Nick R Thomas - A Public Speaker's Blog is five years old!
Last month I celebrated my birthday and, a few weeks before that, this blog had one of its own.
When I started posting in the summer of 2007 I wanted this blog to:
"Acknowledge, advise and advertise".
Acknowledge the friendly groups who book me and the response they give to my presentations and also thank them for their hospitality, help with transport, etc;
Advise public speakers of all kinds on speechwriting, presentation skills and even marketing themselves. I gave up teaching in the state-run adult education system many years ago because, like so many other lecturers, I no longer found it to be an environment that I wanted to be part of (and that certainly wasn't the students' fault!) I still am regularly booked by organisations and individuals for training sessions, of course, but I knew that I could help many more speakers by passing on tips in a blog;
I also decided that every blog post would contain at least one valuable Public Speaking Tip.
Not long after I had started this blog I was earnestly advised that I should take it down! I can only try and guess what the person's agenda was for suggesting this but if I tell you that they were a rival speaker...
I am glad I ignored this advice: I would have missed out on a lot of work!
I have had some interesting experiences over these past five years. I have spoken in theatres, hotels, golf clubs, community centres, churches, village halls and even private houses. Audience sizes have ranged from just into double figures to hundreds (even more for the radio interviews). I have coached Mayors, watched a then-unknown Jessie J perform at a radio industry event and even had my picture taken by a former Pirelli calendar model who was also one of the first Page Three Girls!
I have made connections with other bloggers, in particular Lisa Braithwaite, whose excellent Speak Schmeak has just celebrated its sixth anniversary and, in the UK, Jeremy Jacobs, whose inspiring communications seminars were mentioned here.
Many bloggers fall behind at some stage and I had to decide whether to omit some of my past engagements but decided to feature them in catch-up posts as there were so many lessons to pass on from them.
When this blog moved from the Blogware platform to Squarespace in March, all the comments posted over the years were unfortunately lost and I would love to start featuring readers' responses again (but please, none of those inane, generic 'Very interesting, keep up the good work' comments that are invariably accompanied by a link that has no relevance to public speaking - they won't appear!)
I also do not want to receive those regular emails offering me content (sometimes relating to public speaking, often not) that the sender feels would be 'a great fit for my readers'. How insulting! I am a writer - I have been finding a fit for my readers, listeners and viewers for decades!
But I am happy to continue answering brief queries from readers about any aspect of public speaking that I can help with. Just one thing: that advice costs nothing and neither does the courtesy of a 'thank you' afterwards - you would be amazed how many people don't bother.
Over the years, it has been interesting to see what have been the most popular posts. You might think these would have been the items about controlling nerves when public speaking or even the 'Mehrabian Myth'. In fact, the posts about how to give a vote of thanks and how to pass Women's Institute speaker auditions seem to have generated the greatest interest!
Well, whichever posts have been the most popular, from the feedback I have received over the years, I can see that this blog certainly seems to help its readers because, as I mentioned earlier, every post has a Public Speaking Tip. So what can I pass on from this piece celebrating five years as a presentation skills blogger? This...
Public Speaking Tip #499: You can learn a certain amount about public speaking by enrolling in a class, joining a club, booking a personal coach, reading a book, watching a DVD, listening to a CD, attending a webinar or, of course, subscribing to a blog like this. Any of these will contain useful theory and some will also involve practising in a supportive environment, but nothing - nothing! - will teach you more about public speaking than getting out there and doing it! After nearly 17 years and some 900 speaking engagements I am still learning - and then passing on that knowledge,
Thank you for reading Nick R Thomas - A Public Speaker's Blog. Five years - and counting!
And in my next entry I will post my 500th Public Speaking Tip...