The power of positive speaking

  The more we know how to deal with ourselves at an emotional level, the more we know how to handle an audience. Audiences are full of feelings and emotions, so let's take them into account!

 About the question of how to deal with ourselves when it comes to our emotional and irrational side, the first thing I wish to say is that I am very wary of "positive thinking" 

 All too often those who recommend that we "turn away from negativity and think positively" make me think of parents sending their child off to their room with the instruction to not come back before they have calmed down and managed to get a smile on their face. They are doing this to their "inner child" - to the sensitive and vulnerable part within. 

 When my "inner child" starts moaning, complaining or crying, I think I should listen and understand what's going on. All too often, the raw and awkward expression of so called "negative" thoughts masks a real distress. Only after acknowledging and welcoming do I point out that there are also reasons to be happy, people and events worth smiling at, and I add that the very act of smiling actually creates a good mood and helps muster courage. 
 So positive thinking is not wrong at all... as long as it doesn't blame and dismiss anything negative! (Blaming and dismissing are negative attitudes anyway....) 

 Let's come back to how to deal with audiences, in a similar way.  I'll give you a simple example: I'll always remember this networking event. I was the last speaker before the break. There were no chairs in the big room. Standing up without walking for a long time is difficult, everybody felt pain in their legs! 

When it was my turn to speak, the first thing I said was: "I know everyone feels tired, your legs are painful, I promise I will be short!" 

 I've rarely seen so many smiles lightup at the same time! Taking it from there, I suggested doing some movements, shift the weight from one foot to the other to help bear the fatigue, thanked them for their presence and

attention and complimented them on  their skills (they were all much more knowledgeable than me in matter of business and technology).  I added a good dollop of entertaining energy... and managed to get them to forget the pain and listen to my pitch... 

   The more we treat ourselves and others well, acknowledging what may be difficult and pointing out anything positive we might spot, the more we get audiences on our side! 

The next Organic Speaking sessions will happen soon: 
 Sunday the 23rd and Sunday the 30th, from 7pm to 9.15pm (please arrive slightly in advance so that we can start on time) 
in Willesden Green. More details here. 

Thank you for your attention. 
Have a good week and a good week end! 



A Shamanic Style Tip

  I like to think that there is as much difference between two human beings as there is between two animal species. Part of the fear of public speaking - that is the fear of exposure - is due to not knowing what kind of animal we are! 
This is my point and this is, indeed, a metaphor. To feel confident we need a clear identity. 
So yes there is as much difference between you and me as there is between cat and dog, hare and tortoise or fox and crow... As people, the range of possible tastes, behaviors, skills, strengths, social habits, usual environment.... is huge. 

 In ancient, shamanic cultures, individuals were associated with animal totems. Maybe this was a way to express the intrinsic differences that existed between members of the group. 

Someone's totem could be the lion, and the individual would be expected to behave fiercely like a leader, hunter and warrior. Someone else could have the squirrel as emblem. The individual could be the one who hoards food and is able to provide when the hunters come back empty handed...

 The squirrel wouldn't be expected to behave like a lion, and the lion wouldn't be expected to behave like a squirrel, whilst both could be valued for their unique contribution to the group. 

 We can observe animal totems defining identities in some brands. Some glorious cars are jaguars. A French savings bank, the "Caisse d'Epargne", has a squirrel for logo. 

  We don't need a PhD in religious history to see that we are as diverse as nature is... whereas in our societies, we have to conform to almost uniform standards of behavior. Or at least we believe we have to conform... As a result, we are very vulnerable to judgments and prejudices. 

 Einstein is said to have said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." 

 We don't know if Einstein actually said that, or if people posting on Facebook use Einstein's name to get more likes,  however it's a very good point. We are often fish judged on their ability to climb trees and it makes us very nervous, especially when it's public speaking time! (or dating time, or job interview time...) 

 That's why I am suggesting, as a way to overcome shyness and nervousness, to define more clearly who we are, if only for ourselves. What would be our animal totem, if we had one?
What are the special qualities that define our worth? What are the perfectly acceptable and respectable limitations on the flip side of our qualities? (No one can be all the animals, with all qualities and no flaws. We have to accept that.) 

 By the way, I am not suggesting that we introduce ourselves as a lion or a squirrel in professional settings, let alone as a jackal or a monkey.  Please don't do that, and please don't say I have I told anybody to. Doing it as  confidence exercise in an Organic Speaking session will be enough. 

 All we need to feel more confident and inspire others is to know and accept ourselves for who we are...

Next Organic Speaking sessions in London (London in United Kingdom!)

This Sunday the 9th of October, Sunday the 23rd and Sunday the 30th in Willesden Green, Express Ed, Unit2 Queen's Parade Walm Lane NW2 5HT. A few free taster tickets are available. Book here

Huge thanks to whoever shares! Much appreciated! 

Cheers everybody.


Two opposite/complementary attitudes

Hello everybody! 

When we communicate there are two opposite/complementary attitudes we can adopt:

We can focus on the message, or on the people. Ideally we should be able to focus on both at the same time, which is blatant multitasking, and requires a bit of training, even for women. 

When we focus on the message exclusively, we want the receiving end to get it right. We give as many details, explanations and precision as necessary to dispel any possible ambiguity. We want them to know just what we mean. 

If we are a project manager, a teacher, a passionate activist or someone telling their lawyer how badly the person we are now divorcing has been, we are likely to adopt spontaneously this attitude. We may forget that human beings can get tired, distracted or bored.

The opposite (and complementary) attitude is to focus on the people. We ask ourselves questions such as:
- What will work with them? 
- What will trigger their interest, spark their enthusiasm? What will get them excited? 
- What do they like, what do they love, what do they need? 
- What do they expect?

...and we adjust our message accordingly...

If we are entertainers, marketers or one of those ethically flexible politicians, we might well go that way... If we want to be accepted in a group or create new connections, it is the right thing to do.

Efficient communication is a balanced attitude. It is important to know how to reach to people, and to be faithful to ourselves and our message at the same time.

In Organic Speaking sessions, I encourage you to get detached from the message and experiment with the relationship side of speaking to an audience, because that's what most of us need to improve. 
However, the message is not to be binned altogether! 
We just need to remember that even if we were able to say all there is to say about a particular topic, people wouldn't remember everything. 
We, people, need motivation more than information. 
We should remember this when we speak!

I would love to give you a bit of non compulsory homework, for the future sessions (see updates below) 
Prepare a one or two minutes speech (that is between 100 and 250 words) on a topic such as: 
- Health and lifestyle
- How to speak to children
- Be the change you want to see in the world
- Life is diversity
..... or whatever you may think of. Make a simple and clear point (Be as specific as possible) and perform your speech with the intention of keeping your audience engaged, interested and excited... 
This homework is just a suggestion for those who want to progress quicker and enjoy more!

Two sessions are scheduled: 
This Sunday the 25th of September at 7pm: High Energy Levels (Willesden Green, NW2)
Next Sunday the 2nd of October at 7pm: Happy go Lucky. (Willesden Green, NW2)

There are always a few free for first timer tickets to grab. Here are the links: 
 High Energy Levels         Happy go Lucky

And a last thing: My YouTube Channel. I record stories and there is a playlist with public speaking tips. 
I would be happy if you subscribed to it!  

That's all for today. Thanks for being here! 

Speak soon



Delivery trumps Content!

Delivery trumps Content! 

Hello everyone

Let me share this video with you, it illustrates perfectly the number one principle I teach in Organic Speaking sessions: Delivery trumps Content. 

 It doesn't mean that your content - that is, what you actually want to say  - is not important. Of course it is! The issue is: it's the way we deliver our precious content that makes a powerful impact... or not. 

If you are interested in neuroscience, you may have heard of "mirror neurons". Thanks to these, we feel pain when we see a friend cutting their finger inadvertently when peeling vegetables, we feel happy when others are happy, and we adjust our emotional states to a speaker or story teller's emotional expression.

  That's why a big chunk of the work we do in Organic Speaking Sessions is to build up our confidence so as to lead at emotional level. Once we are able to express enthusiasm rather than fear of rejection, we win!
 Beyond this emotional level, we still need to be clear, to structure our speech properly and find good examples of course. But if there was only one thing to learn, it would be this one.

 Enjoy the video, and join us this Sunday 11th of September, 7pm (please be on time) to 9.15pm for a session entitled: "Woah it's amazing!" 
 A few free for first timers tickets are available here. 

 If you join the ticketing platform, you can use the code JPIERSON and you get £10 credit on future bookings. 

If you know someone who would be interested by the content of this newsletter... thank you for sharing without moderation...

 See you on Sunday! 


How to prepare for Public Speaking

It's a household word: - preparation is key. But how do we prepare ourselves? 

The first thing I want to say is - we have to find out what works best for ourselves. Whatever I will say might be relevant to you now - or not - so just pick up what helps and forget about the rest! 

A long time ago, when I was just beginning to get on stage to tell stories, I was very nervous. So I learned by heart, at "Happy Birthday" level. 
When you sing "Happy Birthday..." you know the lyrics so well that you can sing and do other things at the same time - like filming the birthday girl blowing out the candles, waving at a latecomer, etc - without losing the thread.  

To learn that well costs time and energy. 

The good news is that if we have written down the text, it represents our logic and style so it is easier to remember. 

Learning by searching actively for connections between the different elements of our speech is the way adults learn best. Children have a strong automatic memory, but adults need to structure mentally to improve their memory performances.

In the writing process, the first draft usually becomes much better after cutting out about half of it. For instance, in this newsletter's first draft, the previous sentence was followed by a full paragraph of explanations!
Of course, the speech needs to be well-structured, with a single and clear purpose and obvious transitions between its parts.
A general principle is: 
1. Introduction: Tell them what you are going to tell them
2. Development: Tell them
3. Conclusion: Remind them of what you have just told them

So I invested a lot of time and energy in getting to know my stories at Happy Birthday level, and I knew not only my text, but my intonations, my silences, when I would make a face, etc.

And thanks to all this hard work, I accumulated success and felt more and more confident.

But then I met purists of the art of story telling who said: "What you do is not real story telling! You shouldn't say anything by heart! A real story teller knows the general structure of his story and improvises the details as he goes along!" 

This concept can also apply to public speaking, especially when we don't have enough time to prepare at Happy Birthday level (as they would ask us to do if it was a TED talk).

When we know our subject well enough to trust ourselves - and when we have had enough experience of public speaking to know we can handle our nerves - we can take more risks and succeed. 

I have done a few speeches recently without writing anything apart from a general structure made up of key words. 

I rehearsed in my head waking up in the morning or walking in the street. I started to prepare one or two weeks in advance - so that new ideas or better ways to express them could come up.

Once on stage, I had just a few notes at hand as a safety net but I didn't use them and I improvised, knowing only a simple structure by heart. 

In music that's what jazz musicians do. 

This way allows you to give a conversational tone to the speech and to answer questions as you go along. The result might be a little bit messier but it's also livelier.

I love rehearsing mentally and this leads me to one last big point - you should love giving the speech in your imagination. 

Audiences feel how we feel when we speak and if we love talking to them, they will love being talked to!  

 Updates: The next Organic Speaking workshops in Willesden Green (North West London) are scheduled on Sundays evening, every other week, possibly more according to demand. There are a few free tickets to grab. (First timers only) Find out here 

 See you there, with great pleasure! 

 Jean-Marc Pierson 

Give me milk! Analog vs Digital in speaking

The cat is rubbing against your leg. You understand: it is asking for milk.


This an example, provided by the psychologist and philosopher Paul Watzlawick in "The Language of Change", of analogical communication. The cat has no vocabulary. There is no special way of making "Meow" that means "milk". Rubbing against your leg is behaving like a kitten with its mother. In analogical language, it says: "Be like mother"

You understand. You give milk.

Analogical communication is based on the principle of: showing something that is like what you mean. In this text, I'll show you a few examples of analogical versus digital communication in human interaction, and suggest: go analogical for more impact and engagement!


If you are in a philosophical mood and ask "What is love?" you might come up with answers such as:

"Love is a fire..." Even though the scientifically minded won't be satisfied, this means something for us, human beings. Love will rarely be defined as a clump of earth or a pond. Love might be a breeze of fresh air at times, but desire will always be burning.

 My point here is: When we talk about our subjective experiences, we need to use analogies. There is no other way. Try to talk about whatever you feel without using any comparison!

Another example: "Eventually, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel" Unless we are in a real tunnel, this is an analogy. In digital language, we would say "the end of our difficulties", which means just what it means, but doesn't evoke the relief we feel, and won't motivate as much as the image of light at the end of the tunnel will. 


Before we invented CDs, we used LPs. The dips and bumps in the groove were analog to the sound waves. When the needle ran through the groove, it reproduced the music. Now, we use digital coding, that is a great number of information bits. I mention this for the record. 


When we speak, we use both analogical and digital modes. If I say: "I have seen your lover kissing the neighbor" (just another example) it is digital communication: It is unambiguous. It means just what it means. It is perfectly articulated, we know who has seen what and who kissed whom. It may be true or not, but it can't be both true and not true at the same time. This is what Watzlawick calls "digital" when talking about human communication. 


When we use metaphors, it is analogical language. If you look up "metaphor" in the dictionary, you'll come across this typical example: "The camel is the ship of the desert"


"The camel is the ship of the desert" is true and not true at the same time. It is not true: a camel is not a ship! It is true though. In only eight words, this metaphor let us know a great deal about how useful camels are for people living in the desert. It doesn't say anything precise, but you get the big picture. If you wondered why camels were so valued in the desert, you've got a good enough answer. 

When we communicate, and especially when we speak in public, using analogical language is always impactful and powerful. Listeners don't have to make any effort to get a metaphor, whereas following a logical reasoning or taking in a number of facts is tiring.


I especially love metaphorical stories. When you listen to an Aesop fable, for instance when a rat saves a lion by gnawing at the net it was caught in, listening is just fun. If you want to convince someone that even though you're just a small business, even big companies might need help from you, this fable will convey the message in a more enjoyable and efficient way that a tiring list of arguments (even though they might be welcome later, once interest is aroused....)


In conclusion: Use the analogical mode... as much as possible. We, human beings, love this mode which is closer to our nature. It is relaxing and refreshing. It is relevant when it's time to look at "the big picture" of any question, and necessary to talk about subjective experiences. Furthermore it is the way to engage your audience. Use digital language when precision, logic and attention to detail are necessary. 

 Are you ready for some updates about future workshops now? 

 This Sunday, like every other Sunday in Willesden Green, there will be a regular two hours Organic Speaking workshop. As usual, it's about training our communication and public speaking skills, building up confidence etc...  The address is: At Express Ed, Queen's Parade Unit 2 Walm Lane, NW2 5HT

 There are free tickets for for timers, to be grabbed here: 

 I may not write a newsletter before every single workshop or event, but you can follow me on Kweekweek to know everything. 

 If you join, you can use the code JPIERSON and you'll get £10 credit on your bookings. (They say, try and tell me if it works!) 

 As soon as there is enough pressure, I'll organize extra sessions in Central or East London. If you know of some affordable and well located venue (possibly your living room!) let me know! 

 Have a good end of the week and an excellent week end

 Don't hesitate to hit the Reply button if you have any question, feedback or suggestion. 

 Speak soon! 


"Communication skills are key to any success" 

Observe, Ask, Comment


A quick communication tip: Observe - Comment - Ask. 

At GapGas.jpg


When I was younger than today, I hated making small talk. I thought staying silent was better than engaging in meaningless exchanges. That's typical of introverts! However, intense and meaningful conversations do not happen out of the blue. Small talk, dear fellow introverts, is a good way to start. Small talk, dear fellow extroverts, is only a mean to an end. Don't keep it going forever. (just teasing!)

To engage with a person or with an audience, use the OCA technique: Observe. Comment. Ask.
 Observe: There must be something noticeable in the surroundings or about the person. 
Comment. The setting of the room, how the person(s) you're talking to are nicely dressed, even the design of the wallpaper that you may like or not can provide you with something to say. Liking is such a good way to connect that it's the most commonly used button on social media. Use it in real life as well, it's even better. 
 Ask. And you, do you like this color? Does it make you think of something? 
As simplistic as it may seam, remembering OCA when not knowing what to say next really helps. 



More about me: 

Much Thanks to Evie Prichard from the Team for this very well written article. 


Updates: From the What’s On section of my website, you’ll land on Kweekweek, which is a ticketing platform similar to Eventbrite, but based in London. Being Organic also means buying local!
 Go to to book free or paying tickets. 

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Prepare for the worse, prepare for the best

My grandfather once told me a joke which is the perfect illustration of how crucial our mindset can be:  


A man was driving in the countryside when one of the tyres of his car went flat. As he set out to change it, he realized he had no jack. He decided to walk to the next village to ask  the local garage to lend him one. But on his way, he started to worry:  

“Maybe the garage owner won’t want to lend me a jack” thought the man “I am just a stranger in this area. Maybe he won’t trust me. Or maybe he will take advantage of the situation and refuse to lend me a jack so that I have no choice but to pay him a fortune for him to come with the tow truck…..” And on and on, so much so that when he arrived at the garage, he opened the door, shouted at the puzzled owner : “You can keep your  (censored).... jack, I will manage without it!” and slammed the door behind him as he went away....

When we are nervous at the prospect of public speaking, we are this guy with his flat tyre. How can we prepare ourselves?  

The stoic philosophers advised their followers to brace themselves for the worse. They thought the worse doesn’t hit as hard if we expect it. This seems to contradict the point I have been making up till now, but think about it: if the guy with his flat tyre problem had been really prepared to face being turned down, he would have kept calm. He would have asked without expecting much, and if the garage owner had lent him a jack, he would have been agreeably surprised! So there is a difference between bracing ourselves for the worst case scenario and getting caught in a spiral of worry… 


When we are going to speak, let’s remember that whatever happens, we will survive. Maybe we are going to be misunderstood or even judged in a negative way… and then? Trust me, trust yourself. We are so much stronger than we think. 

   Let's face our fear of what may happen. Remember: the scary monsters we dread often exist in our imagination only and can be deflated by a sharp conscious look!   

Now, it is very important to be prepared for the best as well. The best has a tendency to happen more frequently when we are prepared for it. Let's dare imagine success... 

 What if they love us so much that they give a standing ovation? What if we get loads and loads of compliments after the speech? This might be quite unsettling as well! We need a bit of mental preparation: 

 When we receive compliments, declarations of love, admiration or such things, the best way to react is simplicity. Let’s not answer that no, we weren’t that great ... No no no! When people give compliments they don’t want to be contradicted! They want us to be happy to hear that we were so great. The best answer is a simple thank you.  

 It would also be very awkward to take advantage of the moment to boast and keep talking about ourselves. After saying that we are touched by the compliment and that we really appreciate it, good manners are to show interest in the complimenter, if only for a short while.  

In any case, preparation is key… Are you ready to enjoy a big round of applause?   




A few updates  


I am going to talk at Google Campus in the city, on the 15th of June. The headline is “Start up Stage Fright Public Speaking Top Tips” It’s a free event with networking times, you can book your ticket here 


Leave them wanting more!

Hello human beings!  


When we were at school and the teacher interrogated us, we were expected to prove we knew our lesson by saying everything we were supposed to know without forgetting any detail. Most of us had never enough to say to satisfy the teacher and we often ended up struggling to scrape some extra bits of information from our deficient memories... sometimes we managed to save our grades thanks to some last minute recall... 


 When we speak in public  we have a tendency to follow the same pattern without realising it. However this not the best practice.  


 I have seen many trainee speakers embarrassed because they didn't know what to say next.... after having said enough to get their point across!  


 On my website, among other testimonials, there is a letter of thanks, starting with the words: "I wanted to tell you that I got the job..." - I really loved receiving these words! I remember this young man very well, as we rehearsed together the questions he was likely be asked at the  job interview : 


 Usually, he gave good , relevant  answers in a few minutes, and then he slowed down, became hesitant and confusing as he was painfully trying to complete his first brilliant answers with more and more explanation.  I pointed out he had better not try to say more than what he was able to say in a few minutes...  


  It worked; the overall impression he made was transformed!  


 When we speak, we should also take great care to end our talk before people feel they have had enough. We want them to want more! That's how we can make an impact. We must stop and leave before people wish we do. Thus, they will wish to know more!  


By the way, this tip is also a tip that is given by dating coaches. It's completely relevant to audiences as well: Leave on a high and be remembered in that light! Or as theatre people say: "Leave them wanting more..."  



 You can check out details of future events on or on Meetup. (Organic Speaking)  






.......As usual, those who attend an Organic Speaking session for the first time don't pay. Those who come regularly pay £15 or £65 for five sessions or £120 for ten sessions, and each time they bring two guests, they win a free session ( the two guests don't have to come along on the same day! )  


Let me tell you a secret now: on, Organic Speaking has the reputation of being great quality...but expensive. The reason for this is that is to events what the pound shop is to the High Street. When I meet people in networking events, they find I'm quite cheap... and maybe they don't take me seriously because the price is low, and as you may know, many people value things according to their price.  


That's why I will double the price within a few months.  However, this will not affect you: existing customers will keep enjoying the same rates for....ever! So I suggest you become an existing customer now if it's not the case yet.... 


 Looking forward to sharing more speaking and telling adventures with you! 

Emotional Intelligence: We are working on it!

Before, we believed that we needed to be clever to succeed and that clever people had high IQs. (Intelligence Quotient, as measured by the IQ test) In reality, many people with average IQs outperform people with high IQs in many areas of life, such as career, relationships and anything involving dealing with other people.


The missing link is called “Emotional intelligence”... and this is something we are working on in Organic Speaking sessions.

Standing up in front of a group and speaking is mostly a question of overcoming the emotions that get in the way. Once we feel confident, we realize that speaking and being expressive are skills we have had since we learned them during the first years of our lives! 

In the following story. the scientific experiment with the dog and the hen is something I've read about when I studied psychology. I've added an imaginary character: Elsa, the little daughter of the scientist.  



I leave to you to sort out why and how this story is relevant to us when we train our public speaking skills, build our confidence and improve our communication skills…



Scientists doing research about intelligence conducted the following experiment:

They put a dog behind a wire mesh barrier and a juicy attractive piece of meat on the other side. This barrier was straight and not very long. The scientists noticed that it did not take long for the dog to get around the barrier and take hold of the meat.


Elsa, five years old, daughter of the leader of the scientific team, thinks that her father should play with her rather than with a dog.


Then, the scientists renew the protocol with a chicken and juicy attractive grain of corn. They notice with great interest that the chicken, instead of running around the mesh barrier, collides with it again and again in a vain attempt to reach the object of its desire. The poor bird nearly strangles itself by pushing its head through a hole in the mesh but it’s not going to eat. The scientific team concludes that the dog is more intelligent that the chicken.


Elsa is not far from hitting her head against a wall. That her father prefers a dog to her was difficult to accept but somehow understandable. Dogs are cheerful and friendly creatures. But being set aside for a chicken is absolutely humiliating.


The scientists now proceed once more with the same experiment, with a starving dog and meat. There is always a cruel moment in scientific experiments involving dogs. They notice, with excitement, that the starving dog has become so to speak, as stupid as a chicken. It collides with the mesh again and again, obviously unable to move away from the object of its longing.


Elsa is in love with her father. She firmly believes that they will get married as soon as...  next week. They will sleep together (which in her mind, means sleep) and they will have plenty of children. But he will have to stop these crazy games with animals.


How can one stop starving in order to be able to eat? Elsa sets the dog free. It catches the chicken and runs away. Elsa is sent to bed without any supper.


 Her father is a great scientist. He understands nothing.



 A few comments (I said I would leave you to it, but I can't help it!)  


-When we are in a state of nervousness, we become like the starved dog, unable to see the obvious solution to our problems...  We need to become stronger, and to cultivate detachment to overcome this issue. 

-Because even the most apparently adult people are still a little bit childlike inside, those who are able to make people's "inner children" happy are the emotionally intelligent people. They will get the jobs, the promotions or the relationships they wish for…


- A last but not least  thing: emotional intelligence is not only about “understanding”. It is also a question of strength, of self knowledge and experience. No amount of reading will never ever be enough. We need to pracise, practise, practise….

 Thank you! Don't hesitate to leave comments, share and subscribe to the newsletter to get more to read directly in your inbox! Cheers.


Starting a Fire is the Purpose

Sometimes we speak as if we believed we had to explain everything. We give as many details or explanations as possible.

This is a mistake. The result is just overloading.

Whether from a stage or across the table, let's keep in mind that starting a fire is the purpose of communication.


Be Humble like a Lion

Be humble like a lion! Or even a dragon! It sounds like an oxymoron... Lions are symbols or pride, not of humility! 

 But just think about it... humility is NOT about behaving as if we are smaller than we really are. Humility is about not pretending. 


 A famous Buddhist story goes like this: Once an orphaned lion cub was adopted by a shepherd and brought up among sheep. As a result of this, the lion bleated like a sheep, ate grass and was scared by anything. It simply believed it was a sheep itself. But one day, this lion saw its reflection mirrored in water. It roared, left the shepherd and the sheep and lived as a lion ever after. 


 It must have taken a lot of humility for this lion to become the lion, don't you think so?  If we suddenly realized that we had been living like a sheep for so much time when we were actually a lion, we might well feel very ashamed of ourselves when meeting other lions. Maybe we wouldn't dare to roar at all... 


Once we accept we might well be a lion after all, it is difficult to keep up appearances. Having trained for life as a sheep, our first steps as a lion will probably not be the most glorious ever... We could be the best among sheep, and we found ourselves the black sheep of the lion tribe. The black lion. Well you see what I mean. The one with obvious flaws (or at least we would feel like that...) 


 With humility we can become a small lion and live like a lion among lions. Humility is about roaring anyway. It's about laughing rather than freezing when we are not as good as we wished we were. It's getting rid of the burden of keeping up appearances and accepting to be still learning, still struggling with difficulties, and thinking: "That's OK!"

 With humility, we are not humiliated. 

 With pride we would just remain the bigger sheep of the herd... 


 To build up our confidence, let's start with the mindset. The more we accept our imperfections, the easier it becomes to roar, speak, laugh out loud, go on a date, have fun, join a new social circle...  


 Let's be happy and roar! 


 And now, on to the second section of this newsletter:    

Speed Public Speaking is no more. Our public speaking club is now called Organic Speaking! 

  ...and the main line has become: build up confidence, improve communication skills, and express yourself!


 Why? ... 


 - It sounds more like me! I am a performing artist, a story teller, a bit of a philosopher and not someone from the corporate environment. My values are ethics, environment, spirituality, personal development... 


 - The word "Speed" started to annoy me, when I would rather claim "Let's slow down!"  


 - I love helping people. I am really passionate about communication and expressing oneself. These are skills for life.  There is much more to what I have to give than just being able to do a proper presentation at work or a best man speech. (However I can still help you with that!) 


 - Organic growth is healthy growth. 


 - Organic Speaking is about becoming who we really are and expressing it.

This is the root of success in life, at work, in love, with children, from a stage and in any area of social life... including making presentation, if you really want that! 



We will still practice standing up in front of the group and speaking. The format of the sessions remains the same. The new name is simply needed to express what we are already doing more accurately. 



 Thank you for your fidelity! 




 Updates and how to win free sessions.


 To win free sessions... bring guests! It shouldn't be too difficult given that first timers are still welcome for a non-compulsory voluntary donation. Each time you bring two first timers, you get a free session. I need your help to grow organically...

Confidence Building Tips

Confidence building: tips and thoughts



You may know the story of this man and his son going to the market on donkey's back to sell their goods. As they are passing through a village, people say:


“Look at how these heartless people treat their donkey! The poor animal has to carry all the merchandise, plus the merchant and his son!...”

Ashamed, father and son get off the donkey’s back and walk. In the next village, people laugh at them:

“Look at these two idiots! They have a donkey and they walk next to it! What’s the point of having a donkey then!”

The father thinks they are right and put in son on the donkey’s back. In the next village, people say:

“Look! This vigorous young guy is riding the donkey when his old man has to walk! Isn’t it a disgrace?...”

The son quickly gets off the donkey’s back and let his father takes his places. But soon, other people say:

“What a disgraceful thing to see! The man rides the donkey and let his young son walk! Why having children if you don’t care for them?”


Eventually, father and son decide to do just what they think is right and they stop taking people’s opinion into account. From then on, they will feel much better!



Nowadays, fathers and sons don’t ride donkeys in London’s street, but apart from this detail, not much has changed. Whatever you do, there will always be people to find that something is wrong with you. Building up confidence, whether for public speaking or other social settings, is necessary to maintain our balance and not be overwhelmed by critics and disapprovals.



  Let me point out just a few things for today:



1 The story does not emphasize that whatever they do,  there will always be people to be happy with them as well! Wisdom recommends to renounce to be universally approved. However, if we believe in any kind of higher power, we can always ask for blessings, and then look for allies. Who can be around and repeat as much as we need that they believe in us? Let’s focus and listen to these ones rather than the others!


2 When on stage, there are almost always one or two friendly, supportive and smiling faces in the audience. We can spot where they are and speak more especially for them. 

3 Let’s not forget that some people listen intently without smiling. Not smiling does not equate with disapproving. I have often been surprised by positive feedback from people who looked stern when listening.

4 Let’s “unplug” our inner critic. We are only sensitive to other people’s disapproval when a part of us agrees with the disapproval. Before getting on stage, or when we meet our reflection in the mirror of a bathroom, let’s have a look at ourselves and say something like:

“I have prepared myself the best I could, I am not perfect however I have something valuable to give! It will be what it will be, let’s go!” Focusing on what we have to give helps taking the focus away from our imperfections.

We can also turn the inner critic against itself. Let’s get our inner critic to ask this question to itself: “Do I criticize beyond what’s efficient to make progress?”

5 Believe in yourself! Do you realize that being just who you are, the way you are is just what other people in your social environment need to meet? Keep this in mind, You are necessary.

6 Building confidence can be compared to stretching muscles. Stretching is good, but forcing ourselves beyond a certain point is not. It is possible and desirable to be kind with ourselves! Let's not go too far out of our comfort zone. A bit a regular and gentle stretching will work wonders. 

7 As the saying goes: “You can eat an elephant one bite at a time” Let’s not forget to congratulate ourselves warmly for every small victory - and no victory is small enough to be “nothing” This will work as powerful positive affirmation.

Also, every now and then, let's look at our past and marvel at all the progress we have already made!



 Before I leave you, let me tell you a last little story by the psychotherapist and philosopher Paul Watzlawick: he was helping a very very shy student to overcome his shyness. He had to do a presentation for his PhD at the end of the year. The psychotherapist made him start with very small challenges, such as asking “What time is it please?” to strangers… and very small challenge after very small challenge, the student build up his confidence and passed his PhD... You can eat an elephant one bite at a time...




And now, on to updates: as usual, Speed Public Speaking sessions are scheduled every Monday in Clerkenwell from 6.45pm to 9pm in the Apple Tree - 45 Mount Pleasant WC1X 0AE - Closest station Farringdon and every other Thursday (there is one this Thursday) in Willesden Green in the premises of RSL Collective  Unit 1 Queen’s Parade Walm Lane NW2 5HT.




Thanks a lot for your support, your presence and your fantastic testimonies. It’s a wonderful adventure and it wouldn’t happen without you!

Warm wishes


Funny Little Structures


Have you ever had to listen to someone rambling on and on? The effort has to be made by the listeners - if they are willing to. When we public speak, we want to offer our content in a way that is easy to listen to!


In this newsletter I am going to give you a few tips about how to structure a speech.



A standard principle is:


“Tell them what you are going to talk about - Talk about it - Tell them what you have talked about”


  I have just told you that I was going to give you some tips about structure, and that’s what I am doing now!



At the end of this newsletter I will remind you that it was all about giving a few tips about structure.



Another principle is called PREP - meaning, Point - Reason - Example - Point



If you have a point to make, start by making you point in a simple and clear way.  After making the point, say why it is important. Then give an example to illustrate and reinforce your point. Eventually, repeat your point.



For instance: Point: We need to pay attention to how we structure our speeches.


                Reason: A well structured speech will be easy to follow and memorize.

                Example: Think of someone who is rambling on and on…. Now, keep reading this newsletter. Isn’t refreshing to know exactly what I am talking about, why is it important and how to do it?

                Point: Yes my friends, structuring is really important.


Another tip is: using oppositions. When I am pitching Speed Public Speaking, sometimes I compare our club with Toastmasters clubs. Each point is made by contrast.


  • At Toastmasters - I love them - you will have a big audience, maybe thirty people in the room. At Speed Public Speaking, we are on average ten people, it’s not a big audience, but it also means much more time to practise.

  • At Toastmasters, you get a lot of feedback .  Here at Speed Public Speaking, not only you get the feedback, but you put it into practice immediately..

  • At Toastmasters, you have a lot of ceremonial. It starts with a word from the president, then you have the Master of Ceremony, the Timekeeper, the Grammarian…. It’s good to train "big” and “formal” but it takes a lot of time! At Speed Public Speaking we just train,at a good energetic pace, which is why I can guarantee you will speak four of five times per evening…



And a last quick tip for now: use the rule of three. In the example above, I have made three points. Four would have started to feel like a long list. Two points feels as if we have not much to say. Three feel consistent and not too long.




 As I told you at the beginning of this newsletter, I have just given you a few tips about how to structure a speech! If you structure well, you will be easy to understand and people will remember your message.



 It’s now time to check what’s on (everything is on meetup, there are two meetups and to land directly there, check the menu on top of the page, click on “What’s on in Central London” and/or “What’s on in Willesden Green”)


Next Monday, the session is a little bit special. There is a theme: “What do you love?” and there are slots available for prepared speeches. I am also organising a One Minute Speech Challenge: a fundraising event in aid of Unicef, with special thoughts for the Syrian children.


So… maybe it’s time to write a one or two minute speech?








Create a virtuous circle of energy

Today’s public speaking/communication tip is about energy. In the video  I am telling you why taking great care of the quality of our personal energy is so important when we speak to an audience.

 If we project enthusiasm, feel good energy, cheerfulness, or calmness, or strength, or love… listeners will feel it and send it back to us amplified ( the more people there are in the room, the more amplified our energy will come back) The more we receive from them, the more we have to give. Thus we have the power to create a “virtuous circle” (to borrow a term to economics) of positive exchanges.

 As usual with human beings, our content will be valued in the light of how we make people feel…


The rewards will be great!

Dear known and unknown friends

  I am a sensitive perfectionist. I have a tendency to believe that a good Speed Public Speaking training session can only be a session where the magic operates full time, going crescendo from the beginning to the end. I am a bit deluded. I want peaks without troughs! I don’t like to feel the energy slowing down when it happens. I dread these moments. I feel it’s my fault, I feel I have done a bad job. I have a tendency to be too harsh on myself.

As leader of Speed Public Speaking sessions, I could play safe. I know how to get an audience or a training group on a high and keep it there. Of course, it’s never granted in advance, but there are ways. Let me tell you the recipe: as I keep repeating at the beginning of almost every session, it’s all in the way we deliver our speeches, and the formula is:

  Delivery= Energy + Engagement + Structure.

 Energy comes first. When we jump on stage like a jack out of the box, when we amplify our body language and project our voice powerfully, when we dare taking as much room as we can, we feed the audience with good healthy dynamic energy and everyone enjoys it. Smiles, laughter and excitement quickly happen. It’s a bit challenging for you trainees, but the rewards are immediate. When you feed your audience with good energy, they love you. They send energy back. You dare more…a virtuous circle of energy is on... It’s great fun!

 Second round:  After "Energy"comes "Engagement" It’s all about taking care of the relationship side of the communication process. We make eye contact, greet, thank, compliment the people gathered here in front of us. We are human beings, we love being loved, we need acknowledgement, validation and warm welcomes. Again we give,  they give back the same quality of energy-engagement, multiplied by as many pairs of eyes as they are. This part of the training touches our hearts, and the rewards are immediate as well. We feel warmth, we feel connected…  

 You know what? If I wanted to play safe, we would work on energy and engagement from the beginning to the end of every session. We would spend the whole time freeing ourselves from the emotional straightjackets we have become used to wear in our everyday lives. This feels so good, it’s fun, it’s regenerating!

 But but but… Here we are. Third round. Let’s work on "Structure" now! 
To be clear and memorable, just being ourselves, friendly and full of good energy is not enough. We need a clear structure, for instance an introduction, a development with three distinct parts and obvious transitions between them; A conclusion at the end to recap and call to action… a bit of intellectual focus is required now...

 After freeing ourselves, working on structuring our content might feel as if we had to put on a straightjacket again. This is work. The rewards will be great, but they are not immediate. Just like artists, musicians, sport men or any craftsmen , we need to discipline our efforts with perseverance before being able to get on stage looking as if it was easy… 

 Public speaking is an art. You may not aim at becoming great masters, but even to acquire basic skills, there are efforts to be made. It’s not my fault. It’s life. Sometimes we reach summits, sometimes we open our wings and fly, and sometimes we are confronted with the necessity of making efforts and persevere. These times are not as enjoyable as others, however, they are the moments when we build our strength and strengthen our skills. I would be dishonest if I spared you these moments. 
  I love you. Yes, I really enjoy your company. I love listening to your speeches. I wish to see you progress and progress. So let me tell you a last thing: when the energy levels are going down in the middle of a session because of some difficulties to confront, I wish to see you giving more of your own energy, whether as active listeners or as speakers.

You know, those who provide more of their own energy instead of getting disengaged when the dynamism of the group slows down  have learnt one of the most fundamental lesson we need to learn to face an audience and take them with us wherever we want… It’s what leading is about.

 When we reap the fruits of our efforts, we know it was worth it…
 Good luck on your journey! Don't forget to sign up to the next sessions in Willesden Green or Clerkenwell. For details visit the What's on sections on

 See you soon!  


Electric Metaphor for Speaking

Dear known and unknown friends! 


In this time of garlands, I would like to use a basic electrical law as a metaphor for public speaking and communication. 


This law  is:  Intensity = Voltage divided by Resistance (I = V/R for the scientifically minded) 


Maybe you have learned this at school, and maybe you still remember. Maybe not. Don't worry, it's quite simple. 


Intensity: if we talk about an electric current, intensity measures "how big" the current is. In communication, intensity is about how strong the exchange between you and your audience or between you and the persons you're speaking with is. Intensity is what we want.


 What do we want? We want intensity! When do we want it? From the beginning to the end of the speech!! 


 Voltage measures the strength of a battery or the  power you get from the socket. This is not a scientific definition, but it works as a metaphor. When you communicate, you are more or less "charged", more or less strong, more of less full of energy. 


 And there is the Resistance. The word speaks by itself. If we are talking electricity ,a big cable will allow the electric current to flow effortlessly. Therefore, intensity will be high without needing much power. Sometimes it's the opposite... 

 In public speaking, sometimes you come across an audience of lovely good listeners who are very interested in your subject and love you even before you start. You won't meet much resistance. Intensity will happen. You won't need a lot of power to make it work. 


 In other cases, the cable may not be very big or it can be made with a material that is not very conductive. For an electric current, passing through these cables will be a struggle so to speak. A lot of power will be necessary to make it happen... 

 Sometimes, as a speaker or communicator, you will have to win your audience over before they accept you. Sometimes they don't like your metaphors. Sometimes they don't like you straight away... Who knows why? Maybe they are just tired, maybe you don't look like them, maybe the subject is not their cup of tea.....

 Another day, you will try again...  and you will wonder how come you were struggling last time as you will be doing well effortlessly again! 

 Life is a little bit unpredictable...


 I have written this to tell you three things: 


 - Don't be overly proud when it works very well. Maybe you were lucky, there was little resistance and intensity happened. You better be grateful than proud. Just be happy! 

 - Don't be overly daunted when it doesn't work as well as you expected. Maybe you were well prepared and powerful.... but sometimes there is a lot of resistance, for many possible reasons. Don't worry, it happens to everyone. Keep happy and carry on! 

 - And the third thing: metaphors are amazing. I love them, don't you? 


 I wish to see you in 2016. 

 I have spent some time thinking over and designing a new program to cover all the essentials of public speaking and communication in twelve sessions. 


 Learn everything about this Twelve sessions cycle here: 

 You can get the twelve sessions cycle for £110 instead of £145 if you buy it before the end of the year.  You can also get Pay as you go packages for the previous price (£50 for four session) if you buy before the end of the year.


 ...and once you are on the website, visit the "What's on" sections (What's on in Central London or What's on in Willesden Green) and subscribe to the first sessions of the year! 

 You will become excellent speakers and communicators, and we will enjoy wonderful conversations, speeches and stories! 

 And it will be a very Happy New Year! 

Jean-Marc Pierson

Raconteur, Gardener,Philosopher

Relationship maintenance for speakers

Dear mail list readers, I am happy you exist. What would I be without you? 

 Today’s public speaking tip will be about an essential subject: relationship maintenance. It has been said that training public speaking makes us acquire skills that are also useful to maintain long term relationships. (or to initiate any kind of relationship....) Why is that?

 Any human communication happens at least at two levels. The more obvious is the level of content (what we say) and a less obvious level is the level of the relationship between speaker and listener. This is true whether we speak from a stage to an audience, or to our partners, friends, children, family members, colleagues, shopkeeper etc...

 Let me give an example:  if I say: “I want a black americano with two croissants” in a very neutral tone, I will not induce the same quality of relationship with the waitress as if I said warmly: “Could you give me a black americano with two croissants, please?” In the first case, I take the service for granted, I make her feel that she is there to serve me (and that’s true, it’s her job)   In the second case, I express that I consider the waitress a human being, my equal, and I treat her accordingly: my equals deserve to be asked politely.

 There is not a single communication in which this relationship level doesn't play a role. Most of the time, it is more subtle than in my example, and we aren't really aware of what is going on just under the surface. However it’s always there. Who is dominant, who is welcome and how much, who is valued and how much, who is taken for granted, who is worth paying attention to, who gives orders....are the kinds of relationship subtexts we exchange and sometimes fight for.
 If someone does not get our message, it might well be that they actually don’t want to accept the subtext. The other way round, if people welcome and value what we say, it might well be because they are happy to acknowledge the relationship subtext.
 Therefore, let’s focus, but not too much. Our content might be clear and important by itself, however, what matters instinctively, for us, human beings, is the relational subtext. Let’s be aware enough of it and smile, make eye contact, compliment, thank, express that we value the attention of our listeners, reassure at times (it won’t be too long, I’m almost finished) so as to maintain the best relationship with our audiences, partners, colleagues, shopkeepers...

 Whatever we have to say will have the best possible reception. I rarely wait long for my Americano and croissants. And when it happens, I understand they have their reasons...

                  London, the 10th of December 2015

 The last Speed Public Speaking session for this year will take place tomorrow Friday the 11th, from 7pm to 9pm, at RSL in Willesden Green. Details are here:   


Speaking is music

 Do you happen to listen to people talking without paying attention to what they are actually saying, but to the sound of their voice instead? If you don’t want to be rude, try the experience listening to the radio, or watching a movie, or even eavesdropping in a public place. Or maybe listen to me on that video, paying attention only to the timber of my voice, the pace (or rhythm) of the speech and the melody of my sentences.

  Make pauses! A one minute speaking tip

 Do you really need more explanations? When you speak, avoid hums and ahs and other filler words. Silences (or pauses) are part of the music. Don’t waste them. Don’t ruin the rhythm with hesitations. You are better repeat twice or three times the same thing, if it flows, it’s enjoyable and if it’s enjoyable, your words will have impact.
Be aware that the music of your words is how your content will sound in your audiences’ minds...
Let’s come back to earth now. I have created a new meet up group to announce the Speed Public Speaking Sessions I’ll organize in Willesden Green (NW10, zone 2) A session is planned this Thursday from 7pm. More info : 

Thank you for your most valued attention! 
 Speak soon

Jean-Marc Pierson

Lesson by a Dreaming Carpet

Dear speed speakers

Video blogging – or vlogging- is public speaking in its own right. We live in the screen age! Everyone can easily record themselves with a smart phone or a web cam and post on social media...
Whether appearing on peoples’ screens is your goal or not, it is possible to learn a lot thanks to all these online speakers beckoning for our attention. Let me introduce you to a young women who vlogs on Youtube. Her screen name is Dreaming Carpet. I found this video especially inspiring, not only for the choice of topic which is kindness. Kindness is an inexhaustible subject and every aspiring speaker should make at least one speech about it.

Look at how she makes eye contact. She knows to look right at the lens of the camera, knowing we are just behind.
The balance between showing herselfin her own world (when she looks somewhere else, obviously searching her own mind or possibly having a look at her notes) and engaging with us, invisible audience sitting just behind the lens of the camera, is perfect.

Watch her eyebrows. She certainly doesn’t think “Oh I should use my eyebrows to be more expressive” What she shows us is that she doesn’t hold back her intention and her feelings. Her intention is to reach out to us and her body language and facial expressions simply translate this clear intention. She dares to project herself towards us.

She even smiles and speaks at the same time! How could we get bored when feelings and words are so intertwined ?

Second 45, she says “It’s just been on my mind lately” Listen and watch how she stresses the words “been” and “mind”. This is what I often ask you to do to emphasize your point. Try now: say it in a flat way... and say it as she does...

When she talks about mood, at one minute 24... to get you, I mean you when you are attending a speed public speaking session, to be as expressive, I have to insist and insist and ask you to become a clown.

When you dare to break your habits and try clowning, you don’t become a clown. You become expressive. She doesn’t look like a clown at all. That’s just how you feel inside when you become expressive without being used to being ....

The “aaaahhh” onomatopoeia to express a feeling (one minute 33) : same point. It’s just about daring to be simple and natural. It works beautifully.

I could make many more comments about many aspects of her speech, how she brings the situation to life, how she shows empathy, how she speaks about one point and only one, with consistency, how the emotions builds up as she goes on...

If I had a suggestion for improvement to give her (she didn’t ask for it, so this is not for her but for you) it would be to tell a specific anecdote with words like “For instance, yesterday, a guy, in his forties, wearing a suit and big glasses... the way he put the books on the counter without a word or the briefest eye contact made me feel so ignored...”

Other than that, I won’t comment any further. I suggest you just observe and listen. How would you do it?

I am looking forward to your speeches (or videos) about kindness

Speed Public Speaking sessions will run until the end of November. We take a break in December, it’s too crazy a month to keep going! A last thing I would like to tell you: heaven is at the end of the road. The more you train, the more you improve, and the more you master the skills, the more it is bliss. Believe me and persevere!
A last thing: please share this newsletter, and offer speed public speaking sessions as Christmas presents to your friends and family in London!
All the best