Start with something worth saying - The Pickering Group

How can we help?

Thank you for your enquiry, we will be in touch.


Start with something worth saying

You wouldn’t believe the number of calls I get from people that go something like this: “We need you to come in and work with [insert name here] on their presenting skills. They’re really struggling to make an impact. The issue’s not with their content – that’s sorted – it’s more to do with their delivery. We need them not to suck.”
I’ll let you in on a little secret: the issue is almost always content-related. It might be content that’s irrelevant, too dense, has too many slides or is unfamiliar. It can be all of the above!
This is why you need to start with something worth saying and build from there. 
The heart of good presenting
The best presentations begin with a great message – one that is relevant and targeted to that audience. As I explored in another of my recent articles, when you’ve got that, you’ve got intention.  You can feel when what you’re bringing is on point, which helps you deliver with authenticity. That’s where the real power comes from.
Consider another story. One of my favourite exercises on the second day of my presentation skills programme is to have participants create a ‘mini TED talk’. Using the process they’ve just learnt, they have two hours to prepare – from scratch – a six-minute presentation about a topic they feel strongly about. The results are remarkable.
People who came into the programme with high anxiety and self-conscious delivery habits light up. They become more comfortable and authentic. They bring conviction to their ideas and they inspire more confidence in their audience. They’re more grounded in their delivery. They feel the change and are excited by it. This happens because they are drawing from the three key courage amplifiers.
Meet the courage amplifiers

  • Knowing your stuff – this is where great content comes in. For my participants their brief was to create a presentation about a topic they felt strongly about, which meant they tended to speak about something they were highly knowledgeable about too. We had topics as diverse as how to bake the perfect scone to cryptocurrency – but because participants were comfortable with the topics they had chosen, they could talk about them with ease.
  • Preparing well – with a process. While rehearsing your presentation out loud is a vitally important step, focus your preparation primarily on developing your content well first, as opposed to worrying about your delivery. When you get the content right, you will find familiarity and ownership, which reinforces that you know your stuff.
  • Owning who you are – getting comfortable in your own skin. I am still astounded how naturally this flows from conviction. Courage and confidence follow intention and familiarity. When you know you’ve got a reason to be up there, and to be speaking, that’s freeing.

These are key to stepping into the spotlight. The stronger you are in each of these, the more courage you have to draw from. And as you can see, you really do need all three amplifiers working together to be truly working for you.


Courage eclipses confidence any day, so don’t obsess about trying to be confident – instead draw on your courage. Courage is fierce and illuminating – and it comes from conviction. That comes from good content. So, first and foremost, start with something worth saying.

Enquire about our programmes

Keep up to date with the latest tips and resources by joining our mailing list.

Step into the Spotlight

Russell's new book is available now
Find out more.