Helen’s Blog

Communication in Leadership

Helen SewellHello and welcome to my blog, which aims to support excellent communication in leadership.

It’s great to get the chance to air my views on how people communicate – particularly those in the public eye, who should certainly be held to account for their communication style.

Superb communication is fundamental for smooth-running, successful companies, and the best business leaders act as communication role models.

Unfortunately not all business leaders are the best. The stresses and strains of running a business are often reflected in unhelpful communication. When time is of the essence, as it usually is, communication tends to suffer.

Uncomfortable communication in leadership

Those at the top do not always listen well, leaving others feeling frustrated. Even if you think you’re a great listener, chances are you sometimes switch off and focus on something else.

Time-pressed business leaders can also command rather than question, leading to resentment and loss of opportunities.

In terms of speaking style, people tend to copy what they see and hear – sometimes on purpose, sometimes subconsciously. It’s ridiculously easy to pick up a manner of speech, a regular filler word or a repeated idiosyncratic gesture.

So if you employ a certain approach to communication in leadership, it’s likely that others will emulate your method. After all, if it works for the person at the top, it’s obviously the accepted mode within the organisation.

But it’s not all about internal communications. If your internal communications are lacking in any respect, it’s hard to switch to an entirely different manner with external people. The unhelpful traits you use in internal meetings will inevitably creep in, usually without your knowledge.

Effective communication in leadership

If you want to communicate brilliantly at all times, and cascade your style down through the organisation, read on for my views on effective and ineffective communication in leadership. There is lots of information here, as well as tips and suggestions (of which there are plenty more in my free e-course).

If you’d like to see something featured in this blog, do drop a line to info@simply-speaking.co.uk and I’ll be delighted to consider your suggestions. And if you’d like to talk to me directly, please give me a call on +44 (0) 8 456 800 456.

In the meantime, happy reading…

 

Recent Posts

Achieve agreement, supported by just six words
Jun 19, 2018

Achieve agreement: six words work wonders

Create clarity - use a helicopter view

In communication terms, clarity is everything. Most of the time, this means explaining the implications of something rather than the details. However, when you work with data, it’s easy to lose sight of the implications - and who doesn’t work with data these days? If you can’t see the wood for the trees, so to speak, how can you explain the big picture? It’s impossible to achieve buy-in like this. Why would someone agree with your way of thinking, if your way of thinking is cloudy or unclear? These days, we have so ... Read More
Sleep and influence: a strong partnership but not great bedfellows
May 16, 2018

Sleep and influence: a sorely overlooked partnership

Sleep makes you more successful

Every now and again life-changing concepts seem to appear out of nowhere. For me, a scientific book, “Why We Sleep”, written for laypeople, has really opened my eyes to the personal and professional value of sleeping well. Professionally, I’m fascinated by the very clear links between sleep and influence. These are supported by considerable amounts of peer-reviewed research. Personally, the risks often related to lack of sleep – including cancer, dementia, heart attacks and stroke (all outlined in the book) – have caused me to change my sleeping habits and adopt a much healthier pattern ... Read More
A healthy voice will never let you down when you need it most. An unhealthy voice risks failure.
Apr 18, 2018

Why CEO influence relies on a rich, healthy voice

The links between voice and impact are indisputable

Research shows that CEOs with deeper voices are more successful, and that the CEO’s voice affects how investors perceive the company. In fact, the voice of a CEO appears to have a major impact on all stakeholders. For anyone leading a company, a healthy voice is de rigeur. When your voice deserts you, so does your ability to influence. This is true whether you are presenting a keynote speech, chairing a meeting or delivering a media interview. A CEO who uses his or her voice poorly risks it failing at a critical ... Read More
Sift your information carefully to yield a strong key message.
Mar 12, 2018

How CEOs can unearth a valuable, strong key message

Are you a Senior Executive who’s missing the point?

You can't influence without a strong key message. Yet leading executives often struggle to find a golden nugget of information to convey. My clients have a ‘light bulb moment’ when I show them how to frame their ideas differently to achieve buy-in. As one CEO told me recently, “I’m amazed that our organisation has become so successful over the years, when we really don’t know how to communicate.” Imagine how much more successful he could be, with exceptional communication skills to enhance his conversations, meetings and presentations.

The value of a ...

Read More
Sad pug puppy: too much animal violence in office jargon
Feb 9, 2018

Animal violence in office jargon (and other unpardonable offences)

Fighting talk at the desk

I’ve noticed recently that seemingly innocent office jargon is evolving into a series of offensive metaphors. Workplace slang increasingly features horrific violence - the bloodier and gorier the better. For example, it’s no longer good enough to work with a ‘cutting edge’ company. These days, ‘bleeding edge’ is de rigeur. We no longer cancel a failing project. Instead, we ‘kill’ it: sometimes by the ‘death-of-a-thousand cuts’ (loads of minor amendments making it unrecognisable and unworkable), and sometimes by ‘slash and burn’ tactics (acting indiscrimately and destructively). How do we know these days if there’s conflict at work? ... Read More
CEO branding: how do you want to be seen as a leader?
Jan 12, 2018

CEO branding: how to win hearts and minds

Build your individual brand for corporate success 

In today's world it is no longer enough for a CEO to deliver financial performance alone. As CEO, you are also judged on your ability to enhance intangible assets and create non-financial returns. This depends on the effectiveness of your CEO branding. Influential and well-respected CEOs build personal brand value that creates trust. When stakeholders feel positive about the CEO, they tend to feel positive about the company. They are more likely to engage with the organisation as clients, consumers, potential and existing employees. Because of this, it is vital to get your ... Read More
PowerPoint presentations or naked presenting’?
Dec 7, 2017

PowerPoint presentations undressed: the 'Emperor's New Clothes' of the business world

Are people too polite to mention that your slides are awful?

Remember the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes? Where a vain leader was sold an innovative new suit that was only visible to the smartest people? You'll recall that those who couldn't see it were either stupid or incompetent. Of course, the egotistical Emperor himself couldn't see the suit, but being keen not to reveal this, he paraded (naked) through his Kingdom so all his subjects could appreciate and applaud his supposed new finery. Not wishing to seem foolish, and out of duty, the subjects cheered the Emperor's wonderful ... Read More
CEO communication in financial services is not just standing on stage and presenting
Nov 23, 2017

CEO communication: an unspoken challenge for Financial Services

Lack of emphasis on great communication

CEO communication is a significant consideration for most business leaders, with many Chief Executives placing heavy emphasis on interpersonal communication, both internally and externally. Most support the philosophy of software CEO, Sarah Nahm, who says: “I don’t think there’s anything a leader can invest in more than thinking about how you communicate”. Financial Services leaders, however, tend to buck this trend. Research shows that communication doesn’t usually keep them awake at night. They are stressed by digital disruption, lack of key skills, regulatory issues, market disruption and trust, but seemingly not by their ability ... Read More
Helen Sewell: gagged from mentioning communication training clients
Oct 5, 2017

Communication training – a dirty little secret?

Gagged!

I am the skeleton in the closet of several large clients – their dirty little secret. I am banned from sharing that I’ve worked with them. This has nothing to do with the quality of my communication training (other companies give me great testimonials). It seems this gagging order is down to extreme confidentiality brought about by fear. Yet clients who are scared of revealing they’ve had training or coaching are missing a trick. We live in a new era of openness and transparency, diversity and inclusion. Our society has increasing respect for those who are willing to recognise ... Read More
How to ensure your crisis communications minimise the damage to your corporate reputation
Sep 19, 2017

Crisis communications: reducing reputational damage

When it hits the fan

Crises happen. Despite the best-laid plans, there is always an opportunity for something to fail: often systems, people and/or finances. The big number in the news this week is 400,000. 400,000 Ryanair passengers are likely to have their flights cancelled after the Irish budget airline messed up its pilots’ holiday leave, forcing the airline to ground numerous flights. 400,000 is the number of British customers who might have had their personal details stolen from the credit monitoring company, Equifax, when its systems were hacked in July. 400,000 might sound a lot, but it seems that ... Read More
Present with Powerpoint successfully
Aug 23, 2017

How to present with PowerPoint for maximum impact

Perform to impress

Are you a slide-reader? Does PowerPoint tear your gaze away from the room and force you to stare backwards at the wall behind you? Go on, admit it. I bet you spend far too long looking your slide deck and not enough time connecting with your audience. I’m sure you’ve attended numerous Death by PowerPoint meetings and presentations. So why inflict that on others? Happens to the best of us? Actually it doesn’t. Today I’d like to focus on how to present with PowerPoint without making it the centre of your talk, and how to leverage your slides ... Read More
Communicating CSR
Jul 26, 2017

Communicating CSR: media or social media?

Getting the CSR message across

Communicating CSR (corporate social responsibility) is increasingly important. It can influence leaders and opinion leaders, maximise business opportunities and increase employee morale and reputation. It can differentiate between responsibility and irresponsibility and distinguish ethical behaviour from questionable conduct. In short, it is something every organisation should consider. Today I'd to explore two important channels for communicating CSR: the media and social media. Each has its own pros and cons and it is worth considering these carefully before deciding how best to communicate your CSR.

Communicating CSR through the media

The media shapes information into news stories, feature articles and ... Read More
The influence of the authentic voice
Jun 6, 2017

The authentic voice in politics

Oxymoron or reality?

When we hear someone speak, our immediate gut feeling tells us whether we should trust them. Research suggests we should listen to our initial instincts – they’re stunningly accurate. But can we be misled by political performance posing as true leadership? Do we delude ourselves that we hear an authentic voice when in fact we are listening to a cheap vocal trick? As the old saying goes, “populus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur”. In other words, “people want to be deceived, therefore they will be deceived”. We see what we want to see, and we hear what we want ... Read More
May 31, 2017

Politics and body language

Can body language really affect election results?

When people assess politicians in the media, physicality and body language have a significant, albeit subtle effect. It's said they can swing a close-call election, although this is controversial. The claim arises from the very first televised leadership debate, which took place in the US in September 1960. Around 70 million viewers watched as vice President Richard Nixon was pitted head-to-head against the young, relatively inexperienced senator, John F Kennedy. Despite his vast political experience, Nixon did not come across well to the viewing public. He had been in hospital for two weeks in August 1960, with an infection ... Read More
Effective messaging: you’re dead in the water without it
Apr 28, 2017

Effective messaging: why so many fail

Read on for my offer of free individual advice

With hundreds of business communications demanding our attention each week, and thousands of marketing messages every day, we forget most of what we see, hear and read. Even pictures – said to be worth a thousand words – are sometimes of no value whatsoever. And although we remember more of what we hear than what we read, we still forget at an alarming rate. Our decline in memory is shocking. Psychologists say that just an hour after we learn something new, we’re just as likely to forget it as remember it. After ... Read More
Communication stress adversely affects pitches and presentations, media interviews and meetings.
Mar 30, 2017

Communication stress: the secret bane of business

From client meetings to boardrooms

It almost makes me weep to see so many high-flying execs painfully stressed about important events. Offices around the world would be much happier places if senior personnel recognised that this overwhelming anxiety is unnecessary. Work would become more productive without endless hours spent on something which probably needs a fraction of the time. In the days and even weeks leading up to an Event (always with a capital E) over-anxious executives can barely think about anything else. Their sleep suffers, their muscles contract with unreleasable tension, their worry levels shoot through the roof. It doesn’t matter whether they are preparing ... Read More
Does your English pronunciation affect how people perceive you?
Feb 27, 2017

English pronunciation and accent discrimination

Making and breaking careers

Whether you are a native or non-native English speaker, your accent can play a major role in how you are perceived. Surveys show that accents have an impact "on success, in employment, social life and elsewhere". Sadly, and very unfairly, 'accentism' appears to be an acceptable prejudice. Take singer Cheryl Cole, who was sacked as a judge on the US version of The X Factor, allegedly because the US audience found it hard to understand her Geordie tones. Was this a reasonable decision by the producers in an attempt to increase viewing figures? Or was it a case of pure ... Read More
Make eye contact to win friends and influence people
Jan 31, 2017

Make eye contact to boost your influence

Do you REALLY know what you’re doing?

Most people think they make eye contact perfectly well in a business situation. Most people fail to recognise that what they think of as eye contact is not really eye contact at all – at least not in the influential way that they expect. This is hardly surprising. If you are at the unconscious incompetent stage of learning (where you don’t know what you don’t know), it takes someone to point out any lack of awareness before you achieve that ‘aha’ moment. Once you realise your shortcomings, you can take action to overcome ... Read More
Use communication in leadership to engage an audience, regardless of your words
Dec 13, 2016

Communication in leadership: who cares what you say anyway?

The power of communication in leadership

How much truth is there in the old adage, “it ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it”? Is this merely urban myth? Can you really engage an audience and hold them in the palm of your hand while speaking pure flimflam? Well yes, actually you can. You might not keep their attention for very long, but you can certainly get away with it for a few minutes before the novelty wears off. As a gift for the festive season, I’d like to introduce you to a man who knows how to get ... Read More
Cringeworthy, embarrassing presentations? Use leadership communication skills to speak like a pro.
Nov 28, 2016

Top five terrible talks: cringeworthy leadership communication skills

Could the nightmare happen to you?

Speaking in public. We all fear getting it wrong. And when it goes dramatically wrong, the embarrassment is all-consuming. Not to mention the frustration. Perhaps this rings uncomfortable bells for you. Have your leadership communication skills ever flown out the window at a critical moment? Have you ever wished the floor would open up beneath you? Many prominent people have come to a sticky end during a presentation that should have promoted them rather than mortified them. Today, for your voyeuristic entertainment (and education), I've compiled five classic examples of catastrophic presentation failures, with advice on how to avoid ... Read More
Every great leader has a powerful executive presence, giving them an aura of strength and empowering them to demonstrate leadership through embodying it
Oct 17, 2016

Embody your authority to demonstrate leadership

The role of physicality in leadership

Being a great leader isn’t just about making careful choices and guiding people towards your way of thinking. It’s about connecting with others in a way which engenders respect and makes them want to follow your directions because they believe in you and want to do well for you. In other words it’s not just how to talk the talk. You need to demonstrate leadership by walking the walk as well. Your physicality has a significant effect on those around you. It also influences how you feel. And you can use it in very powerful ways.

Recognise the ...

Read More
It takes just two seconds for you to make an impression through Executive Presence
Sep 30, 2016

Executive presence counts (in just two seconds)

Win hearts and minds through executive presence

You have just two seconds to make an impression. Two seconds to make a lasting impression that counts. In the first two seconds of meeting you or watching you speak, people will get a gut instinct about you. And research shows that initial gut instinct is usually accurate and permanent. So when you want to make a great impression, those two seconds might be the most valuable you will ever spend. But what can you do in two seconds? You can speak six words. For example: “Our product is innovative and successful”. Will ... Read More
Influential or just plain sexy? The attractive voice in men
Aug 31, 2016

The attractive voice: boardroom authority or bedroom appeal?

The vocal attraction of business leaders and Hollywood stars

Powerful men are attractive. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve all seen media photos of beautiful women draped around very ordinary-looking guys who just happen to be highly successful. Money may well come into it but if those men communicate for a living - whether they are actors, politicians or entrepreneurs - they’re likely to have charisma. Very few people succeed in life without it. (Sports stars are a notable exception, as they make it to the top through physical rather than intellectual skills.) For the most part, charisma plays a role ... Read More
Solving a movement riddle to create more successful communication
Jul 18, 2016

The role of movement in successful communication

The impact of physical activity

It’s well known that children’s creativity is enhanced by moving. But does the same apply to adults? Does physical activity increase our ability to think laterally and creatively? And if so, how can that benefit our communication? Physical activity at work can have very positive effects. Incorporating a few basic movements and exercises into our working day can boost our energy, engagement and efficiency. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, holding meetings while walking, and carrying out a few stretches every now and again can make a big difference to how we feel and ... Read More
High heels at work are a no-no if you want to succeed
Jun 30, 2016

High heels at work make women less successful

The controversy over high heels at work

There’s a row in the UK over whether employers should be allowed to force female staff to wear high heels at work as part of the dress code. Regardless of the sexist nature of such an outdated policy, any company that compels women to wear heels is damaging its own progress. The hidden impact of high heels at work reduces women’s ability to succeed in the workplace and is likely to have a negative effect on the economy. A raised shoe might look beautiful. It might give you the extra height and confidence ... Read More
Effective body language helps you to get a message across successfully and achieve buy-in
May 31, 2016

Effective body language for leaders

Create effective body language with your hands

Your hands are an amazing part of your body, and what you do with them has a significant impact on those around you. Effective body language means using your hands appropriately. As I told the finalists of an HSBC business competition recently, when you are truly connected with what you are saying, when you believe it fully and when you wholeheartedly want to get it across, your hands will support you automatically. Take a look at the video for more details.

Using gesture to best effect

Demonstrating what you mean is a great ... Read More
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim represents Chad’s civil society - a great female speaker
Apr 29, 2016

Great female speaker rises from poverty to wow the UN

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: the power of a great female speaker

Among the world leaders and dignitaries to speak at last Friday’s UN climate signing ceremony was a woman from a nomadic tribe in Chad, whose mother walked 10km every day to collect water and food. Talking to the world from the podium at UN headquarters in New York - about as far from her roots as it is possible to get - Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim showed just how to capture and hold the attention of an international audience. Hindou is what I’d call a naturally great female speaker. In fact there are far ... Read More
Brilliant communication relies on three salient principles: persuasion, style and structure
Mar 30, 2016

Brilliant communication comes in threes

The power of three

The number three: it’s lucky for some, magical for others, powerful for us all. Three is seriously useful to achieve brilliant communication. When you want people to hear your words, understand your point and buy into your message, you just can’t beat a good three. Our brains are hard-wired to recognise and remember things in threes, and the rule of three embraces our lives in many different guises. Consider these: Nursery tales including: Three blind mice, Three bears Three little pigs etc Religion including: Christianity: Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) Buddhism: Three Jewels (the Buddha, ... Read More
How public speaking anxiety can shut down part of the brain and make us slip up when giving a talk
Feb 25, 2016

Public speaking anxiety shuts down the brain

The root of public speaking anxiety revealed

Scientists have just discovered that when someone is watching you perform, or even when you think you are being watched, an important part of your brain switches off. It's called the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), and it's situated in the outer part of the brain near the top and back of your head. There are two IPCs - one on each side of the brain - and they control the fine, precise movements of your lips and tongue, among other areas. If public speaking anxiety has ever caused you to feel tongue tied, this may well ... Read More
Silence is golden when you speak to inspire. Allow time for your words to sink in
Jan 25, 2016

Pause for power: speak to inspire

“Shh”

When you need to present important information, what you don’t say is just as important as what you say. I’m not talking about physicality here, although body language plays a big part, of course. I’m talking about the pauses between words. When you speak to inspire, giving people time to think is absolutely vital. It’s completely obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people believe they are pausing when they are doing nothing of the sort. We often have a misplaced perception of how we come across. And please don’t think you’re an exception to the rule! Unless you ... Read More
Business leaders can learn valuable lessons from Santa’s resonant voice
Dec 18, 2015

Santa's resonant voice

"Ho ho ho"

If there's one man who knows how to speak with a rich and resonant voice it's the world's most famous driver of reindeer, Santa Claus himself. "Ho ho ho", he chuckles, bringing the sound from deep within his rotund belly. Santa obviously appreciates a few mince pies at this time of year. And he's been eating them for a long time. Back in the early 1820s, Divinity Professor Clement Clarke Moore penned a Christmas poem for his children. A Visit From St Nicholas (more commonly known as 'Twas The Night Before Christmas) includes the lovely line that Santa ... Read More
How ‘Talk Like TED’ can support your Executive Presentation Training
Nov 20, 2015

Talk like TED (Executive presentation training)

I wish I'd got there first...

Every now and again I come across a book I wish I'd written. "Talk Like TED" is one such publication. I recommend it as a great start to any executive presentation training program. One of the reasons I like this book so much is because it is written by a former news anchor and journalist, Carmine Gallo. I also come from a broadcast journalism background, so Carmine and I speak the same language. His book is as easy to read as a page-turner novel. It tells the story of individual TED speakers in such a ... Read More
Conquering the fear of public speaking in just half a day – the joyful success of one CEO
Oct 22, 2015

Reversing the fear of public speaking

Coaching magic

Sometimes magic happens. And when it does it blows me away. This month a benevolent fairy has been sprinkling magic dust over one of my clients. Both he and I are delighted with the results.

A devastating fear of public speaking

My client (let's call him Thomas) is the founder and CEO of a very successful company, which is getting bigger and bigger. As its reputation grows, Thomas is increasingly asked to speak at external events. Thomas loves his company and he wants to take it as far as it can go. As the face of the organisation, he ... Read More
Clear speech is not just related to language: passion and enthusiasm play a major role
Sep 24, 2015

Clear speech without language

Understanding the incomprehensible

Some people express themselves so clearly that their meaning is immediately obvious - even though their language is foreign to the listener. My taxi driver on a recent business trip to Oman was a point in question. Speaking in Arabic, he demonstrated vividly how clear speech can transcend language barriers. Now I’m no Arabic speaker, and Ali spoke for a good five minutes in his native tongue, yet I understood his meaning implicitly.

So what creates clear speech?

Ali’s hands, his facial expressions, and his vocal inflections all contributed to his ability to communicate successfully. This was a ... Read More
The Edible Means to Effective Communication
Aug 10, 2015

The edible means to effective meetings

The benefits of biscuits for effective meetings

Biscuits are apparently the king of effective meetings. Survey after survey has underlined that the better the biscuit, the better the meeting. This doesn't mean that the world’s most expensive biscuit will net you that multi-million dollar deal. In fact the world’s most expensive biscuit is probably inedible, as it is well over a hundred years old. (It was taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic in 1907 and sold for £1,250 GBP in 2011.) But if you're really trying to impress, then a £30 GBP box of 15 gold-leaf chocolate cookies might ... Read More
Engage, influence and inspire through connecting powerfully with others
Jul 10, 2015

Create powerful connections to influence and inspire

Powerful connections make all the difference

This week I've been considering the issue of creating strong interpersonal connections while speaking. It's the most important way to engage, influence and inspire those around you. Connecting effectively with others helps people take your message on board, and this increases the likelihood that you will influence and inspire them while achieving your own aims. To make a great connection you have to truly believe in your message, and focus purely on communicating it. No other thoughts or feelings should cross your mind while you are speaking. But the words shouldn't just appear in your ... Read More
Active listening is vital for successful business leaders
Jun 11, 2015

Active listening – the Achilles' heel of leadership

The active listening habits of leaders

"Most of the successful people I've known”, said Bernard Baruch, financier and political adviser, “are the ones who do more listening than talking". His observations were astute. Academic research indicates that leaders really are better listeners. They listen with an open mind, without becoming emotional or defensive. Studies show that confident people are better at listening to communication content, while those who lack confidence listen more to the emotional meaning behind the spoken message. But strangely, although business people recognise that listening is one of the most important skills for an effective professional, only ... Read More
A strong voice is as important as words and body language. Without it, communication is difficult.
May 19, 2015

Strong voice, effective body language, impactful words

The significance of a strong voice

 I lost my voice this week. It totally disappeared and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it apart from remain quiet. Even communication professionals can fall victim to vocal cord viruses, although this was a first for me. But never one to let an opportunity slip by, I used this ironic situation and my enforced silence to contemplate the importance of a strong voice, and how its significance is often lost or ignored.

The misconceived importance of a strong voice

There’s a much misquoted research paper by psychology professor Albert Mehrabian, who studied ... Read More
Leadership communication to end all leadership communication: the resignation speech assessed
May 8, 2015

Leadership communication: taking the rap for failure

Party leaders resign: the final leadership communication

Well who would have thought it? The pollsters are navel gazing and self-flagellating for getting the election results so overwhelmingly wrong. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Conservatives are in charge of the UK, sweeping aside memories of the past 5 years of coalition government. And the party leaders who were buoyed up and egged on by the media frenzy around the profusion of ‘too close to call’ polls? In acts of broken-hearted acceptance, the three main players have delivered their last acts of leadership communication – each resigining from the party ... Read More
No-one hears a quiet mumbling leader. With speech volume cranked up, you’re on the road to success.
Apr 23, 2015

Crank up your speech volume for leadership and power

My favourite aspect of leadership communication coaching is hearing my clients experience the beautiful ‘Aha!’ moment when they realise they can take their speech volume and their vocal richness to a totally different level. Rose buds spontaneously burst open, church bells peal out and fireworks explode every time a client suddenly ‘gets it’. And ‘getting it’ is oh so pleasurable. It’s an amazing experience to realise that your voice has the power to affect others in the way you want. To recognise that it’s an incredible instrument. And to appreciate that it will always be with you, every single day, ... Read More
Confidence coaching can help you conquer the public speaking fear holding back your career.
Apr 13, 2015

Confidence coaching crushes presentation fears

Fear of public speaking (glossophobia) is one of the world’s leading anxieties – outranked only by the fear of snakes. But while snakes are a potentially life-threatening hazard, of which it is entirely reasonable to be scared, getting up to give a presentation holds no such dangerous threats. Luckily, fear of public speaking can be resolved through a process of specialist confidence coaching. Unluckily, the right type of confidence coaching is extremely hard to find. And that's why thousands of prominent business people and others in the media spotlight still quake in their boots at the mere thought of public speaking. Glossophobia is indiscriminate in whom it ... Read More
Our BBC impact coaching specialist assesses the TV performance of the next person to live at No 10.
Apr 2, 2015

Who's next at Number 10?

If performance style at tonight’s debate between seven prospective British Prime Ministers is anything to go by, we could soon be seeing UKIP leader Nigel Farage picking up the key to 10 Downing Street. Now before we go any further, I want to point out that this is not a reflection of my political affiliations. As a completely unaffiliated voter I’m planning to read all the party manifestos before deciding where to place my cross. But if I ignore the content of what was said today, and put my trust purely in style rather than substance, the person who came across ... Read More
BBC media training can empower you to play the media game and boost your reputation.
Mar 30, 2015

Reputation is in the eye of the beholder

Journalists looking for comments or analysis tend to wheel out their favourite spokesperson every time a relevant story hits the headlines. To the media audience that spokesperson becomes just like a chart hit – a song repeated so many times that it seeps into your subconscious. Its familiarity means you start to like it, and as soon as you hear the first notes, your reaction is immediately positive. When a spokesperson is regularly asked to provide observations or give context to a story, that person becomes recognised as the expert in their field. As their familiarity grows, their reputation soars, ... Read More
It’s all too easy to slip up in broadcast interviews without BBC media training to support you.
Mar 23, 2015

Disastrous interviews: our ghoulish fascination

My last post mentioned the leader of the UK’s Green Party, Natalie Bennett, and her catastrophic pre-election interviews where she clearly didn’t have a clue about the subject under discussion. But what is it about an appalling interview that piques our interest? Why do we enjoy cringing at someone else’s misfortune? Or perhaps ‘enjoy’ is too strong a word, but there’s certainly fascination involved. Take poor old Guy Goma, a low level IT worker, who on 8th May 2006 was sitting in BBC reception waiting to be called in for a job interview. That day Apple Computers was involved in a ... Read More
David Cameron refuses TV debate: BBC media training would give him confidence to face his rivals.
Mar 16, 2015

Come on Cameron – camera shy? I don’t believe it.

Shame on British Prime Minister David Cameron for refusing to take part in a series of pre-election TV debates with rival party leaders, when he pushed so strongly for debate five years ago as Leader of the Opposition. It was all very well to advocate TV debates and to air his views when he had nothing to lose. But now, at crunch time, with Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck in the polls and the general election just over seven weeks away, David Cameron’s job, home and international reputation are all at stake. Not to mention the future of the British public. Mr Cameron is obviously terrified ... Read More