In the beginning it wasn’t called Presentation Power, it was called Power Speaking – sadly we missed getting he web name – then NuSpeak! I named it that way to indicate that it was a revolution in teaching public speaking and presentation skills. I didn’t want to be associated with a Dale Carnegie or Toastmasters (both of which I think are valuable but dated).
I wrote the original program to satisfy requests from people looking for coaching and training on how to speak publicly and for other facilitators. The first interest I had was from a business associate who had to hold small intimate workshops on a regular basis, and he didn’t want it to be like the regular financial planning sessions. He wanted it to be natural and open so the people would feel okay to ask questions. That was not the first time I had been asked to help with speaking skills and I found it fascinating.
My Public Speaking Experience 1973
My own evolution in becoming a speaker was less structured and more experimental and a little haphazard. It was 1973 and I had been asked to speak at a small group that was in Prince George British Columbia. I said yes, but really didn’t have an idea of how to go about it, like most people it looked easy – lol. I did my first speaking event and was terrified, threw up and generally frustrated, but also hooked. When I told my business partner about the experience, she introduced me to a man who was going to set me on a path of self-discovery. Harold Gregory introduced me to self-hypnosis and the notion that it was all in my head. Howard was brilliant, challenging and a good friend he mentored me for several years on how to speak.
That led to a 13year public speaking (mostly on weekends) involvement. My partner Lisa Kerfoot and I ran a business during the week and about once a month or so I would leave to speak at a convention, it was lots of fun and I learned a great deal. This led to two speaking tours of Australia, regular speaking at conventions for Redken Cosmetics throughout Canada and the United States. This time I would say I was unconsciously competent, I didn’t really know why what I did worked!
Then my life took a dramatic turn (divorce) and I found myself really looking at who I was and what I did. You might say bit of a midlife crisis, then I was introduced to a man named Tony Robbins by Nicole Clements. Tony was starting out that time, he was teaching fire walking out at the UBC beach in Vancouver. The agreement was I would teach or demonstrate my speaking skills to Tony, and he would teach me NLP and fire-walking. We spent several days in Vancouver with me demonstrating and modelling my skills and asking me in a numerous amount of questions. Later I went to San Diego to experience fire-walking and being instructed in NLP. It was a wild time, I stayed with Tony and learned so much from him and did fire working myself. I then became an avid student of NLP, Virginia Satir and the teachings of Milton Erickson. This proved to be the start of my journey into self-awareness.
My next step was to take the “The Pursuit of Excellence” it was brilliant and added to my growth. At the end of the course I went to the facilitator Peggy Merlin and told her I would like to leave the course one day, she smiled and nodded and wished me luck – I later found out this was a common statement.
I immersed in the POE and took a deeper look at my own communication skills and others and the impact that it has on their lives and those around them. Then off to “The Haven” for more workshops. Within two years I was leading “The Advancement of Excellence”. Within another year I was leading the “Pursuit of Excellence”; a 45hour’s over five days, my mentor in that process was Peggy Merlyn and Jim Sorenson, both brilliant facilitators. I was involved for nine years and loved every minute of it.
NuSpeak & Presentation Power 1996
I launch my first public speaking program in Victoria BC, this was a Beta test to see how and what worked. I use my experience and understanding of rapid learning, cognitive psychology and NLP. It was a hit, and I started to lead regular programs and speaking about it to other people all the time. People told me it was revolutionary, that they had learned more in the two days than six months at Toastmasters. It was and is learning by doing and the retention by the anchoring processes built into the program.
I remember one call from participant who wanted to know what I had done as she had gotten up to speak and didn’t feel nervous, but didn’t know how it worked – I laughed – Patricia was particularly nervous during the program and yet took every step and did every assignment that she was quite good when it was finished, but didn’t believe that she would ever be ready. She later proved herself wrong.
I had a participant who was very eager and kept asking lots of questions, it was only at the end of the workshop did she reveal that she was from UBC, and that started a conversation about me bringing the workshop to UBC. Over the summer we had several meetings in the required me to give them a more complete workbook, we had several discussions about the intellectual property, and they agreed it was mine and so I gave them my full workbook. Then I got pulled into a special meeting because they were concerned about NuSpeak and didn’t want to be promoting a workshop with the same name as my book, after brainstorming and much discussion I/we decided upon Presentation Power.
I continued to study NLP and Cognitive Psychology. I wrote, led and regularly updated Presentation Power during my eight years with UBC, and the Sauder School of Business, it was a great experience.
The Winter Olympic Bid 2003
While teaching at UBC I had started to coach individuals in speaking skills and this led to a request by a friend, what I hope someone who is going to be speaking to the media – I said yes. I coached a very bright and quick student who was to become the media liaison for Vancouver’s winter Olympic bid. It was fun so pleasure to see someone had coached do so well. An Olympic bid was then an arduous and difficult process, each host city was challenged to be its best in order to win the Olympics for this city. Other than reading about it, I’m wondering if we would win, I wasn’t much involved in the beginning. That I got a call to come and meet with Vancouver’s Olympic bid committee.
They had a challenge; to prepare for the visit of the Olympic Evaluation Committee. This was Vancouver’s opportunity to move from the group to the final three. Asked me to come or prepare the speakers and of course I said yes. Only to find athletes, technical experts and volunteers who had various degrees of speaking ability, the biggest which was fear! They gave me a room and I spent three weeks editing down speeches and coaching for specific presentation. These were long days and short nights full of stress.
It was successful and met some wonderful people and didn’t think about it very much and then suddenly I got call “would I come with the team for the final presentation in Prague”. I said yes and off I went to Prague, these were even longer days and shorter nights and now everything was on the line, Canada’s reputation and my reputation and skills. We won!!
Suddenly I was in demand as a presentation director, helping people with their presentation skills, stage skills and how to be persuasive in a very short period of time. Between leading Presentation Power program and being a Presentation Director, my life was very busy.
Presentation Power 2018
But what I learned was that I could transfer the skills in a very short period of time, much shorter than I had thought and I wanted to incorporate that learning into Presentation Power program. NLP was the source of my motivation, then I discovered that a former colleague and friend Allen Kanerva was doing incredible work in the field of PSTD using NLP.
October 2018, I travelled to Guelph, Ontario to take the NLP Practitioners Program– brilliant facilitation by Allen Kanerva & Tara Kanerva.
Spring 2019 Presentation Power NLP
Six months later I am proud to announce this next evolution; Presentation Power NLP!
I have a few programs and coaching commitments to complete and will announce a start date soon.
Always show up Geoffrey