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Myths, Research and Credibility

I went horseracing last week, and was reminded of an important lesson in the communications, business, and writing trades.

I was at Newmarket, as the guest of a business I’ve worked with, and got to see the unveiling of a statue to one of the great figures (reputationally, rather than physically, of course) of the sport, Lester Piggott.

While I was there, to get into the spirit of it, I thought I would have a small bet on a few races.

But, far from it being my thing, how to decide which horse to back?

I fell back on my instincts, and years of experience, and did some research.

Well, kind of.

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Making Your Voice Heard

Is my voice good enough to be a powerful public speaker?

That was the question I was asked this week after teaching a session on presentations.

I was at Homerton College, Cambridge, watching students give five minute talks on subjects which were important to them, and our world.

We had covered the basics of presentations earlier in the week, and I’m delighted to say they did a terrific job, with highly effective speeches on a range of fascinating subjects from the environment, to homelessness, to mental health.

But afterwards, one of the students, a young woman, raised a concern that her voice was too high to be authoritative.

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Good But Not Great... Yet

There's a big dividing line between good and great. 

But there’s also an easy measure of whether you’re able to make the jump.

I was thinking about that last week, as I talked to students at Homerton College, Cambridge about the art of powerful presentations.

It was the launch of the Changemakers programme, which teaches students the skills they need to thrive in the world, alongside their academic education. Hence my presentations session. 

I’ve done the talk a few times, and when you have experience like that it leaves you with a choice.

If it goes well, and seems to do the trick, do you sit back, put your feet up, rest on your laurels, and bring out the presentation again and again, exactly as it was, every time it’s required?

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