Public Speaker

 “Leadership isn’t about physical strength, individual capability, or supreme intelligence, but about having the character to influence and maximise the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal.

Quote© by George Greig extracted from Voices of Strength.

Overcoming the initial fear

Breaking The Subject Down

Addressing an audience is considered by some as purgatory, an experience that can literally traumatise individuals from the very moment it is mentioned. For a storyteller like me, it is an opportunity that I genuinely relish. As an ex-serviceman, I was introduced to this skill a very long time ago, indeed it formed a crucial part of my military training, and I am so grateful for that. It assisted me immensely throughout my career in the Army, and even more so in industry.

Training in the Army can sometimes be fairly brutal in its delivery, and might be seen as bullying by those that don’t understand what is behind a particular approach. The results though are often quite amazing. At 16 years of age I was a relatively quiet youngster and can honestly say that standing up in front of a group of people and delivering a clear, cohesive presentation over a 15 minute period was beyond me; moreover, it would have terrified me. The means by which this was addressed during military training was to ask individuals to stand up, without warning, provide them with an object such as a pencil, and tell them to talk about the item for 15 minutes. During this time, you would learn how to break the subject down, to talk about the constituent parts, how it had been grown, machined, had lead inserted, where the lead came from, whether it was painted, how it was sharpened…it’s amazing how quickly 15 minutes passes. This type of exposure provided confidence in terms of having to think on your feet, engage the audience, fill the allocated slot, answer questions and the like. Overcoming the initial fear is a large part of mastering oral communication.

Addressing an audience


Obtaining the confidence to address an audience is only the start of the journey of course, with the more critical elements being knowledge of the subject matter, the ability to construct and deliver a cohesive presentation, audience management, and response to questions. All of these additional elements can be taught and perfected through experience, but the first bit is the one that scares people, and that’s such a shame.

I have been exceptionally privileged throughout my working life. I have been engaged in teaching/instructing, briefing and presenting to large audiences, and acting as a panellist at numerous industry forums, all of which I thoroughly enjoy. My experience as a ski instructor and mountain leader have also assisted my growth in this area.

As a Fellow of both the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and the Institute of Leadership and Management (InstLM), retired Army Officer, Senior Businessman, Author and Entrepreneur.

“We want our people to enjoy the best possible working environment, allowing them to live their best lives at and beyond work….”

“We want our people to enjoy the best possible working environment, allowing them to live their best lives at and beyond work….”