My truth about Speaking

I apologise to the reader for some of the language used in this blog post… Words like ‘anecdotes’ and ‘ inspirational’ are shamelessly used to make me seem more intelligent than I really am…

I would like to thank the spell checker for all it’s help on the following blig pist.

My truth about speaking…

My folks always told me “not to speak to strangers…” I didn’t listen…

Perhaps it’s my ego, but I love to think that even a few people from my audiences leave feeling positive, and take some action to change their life for the better from some of the things I say… Most of what I say is made up of stories I’ve read or situations I’ve got myself into. I tend to tell people about the things that make me laugh. Perhaps I’m lucky, but I have lot’s to laugh about in my life.

I didn’t ever imagine making my living from speaking to people. I was a shy nervous kid who would hide behind my Mum when someone came to the door until the age of seven. The thought of having to share stories and anecdotes petrified me when I first started in this business… But I did it. Time and time again I forced myself to stand up and take the stage. I was determined to be good at something – why not start with the thing I was petrified to do…

To remind me of a life passed, and for comedy value, I have an old, framed school report hanging on my utility room wall. It reads “the future does not look good for Toby…” And another reads “Toby suffers from occasional acts of lunacy…” and it’s these types of comments that make me laugh, and these truths are woven into the stories I tell.

I left school with no qualifications and so had limited options of ‘what to do with my life’. I decided to speak – I didn’t need a PHd to do that… The task, in my mind, was simple – make people laugh and inspire them with my stories. I love it. Speaking for me is a way to push against the system – to put my views across without being too political or controversial. I don’t tend to tell people what they want to hear, more what I think they need to hear, and I like that…

I usually start my talks by telling people about my school days, and the ritual torture we, as boarders, had to go through. The Masters shouting stuff like “Hands off your cocks and onto your socks…” in the mornings when they came in to get us up, “McCartney, you’re a bird brain” when I didn’t show up for my geography lessons, getting myself suspended for putting the tuck shop out of business, and being put as the opposite number in a ‘old boys’ rugby match against a teacher who beat the hell out of me when I was 9. These stories at the time that hurt like hell, but now are on my comedy stories shortlist. Mr. Waltham the child beater – I hope you hear about these truths from your prison cell…

Speaking gives me the freedom to solve ‘old pains’ from the past and turn them into humour. To recognise them as ‘character building’ as my Dad would put it.

It just shows you though that you can make a story from anything in your life. The things that seem mundane or boring, or even hurtful to you may be inspirational for others. Sometimes you can help someone in your audience re-frame their whole life through one of your stories. Speaking can be like magic.

Learning ‘how to speak’ is the first step. Kate and I now take people through a process and give them the ‘code’ into how to inspire, motivate and speak to audiences large and small. It’s exciting. The code is full proof – the same code used by the greatest speakers of all time…

We’ve reached an exciting time in our short history. As the economy picks up, companies and the people in them are looking to be re-inspired, re-motivated and re-minded that the world doesn’t have to be as serious as we all make out… We can have a laugh at ourselves and learn that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those ‘occasional acts of lunacy’ that I’m sure I’m not alone in participating in!

So as a big ‘Fuck you very much’ to those that have ever used you, abused you or screwed you, give yourself the gift of learning how to speak for yourself and let’s hear your stories. We are all waiting for you to step up and take your stage!

Public Speaking Programme: Dalyan, Turkey. July 7-14 2015.

Click here for our Public Speaking Skills Training

By |2016-12-19T17:30:20+00:00March 23rd, 2014|Coaching|5 Comments


  1. Ben 25/03/2014 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Hi Toby,

    As it’s on the subject I just wanted to say thanks to you and Sundeep for the speakers corner events each month. I’m getting a lot out of them and I am definitely going to be continuing to come to the groups and improve on speaking in public.

    See you April 5th,


  2. Leah 27/03/2014 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Hi Toby

    I really liked your “My Truth About Speaking” article. I am sure a lot of people will resonate with it. Speaking is a gift and if you do it well can transform lives.

    I believe I have that gift as often I am told I inspire a lot of people but I have just got to take it to the next level and with your help I am sure I can.

    Enjoy the rest of your week.


  3. Diane 07/08/2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing Toby your email is spot on so timely you are dare I say an inspiration better still a shining STAR Diane x

  4. Steven Blake mba 10/10/2015 at 8:20 am - Reply

    A great post Toby and yes your speaking and humour do inspire people. I had my AHA moment when you demonstrated a smoking cessation and stopped to tell a joke that intentionally also broke the state of the person you were working with. It was then i realised that not only could I help people I could also have a lot of fun doing so. That has turned out to be true beyond my wildest dreams. And as part of my marketing I get to do speaking to audiences, it is great to be able to chose the topic and say what the hell you like and make it fun. Brilliant, thank you for starting me off on this wonderful road of opportunities.

  5. Yuri 03/11/2017 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Great post, loved it, thanks for that, Toby. Very inspirational x.

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