About Brian Clough
So here's a bit about me so you know who's talking to you about public speaking.
I live in Auckland, New Zealand, on the North Shore which has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is a very cool place to live.
My folks tell me there were early signs I was going to be a public speaker. In the maternity ward Mum said they had to move me into a room by myself because I made so much noise the other babies in the viewing room wouldn't settle! My brother by contrast was so quiet the nurses missed him during one round of feeding.
In years 4 and 5 I was one of the most prolific poets in our class, filling books with my rhymes - I wish I had those books now!
At High School I discovered debating and became the captain of the school team. I was usually the first speaker which was cool because you get to speak twice - once at the start and again in summing up. I remember getting several Best Speaker awards at inter-school debates and I felt so proud of those. I absolutely loved debating and I particularly loved it when I got the audience to laugh. On one school trip to a debating contest I fell in love with a local girl who heard me speak and it dawned on me at that point that speaking in public had many benefits!
I joined the Navy straight from school and ended up spending 21 years there, finally leaving in 2001 as a Commander after a successful career.
The Navy definitely presented me with a ton of speaking practice and also some of the most unusual speaking situations imaginable. One of the lessons from my Navy speaking was that sometimes you need to be ready to talk in front of a group at the shortest of notice, and under considerable pressure at times! And you know what? You get through it and you don't die!
I developed some expertise in Damage Control, or DC, which is basically what happens when a ship is hit by an enemy weapon. The DC teams are there to keep the ship moving and floating so it can keep on fighting. Me and my team of 'Wreckers' as we were called would be helicoptered out to a warship and for a couple of hours where we would proceed to make the crew's life hell by simulating fires with smoke bombs, cutting power and tripping machinery for example. The idea was to stretch the DC organization to breaking point and assess their ability to cope. After the exercise the whole ship's crew would be mustered and it was my job to deliver the de-brief, before exiting by helicopter to let them clean up the mess! They just loved seeing us as you can imagine.
After the Navy I had my own business as a Business Coach working with small to medium enterprises or SMEs. Again it was public speaking all over the place. I developed a real love for doing workshops with teams from businesses - some of which went for two days at a time. I also used to really enjoy our standard 2 hour public sales Free Seminars, which I did myself. I did advanced presenting training with a visiting US trainer who was great fun and really taught me the power of regularly changing the state of the audience. I was also exposed to and mentored by some of the best presenters in the business of sales and marketing for small business.
In 2003 I did a 12 month Professional Speakers course in Auckland which I completed with Honors. It was a great experience with experts from various fields invited in to supplement the training we got from one of New Zealand's leading speaking coaches.
As you can tell, public speaking has been a major part of my life for more than 30 years. Until recently it was about a means to an end - I spoke to get the job done, do the de-brief, train the client, make the sale etc.
I finally realized a few months ago that it is actually more than that for me. It is what I've always enjoyed the mostabout anything I've done.
It took me a while but now I know this is what I want to dedicate myself to. I never feel like I'm working when I'm preparing, researching or delivering a talk. When I'm speaking and connecting with people I experience that state of flow that you read about, and I want other people to be there too.
It breaks my heart to see people struggle with the completely unnecessary fear of public speaking. I know they want to just let go and express themselves but ... well there doesn't need to be any ifs, buts or maybes any more as far as I'm concerned.
I hope you or someone you know will get something from this site and I look forward to hearing you speak in public one day with no fear!
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