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Podium Communications Blog



Why sound dull when you’re really not?

In our TalkitOut presentation skills courses we insist that the key to authentic speeches is using words that slide easily off the tongue. Sounds obvious, but from our experience many would-be speakers sabotage their authenticity by the way they prepare their script. Most speeches and presentation are prepared in silence. The author sits hunched over a keyboard, staring at a blank screen and praying […]

Focus: the courage to leave stuff out

Don’t try to say too much. Whether you are writing promotional copy, preparing a speech, or planning a presentation, you need to focus your thoughts. It’s a good idea to aim for just one big thought. Resist the temptation to say too much. The more you give, the less people get. (Check our blog about Khriz Khan’s remarkable six minute speech to the Democratic […]

A six minute lesson in public speaking

Forget Donald Trump. Forget Hillary Clinton. Forget the other experienced performers who were wheeled out to support the presidential candidates. The star speaking performance at either of the big conventions, Republican or Democrat, was a man few had heard of. This man had no team of writers. He had no performance coach. He used no teleprompter for his script. Khizr Khan had no script. […]

Platform skills: Donald’s style vs Hillary’s substance

What a study in contrasting platform skills: Donald Trump all showbiz style but short on substance; Hillary Clinton heavy on substance but not a stylish orator. Conventional wisdom is that the best speakers manage to marry style and substance, using style to engage and substance to convince. Which approach will prevail in this election campaign? I’ve been examining the very different styles of these […]

Tips to keep a presentation on track

Ever have one of those days when you find yourself talking – but you felt as though your mouth was on auto-pilot? I have. And a number of my clients have confessed lately to having the same sensation. Just last week a client told me about standing up to make a presentation – and feeling as though the mouth was disengaged from the brain. […]

Give your audiences the gift of light

Most years around this time I get an unexpected visitor in my office. He or she drops in from the sky and gets trapped in the chimney leading to my office fireplace. My visitor is usually a young starling. I hear the fluttering in the fireplace as I work. I do what I’ve always done with the trapped birds.I close my office door, open […]

Stay on message to avoid trouble

Staying ‘on message’ in a media interview means saying what you need to say, and avoiding irrelevancies and distractions. Say what you planned to say, avoid over-elaborating, and – above all – don’t get drawn into areas that don’t support your message. A politician who wants to be Britain’s next Prime Minister just discovered, the hard way, what happens when you stray off-message. Andrea […]

Media skills 101: microphones always ‘live’

If you are ever in a radio or television studio, or in the company of journalists, you would be wise to assume 1: their microphones are ‘live’, 2: whatever you are saying is being recorded, 3: whatever is recorded could be used – regardless of your wishes. In our media skills sessions, we regularly warn people of the dangers of careless words spoken anywhere […]

Two tips to help achieve a conversational style

Nervous speakers get lots of advice before they step on stage: relax, be yourself, be conversational. Trouble is, no-one tells them how difficult it is to relax, be yourself and be conversational when every eye in the room is locked on you. The advice is good, of course. Those three ideas are essential to an effective presentation or speech. We just need to remember […]

Don’t let your imagination take a nap

Are you a slave to a search engine? Are you in danger of sacrificing insight and imagination in favour of 49,400,000 results in 0.59 seconds? (That’s what I got when I plugged ‘public speaking’ into Google). Today every fact in the world is at our finger tips. Every conceivable subject is covered. It’s so easy to gather data to flesh out a speech or […]


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