Tag: Guidance

Don’t Make an Enemy of Your Best Friend.

The Pensive Buttoner pic

What is the worst thing a guy can do to his best friend?

Ask him to be the Best Man at his wedding!

He will have to make a speech fitting for the occasion and also find a tuxedo that fits. He will lie awake night after night wondering what to say and worrying about it.  It will totally occupy his mind for weeks. As the time draws near pimples will start sprouting on his face from the stress. Everyone else’s preparations for the wedding seems to be going smoothly except his speech.

Finally the day arrives, the guests look splendid and happy but the best man cannot enjoy himself, it is the worst experience of his life. He is sure he will make a fool of himself, no one will find his jokes funny.

Fight or flight mode kicks in, all the blood drains from his brain to his muscles in readiness to run like hell. His memory, starved of oxygen and blood shuts down and he completely forgets his opening lines. His mouth is so dry not a word can come out. Poor guy!

My advice: Don’t make an enemy of your best friend by asking him to be best man at your wedding unless you provide him with an experienced speaking coach.  If you ask me, I know just the man for the job. He makes speaking in front of an audience an exciting and fun challenge. He can provide your best man with guidance on gathering content, structuring and delivering his speech. And perhaps most importantly, how to make it really captivating by weaving in anecdotes and stories. The audience will love it and he will be the second most popular guy.

For workshops and 1:1 specialised coaching:





How to Give Constructive Feedback for a Speech.


Helping a speaker to refine and improve their public speaking skills requires paying close attention and listening carefully.

When evaluating a speech keep in mind that the primary goal of the exercise is to empower the speaker, to acknowledge their strong points and give practical tips on how to improve. The overall tone of your critique should give value to the speaker’s efforts by being helpful and constructive. It is a personal opinion on how you experienced the speaker’s performance. Avoid speaking on behalf of the audience.

Discuss with the speaker beforehand if there are any points for which they would like special attention. Ask for some background information and what are their objectives Remember the speaker’s name and use it.

An effective critique can be structured using the following criteria:




Attitude: Did the speaker portray a confident attitude and begin by capturing the audience’s attention? Was the delivery rushed or did it have an agreeable pace and rhythm? How did you feel about the speaker’s stage presence? Keep a look out for authenticity and credibility. Did the speaker show that he/she is knowledgeable about their subject and was the topic relevant to the audience?

Construction: Was the speech well-structured with a clear introduction, body and conclusion? Were the ideas ordered logically and were there smooth transitions which allowed the audience to assimilate all that was being said? At the end of the speech were you able to simply define the purpose of the speech? If visual aids were used were they used appropriately, were they clearly seen and how did they add value to the speech?

Expression: Expression is the driving force behind the speech. What sort of hand gestures, facial expressions and movement on the podium did the speaker display. Did the speaker use vocal variety to add substance to his/her delivery? Most importantly, what was the emotion that the speaker conveyed?

Note down points while the speaker is talking so that at the end you can formulate your observations into a coherent structure. Select only the most relevant points. Restrict your recommendations to areas where it is clear that with a slight adjustment the speaker can make a significant improvement.

Keep your critique compact and beneficial. Demonstrate your recommendations with specific examples. Be candid and don’t give praise where it is not due.

Conclude by telling the speaker what you liked most about their speech and offer praise for their efforts. Reflect on how you can improve on gaining mastery in giving constructive feedback and continually strive to improve your observation skills.