rom there, the journey took me to
learn about passive income and
different income streams.
I think that a professional speaker is
someone who brings Expertise in an
Eloquent fashion as part of their
Enterprise in an Ethical manner.
The four pinnacles of speaking are
eloquence, expertise, enterprise
and ethics. There is no single
pathway to professional speaking. If
you already have your expertise,
then you want to learn about
eloquence, then the enterprise side.
If you already have a level of
eloquence, then you work on your
expertise and enterprise. You must
treat it as a business and make the
commitment to it as a profession.
My original driver was to learn the
medium of speaking. How do you convey the message in the most
impactful way? You want to convey
knowledge, wisdom, expertise and
emotion in an effective way. The
business and message parts
changed over time, but there was a
strong sense that if you know how
to connect with your audience, the
people in the room, you have a
greater possibility of conveying the
message. Over 27 years, the
message has changed but the
method of connecting has been
I knew that this was always going to
be where people were going to
connect. Even with the new
technology coming, I always
thought there was a role for a live
event when people come together.
The face to face, live event still has
I grew up as 1 of ten children, so
every dinner time was a live event.
Different family members could tell
a story or demand attention in
different ways. I really started out
just wanting to learn the art and
craft of speaking. Once I knew more
about that, then I could work on my
message and the business.
When you are building yourself as a
speaker you must have something
to say. So, over time reading,
studying, learning from people and
my own life experiences, I hope to
have built up a body of knowledge,
expertise and wisdom. This is one of
the paradoxes of speaking, it helps
to have expertise but sometimes
this takes a while.
My advice for people who want to
be speakers is to stay at it. You want
experience, expertise and comfort
level to be able to convey your
information with power. I would
recommend you learn about
speaking by getting trusted
feedback, listening to other
speakers and practicing your craft.
Reading, practicing, trying different
things and learning just as my
medical students learn.
A couple of colleagues of mine talk
about eloquence and expertise as
journeys rather than destinations.
You keep working on both areas
and cycle back as you grow.
Audiences change, cultures change, technology changes and you cannot
always use the same references as
Since I started speaking, the craft
has changed. The days of just
standing up and pouring out
information doesn’t work anymore.
Presenting information with time to
reflect, interact and learn helps the
smarter, more cynical audiences.
Doing an exercise for the sake of
the exercise doesn’t make sense. If,
however, it is tied to what you are
talking about or your point, then it
I am seeing much more interaction,
especially with the younger
audiences. They now discuss, or
even decide in a small group as part
of a session.
Of course, technology has made its
impact on the profession. Film,
music, PowerPoint can all be used
well or poorly. I can now use an
avatar to make a point that I might
not be able to say myself. There are things that I say through an avatar
to a young audience that they might
not accept direct from me. Of course, I wrote the script, but
hearing it from a relatable avatar
can help drive home a message. I
am using this more and more with
young audiences. I have even had a
discussion with the avatar where
my live section is all scripted out.
I think the audiences we have are
changing too. The world has
become very visual and the
neuroscience would say that to
make a brain-friendly presentation,
then both words and vision are
To make the transition between
coaching and speaking, I would look
at the principals of coaching that
would convert to a speech. So, if
you are a coach and want to get
into speaking, ask yourself how you
would translate the principals of
coaching to drive home a point to
I make a distinction between
experimental and experiential
learnings. If you know through
experiments and research that a
principal works. If it is based on
experience, then I use the phrase ‘in
my experience…’ but if it is based
on evidence, then you can say
‘Research has shown…’. I find this is
a very important distinction for
speakers starting out. If I hear
“these are the three things you
must do…”, I find myself saying,
Remember that you can be fact-
checked in a moment. I can pull out
my phone and find that you are
perpetuating a myth or extending a
truth, you lose credibility instantly.
The intermediate phrase would be
“In surveying coaches…” then you
have more power and credibility.
There is power in declaring research
The Future of Speaking
I see the future of speaking is
moving from a club mentality to a
profession. We will gather our facts
and evidence on principals that
always work. There is information
coming out of the neurosciences
already that is useful. Looking even
further into the future, I think we
will be able to map out individual
learning genomes. We will know
how your brain lights up when it
processes information and will
match the delivery of information to
your individual learning style. The
technology may allow the use of
holographs with variable speech
cadence and language style to
match your individual learning style.
We are not there yet, but I think
this is coming.
When you stand in front of a group
of people, trying to connect with an
audience, you are exposed and
vulnerable. I still find that after
speaking to an audience, that I feel
privileged to be able to make a
connection with an audience.
Speaking of Benefits
There are benefits of learning the
craft of speaking, even if you don’t
plan to be a professional speaker.
We know from the neurosciences,
that if you want to be better at one
skill, go learn another skill. When
you learn a new skill, your brain
doesn’t know what is important and
what is not, so it lays down a huge
neural network and as you get
better, it pairs this down. As it
streamlines this network, it overlaps
with other skills, so you might be a
better coach, use metaphors in a
different way or relate to clients in
new way. If you can take some of
the art and craft as speaking, you
will be a better coach.
Just remember the underlying
principle: what you say to your
audience must always be correct.
Powerful Stories, Tips and Amazing Insight
Ready, Set, Go! Everything you need to know to start coaching from the legends in the field. As well as the Business and Life coaches, our launch edition features David Parkin (AFL), Lisa Alexander (Netball Australia), Adam Commens (Hockey Australia), Simon Cusack (Swimming Australia), Sean Douglas (FFA) and many more!