The Power Of Words
I have always loved and admired the power of words. I took a degree in French and German at Manchester University and then started a career in Marketing. I soon learned the importance of words in every aspect of my work – writing promotional literature, brochures and adverts and most of all, in speaking to groups of people – at conferences, sales presentations and new business pitches.
Corporate life and my own business
I have held Director level roles in major companies – Fisons, Smith & Nephew, McCarthy & Stone, Saatchi & Saatchi and Thomas Cook. Then, after gaining an MBA at Henley Business School, I focused my career on health and care – working for leading organisations in that sector. These included Bupa (hospitals and care homes) and General Healthcare Group (the largest provider of private healthcare in the UK). Success in these roles depended on my ability to motivate teams, help people to understand the benefits of my proposals and convince sceptics and doubters to increase my budget or accept some unwelcome organisational change.
I also mentored and trained many people working with and for me, so they could be more effective in their chosen careers. Many have gone on to much greater things – one is a PhD University Lecturer, another is a Marketing Director, others successfully now run their own businesses.
In 2000, I set up my own consultancy ‘Marketing on Tap’, providing high calibre research, analysis and strategic advice to major organisations in the health and care sectors – including the NHS. Once again, I depended heavily on my ability to speak confidently in public – for winning new business, communicating the details of research programmes and presenting complex research study results to time pressured and often cynical audiences.
We live in the same world
I have a true understanding of the business world – at the level you operate in - and how crucial it is for you to be able to speak confidently and effectively in public. So I am able to offer coaching tailored and appropriate to business situations and to your specific needs and timescales.
Refining my speaking and coaching skills
To further improve my speaking skills, in 2001 I joined Toastmasters International*. I won numerous awards for ‘Best Speaker’, ‘Best Evaluator’ and ‘Best Impromptu Speaker’ as well as participating in many speaking and evaluation contests. I have now attained the highest award offered by this organisation – Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) – an acclaimed achievement that less than 5% of those who join the organisation manage to attain. Literally millions of people have been members of Toastmasters since it was set up in 1924, so the DTM is indeed a highly valued accolade.
Getting my DTM involved giving more than 50 speeches, coaching and motivating other speakers, running a public speaking programme with a large group of 14 year old school children, organising more than a dozen speaking competitions, establishing a brand new speaking group and overseeing some 40 speaking groups across East Anglia and the Northern Home Counties.
Such a broad range of experience enables me to know, understand and share with you the specific skills and techniques that are essential to help you become a compelling and convincing public speaker.
* Just in case you were wondering, Toastmasters International is a leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving public speaking and communication skills which operates in 126 countries worldwide. It is nothing to do with those excellent people who wear red jackets and announce (for instance) that your dinner is served at major functions and events.