Catch up on the latest Speakersbank news

Performance for Schools - now Performers In Schools

The NSW Department of Education and Training has abolished the Performance for Schools program. However, under the initiative of Steve Towell, the previously authorised Performance for Schools groups have collaborated to form a new group which will have its own monitoring and authorising process.

Groups wishing to belong to the Performers In Schools program have to undergo the authorisation process, which includes Working With Children background checks as well as assessment procedures conducted by the new group program.

SpeakersBank Australia Inc has joined the new group and is listed on the Performers In Schools webpage.

Youth Speaker 2008

 Hornsby district students scored two of the top three places in the Youth

Speaker of the Year Final on Tuesday 16th September. Eleven finalists from schools

across Sydney competed in the public speaking event at Burwood RSL Club.

 Isaac Freelander from Normanhorst Boys’ High won first place, with a witty 4

minute speech on the topic of Political Correctness, arguing that despite

good intentions it had gone too far.

Second place went to Cassie Wright of Roseville College, with a comical and

uplifting speech, “Gross Domestic Happiness.”


Miriam Barnes of Hornsby Girls’ High School urged people to “throw down the

Ipod shackles” and start communicating and connecting with real life in her

talk, “I came, I saw, Ipod.”

 The winners received prize money of $350, $100 and $50, as well as vouchers

for online games from 3rd Sense.

Contestants had earlier taken part in the Speak Up! Speak Out! Training

workshop, a model designed to encourage students to speak from the heart, to

enhance body language and vocal variety. Two semi-final competitions (hosted

by Parramatta Town Hall and Hornsby Council Chambers) whittled the total

entrants down to the final 11 students, who could choose any issue, cause or

social problem as the topic of a 4-minute speech.

Last year’s winner, Jake Nelson, from Muirfield High School, gave a

diverting account of how his public speaking skills are proving an asset in

many areas of his life. He then presented Isaac Freelander, this year’s

winner, with the perpetual SpeakersBank Youth Speaker of the Year trophy.

In an informal impromptu competition, Cassie Wright won a book and vouchers

with a speech on her ideal holiday in space.


 Judges commended all participants on their poise, eloquence and preparation.

“Just taking part is a learning experience,” Dale Rees-Bevan of SpeakersBank

said as she thanked students, their families and sponsors for supporting

Youth Speaker of the Year.

Barack Obama's Victory Speech

A wonderful example of how public speaking can be a powerful tool for leadership!

SpeakersBank Australia in partnership with School for Volunteer Management

Speak Up! Speak Out! Public Speaking Workshops piloted at the School for Volunteer Management. On Tuesday, 23 October 2007, The Centre for Volunteering arranged for SpeakersBank to conduct two pilot 3-hour public speaking workshops, which were offered to participants at a reduced fee.

There was a fantastic response with both workshops (each limited to 20) being over subscribed.

"I found the session to be most worthwhile and consider other people interested in improving their confidence and speaking skills should attend one when available in the future. Well done Jacinthe and The Centre for Volunteering!" Nicole Brown, Animal Liberation.

NSW The School of Volunteer Management is now partnering with SpeakersBank to offer these courses to members and others in the sector throughout the Sydney CBD and metropolitan areas and regional NSW.

"It was amazing to see the achievement in such a short space of time." Malalai Ebrahimi, KYDS (Kuring-gai Youth Development Service)

"Last week's public speaking workshops were beneficial in that they gave me some good tips for improving a skill I use almost every day. I wasn’t sure they would have any new information for me but they did! The crew was helpful and friendly and the workshops ran smoothly." Simone Curry, Conservation Volunteers Australia

Following the workshops held at the SVM, SpeakersBank was asked to deliver training for Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service, who commented: "Our organisation was looking for a short, punchy, interactive training session on public speaking for our experienced and already proficient marketing staff. We found exactly what we wanted with SpeakersBank. Everyone enjoyed the three hour workshop and we all left having learnt some simple but some important points. We also received good, constructive feedback about our personal style. It was well worth the investment". Phil Williams, WHRS. 

 SpeakersBank Australia is delighted with the partnership arrangement as we see our goals directly aligned with what the School for Volunteer Management is trying to achieve.

Top Tips for Brain Training in Public Speaking

 Top Tips for Brain Training in Public Speaking

People often ask how I manage to remember all my speeches - "How do you hold all that information in your head?" 

There are a few strategies that can work - here are some suggestions to improve your ability to think on your feet! 

1. Number your points and count them off on your fingers (this obviously works easity if you have a small number of points!) If you're doing a long presentation, use your power point slides as prompts with pictures which trigger your memory. Avoid putting everything on the slide and reading it off - you still need to make an effort to be the "added value" in the presentation. YOU are the presenter. You can still count off your points on your fingers within each slide. 

2. Mind maps always work for me - "draw" your speech in a circle, starting top rights and working your way around to your conclusion at top left. The points should be single word bullet-points. It's easier to remember concepts or ideas than full sentences.

3. Sign up to Lumosity: This won't directly help your speaking, but it's great brain-training and will give you increased confidence in your own mental ability. 

4. Design your talk around an ACRONYM - that way your speech hinges on a letter per idea and you're guided by the word. It also makes your talk more memorable for the audience.

5. Good old-fashioned practice. Yup, it's true - this is tried and tested; there is no substitute for practice. Even quietly inside your car or shower or when you're pretending to work - that still counts as practice! 

6. When I prepare, I always make sure I'm clear on my dates, numbers and names and the rest I structure around a few memorable stories with my points being made after each story. 

7. Practise telling story-jokes. This way, you'll get used to ordering ideas and delivering them to an audience. It's a short simple exercise but it will increase your confidence and your ability to memorise bits of information. And your friends and family will enjoy your efforts! 

Good luck with your presentations! 


Top Tips for Confidence-Building in Public Speaking


Most of the people I work with express a degree of concern over how nervous they get when delivering presentations. In our training sessions we talk about overcoming nerves - the most important point being to realise that being nervous does not automatically mean you will speak badly; it simply means you care. Here are some additional ideas and strategies to reduce the fear factor. I've experimented with them and found them very helpful! 

1. Watch 
Amy Cuddy's talk on Body Language - some amazing ideas on how to "act" confident and trick your body into calming down. 

2. Move into "left brain" activity to override your emotional right-brain response of fear. You can do this by doing some mental arithmetic. I was once approached just before a contest with a barrage of questions around a problem (not an arithmetic one!) which meant I had to focus on someone else and think hard about how to solve the issue. I realised that I had been done a great favour - I forgot to be nervous because my mind was otherwise occupied! 

3. Do this short meditation activity: imagine your life drawn out as a line. Hover above your lifeline and go forward to the future. Go to the point where the presentation is over and look back at it. Notice how you feel. Go even further forward into the future and think about the other things you have planned. Look back at the presentation and see how small it is. Smile back at how nervous you were and realise that now it wasn't such a big deal. 

4. Use Aaron Beck's 
AWARE model which also makes you move into left-brain activity and think about your feelings rather than just feeling them! This model is used for anxiety - I think it's a useful one even for a mild case of nerves. 

5. Work the audience before your presentation. I always feel if I walk around and have a chat to a few people before I speak, then at least I've connected with some people. That way I feel like I have some friends in the audience and I feel more relaxed. Those people are more likely to smile at you and respond positively earlier in your presentation. 

Top Tips for Keeping it Fresh



1. Try new stories.

The stories you have been using are tried and tested, but new ones will bring some freshness - not least of all because you will need to be more "present" to concentrate on what you are saying. A variation on this is to rearrange the order you deliver your material - obviously making sure there is still a logical flow! 

2. Visual aids. 
Bring a prop to support your ideas and create a lasting impression. People respond to colour and visual aids, so explore this strategy and have some fun with it! 

3. Ask someone to summarise the main points of your talk. 
This will not only reinforce the information you are imparting, but will give you a very clear indication of what parts of your presentation are having an impact! 

4. Power Point transitions. 
Think about your first line of each slide, if you are using Power Point presentations. It is very easy to fall into lazy habits "on this slide..." or "so..." at the beginning of each slide. Planning your transitions will make you think a little harder about your presentation as a whole - and give it a fresh makeover! 

5. Create activities. 
Think about the points you are making and create some games or  activities around the material. This will vitalise your material and your audience - and create an effective impact.