TEDxWellington 2021 Call For Speakers & Performers Announced | Going Big

Boldly planning a mammoth capital experience.

For the past seven years or so I’ve been dedicating my pro-bono time to the TEDxWellington endeavour and last night we announced our public call for speakers and performers.

This is a not-for-profit venture for the wider community organisers by a wonderful bunch of humans volunteering their precious time to enable local stories go global.

The next event will be the biggest of its kind with 2,000 delegates at the award-winning Michael Fowler Centre, held on 8th May 2021.

What a time to be considering such a grand thing, however, with the ‘team of 5 million’ again pulling together to eliminate community transmission of COVID-19 from our shores, we’re leaning into the hope this will sustain through to next year and beyond.

So if you know anyone in or associated with the Wellington-region who has an idea worth spreading, here’s their chance to get considered for the TEDxWellington 2021 stage:


The Power Of A Great Introduction | Be A (Helpful) Diva

How to start a conference talk and / or presentation.

We can’t all be blessed with a hype-man like the one above, although if you are to speak at any kind of event, making sure you’re introduced properly is so important. Why? Because the first line of any talk and / or presentation is not the beginning of the experience the audience has of you, that is what the MC’s role is.

And we’ve probably all been to conferences where on occasions, they go too big, expounding statements of wonderment and pedigree beyond expectation and how much wisdom is now going to ensue. Other times there’s hardly a set-up, no context and a hospital pass of ‘will allow them to introduce themselves’, oof!

As a speaker, make sure you connect with the master or mistress of ceremonies (or whomever is doing the intro) and share with them a bio which is succinct enough to take about thirty seconds to read out (if it’s longer just highlight the important bits for them). Impress on them (if they don’t already know), how the aim is to aid them in enabling you to start with that arresting question and / or statement to hook the audience in.

Be a (helpful) diva!


Top Ten Speaking Tips | Revisited And Revised

For those who present and deliver talks often.

Seven years ago I wrote a My Top Ten Speaking Tips piece on my old company blog and thought with the impending Speaking With Purpose conference, it would provide a good time to revisit and revise.

Was very surprised how little my ideas and tactics have changed, spruced them up a little though and here they are:

    1. Finish the presentation the night before—it stays fresher in your brain than if you completed it a few weeks previous. Gives you time to add in new industry and sector developments plus it also offers the opportunity to add in references from earlier talks (if it’s more than a one day event). Most importantly though it doesn’t give you a chance to practice (GASP)…

    2. Don’t practice—a great talk is like a conversation (and no conversation goes the way you planned, no matter how many times you practice it in your head). Sure, run through it once or twice to check the timings plus transitions etc but this is more an exercise of knowing what you want to convey rather than rehearsing exactly what to say verbatim. Remember, you can practise your talk but you can never practise speaking in front of a room of strangers / your colleagues / your board etc.

    3. Don’t do lecterns—it forms a physical barrier between you and your audience. Less is definitely more in this instance and before you say, “where do I put my script?”…

    4. Never use a script—if you know your stuff you don’t need it written down. This method means: head down, losing intonation / connection with your audience / professionalism. We don’t talk the same way we write and it just doesn’t work. If you’re an organiser of any events / conferences, ban podiums and scripts. It will scare a lot away but I guarantee you’ll be left with fantastic speakers who simply know their stuff.

    5. Let your client dictate the topic not the content—I once had a very needy client who heavily dictated the content of a presentation to the point of even signing it off weeks before. It’s the ONLY time the organisers didn’t think I delivered (even though three quarters of the audience thought I was good/very good). Coincidence maybe, but experience tells me otherwise.

    6. Move—the best speakers are passionate and passion means movement. Move around the stage / floor. Move your arms, your face, your eyebrows. Communicate with your body not just your words / slides.

    7. Look at your audience—don’t pick a spot at the back of the room / hall and drift off. Sometimes this is hard if you’re speaking on a lit stage but you can still make people out. After a while you can have some fun with this: I like to pick out those yet to be convinced (you’ll spot them through body language—the ones with their arms crossed and sitting back in their seat—once you have them coming forward and sitting on the edge of their chairs and nodding their heads you know you’re onto a winner).

    8. Bullets kill people attention—people can read faster in their heads than you can read it out loud. Break each point up into a slide and use one word titles for each to direct your talk. They act as cues for the topics or a point I want to convey. The figurative underline comes from the images/video plus the story weaved around it.

    9. Fool your nerves—those damn butterflies can turn into courage-eating moths which can eat you from the inside out. Trick them. The emotional and physiological response to fear is exactly the same as when you’re excited. Tell yourself it’s not nerves but positive anticipation and after a while you will create an ingrained learned response.

    10. Enjoy it—if you don’t have fun speaking then don’t do it. There are other ways to promote yourself or spread your message.

Hope the above helps…


Speaking With Purpose | Announcing A New Wellington Conference

Maya Angelou words quote

Raising the skill set of presenting / public speaking / storytelling.

Am triple excited to announce Speaking With Purpose, happening on Monday, 27th March 2017, at the fantastic Roxy Cinema:

A one day conference for those looking to increase their public speaking confidence and hungry to develop their storytelling techniques.

The event will feature inspirational keynotes plus masterclasses and workshops so attendees can broaden their professional skill set.

Inspired by my recent tenure overseeing nearly 200 events in fourteen months, there’s an opportunity to assist and develop presenters here in Wellington, the wider region and New Zealand as a whole.

Have seen so many folks stand and speak about their particular topic then struggle with the storytelling aspect of their message. Or suffer with nerves and other nuances which detract from the talk in some. Or fail to understand the importance of a well crafted slide deck in assisting their delivery.

This conference is for them.

It’s the wrong time to be announcing any kind of new initiative, let alone a medium-sized conference, however, just couldn’t keep it under wraps till the new year.

Check out the current impressive line-up who will be sharing their wisdom (more to be added soon):

swp speakers 2017

The early-bird offer along with the 25s-and-under registrations rates are currently active under a first-come-first-served scheme*:

swp prices 2017

As already mentioned, the day will include a mix of keynotes and workshops focussed on deconstructing presentation styles, understanding the psychology of what makes a good talk, exploring models of speaking, other good practice insights and delivery methodology. On top of the usual food and refreshments and networking opportunities.

*At the time of writing, over half of the early bird spots have already been registered, so please act quick.

Would truly appreciate you sharing the above announcement:

  • with team members, colleagues, friends, family members etc.;
  • via any newsletters, blogs and / or communities;
  • through your online social media networks.

Thank you and hopefully see you there,!


Speaking About Speaking | KiwiBank Internal Knowledge Cafe

HUGE thanks to Michelle and KiwiBank for filming and allowing me to share this presentation on ‘speaking with purpose.’

Twenty minutes, full of advice, sometimes contradictory and hopefully some useful.

It’s a concentration of learning from a decade of public speaking experience, what we do with our five/six week coaching course for TEDxWellington (which is where the presentation starts, after I showed the latest review video from the 2016 event) and some stuff borrowed (like an artist) from others.

What did I miss out? What do you agree / disagree with? What were the takeaways for you?

We were very privileged to have DK present to Kiwibank as part of our Knowledge Cafe series. His presentation highlighted tips and tricks for improving as a public speaker, and I was very impressed with both the presentation and his advice.

As someone that fears presenting, his tips provided easy yet elegant advice for how to overcome that fear.

I would unhesitatingly recommend DK for anyone that is looking for either a presenter, or a coach. His techniques are excellent and he is inspiring to work with.
Michelle Farrell, Knowledge Manager at KiwiBank

In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to secure some paid coaching work around public speaking. The first was a three half day sessions for a major production studio in the capital, the second with a science communicator sharpening her delivery and confidence, plus the latest is a set of one-to-ones with senior executives and public sector officers for an important NZ-based government-led symposium early next year.

Think it may be time I updated my website to include this in my offer to the world.


Two Gigs, One University | Massey

Massey Uni Logo

Two speaking gigs testimonials from last month:

DK was invited to speak at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts fourth year Creative Futures class about the power of digital social interactions. The course explores social and business enterprise, starting a business, ideas for non-profit organisations and developing a strategic positioning proposal. The students enjoyed DK’s presentation, which generated a number of interesting discussions and provided much food for through around what ‘socialising’ can do for start-ups.

Anna Brown, Director at Open Lab, College of Creative Arts

DK spoke to a group of PR and communication students at Massey University and he blew their minds. It’s not often that a speaker can resonate with an audience who already think they know all about the subject, but DK’s experience, coupled with a killer presentation, demonstrated to them that social media is more than just Facebook.

I have already recommended DK to people who need better insight and direction with their social strategies. The man knows his stuff!

Kane Hopkins, Lecturer at School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing

What an honour to speak to students—want to do more and explore opportunities to do project work with these hungry minds. If anyone thinks I can offer value in this area please get in touch.


Speaking With Purpose | Kick-ass Presenting

A presentation on presenting like a pro (or something like that).

Today I delivered an intimate public speaking seminar through Chalkle : Six Degrees Of Education.

My foundation came via this Top Ten Speaking Tips blog post written a couple of years ago (which still holds up today).

Was a great experience to not only share some of the insights gained over my short speaking career, but as ever, deconstructing something you do with the purpose of sharing that knowledge, enriches your learning so much more.

Other things discussed:

  • Compfight—clean image search with creative commons options (my preference over the Flickr Attribution directory, although they do pretty much the same job)
  • Salling Clicker—what I use to control my presentations (ensures stable connection, timing options, non-touchscreen so no accidental ‘clicks’ plus haven’t failed me in 6/7 years)
  • transitions—less is more. Advice extended to presenting software like Prezi which can be overused at times when a simple dissolve would be far more effective

…there were many more.

The attendees also had the opportunity to present for a couple of minutes and together we positively critiqued their work.

So what do you think on the advice shared above? Do you have any tips / tricks to share? Do you disagree? Dare you to leave a comment… go on, double dare ya!

YouTube Version
Image Credits: Animal, Woodrow, Guru, Wayne’s World, Talk, Practice, Don’t, No, Control, Look, Attention, Scary, Gospel, Questions, Next

Designing Processes / Experience / Brand | Closer To Launch


Shaping the online offering (above is the wireframe of the site design)

Getting the product right is half the story, the overall brand experience and even the process of checking out needs due care and consideration.

Taking notes and learning from inspiring folks such as generalassemb.ly and:

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
Jeff Bezos

Related to The Best Damn Public Speaking Course On The Internet (Even The Planet) and Why Develop An Online Speaker Training Programme | The Purpose, The Why, The What

Why Develop An Online Speaker Training Programme | The Purpose, The Why, The What

The above is fun and real.

Am spending my spare time developing out ‘The Best Damn Speaking Course On The Internet (Even The Planet)‘.

My current focus (apart from pooling together some fab speakers to share their knowledge) is on the experience and value the customer / member receives plus the why and what truth this project essentially serves.

This is what I’ve come up with:

This is for the project manager who needs to delight and astonish their bosses / colleagues in that important meeting.

This is for the conference organiser who has realised that titles and positions of authority does not equate to being a good public speaker.

This is for lecturers who want to engage the whole room, from the front-seat-swots to the back-of-the-room-hall-dwellers.

This is for the sales rep who is hungry to explore the power of telling stories and is craves some inspiration.

This is for the tired executive whose career needs new energy and vitality to project them forward in the looming performance review.

This is for those who can’t ever imagine speaking to a room of people (no matter how big or small) and have a positive impact.

This is for you.

It will exist to aid, challenge, enable, add, energise, delight, empower, sharpen, equip all newbies and old hands to be able to speak better.

To present with clarity and purpose.

To become a kick ass communicator.


The Best Damn Public Speaking Course On The Internet (Even The Planet)


Want to be a kick ass public speaker? Does the idea of giving presentations to your boss / colleagues / board scare you? Are you wanting to develop another skillset and income stream?

Over the past couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to speak on four continents, for small charities to big brands, at public conferences through to internal events, to audiences ranging from a handful to over a thousand etc—I’ve gotten pretty good at it but always remained open to learning new approaches and developing my craft.

Throughout my journey of becoming a person who gets paid a healthy wedge to stand on a stage and tell stories, there were no credible and insightful coaching available or aggregation of best practice, delivered in an accessible and funky way (apart from corporate-stuffy-suit-types with bad powerpoint slides who gave me advice which runs contrary to how I roll)…

…come mid-March 2012 there will be!

Twelve amazing speakers will each be featured in a 40minute skype/video interview offering insights and advice plus a deeper focus on their areas of expertise (from confidence building, presentation design, landing gigs, technology use, personal branding etc.). Each video will also be accompanied by a downloadable transcript, a one-page worksheet based on the conversation plus other related material and links.

The cost of the course will be around £100GBP / $150USD / $200NZD.

At the time of writing a third of the speakers are in place and waiting on responses from the others (only sent the emails out yesterday).

So what do you think? Would you be up for taking the course when it comes out? What will your expectations be? Maybe you think I’m going about this in the wrong way?

Hit me up in the comments, don’t be shy, you’re not on Facebook!

Image credit