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Speakers' Corner

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Editor: Peter Coë

Nearly three decades of speaker coaching and a career in broadcast news inform Peter’s regular blogs for Made Human’s Speakers’ Corner. Topics covered reflect the speaking challenges overcome by his coaching clients, as well Peter himself in his early days on national television. Some of the material here is drawn from his online guide to becoming a confident and effective speaker: Be Your Best Self Up Front.

Formally dressed male professional adjusting his shirt sleeves

Appearance Matters

November 8, 2023

Appearances matter. We all know that. Or we should. Think about how you warm – or not – to a job applicant appearing for interview, to a salesperson who you’ve never met before as they pitch their product or service, or to a new boss saying their first hellos. How much were you influenced by their manner: the way they walked into the room, how they were dressed, how they stood, what they did with their hands, or even how they shook your hand? 

Male speaker at lectern in empty auditorium testing microphone and warming up to deliver printed speech

Warming Up

November 3, 2023

Good speakers often have elaborate pre-performance routines that go well beyond rehearsals of the words they’ll be delivering on stage. 

The best routines include three key components: relaxation, breathing – and vocal exercises. If you’re not preparing this way already, devise a routine based on variations of these three things – and you will hugely improve your delivery. 

Man at home practising a prepared speech or presentation to bathroom mirror

Giving It Oomph!

July 19, 2022

I  reckon anyone who’s ever rehearsed before speaking to an audience will have heard this before from a well-meaning but impatient critic: “Just give it some more oomph!”

“Thanks for that,” you think to yourself, “but that’s easy for you to say. I thought I was doing OK. What else am I supposed to do?”

Too much information speech bubble on keyboard

Keeping It Super Simple

July 12, 2022

If you’re new to public speaking, the chances are you’ll want to craft what you’re going to say in writing before opening your mouth. It’s a good place to begin.

I always recommend starting with a simple outline; a few bullet points of what you want to cover – not an essay!

Businesswoman reading and looking anxious before speaking

Reading Aloud

June 3, 2022

Has it occurred to you how many people – particularly in the work environment – will make any excuse for not rehearsing before a speech or presentation? 

Rehearsing is as normal as breathing for experienced speakers, but for those who aren’t born show ponies it often feels awkward. Best avoided, even if what they’re going to say is largely scripted already.     

Rare Disease Day ribbon and multi-colored backdrop design of adult and child figures holding hands

You Want People’s Attention? Make It Personal

March 7, 2022

Lesa and Brennan Brackbill’s daughter, Tori was born in 2014 with a rare and often fatal disease that’s treatable if caught early through newborn screening. But there was no screening for it in their home state of Pennsylvania. So, Tori’s health deteriorated … 

… Sharing their personal stories has attracted media attention at home and abroad, helping many other parents benefit from their experience.