place you were standing. You can view that as a danger, something outside your control, and run away from it. Or you can view it as the early rumblings of your own power as a speaker, and run toward it.
You, too, may be an experienced speaker with a big speech or speaking task coming up. Perhaps you’ve just been elected an officer of your professional society, or started a new management role, one that requires presentations to the board of directors or to external audiences. You might, after speaking in smaller halls, be about to give that TEDx speech you’ve always dreamed of doing, or be tackling an important keynote or AGM speech. Your friends and colleagues will tell you this is a sign of your expertise, and it is. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use some coaching right about now. Peter makes the case for 1:1 coaching to improve your performance and notes something he learned as a tennis coach from a pro:

Ian Barclay coached me in Johannesburg. He was Pat Cash’s coach and I was a young, ambitious tennis coach totally focused on learning all his best coaching techniques and skills. He said that teaching beginners, like he taught Cash initially, was all about skills and just 5% about what’s in your head. By the time Cash was playing serious professional tennis, the ratios had reversed and it was now at least 95% head and the rest skills. If you are helping people with what’s in their head – it’s personal. Huge trust is needed and that’s best done very carefully and sensitively without others listening in.

Peter says 1:1 coaching is for people who want to win.That’s the kind of coaching I chose to keep my speaking knives sharp. Here’s how I did at the task for which I was coached, chairing an international conference of speechwriters in Brussels last year. What will you use your coaching with Peter to advance?

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