The Confident Presenter: Ditch Your Fear of Public Speaking and Embrace the Stage (Author Interview)

The Confident Presenter looks like a great book. What can you tell us about it?

Well, it’s a straightforward guide to becoming more comfortable when you’re on stage, or at least “on the spot”. And it also gives lots of tips to help people not just overcome their fears, but also to become more effective as presenters. It’s been described as humorous, practical and helpful.

I’ve worked for years training people on presentation skills and storytelling. Over that time I really got to see what exercises, insights and ideas people responded to. This book was a chance for me to put all that experience and those insights in one place.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My career to this point really has two tracks. On one track I was a comedian, storyteller and actor, travelling Europe to teach, coach and perform. On the other track, I worked in corporate communications and marketing as a writer and editor, even getting an MA in Profesional Writing from London Metropolitan University.

More recently, I realized that these separate tracks can be connected. So now I use my stage background and corporate experience to help my clients sharpen up what they want to say and write. So that through working with me, my clients can learn to express themselves better and connect more effectively with their audiences.

What section did you have the most fun writing?

For me the most fun stage was initial editing. Writing the first draft was pretty much a blur (which I think is really a best-case scenario). Then as the book started taking shape I had very specific ideas of how it would look and feel when it was done. I wanted it easily accessible, without fluff. I wanted illustrations and short sections and summaries at the end of each chapter. Basically my vision for The Confident Presenter was that it would be a resource you can read from cover to cover or dip in and out of, or refer to if you're blocked in a specific area. I found this stage of the writing process quite fun.

What inspired the idea for the book?

Well, I'll tell you the origin story in two parts.

In part one I used to be an improviser and actor, performing frequently. I got into teaching presentation skills when a big client with a big educational program asked me to teach something other than improv. So I taught public speaking, which was essentially just me teaching a lot of improv concepts but expanding upon them and pivoting the learning toward helping people conquer their fear of public speaking. That was the beginning of my work as a presentations coach.

The second origin is of the book itself. I had a stretch of time about a year ago when I decided to put my assorted notes and thoughts on the subject of public speaking in one place. I didn't intend for it to become a book, but as I started putting everything together, it quickly became comprehensive. "I can't talk about body language without talking about facial expressions. Oh, and vocal qualities..." And onward it went from there until it became the book it is now.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

I'd been talking regularly with my friend Simon Hodges throughout the writing process. I came up with a few titles and a few different titles and shared them with him. He responded unequivocally with this title and this subtitle. They are, respectively, “The Confident Presenter,” and “Ditch Your Fear of Public Speaking and Embrace the Stage”. So that's what I went with.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Confident Presenter?

I think the biggest challenge when writing and publishing a book is that it's a very long process. I heard someone describe it not as a marathon, but more like a triathlon. Because you have the writing process (long), the editing process (also long), the publishing process (long again), and then the publication, promotion, and marketing stage (never-ending).

So I think it's that long-term view that is most accurate. But it can also feel daunting. My advice would be make sure you're really excited about the book project you're working on, because you're going to be doing it for a long time!

What do you like to do when not writing?

Well, I've got two fun little kids at home and an awesome wife, so I like to hang out with them. I've also recently started performing storytelling and improv comedy again, and it feels good to be back on stage. Other than that I try and do yoga a few times a week and travel when our schedule permits.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

To find out more about what I do the best place to go is my website, To find out more about the book,