Alex’s Public Speaking Accelerator programme has helped entrepreneurs become great public speakers and speech writers. He delivers the programme online and in person. TEDx talks given by people who have enrolled on the programme include ’Turning schools into hotbeds for global change-reforming education,’ and ’What they don’t tell you about entrepreneurship.’ Alex is also delivering bespoke Public Speaking Accelerators for organisations that want to improve the way their leadership teams communicate on stage.
Learn from your experience
Before setting up his own company, Alex co-ran Champions Life Academy, a sales and marketing organisation that provided students with work experience fundraising for charities. Part of his role involved spending three months delivering daily presentations to university students. “Had I realised at the time that I would be doing so much public speaking, I wouldn’t have taken the job - I used to hate public speaking,” he says. “Looking back though, not only did these roadshows force me to confront my childhood fear, they also taught me that public speaking is a skill that you can learn and when you do, it will open up doors that otherwise might have been closed.”
One opportunity that presented itself was founding and running TEDxClapham, a public speaking community event in South London. He did this alongside Champions Life Academy until 2016, when Alex and the team decided to shut the company down.
“After Champions Life Academy, I went out to New York to work for a cyber security company looking to expand into Europe. It turned out that they were going bust too. Luckily, behind the scenes, TEDxClapham’s talks had started to gain traction online and I was requested to help others prepare for upcoming speeches,” he says. “When I returned to London, I created what I called my ‘bankruptcy spreadsheet’ and worked out that I had three months until I’d run out of money. That sort of do or die scenario gives you an amazing amount of clarity. It forced me into a situation where I had to make money,” he says.
He set up a public speaking workshop at Google for Startups Campus, a community of entrepreneurs who come to Google for events, advice and mentoring. Following this, ten people enrolled onto his trial public speaking programme, kickstarting his business.
How to become a great public speaker
For Alex, what makes a great public speaker can be crystallised into one word: empathy. “Great public speaking has got nothing to do with how introverted or extroverted you are, it’s all about empathy and being fine tuned to your audience.”
Overcoming nerves is something he’s often asked about. “Typically, stage fright comes from two things, either not knowing your speech well enough or not knowing whether what you’ve got to say is actually any good. Let’s face it, most people deliver their talk for the first time in front of their audience and if your content hasn’t been tested, that can be risky. If you know what you’ve got to share is golden, you’ll be more excited than nervous to share it with other people,” he says.