Spreading stories: Jon Torrens speaks at OST University

Every other Wednesday OST hosts an internal ‘University’ session for staff to listen, discuss and learn something new. In June the topic was public speaking – so we welcomed an external speaker, Jon Torrens, to inspire and educate us. OST’er Chris Tynan explains what happened…

Confidence in public speaking is not something that comes to many of us naturally, yet speaking in public is something that we all have to do at various stages in our lives. Whether that be in a pitch, a job interview, or even professing your love to your better half… public speaking is an integral skill to be able to convince and convert your audience.

Jon Torrens, a qualified public speaker and coach, is a former stand-up comedian who is well-known in the public speaking circuit. Unfortunately for Jon, he was our guinea pig for a warm afternoon in June after we coaxed him into our office near Cambridge to give the team a masterclass in enticing your audience through powerful public speaking.

The Adventure of Supreme Confidence | Jon Torrens | TEDxAngliaRuskinUniversity

Jon initially covered off nuggets of wisdom including rehearse (obviously!), be conversational (makes sense), and think like a spy (what?!). Using the basis of the James Bond characters; M (Strategist), Q (Technician), and 007 (Performer), Jon explained that there is a time and a place for us all to be each of these roles. Naturally, we may prefer one over another, but we will have to be one of these roles at least once as we prepare to give a presentation.

However, it wasn’t just all talk from Jon. On the contrary, we had to do a lot of the talking as well. Implementing the skills we had learned, the OST team were tasked with delivering a 1-minute presentation about themselves, similar to what one may have to deliver in a networking meeting. Aside from this – there was no brief. Great.

Each of the team members was randomly chosen by Jon to go up and, after each talk, were subject to feedback from their colleagues as we tried to dissect what we could do even better. Common feedback we all took away included speed (some of us were far too quick!) posture (don’t slouch and stand up straight) and tone – to ensure we engaged with our audience.

Jon Torrens

The key takeaway, however, which Jon reiterated again and again, is practice. Not just rehearsing a speech repeatedly, but embracing every opportunity to speak. Through practice and repetition, we can all aspire to become as charismatic as Churchill, Kennedy, and Jobs.

Overall, the team learned heavily from a fantastic array of advice from Jon which would be a useful addition to anyone’s quiver. It’s safe to say, we will all be feeling better equipped going forward!

What are some of your methods for keeping on top of public speaking nerves? Do you stretch, scream and shout? Do you lock yourself away in a dark room until you feel confident your audience will bow to your every word? Whatever your method, let us know in the comments below!

Luke Brynley-Jones
Date: 27th June 2017
Category: Blog

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