stories from participants of my public speaking courses
From someone who wasn’t a Yoga teacher...
Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that since doing your course a couple of years ago, I've now become a yoga teacher! At the time it seemed like an impossible dream, as I hated speaking in front of others so much
From a deputy head who hadn't got appointed to a headship after a number of interviews...
You should know that I am going to be a Head! Thank you so much.
From a small business person who needed investors...
It was the best presentation I have ever done and voted best pitch of the night. I have 17 interested parties and have been invited to speak at another event on Tuesday, Google House (50 investors).
From someone who hated speaking up at meetings...
Today at work, we did the weekly go round the table and tell us about your weekend. Previously I dreaded this but today I totally held my own, not only was I not feeling anxious about it but I actually enjoyed taking my moment to talk. People asked me questions and I felt like I had clarity when responding, be calm and to look people in the eye! I was putting into practice what I learnt and I came out of that meeting feeling great.
From a school governor who hated public speaking...
Last week, I had to speak to a secondary school hall full of staff and students to give out awards. Afterwards a teacher spoke to me and said I was a really natural speaker!!
From a doctor who had struggled at a previous interview...
I had the interview today, and have just been offered the job! Since the course I have been able to feel as though "I am enough" which has really been helping me prepare for it and in the interview itself.
From a PE teacher who didn’t like school assemblies at all...
delivered my speech at our academy awards yesterday, in front of around 1400 people including students, staff, and important people in our organisation. I was faced with a number of unexpected challenges, such as presenting from up on a raised stage, with a microphone and the VIP guests seated about a metre behind where I stood. I smashed it!
Three years later, Darren tells of his changes how he feels about public speaking and even enjoys it!…
If you remember I joined one of your courses in Manchester in around 2016. OMG - I cannot recognise myself. Confidence, stage presence, timing, pausing, eye contact the lot!! I even just enjoy being ‘in the space’ feeling relaxed. I presented yesterday for instance and the feedback I got was amazing - little old me! Some of the benefits of being on the course just keep developing (subconsciously) I think.
Anyway, just a quick email to say thank you and I know that you know that what you’re doing to help people is SO worthwhile.
How did the wedding go… amongst other things
Hope you are well. I have just done a speech at my wedding as Groom. It went so well and was basically a conversation with 100 people.
Which is crazy to say, i could barely do 10 on the course. I was even able to adapt when my Wife's dad said the same thing as me.
I also presentation at work before this but after the course, it was miles better than before the course, i was relaxed and in the moment . After i did it, i realised what a difficult environment it was, people butting in, others asking questions which are covered at the end. This was a proud moment for me as i realised how far i had come. I think this was down to the practice we did the whole weekend but especially the quick fire rounds toward the end. For me these made me realise that the content is less important generally.
Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for everything. Not just the speaking practice but I think more fundamentally the whole fear response stuff helped massively, i think i am genuinely happier because of this. i now think of the fear response as having a mate who is always saying how shit you are. eventually you stop hanging around with them.
At the age of 62, Liz starts a new career
You mentioned a quote about what people at different ages thought about speaking in front of groups and although I don't remember the detail it made a big impact on me, at 62, that when over 60 years, what have you got to lose, just do it!
Anyway to cut a long story short I have taken the plunge and trained as a Nordic Walking instructor and last weekend led my first group walk of 7 people with me talking them through warm up exercises and 'being in charge', in all, very much 'being seen!' I LOVED IT!
All the best with the very unique and special way you are helping people to shine.
a different Liz changes how she feels about herself in the world...
Since the course I have run a meeting for 80 people. I did it without throwing up before hand, shaking or losing my way- I even got a round of applause! The following week I then had to be quizzed and questioned by 16 people, specialists in their field about something I do- I had a little wobble at the start - I interpreted the blank face as: "You are rubbish!" However, I talked to myselfsaying blank face- didn't seek approval from a friendly face and just got on with it. I even had the courage to stand up for my opinion when questioned deeper.
I am no longer seeking perfection or after approval. I am just slowly being comfortable owning the space, for me this is a revelation!
Thank you John, I really do think I have a different attitude.
Primary school teacher
A third Liz, writes about running a workshop and speaking off-the-cuff
Last night I ran a full 3 hour workshop. I had a structure of activities, but the presentation and public speaking was sole off the cuff.....it was exhilarating and I never thought I would be able to do this.
People really enjoyed this!
Sam sends me a letter two years after the course
I just wanted to touch base with you as I attended one of your 2 day courses in Manchester a couple of years ago.
In the days following the course I remember being quite buoyant about public speaking largely from the practice sessions on the course. Whilst I still get nervous when faced with public speaking, I now have the confidence to not actively shy away from it.
For me an even bigger thing that I learnt from your course was the concept of being 'comfortable in your own storm' and being happy with being 'good enough', whereas, before I can see it was my fear of failure and not being perfect that held me back from doing things.
Some things I have embraced in the past couple of years include being a junior rugby coach, a Cub Scout leader and I have provided several training courses within my company to both finance and non finance people (I am an accountant by trade). I generally feel I am living life to its full potential now, whereas, in the past it felt there was always something holding me back.
I just wanted to let you know that it's great work that you are doing and I, like many others am extremely grateful to you and your teachings.
Another letter two years after a course from Jenny
I came on your London course over 2 years ago now and have been a committed member of Toastmasters ever since (on your recommendation). I feel free in a way that I never thought I would; I’ve delivered assemblies comfortably several times to 300 people- including all of the staff and have delivered staff presentations and done a leaving speech for a colleague. My fear is not an issue any more; I feel I can go for promotion to senior management in my school, and this is all because I did your course.
Thank you John.
How conferences changed for a doctor...
I am on the train home after presenting at the first of the three conferences that I have been talked into presenting at and today was a very different experience from my previous conference appearance for which I need to thank you. There was no shakey voice, no sweaty back. I anticipated and accepted the blank faces, I assumed support and accepted the adrenaline surge that came. It was not fun, but it was not the unpleasant stress ridden ordeals of my previous conference appearances. I have been reassuring myself that the adrenaline surge is normal and it can be reframed (like the athletes). I have reminded myself that there are other occasions I can function when I have adrenaline cursing through me, like running a trauma call.
Your course was the best investment of time and money I have made in my education/development in a very long time.
Thank you again
Sarah an emergency doctor
Global music record label...
Since doing the course, I left my job and became director and head of a new record label. My confidence in the interview process, was undoubtedly due to the course and your teachings. Within a few weeks of joining I had to present to the entire company of 300 people at the Christmas meeting with the other heads of divisions. I did as I had been taught and merely gave my story and my ambitions to the company with no notes and no graphs or figures and only a small glass of wine. I am told it was the most charismatic of all the presentations and my reward was I now speak monthly to the global music company on video conference as well as present internally to the film and TV divisions. I still have moments that feel like eternity where I don’t know what to say but somehow after a pause the words always come. You know I think I enjoy it too…
It’s impacted on my leadership both in and out work and it’s fair to say has made me a better person.
I would love to work with you again and would be very interested in attending an advanced course if you were running one.
Came second in a competition at his first visit to a public speaking club...
John, your email was a timely reminder and prompt, I'd committed to myself I would attend a speakers group to keep practicing my public speaking. Well, I went on Wednesday and thought I'd see what these are about, not really intending to speak though. Part way through the night they surprised me and asked me to speak for a couple of minutes about Xmas.
At the end of night there was a vote for the most entertaining speech, unbelievably I came second and won a bottle of Presecco!!! (the gentlemen who came first was 83 and been doing public speaking his entire career and now does it for the social element) I raced home to tell the Mrs, I don't think I've ever been as proud of one of my own achievements before
I would probably never have attended if it wasn't for you never mind being able to deliver a speech off the cuff that people enjoyed.
Thanks again and take care
Christine finds out that it's not too late.....
I was amazed to find that at times I was actually enjoying myself being the centre of attention - just being me! As I've been hiding the 'real me' my whole life and I'm now in my sixties, it is such a relief to know I can relax and enjoy showing my real self in social situations as well embarking on giving talks to groups about how it is never too late to change.
This quote by George Elliot sums it up for me ' It's never to late to be the person you were meant to be'.
So John, I can't thank you enough for helping me become that person I was meant to be!
May you long continue to help others in the same way!
Kevin turns Bournemouth green?
I had my "conversation" with 20 people at a local Chamber of Trade & Commerce meeting a week ago which seemed to go down well and would not have been possible at all without your valuable help and encouragement. At the meeting, as a result of my talk they decided to write to the local council urging them to take a more active role in promoting renewable energy technologies. This was a very nice and completely unexpected bonus.
The Bournemouth Echo have heard of my talk and interviewed me. They are writing an article about the likely future shortfall in electricity generation over the next few years, I look forward to seeing it.
I hope all is going well for you. Thank you again for all your help, it really has changed my life.
Very best wishes,
Author connects to readers better and gets great feedback
I wanted to write and let you know how I have been getting on with my public speaking, since your session in January.
You may not know but the beginning of March is a very busy time for authors as it is World Book Day, and so I had quite a few talks and events lined up around that. A few of which I was very nervous about.
This was the first batch of events I have done since your session, and there has been something like ten to fifteen talks over the whole month. To groups ranging in size from 30 to 200 students; and from 7 year olds to thirteen year olds. First of all, I have noticed a marked improvement in the state of my nerves before I do an event. I feel a lot less nervous in general, especially for the smaller talks, and sometimes I even feel excited, or look forward to it!
I find I feel very confident in handling the groups of 30-60 students. And I have started to feel comfortable making it more conversational when it feels it wants to go that way, rather than presentational. One of the teachers at one of those sessions was kind enough to tell me it was the best author presentation he had seen. And when a class - like his was - is really engaged your techniques are so helpful for me in interacting with them. Even when they’re not so easy going or engaged at points, the techniques help me keep calm and collected in chatting with them.
Over the course of the month I have also had to do three events with over 100 students. Each time I do one, I feel I get better and more accustom to the situation, and more comfortable with it. So thank you.
And also the whole 'can’t be arsed school’ has been uber-useful to keep in mind on occasion. It can be very useful in schools where you have to go with the flow of the situation, and are sometimes not in control of all the variables of your event.
Thanks again for all the invaluable teaching in your session.
Getting customers from her business presentations...
I’m sure you’ve run many classes by now so I’m not sure how well you remember me but I thought I’d give you an update on how I’ve been doing since I took your course during the summer last year. I have now presented at some big conferences/seminars as part of my work, including in the UK, Germany, Czech Republic and the USA, as well as doing many, many internal presentations, and I have received a lot of positive feedback on them and even generated many interested customers for our technology.
My confidence in presenting has sky-rocketed and your course and support has been a huge contributing factor to that. So I would like to say a big thank you for helping me find the confidence/self-belief that I never knew I had in doing this thus allowing me to work and progress in what has turned out to be a dream job in Switzerland. My boss even said to me during my recent appraisal that he expected it to take me about a year to get comfortable with presenting... it took me about 4 attempts within a couple of months! So once again thank you so much and I wish you and your future students all the best.
Moving from I can't to I can!
Just letting you know that I did the conference, and it went fine!
Also, after my talk to the department last week I have heard that I have been ASKED TO SPEAK (for a two hour presentation/ Q&A) to the entire department at our retreat in October, so success!
So I just want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to you for all your help and support, and for running your fantastic classes. I wouldn't have believed it a year ago that I could stand up and give a presentation, never mind actually being ok at them! (So yes, right now, I can say I really have changed the way I feel about public speaking). Even though I have a long way to go still, I now feel as though public speaking is no longer a barrier to me, which is so liberating!
Christine gets a lecturing job on a cruise!
It is now 18 months since I attended your course in Bristol.
Thought you might like to know that in September P&O invited me down to Southampton to audition for their Guest Speaker programme and it went far better than I could ever have hoped. They immediately offered me a 9 day slot on their ship “Arcadia” next March. I am SO excited.
This is to thank you for your course which boosted my confidence no end.
Sent with wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Phil gets married and it's life-changing!
I know I promised that I wouldn't mention my wedding again but...
We got married on Friday and it was an amazing day. The speech went really well - loads of people commented on how relaxed I looked! It's strange that I spent months dreading it but I actually quite enjoyed it in the end - it's all about mindset!
Anyway, if it wasn't for you lovely people and the course, there's no way I could have done it.
It's literally been life changing!
Thanks so much and good luck to you all for the future.
The father of the bride speaks
I attended your course in the autumn (I think) as I somewhat apprehensive about my forthcoming "father of the bride" speech.
Apart from it being an enjoyable day with people with similar interests and apprehensions, John slowly demonstrated that our common apprehensions were unwarranted.
Taking away these fears and showing that we should trust the audience was enlightening.
I've been small-scale public speaking in a business environment for decades, not at all well, but anxiously getting by.
My daughter's wedding presented an altogether different prospect though - the dreaded father of the bride speech!
It was obvious even to me that the speech was splendidly-well received, which was amazing given that I have no natural talent. I thank John for this, it was largely down to him."
Headteacher writes about the night before...
Good evening John
Your email is perfectly timed. I delivered the speech to 400 or so parents last night.
I'm so glad I came on the course- the two days made me re-think my approach and it was far better than I have done before.
With warm wishes and many thanks
Hayley gets a promotion
I came to your course at the beginning of the year, the one day in Bristol. During the last session I spoke about my mission to get a promotion and new job by the end of the year! Well, it worked and I have been successful in getting a new job, in a new organisation and a promotion. I had to do a 15 minute presentation in the interview and without your help at the beginning of the year, I don’t think I would have done it. I ‘out shone’ the other candidates I have been told. Since being successful, I am walking around with a new air of confidence, and can quite happily chat to an audience and also, say "No" sometimes.
Harry gets his degree...
Just wanted to let you know that I passed both of my presentations at university, thanks to you!
It means I’m now graduating with a 2:1, which I’m over the moon about.
Thank you for your help in the course. I don’t think I would’ve been so confident going in to the presentations without it, and I’m even more confident about them now which is great for the future.
Hope you’re well,
And James slowly warms to the course and gets his masters...
Its probable that you don't remember me, but I just want to write a short thank you for what you provided for me in one of your public speaking courses.
I went along last October to Regent's college and leaving the course I first thought that that perhaps I'd learnt a lot but that it wasn't really changing how I approached speaking in public. However, on reflection I'm quite sure that your course sowed the seed for me to become much more comfortable being who I am in public speaking. I have done a number of talks on various things since then and my confidence has gradually grown. It culminated last week with me delivering my final presentation for the Masters in Physics that I'm working towards- to great results! People enjoyed my enthusiasm which I previously would not show and my presentation got the best mark in the year group. When giving the presentation I felt completely calm and was able to effortlessly explain things that previously would have resulted in psychological meltdown. Importantly, feelings of judgement have dissipated!
I think you do a great thing, and once again thanks.
two for the price of one
I've just received some very positive feedback from a presentation I gave on Friday at a national showcase of research. I can wholeheartedly attribute my confidence to the skills I learnt on your course:
Based on my recommendation, one of my colleagues also recently attended your 1 day course in London. She also recently presented at a (Medical) conference and told me that she found it much(!!!) easier than usual. She directly attributed this to attending your course!
I just wanted to let you know and thank you again for your help.
Very best wishes,
It was her first presentation...
I gave my presentation today. I spoke for an hour and a quarter!
My slides were quite robust, certainly enough to keep me on track. I looked into everybody's eyes, and looked for no clues. It is quite funny, as you observed, that there are few smile-and-nodders!
Mainly blank faces. I made them laugh a few times, and included a bit of interactive stuff.
To my great surprise I was not really nervous this morning, just a bit. And although I could definitely feel the pace and the push of the moment, I was not as flustered with it as I expected. Had a lot of slides and so did need to speak fast in places, but also consciously practiced The Pause.
The 1 day course I did with you in London really did change the way I feel about it all. Everyone was 'included': the yawners, the scribblers and the nodders! And I treated them all the same.
The assistant was surprised to hear it was my first presentation!
The workshop I took with you changed the way I think about the experience of standing up to speak, but most importantly I think it has changed the way I feel about it.
Three months after a public speaking course with me, Craig an engineer, runs a two hour meeting
I did run a health and safety meeting a few weeks ago with around 10 people in the room. I simply sat there comfortable without putting any pressure on myself with the don’t care attitude (but only I knew I didn’t care nobody else could see it lol). That was the moment I knew I’d reached a mile stone as I simply sailed through it for 2 hrs, thanks to your course.
Two months after a course, Sarah writes about how her speaking has changed
Just to let you know that several events have gone really well for me, since my training, and, shock horror, have been most enjoyable. Normally I would be nervous for both, but felt fine in advance (just excited really rather than nervous).
I introduced a speaker in front of 66 people on Monday. For once I didn’t rehearse the intro nor the post presentation chat. I didn’t even clutch a postcard with prompts!
Last month I also Chaired the AGM for our Division – with 24 in the meeting. In a private room of a restaurant everyone sat around a long L shaped table and I realised that to Chair the meeting with that many I wouldn’t be able to see them if I sat at our tables. So I ended up perching on a bar stool adjacent, from where I could see them and they see me, and it all went great – informal but engaging and all ad-libbed.
I also feel calm in large social events – not that I struggled socially in the past but just that I didn’t always feel I could readily find the moment to speak up in front of extrovert types.
So thank you. Even my husband (an accountant 😊) has commented that it was money well spent!
Hope all is good with you.
With kind regards,
What one participant did the days after she left the course...
Sunday:As soon as I left the course I went to a party! Not what I wanted, I’d have preferred to lie down in a dark room! I don’t do well at parties, but even as exhausted as I was, I was much more confident and assertive socially than I would normally be, and comfortable in myself.
On the TuesdayI shot some video for my site, of me presenting to camera.
The course has completely changed the way I approached this, compared to previous videos. I was much more relaxed and conversational. I even shot some without any notes or prep. I could focus more on communicating the value to the customer, than wanting to tell people what I would do for them (ie bang on about services.)
Then on the Wednesday, I had to write a presentation for the following day. Again, I approached this from a completely different perspective than normal. I opened with a story about me – I never do anything personal in that type of situation ever. My presentation was much more about story-telling and was very ‘less is more’ in terms of the messages I needed to get across. Not only that, but I wrote it in about 3 hours. Normally I would be a couple of days tinkering with a presentation.
I’ve just done the presentation today, Thursday – to a room of 50 people. I was more nervous than normal because this new style put me right out of my comfort zone, and I was panicking that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I did it!I looked at people. I abandoned my 9 page script half way down page 2. I made a mistake. I paused, no one noticed. I pulled it back with no drama. I walked around. I looked at people in the eyes. I was calm. Oh yes, I was enjoying myself too. I had lovely feedback from many people in the audience and made a few new contacts.
There was networking afterwards. I am an awful networker. But today, I talked non-stop to people and in fact ended up being one of the last to leave. There was no alcohol (not for me anyway), so no dutch courage, just me. Changed.
I am staggered at the difference that this has made in such a short time. The results of this course have far exceeded my expectations. There are so many things out there that promise so much, but deliver so little. This has delivered enormously and immediately.
Thank you so much John.