My job has recently been transferred from the UK to an Asian country. With the move from my established position to a new challenging role in a new environment, I suddenly found myself lacking my usual level of confidence...

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How You Do Something is How You Do Everything

Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2014 by Positivevoice

Today I was doing some public speaking training with an accent reduction client and I gave her the topic: ‘What are you passionate about?’

She delivered a lovely speech explaining that she was still looking for that one incredible, life changing vocation. What I find interesting here is that she immediately associated passion with work and then delivered a very passionate speech about it! 

Passion for me is anything that you feel strongly about. My lovely partner, Philippe, and I have recently started doing some abstract paintings on canvases with acrylics and I love it! I get really excited about all the different colours and textures and constantly marvel at the beauty of a simple brush stroke. On Saturday night, I was painting. It was well after midnight and I was on a high- i had almost finished the most beautiful painting (it is my third) and I decided that it wasn’t quite complete. It was just too simple. I thought a few splashes of colour would help… and I ruined it! I was devastated. I realised that I had been too impatient to finish. I could have left the first layers to dry and added to it the next day, but I was just too impatient to feel that sense of achievement that can only be felt when you finish something. In that moment, I had a huge learning. I know that how we do something is often how we do everything and I suddenly became aware of a pattern I have been running- I now call it reckless impatience.

This kind of awareness is so useful, as it means that we can begin to rein in unwanted behaviour and transform our 'bad' habits into better ones. It is with a great sense of relief that I build up this awareness and am able to consciously create more positive habits.

Today, I left a half-finished painting to dry and am looking forward to adding the final touches tomorrow!

What kind of patterns are you running? Are they helping or hindering your journey through life?

Be Self Aware

Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2012 by Positivevoice

There is nothing quite like standing up and making a speech. However, you can never quite anticipate how it is going to go down. You can, however, follow some simple steps to ensure that you enjoy presenting it..

 Over the next 7 weeks, i will provide you with a more indepth version of my 'Seven Secrets video'.

Secret No 1: Be Self Aware

This first secret is the one that i have covered most in my book (to be published in the next few months). It is essential that you are aware of your strategies when it comes to public speaking. I meet so many people who worry needlessly for weeks leading up to a presentation. They worry that they will forget what they want to say, they worry that they will get nervous and they worry that their audience will be hostile or that they will hate it… What a lot of negativity. If you do this, all it means is that you are planning to fail.

Wouldn’t it be much better to prepare your mind to be calm, to prepare yourself to remember what you want to say and to visualise a happy, welcoming audience?

Once you are aware of your strategies, you are one step closer to amending them. You can do this by simply replacing them with more positive thoughts.

Take every negative thought that comes into your mind and confront it:

Is this true?

How else could it be?

What would I rather believe?

Once you have come up with more positive thoughts, it is time to turn them into more positive words. Begin to talk more positively about your upcoming speech. Tell your friends, family or colleagues that ‘preparation is going well’, that you are ‘looking forward to it’ and that you ‘feel great’. If you feel a little anxiety, interpret it as excitement. After all, the two emotions are very similar.

Final thought: ‘Be aware of your strategies and make sure that you are using the most positive ones available’


Make More of an Impact!

Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 by Positivevoice

So, you’ve overcome your fear of public speaking and all you need to do now is engage your audience. What can you do to make your delivery more captivating?

The first thing to do is to make sure you are passionate about your subject matter. If it is dry and boring to you, it will be dry and boring to your audience. I was teaching a little boy last week and i was explaining how there is not a market for 'good speakers'... You have to be more than just a good speaker. There is a market for passionate people who have done amazing things and are willng to talk about it. One such person is Jeremy Gilly, of Peace One Day, who established World Peace Day in 2002. Like most British professional speakers, he is very natural and real. He doesn't appear to have been trained and this is his greatest asset.

Once you have established what the topic and angle are, there are plenty of very simple tricks that you can implement. I do a lot of them without thinking, so please do not fear that you will appear less natural. 

Here are just a few:


  1. Make your audience feel important by asking questions whenever you can:

-          ‘Rhetorical’ questions

-          ‘Raise your hand if…’ questions

-          Question tags


  1. Repetition: Yes, it is normally very boring to repeat yourself, but you can highlight that something is important by emphasising the second time:

‘It’s important. I'll say that again; it’s VERY important’


  1. Metaphors and similes: these bring your speech alive

‘He ran as fast as lightning’ 

‘She stood still like a rabbit caught in head lamps’.


4. Connect emotionally with the words. Really mean what you say and your audience will believe in you.


5. Pause, pause, pause: This is VERY important. When you pause, you give your audience the opportunity to digest all that you have said. Pause after questions, pause after emphasising something, pause after a big, important statement. Pause creates intrigue.

These are just a few things that you can do to leave a lasting impression with your audience. I will bring you many more tips in the coming months.


Public Speaking & Confidence Boosting

Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by Positivevoice

Public speaking for women: Changing fear into Excitement

Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 by Positivevoice

Public Speaking workshop: Structuring a speech with confidence

Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Positivevoice

Fear of Public Speaking: Workshop

Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 by Positivevoice

Public Speaking Workshop with NLP Master Practitioners

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 by Positivevoice

Public Speaking Workshop April 2010

Posted on Thursday, April 08, 2010 by Positivevoice

April 2010. A workshop with Francesca Gordon-Smith. An opportunity for a group of women to overcome their fear of public speaking whilst boosting their confidence.

Creating Suspense

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 by Positivevoice

It's often hard to strike a balance in public speaking. We often want to create suspense, but we don't want it to be too melodramatic. By slowly building up a story piece by piece and creating a vocal climax with effective use of pause this can be achieved to great affect. But, please remember to feel the words rather than exaggerating them too much.

The following story provides a simple example of this:

'I just gazed at my feet as he shouted, and prayed silently that he wouldn’t single me out… (pause) When he called my name, I cringed… (pause) As I followed him down the corridor, I could hear that his breathing was laboured and I felt pity for him. I know now that he was insecure and weak… but I was still scared… I can still visualise him wringing his hands as we walked in silence and my heart was pounding… He was clearly unwell and distraught with anger… anger at his lost power…. Anger at his inability to control a small child.Then he turned and looked at me. (pause) It was a look devoid of emotion… and he said in a very hushed voice (pause) "try not to talk so much next time"… then he smiled.'

With effective use of detail and pause and by connecting with our emotions, we can keep our audience engaged throughout. It is important to have good vocal variety in a speech like this in order to maintain an audience's attention.

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