John Dawson, public speaking coach and trainer

John Dawson

John Dawson

I’ve been helping people develop public speaking confidence for 19 years. I’ve worked with over 7000 people who had public speaking anxiety and worried about being the centre of attention. I work mainly through leading public speaking courses and as a one to one coach. It’s a wonderful job that I have and it’s deeply satisfying.

When I first came across this approach I loved the freedom it gave me personally as a public speaker and how the work helped build my confidence. I trained in Speaking Circles in 2000 and I have co-lead the European Facilitators Group for over five years. We’ve recently become The Relational Presence Network to support the work around Europe.

Why I do what I do

If public speaking feels more possible and natural - what could people do with their lives? Public speaking confidence means we can become active participants in this fleeting life rather than self-critical observers. Fundamentally I want to help people get the most out of their lives. And for me, there is a clear reason for this.

My life was changed when my mother committed suicide four days after my 21st birthday. She never really found her mission or her place in life. And it made me see how fundamental self confidence is in leading a fulfilled life.
My previous work as the founding editor and publisher of The Spark Magazine in Bristol for 15 years and now in public speaking both have their foundation in helping people find ways to change their lives. So my mother's death, although incredibly painful for me at the time, has brought forth a huge positive transformative energy through my work. It's now thirty nine years since she died. My work isn’t about death or bereavement, it’s not about sadness at all, it's about the incredible gift of life and what we can do with it. For these reasons, helping people become confident as public speakers and take their place in the world is at the very heart of my work.

training and background

• ACT two day training 2019
• Leadership of annual European Speaking Circle conferences 2011-2019
• Warriors for the Human Spirit Training with Meg Wheatley 2015
• Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Course in Lincoln 2011
• The Fundamentals of Appreciative Inquiry Course in Lincoln 2010
•  Spirituality and Leadership course at Woodbrooke Quaker College 2010
• Leadership in times of Chaos with Margaret Wheatley at Schumacher college, 2010
• Transformational Learning Workshop with Michael Carroll 2010
• Common Purpose Leadership Course 2008-9
•  Founded and edited The Spark Magazine 1993 to August 2008
• Two year Diploma in Group Facilitation IDHP
• Diploma in Health Education from Bristol Polytechnic and devised training for HEA drugs course
• Trained as a counsellor at BADAS
• Honours Degree from Keele University, a long time ago!
•  A proud holder of a Bus Conductors Certificate, my first job in Bristol and I didn't have a clue where I was going on those buses!


I am married to Clare who is wonderful and has supported me like no other person. We were both born in the same hospital in Huddersfield but only met in Bristol years later!

I've been a photographer since I was 12. In July 2018 I put my first photography website together and it's had some lovely reviews. My photography is all about trying to see the beauty in the everyday and sometimes a cheeky way of looking at things!

Rebecca Burton

Bex photo.jpg

It's been an absolute pleasure to work with John since I took over from his previous colleague, Annie Frere towards the end of 2016. I love being part of a team that truly improve peoples lives. It is the most inspirational and fulfilling work you could help to do. I assist John with making all the bookings on his courses and the administration involved with running the business. Above all, I help to put people at ease from the minute they make their first enquiry as I know that this in itself is a huge step. 

I live in Bath with my husband and 3 children and enjoy making the most of living in this beautiful city.  I split my time between working for John and a Bath based charity called 'I Can and I Am' who run motivational talks in secondary schools headed up by James Shone.

I hold a 2:1 degree in Natural Sciences from Durham University and I have been involved in a variety of exciting small businesses since graduation. Photo coming soon!