Browse Category: Making speeches

13 Ways To Look After Your Speakers

How to make speakers love your conferences, events and you!

You want a good, funny, competent, low maintenance speaker for your event?
But is your event a good event for your speakers? And are you a good event organiser for speakers?

This list is not exhaustive but if you get these things right you will stand out already! This list of how to look after a speaker is based on my good, and bad experiences, and those of a number of friends, colleagues and clients.

Read this post and others over on my Medium channel.

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: peter@peterbotting.com.

Gove Vote Leave

Conviction politician Gove puts country ahead of his leader

Conviction politician Gove Goes for Leave

He did it. He actually did it. Deputy Editor of The Times. Friend, ally and Lieutenant to David Cameron on so many issues. Reforming Minister within a Cameron government. And, stealing shamelessly from Andrew Neil, he has decided to go out on a limb and put his country first.

When I work with aspirant MPs one of the questions they prepare for is “If there was a conflict of loyalty between the local association, the party and the country – how would you decide/vote?”. Gove had a fourth element – his friend and ally and leader of years. He chose well – he chose what he thinks is best for the country.

This makes his decision more worthy of applause. And his reasoning is entirely upbeat and contrasts with Project Fear coming out of the Remain camp. It’s also bloody articulate! This must be one of the best arguments for Leave yet. If only the OUT campaign could think up an advert that took 1500 words and turned them into a series of 30 seconds clips….

Being a conviction politician is easy in selections or when it’s about small stuff. Standing by your convictions against one of your best friends, a long term ally and your party leader is a different beast. Cameron even persuaded him to stand and the Party machinery would have been appropriately helpful. This was a big thing. Respect.

It must be tricky between them now. Things WE Do Not Talk About must be a brand new list for them after years of plotting, campaigning and working together.

What is REALLY fascinating though, is if Gove will end up debating David Cameron on live TV. Out vs In. Leader’s Speechwriter vs Leader. Confidant vs CEO. Consiglieri vs Don. Adviser vs Advised. Debate coach vs Debater. I will buy popcorn for that!

It should (hopefully!) ensure that personalities are kept out of things and that actual issues (of sovereignty and  economic sustainability amongst other things) will be debated. It will, without any doubt, be worth watching and probably be the defining debate of the referendum.

I have always been slightly – I don’t know – almost disappointed in Michael Gove. In the way you are disappointed in a Ferrari that only goes at 200kmh or a people carrier with only 5 seats. I have always thought he could do even more, be even more, achieve even more. He is not average by any measure. His writing, as you will soon experience, is brilliant. I want him to pull on his wellies and get out of the shadows – fighting and articulating for the United Kingdom.

 

For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.

I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union.

It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.

But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling.

The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions.

Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves.

In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world.

By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders.

Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. Razor wire once more criss-crosses the continent, historic tensions between nations such as Greece and Germany have resurfaced in ugly ways and the EU is proving incapable of dealing with the current crises in Libya and Syria. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe” and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves. All of these factors, combined with popular anger at the lack of political accountability, has encouraged extremism, to the extent that far-right parties are stronger across the continent than at any time since the 1930s.

The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age.

The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five litres) to the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres).

Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgements on data protection issues hobble the growth of internet companies. As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter.

But by leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish. Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down. We can show leadership. Like the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back, we can become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.

We can take back the billions we give to the EU, the money which is squandered on grand parliamentary buildings and bureaucratic follies, and invest it in science and technology, schools and apprenticeships. We can get rid of the regulations which big business uses to crush competition and instead support new start-up businesses and creative talent. We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe, helping developing countries to grow and benefiting from faster and better access to new markets.

We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country. Our economy is more dynamic than the Eurozone, we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule? On the contrary, the reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose us leaving is they fear that our success outside will only underline the scale of their failure.

This chance may never come again in our lifetimes, which is why I will be true to my principles and take the opportunity this referendum provides to leave an EU mired in the past and embrace a better future.

 

TEDMED stage Palm Springs

Emotion and relationships in TED Talks

Emotion and Relationships Move People.

This is one of my favourite TED style talks. For a few reasons. Firstly, how I first saw it. A guy who had worked on and off for me for a few years sent the clip to me via Facebook with the message “This woman reminds me of you.” I watched it and had to dry my eyes. Who would not want to be compared to this woman?

There are many reasons why this video has been viewed over 5 million times. Rita Pierson is very funny. She has something to say. She is real and she is authentic. She is not selling anything.

But I don’t want to talk about her delivery – although it is really great and the talk is worth watching for that alone. I want to talk about her content. Because she is a coach and so am I.

She talks a whole lots of sense – but the bit I find really excellent is where she says:

“…We know why kids don’t learn. It’s either poverty, low attendance, negative peer influences… We know why. But one of the things that we never discuss or we rarely discuss is the value and importance of human connection. Relationships.
01:07
James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships. Everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult. For years, I have watched people teach. I have looked at the best and I’ve looked at some of the worst.
01:33
A colleague said to me one time, “They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it, Case closed.”
01:44
Well, I said to her, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

Becoming a SpeakerCoach

I didn’t set out to be a teacher, let alone a SpeakerCoach. It was supposed to be a temporary thing – so much so that I only reluctantly agreed to be trained as a SuperLearning/Suggestopedia(NLP) Coach in Germany by the Institute where I worked. It certainly helped my coaching and made my coaching “stickier” – but pieces of paper don’t make you a good coach – they just stop you being a crap coach.

Over the last 24 years I have been coaching individuals and groups. A lot of that has been in the corporate world in a corporate setting and much of the challenge of coaching and teaching people has been

  1. getting them to relax and
  2. getting them to like me.

This dual task is tough in a corporate training room and even tougher in a group where there are 12 – 15 egos and agendas bouncing around the place. I did this in the German corporate world for over 15 years, so in a different culture as well. It was often intense and always very demanding but it was a brilliant bootcamp/ training ground. It honed my radar, extended my ears and sharpened my eyes to spot early signs of when people were not receiving, understanding, absorbing or agreeing.

On the plus side, at least my clients want to be taught – teaching a class of kids who have to be there, like Rita does, fills me with dread. I have spoken to classes of 15 and 16 year olds at Pimlico Academy in London and, believe me, I would rather be interrogated by a Select Committee or a PLC Board than spend any more time in front of those scary kids!

Building a Coach/Student relationship

So back to Rita’s point. Building a teacher/student relationship. It’s tough in limited time in a corporate setting and tougher in groups. I now work slightly differently as much as I can. Firstly, I prefer to work one on one with clients which enables much more open and frank discussion, coaching and feedback. Secondly, I prefer to work at my home on the coast in Sussex or in London. This is very informal and helps the client to relax and be themselves. Often clients will come to Sussex the night before and stay in my guest room and we chat over a drink and a meal the night before. This really helps us to understand each other and definitely contributes to the success of the coaching.

With some clients it is easiest to work via Skype. This is usually done with them in their homes and me in mine. It’s not perfect – but it is 1-2-1 and informal so it is pretty good. And it avoids plane fairs and travel time.

But in all my coaching, I don’t just talk or broadcast. Nothing is “off the shelf”. Everything is customised. I have some standard courses – but the coaching moulds itself around the client, our pace, the mood of the day and their requirements. I am often provocative and I push, cajole, tease and demand. Because I like my clients and I really want them to succeed and I hope that they can feel this. But I still want to be more like Rita!!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. Feel free to comment or share.

I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach. If you have an “idea worth spreading” give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you maximise the impact of your talk.


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