What does practice make?

If you’re like most people, your automatic response to that question will likely be ‘perfect’, but actually that’s not the case.

Many years ago when I was playing badminton (Leinster Squad, but I don’t like to brag) one of our coaches said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said ‘Practice does NOT make perfect, it makes permanent’. His theory was that if you practice ‘wrong’ or practice doing something wrong, you’re never going to get it perfect, you’re just going to make that wrong thing permanent, like a bad habit.

This is the case with many communication skills issues, and negatively impacts on many people who give a speech, do a presentation or attend an interview. In short, they have practiced wrong, and instead of having their skills perfectly honed for the big event, they have simply made bad habits permanent.

Learn how to practice right through visualisation and make that good habits permanent, then maybe you’ll be a little closer to ‘perfect’ on the day.

Call today on 085 1056699 or get all the details for the next course HERE

Why public speaking is like playing Rugby

For the day that’s in it (Come on Ireland!), I thought I would look at the similarities between preparing for a crucial six nations rugby match, and preparing for a wedding speech, a presentation or a job interview. At first glance, there may seem to be no connection, but let’s dig a bit deeper.

Irish Rugby

In order to perform at your best, you need to change the way you think about the task you’re performing. Some people talk about this in terms of a paradigm shift. Once you change the way you see the challenge, you can’t help but change the way you approach it. Is your presentation, interview or speech a performance? Yes, it absolutely is.

So, Ireland have a big game coming up against Scotland. Do they just rock up to Murrayfield and hope that everything will be ok? Absolutely not. How many times have you heard a commentator say ‘Straight off the Training Ground’ when a will executed move results in a score? How much have we heard over the last number of weeks about how meticulous Joe Schmidt is about his preparation and analysis. How much of the hard work is done before the team ever walks out onto the field  at 2.30 this afternoon?

Ask yourself this, If your speech was a rugby match, what would you do to prepare for it? How much would you practice, how well would you be drilled. If your job interview was a rugby match, would you have analysed previous performances and practiced and rehearsed answers to the most common questions (What are your weaknesses? Outline a time when you achieved something in your role that involved overcoming obstacles…).

You can’t just leave things to chance and assume things will work out. If you could, the Irish team would have just said ‘Hey, we’re professional rugby players, we’ll just rock up to Murrayfield and do what we do and it will be fine’. They haven’t, and you shouldn’t.

Find out how you can prepare for your wedding speech, interview or presentation by calling 085 1056699 or find details of the next Make That Speech Course HERE

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Testimonials from the Last Make That Speech Course

Here’s some of the feedback from the Make That Speech Course in January 2015

M. Prendergast:

I would say I found the course extremely useful! I got up and spoke in front of 4 other people in a room and I was actually able to speak without having a panic attack. To me that’s an achievement!

I’m not just saying this to make you feel good, but I was actually very impressed and I found that you had a genuine interest in helping the people on the course and this in turn was giving you a certain lift. I would be interested in attending you’re next course if there was about 9 or 10 in the class. In the meantime I’ll continue to listen to you’re hypnosis.

Quite simply, it’s the best €100 I’ve spent in a long time!

Sarah Dunne, Customer Central:

Ryan is engaging, warm and honest! The course has really increased my awareness of NLP and given me the tools to present with confidence. Looking forward to putting it all to good use. Would recommend for anyone who has to stand up and present in any situation

S. Bradley:

“I did the Makethatspeech.com course and I found it hugely helpful. I picked up tips for better communication and body language but also I learned of bad habits I had developed that were giving out the wrong signals. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who has to give a presentation or speech and needs a little help perfecting their skills.”

A. O’Beirne:

I found my day at the Make that Speech course extremely helpful. I was given some useful tools to not only equip myself to speak in public confidently but to go about my day to day life the same way.  Ryan gave an exceptional service and checked in throughout the day with us to make sure we were getting the most out of the course. I look at public speaking in a completely different way now and I am looking forward to pursuing it more in future.

Make A Good First Impression

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Make sure you’re making the right one by learning skills and techniques that will enable you to capture attention and make a positive impact with your opening statements.

Find out more about the next Make That Speech Course here

What Can We Learn About Public Speaking From Professional Golfers?

Take a look at this clip of the number 1 ranked golfer in the world today, Rory McIlroy:

Actually, you can find similar videos for Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson and almost every other top layer on the tour on youtube right now.

Rory McIlroy became world number 1 in 2013 and promptly missed the cut in his next 3 events, and lost the world number 1 Spot.

So what we can we learn from the golfers?

Firstly, the sometimes you are going to have a bad day. In the case of a golfer, that doesn’t make you a bad golfer. Likewise, in the case of someone give a presentation or doing some form of Public Speaking, if, for whatever reason it doesn’t go as well as you would like, that does not inherently make you  bad at it. Too many people have one bad experience with Public Speaking, take that as conclusive proof that they aren’t good at it, and go out of their way to avoid doing it in the future. The fact that it went bad once, doesn’t mean it will or always has to go badly in the future.

Secondly, the importance of your mental state in your ability to perform. That’s equally applicable to Public Speaking (and almost every other endeavour) as it is to Golf. It’s pretty obvious that Rory McIlroy is an amazing golfer, but if his head’s not right, by his own admission, the golf’s not right either.

Thirdly, the importance of visualisation. Here’s what golfing legend Nick Faldo had to say about what makes Rory McIlroy so special and why is such a prodigious talent:

“But what I believe is his golfing DNA gift is his visualisation. I had to teach visualisation to myself but he’s got it naturally.

You just watch the way he looks at things. You watch the way he lines up bunker shots. He’s trying to hole them. He can see the perfect shot in his mind – and then can so often produce it.”


What Can We Learn About Public Speaking From Henry Ford?

Though the quote is variously reported, quoted and misquoted, Henry Ford is reported to have said some variation of the following:

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right, Henry Ford Quote

How does this apply to Public Speaking?

Well if you approach any situation in the frame of mind “I can’t do this”, then you are probably going to be right. It wont go well, or at least not as well as it could do. Worse again, your belief that you can’t speak well in public becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, that is to say, you say “I can’t to it”, which sets you up to fail before you begin, then when you do fail (partly or wholly because of your negative state of mind) you see that as proof that you are right, and say “See, I told you I couldn’t do it”

What you think massively and heavily influences how you feel, and your ability to carry out any given task.

If you think “I can do this” from the outset, your chances of success at your chosen task are much greater than a starting position of “I can’t do this”

On a Make That Speech course, we work to break the negativity cycle and help you move from a negative ‘can’t’ position to a positive and empowering ‘can’ position using NLP techniques and hypnosis.

To find out more and to see if this approach can work for you, phone 085 10556699 or click here for details on the next Make That Speech public speaking course

What Can We Learn About Public Speaking From Cool Runnings?

It might seem like a mad question, but actually quite a lot!

This scene from Cool Runnings is very important to anybody who wants to be a competent and confident public speaker.

Click The Picture to Play the Clip


Visualisation is an incredibly powerful way of preparing for a performance of any kind. You will very often hear professional sports stars talk about visualisation before an event. For example a golfer visualising where the ball is going to go before taking an important shot, or a runner seeing how a race will be run before running an important race. They see what’s going to happen and mentally rehearse it over and over again, until it feels so natural to them that they can’t imagine any other outcome. Many top golfers count visualisation and mind coaches (for the want of a better job description) as full time members of their team.

It’s a form of practice, but one you can do any time any place. The more you practice in your mind, the more natural it feels. The more immersive the visualisation, the more real it feels, the more beneficial it becomes.

If these techniques are tried and tested by some of the highest performing elite athletes in the world, why not use them yourself? On a ‘Make That Speech’ public speaking course, you will learn to harness the power of visualisation, so that you can become increasingly more confident in your own ability.

To find out more about whether this technique can work for you call 085 1056699 and find more details on the next Make That Speech Public Speaking and Communications Skills training day here

Confessions of a Former Public Speaking Trainer

I read an article on Forbes.com by @kristihedges, an executive coach and author, and thought it raised some interesting points.

You can find the full text of the article here, but, in summary, Kristi’s belief is that paying for public speaking training is a waste of time and money. While I’m very much paraphrasing, and I would strongly encourage you to read the full article, my understanding of her position is that you already more or less know how to communicate your message effectively and to be yourself, and doing that while Public Speaking is more important than the tips and tricks many public speaking courses teach or encourage (pacing, eye contact etc).

I tend to agree that paying to learn these tips and tricks is not always the best option for many people. If you are already comfortable with public speaking, then they can certainly help polish your performance, but as Kristi rightly notes, all you have to do is google ‘Public Speaking Tips’ and you’ll get nearly all of the sage advice that exists on making a strong opening, maintaining eye contact, using your hands expressively and on and on and on….It’s all there, you can read it, and you can decide what works for you and what doesn’t.

In my view, the single most important thing you can do when speaking in public is be yourself. If you try to be anybody or anything else, then you will come across as awkward at best, and deceitful or suspicious at worst. If you’re not the kind of person who is comfortable with making and maintaining eye contact with somebody during a conversation, then being told ‘maintain eye contact’ isn’t going to do you much good. Eye contact is good, and if you feel comfortable with it, it’s great, but if you don’t feel comfortable with it and you try doing it anyway because someone has told you it will make you a better public speaker, you’ll end up looking mild to moderately psychotic trying to force yourself into making eye contact when you don’t really want to or feel comfortable with it. As a side note, if you’re not particularly comfortable with eye contact, a little cheat is to look at the bridge of the person’s nose rather than directly in the eye. It will look to them as if you’re looking them in the eye, but it’s far more comfortable for you because you’re actually not. Give it a try.

The problem, of course, is that many people find it incredibly difficult to ‘be themselves’ in a public speaking situation. Nerves and anxiety turn people from the person they are when they are talking to friends and colleagues in a work or social setting into a gibbering mess. And then many people try to fall back on the tips and tricks to cover the nerves and anxiety. It is rarely a convincing performance. If you can be comfortable with being yourself in front of a group of people, then your delivery and style will mostly work itself out. It will feel more comfortable for you, because you won’t feel you’re trying to be someone you’re not, and it will feel more comfortable for your audience, because your authenticity will shine through. Therefore, I think the smarter way to get better at public speaking is to try and find out what’s stopping you from being your brilliant self in front of people, then deal with those key issues. Once you learn to be yourself and be comfortable being yourself in front of people then you can work on improving your public speaking skill set and incorporating the tips and tricks (which are usually good ones) into your speaking. Doing it the other way round is putting the cart before the horse. Tips and Techniques without substance aren’t going to do it.

In summary, I agree with the sentiment of Kristi’s article (don’t pay for training that isn’t useful for you), but not with the title of her article. Some training is worth paying for, but make sure you spend the time doing your research to make sure your course matches your requirements.


Ryan’s Groom’s Speech

This is my Groom’s Speech from my wedding last year.

I thought I would share it with you guys. It’s not perfect, there’s room for improvement (isn’t there always) but it shows you what I look and sound like when I feel relaxed, comfortable and confident. This is my delivery style, it’s not the delivery style. We can help you find your style, but take a moment to close your eyes and ask yourself what do you look like when you are relaxed, comfortable and confident?? If you’ve never been relaxed, comfortable and confident, what do you want to look like?