factory, organisations, lorries, working in an organisation

public speaking confidence for organisations

I run a lot of courses in-house around the country for organisations that want to help their staff build confidence around public speaking and help them become authentic presenters. This is very different approach from a normal presentation skills course.
This is not about how to structure a presentation, or just giving tips about breathing or standing but looking at the real fundamentals of building public speaking confidence:
understanding audience blank faces and why that is really important, learning how to connect authentically, calming down when you are the centre of attention, slowing down, being able to think on your feet and being present.
I offer two day courses because I think it’s hard to learn what you need to learn about changing your mindset, building confidence and connecting to an audience in just one day. Changing how you feel about public speaking isn’t something you can do by taking notes.

I'm very happy to chat with you about what you want and to see what the right mix would be for your organisation.  You might need a specific solution for your organsation and I'm happy to talk that through with you as well.
Contact me on 01225 425300 or at john@speaking-infront.co.uk

people coming from your organisation

If people are anxious, sometimes people feel more at ease having some training away from the organisation.
So people come on my courses that I run for the public (about 40 courses a year) and I invoice your organisation. It's very simple.
If you want to arrange this kind of provision for your organisation please contact me or Rebecca to discuss the different options.

in-house courses

Taking Your Place in the World two day public speaking course

This is the course that I run all the time for the public and is aimed at people who don't like public speaking or giving presentations and who want to build their public speaking confidence . Lots of organisations send individuals on the course. I'm very happy to run this within an organisation but because it deals with fear and being the centre of attention, its really important than no one is compelled to come on this course.

It’s not a standard presentations skills course, it’s not about structure of a presentation or how to prepare a powerpoint

The fundamental aim of this course is how we can re-think public speaking to make it simpler, how to create authentic connection with your audience and how you make public speaking more natural.
The two day course is suitable for:
• people who want to get better at public speaking • people who want to connect more with the audience with ease. • people who have some stage fright

This course helps you to re-think public speaking and to explore the fundamental skills we need to speak in front of an audience with ease.
We often think that audiences are bored, judging us or we are not getting through. But that's a misunderstanding that can radically affect the performance of a public speaker. We need to re-think audiences and being the centre of attention so that you can change your relationship with audiences. Learn how to connect authentically with the audience. 

Please contact me to discuss your needs on 01225 425300 or by e-mail john@speaking-infront.co.uk

re-thinking presentations two day course

Two day course on how to be more audience focussed, have authentic connection with audience members and also create better presentations. This is tailor made to the needs of your organisation so its essential to build a good idea of what you want.

There are 40 million PowerPoint presentations done every working day around the world: how many of those are simply reading out slides? What would it mean to re-think presentations and bring them fully alive?  This course will help you to re-think presenting by bringing simplicity, integrity and passion to your presentations and helping you learn about the best ways to connect with your audience.  This is not a standard how to prepare a presentation course. It’s different. It’s about authentic connection. Can we be ourselves and be conversational in a presentation?

  • This course is NOT for you if you are really, really scared of public speaking. Some fear is ok of course. (taking your place in the world is better if you are scared)

  • There are 6-8 places only on this course. This ensures that everyone receives great attention.

  • The course includes:
    -understanding audiences and what they want
    -working with presence, why silence/pauses are so effective for presenting
    -simplifying the presentation process
    -powerful beginnings
    -the importance of stories
    -audience interaction and more presence

  • 2 half hour sessions of one-to-one coaching are also offered at no extra charge with this course. These can be taken both pre-course and post course. This helps you get the most out of the course.

  • You will need to bring a presentation/ a presentation idea or some topic that you want to explore for five minutes. It doesn't have to be totally prepared but it would be great if the subject is personally important to you (that includes work related presentations). We will use and develop this presentation through the course. It doesn't have to be a PowerPoint based presentation but of course it can be. The pre-course coaching session with me will help you answer any questions you might have.

"Thanks again for a really amazing two days, we all commented today that it was one of the best training courses we have ever done"
Travel Foundation

nighttime, office block, modern offices, view from the outside

participants' quotes

My team of 7 did John's course - we laughed, we cried, and we are better public speakers as a result. I strongly recommend it, and we plan to run this course again for other employees in the future.
Vicki, PZ Cussons Beauty Ltd

What did you like about the course/facilitation?
It was a wonderful team-building exercise for our work team. I felt closer to the people in the session in two days than I had in six months of working with most of them. Again, while on one level this was about work and public speaking related to what we do, on another level it was about who we are as people and how we relate to each other, which is incredibly valuable to workplace dynamics.
Thinc, New York

Organisational review of the impact of a two day course that I did for a charity

We had an all-staff meeting last week, and to help them put some of their training into practice while it was still fresh, all the staff were asked to stand and deliver for one minute what they had learnt at work in the past year and what they wanted the rest of the organisation to do with this learning. It was so noticeable how much more confident everyone was and several of them name-checked the course as their highlight so far and at various points they kept mentioning snippets of information they had acquired. They all really appreciated the immediate opportunity to apply the learning so soon after the training in a relatively safe space. All said, there are glowing endorsements all around for this course,. Well done to you and thanks.
Buttle UK Charity

The course was incredibly useful and I really enjoyed it.
Joanna Jones
Director of Museums & Galleries

Sara, a charity manager, writes giving feedback of how a one day in-house training has worked for her team.
Just a quick note that we have completed the seminars. They were a true whirlwind – 3 big events a week for 3 weeks is not to be underestimated!
I am very happy with how everyone performed at the seminars and hopefully did the team justice with my own section.
I can’t stress enough how the training helped with team building. Between seminars we all gave each other suggestions and lots of encouragement, in an atmosphere that felt very constructive.
A couple of members of the team fed back to me that they had been dreading the training and having to speak all year. And that in retrospect they really appreciated the opportunity to grow professionally and step out of their comfort zone. So onwards and upwards for us all!
And thanks again for all your help!
Best wishes

This was the first training we did together as a team, and in this sense it was an experiment to see if the wanted to do more in house training. You really put everyone at easy and it truly was a safe space for everyone to try things out. I think it was very good for team building and conversations about what we learned yesterday continued throughout today. I think it has helped us be more cohesive, know each other better and made the prospect of group in house training more appealing.
I thought it all went wonderfully and I am grateful for the flexibility provided in changing the time of the course, etc.
It was insightful, informative, practical but with a good theoretical basis, accessible to everyone. The facilitation was thoughtful, you made everyone feel at ease and you were very approachable.
Churchill Memorial Trust

Everyone really enjoyed the session. What made it particularly interesting was that it was based on how to be yourself when presenting. Not what you should be.
Your style was really welcoming and inclusive and I know that all in attendance really enjoyed the day, once again many thanks.

Feed back from the South West Regional Management team
The Prince's Trust

Really excellent, clear, contained, encouraging, welcoming, warm, expansive..
Sutherland Cranial College

"You have been a huge inspiration to everyone"
Bristol Poverty Hearings

A big thank you again for running the training for the young people. I think the concept worked really well for them and certainly helped in building up more confidence. I was impressed with the changes I saw.
I certainly think you should do this again for young people..

Youth Parliament Charity

John is the most incredible bloke: relaxed, chirpy and funny, and he's one of the regions warmest, most engaging and enjoyable speakers.
Community Soul Business Group

A very valuable day - with practiced and real benefits that will have on-going value.
a vicar from the Hereford Diocese

I've worked for the Severn Deanery for over 5 years. Teaching NHS Consultants who want to feel more at ease doing public speaking. Here is some feedback from the course from Medics.

"Most active course I've been on for ages. Use of stories was great. Modelling by facilitator was fantastic"

"Very Good Indeed. Really challenging my usual way of doing things. Is there more I can do with you in 2017?"

"Skilled and compassionate facilitator. Excellent Day"

"Thank you very much, John. Excellent Course, Highly recommended"

"This was an unexpected pleasure. I would highly recommend it!"

"No criticism, it's fab. An absolutely brilliant day! Captivated!"

"An excellent day and far more effective than I had expected"

"Perfect session - I recommend that this training is given to everyone whose job involves interaction with other colleagues", "

Fantastically useful, highly recommended ",

"A really good course for all levels of staff. Particularly useful in view of my teaching role."

"It was great as it was – very experiential course which was what I needed – will highly recommend this course to others"

"It was one of the best(work-related) days I have had for a long time"

"An excellent course"

"Thank you for a very interesting and useful course. Thoroughly enjoyed the day"

"I wish I had been to a course like this years ago. I will certainly recommend it to friends and colleagues."

"It was a very good course with lots of good practical tips. It will certainly help me become a more confident speaker"

"Well organised, great structure, I enjoyed it very much and I will recommend it to other doctors. Thank you for such a good course".

"It's a great gift and hopefully a life-changer. A brilliant day- how to give a training!"

"I got a more structured, intelligent way to think about presenting and crafting a presentation. I really liked the tips, examples, and tools. I also enjoyed interacting with the others. I liked the tone, the informality, but the professionalism. I also really liked the chance to work on talks/presentations with the others in the group."
Brett Rubinstein

Hi John,
I feel the course has fundamentally changed me in a good way - thank you so much. Here is my feedback.

What did you want from the course?
I wanted to be more confident in presentations and more varied in how I deliver presentations.

Did you get it?
I learnt a lot about myself and had a safe forum to have my thinking challenged and to practice just being present. The feedback you gave me was so powerful as well as peer feedback in the sessions. I have improved the way I am not only presenting but doing reports, chairing meetings etc. I have also passed on some of what I have learnt to others for example supporting people in interview preparation and in presentation planning. I did amend my presentation again and delivered it at our service user safety, Trustwide group. It went really well.

What could be improved about the course/facilitation?
Nothing - our Trust just needs more of it.

What did you like about the course/facilitation?
John you were excellent. The atmosphere was really good - engaging, challenging, supporting and safe. The observations you made and feedback to me were so insightful and helpful. You made yourself available to us not only in the taught sessions but in the breaks and during our presentation preparation.
The course is fantastic.

Please feel free to add any other comments if you wish
I have been telling other staff about the course and I hope more are put on, The only thing that could be improved is the way it is advertised and explained in the Trust - it was much more than I anticipated.

Lisa Johnson, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust,


Sally Bramley's feedback

What did you want from the course?
To explore how to do presentations differently. How to be braver and more creative and put the power back into PowerPoint.

Did you get it?
Yes absolutely. Exceeded my expectations. More depth than I had anticipated as it became more about the process of creating presentations,  me and what I want to say/values etc rather than just the product. Don’t need power point or less is more if I do use it.

What could be improved about the course/facilitation? Can’t think of anything…..

What did you like about the course/facilitation? The tone and style of the information beforehand, Johns facilitation style, the materials and exercises. How much confidence it has given me to be more creative, recognise my ‘presence’.

Sally Bramley, Consultant Occupational Therapist
Feb 2016


Your course has been extremely helpful and certainly was one of the best educational experiences.


I wanted to Improve my confidence at presentations, Space to think about how I present and Learn new techniques.

Did you get it? Yes

I liked the balance between theory and practice. And the practice in a safe environment.

Richard, NHS Service Director


This is feedback from the team as a whole at the Travel Foundation - see the follow-up 6 months after this feedback

What did you want from the course?
Confidence to present in a compelling and engaging way. Practical techniques to plan and deliver interesting, thought provoking presentations.

Did you get it?
We got it in spades and many people have already started applying it in their everyday roles.

What could be improved about the course/facilitation?
There was a lot of information to take in on the last session of the first day so people were a little frazzled but it all fell into place the next day so it was worth it.

What did you like about the course/facilitation?
John is an intuitive and perceptive facilitator who shapes the course according to the needs of the group. We liked the way that presentations were deconstructed and the way John re-enforced the techniques. He also fostered a wonderful “safe space” during the course so everyone felt encouraged and supported to experiment with new techniques and did not feel vulnerable doing so. It was a great team building exercise.

Any suggestions for future courses
More time to practice before presenting.

Please add any additional thoughts about the course if you have any
Everyone in group commented that it was one of (or) the best training course they’ve ever done. It felt like we went through a journey of discovery together and everyone grew from it.

Six months later

The Travel Foundation follow up feedback

Your course has had a huge impact on me and the team, on an almost weekly basis people mention how much we got out of the 2 days. For me personally, I have presented 4 times since the course and have used your techniques for every single one. Our annual meeting in September was my biggest test and we had feedback from more than half the audience to say it was the best presentation I’d ever done. I couldn’t help but shed a tear at one point when I was telling a personal story and was amazed to see many in the audience doing the same.
A number of others in the team have also applied what you taught us and unanimously agree it has fundamental changed the way they present. It has made them more confident and more motivated to present the work that we do.
I can’t thank you enough.
Kind regards,

Two workshops I ran in New York

Feedback from Amanda White
I participated in two workshops with John Dawson in December 2017: The Fundamentals of Public Speaking  and The Authentic Presenter

I was joined by 8 of colleagues for the The Fundamentals of Public Speaking workshop and The Authentic Presenter. I take part in many client presentations and client meetings so I was excited about learning some new strategies for speaking to groups. It quickly became apparent that John’s approach is singular in that he encouraged all of us to really draw our energy from feeling confident about who we are. To step out from the screen, for example, to learn how to look directly at people during a presentation, and to create a story that keeps people interested in what’s being said. Rather than teach us to shield ourselves from the distraction of bored audiences, John helped us to engage directly and learn to love the myriad responses represented in listening faces!

All of this was unexpected and incredibly helpful. However there was even more to learn in what happened between the people who participated. Many of the exercises were done in twos: opportunities to practice the kind of light-touch look needed for engaging with large groups, for example; and stream-of-consciousness conversations about life events. These are not easy dialogues to have with colleagues! Nor are unplanned albeit short presentations: we all presented a number of times throughout the day. However as the day progressed (and our speaking, hopefully!) it became easier to talk in front of each other. I realized that John’s methodology is so embedded in empathy, respect and overall human kindness that he was creating a very safe and encouraging environment. I realized how vital it was for all of us to feel we could be open in front of each other, and how productive that could be for our internal workshops. I—and I think many of us—often feel enormous pressure to perform for internal meetings, to be creative and “produce the goods” in an atmosphere that can feel pressured and disparaging. John’s approach enabled us to find our voices.

In early 2018, a group of us formed a team for a new short-term project and presentation. It was obvious to me how we drew on what we’d learnt from John, first in the way we worked collaboratively to produce great work, and then in a successful client presentation. The process had its challenges but we overcame them as a group and had a lot of fun working together.

For me, the atmosphere in John’s workshops generated a spirit of camaraderie amongst us that was incredibly moving. I came away feeling renewed in my connections with the team and inspired to ensure we carry the feeling forward. I have undoubtedly discovered new skills in presenting, in participating in meetings, and for some of the more challenging project workshops we have with communities and stakeholders. The implications of what I learnt have also impacted my overall communication, connection to colleagues and all of my relationships! I am also inspired about the firm’s commitment to culture change and see these workshops as a vital early step in empowering our staff to be part of the process.

organisations who I’ve worked with

• Action on Addictions
• Altus Consulting
• Bath Uni Architecture Department
• Barrett Dixon Bell Limited
• Bristol City Council
• Bristol Parent Carers
• Bristol Poverty Hearings
• The Carers Trust
• Church of England Hereford Diocese
• Citizens Advice Bureaux
• City Councils around the South West
• PZ Cussens Beauty
• Dock10, Manchester
• English Heritage
• The Environment Agency
• Exeter University  Business School - International Management Msc
• Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios - Architects in Bath and London
• Higher Education Statistics Authority
• Integral Engineering Design
• The Institute of Physics
• London Met University
• Milestones Trust
• MVF global
• Outsource UK Ltd
• The Prince's Trust
• The Royal Navy - Women Naval Officers, Portsmouth
• Saco Apartments
• Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust (NHS)
• Sodexo Defence
• SensePost
• Severn Deanery training for NHS Consultants
• The Soil Association
• South Gloucestershire youth team
• Speakers Corner
• Spike Island Hub for Artists
• Sutherland Cranial College
• Symonds and Sampson
• Tableau Software London
• Thinc New York
• Tomorrow's people - Bristol
• The Travel Foundation
• University College, London (UCL)
• The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
• Women Leaders in Museums Network
• Youth Parliament