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Is there a difference between an after-dinner speaker and a comedian?

31 January, 2018

After-dinner Speaker or Comedian? Is there a difference between an after-dinner speaker and a comedian? There are certainly similarities – after all – they both “speak”, and both should aim to be funny! Yet there is a subtle difference… and it has nothing to do with which is “better” – it’s a case of which…

OldMutual Jan2016

After-dinner speaking: Cinderella or Ugly Sister?

9 August, 2017

I contributed the following article to the August issue of Speaking Business Magazine. I reproduce it here in its entirety! Speaking at the MPMA Dinner : Draper’s Hall, London   AFTER DINNER SPEAKING: Cinderella or Ugly Sister? That may be a provocative title for an article – but from personal experience there is no doubt…


A skeleton in the pulpit…

31 October, 2016

Today being Hallow’een prompts me to write about the time a skeleton once delivered a sermon from the pulpit of Gloucester Cathedral… in front of 500 witnesses! Yes really! I know – because I was responsible for it happening! Yet this is not a just blog about that strange occurrence …  it is actually a…

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Root Canal Dentistry, Michael McIntyre and Manfred Mann …

13 July, 2016

I love going to the dentist! OK before you think I’m weird – some sort of masochistic pain freak… let me explain! For a start – modern dentistry is (virtually!) pain free… and the fact is I share with my dentist Imi an interest in public speaking, and I am always stimulated by our brief…


Ronnie Corbett: lessons for speakers

31 March, 2016

The death of Ronnie Corbett announced today (March 31st, 2016) brings to an end one of the most popular and endearing comedy double acts the UK has ever known. Alongside his partner Ronnie Barker, The Two Ronnies show ran for 16 years on the BBC and regularly drew audiences of 17 million. So what was…

John Simonett hosting Dell conference in Paris

Nervous speaker? How to appear confident, poised and nerveless – guaranteed!

31 December, 2015

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are”  Muhammad Ali As discussed in a previous post – most people are more afraid of speaking in public than death! If you want to know how to appear confident, poised and nerve-free – read on! OK admission…


Stage Fright or Stage Fight?

29 November, 2015

In prehistoric times two hormones geared us up for action – either to fight off enemies and predators – or to run away from the danger they posed. Known as adrenaline and noradrenaline (or epinephrine and norepinephrine) they are “neurotransmitter” chemicals without which we would have died out as a species. Their evolutionary effects are…


“Do you get nervous before you speak?”

29 November, 2015

“Do you get nervous before you speak?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions I get when people find out I am a “speaker”! If you are someone who dreads having to speak in public, fear not – you are in good company – “Glossophobia” is a very common condition!! Wikipedia states: “it…

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How Bill McLaren helped me learn 120 names!

1 September, 2015

Over the years I have developed quite a reputation on the speaking “circuit” as someone who has a “good memory” for names…  I always deny this!  I prefer to say I have a “good imagination” – and that I use a “system” – allied to hard work to make it look easy! The truth is…

Power 100 room III

Hosting a Conference: Pt 5 – It’s a wrap!

31 August, 2015

Bringing an event to a successful close is just as important a part of hosting a conference as all the work that goes into preparation