How to do a speaker training




Introductions 20 mins

Explaining the sheets 10 mins

Science 1 hour

Break 10 mins

Speaking Skills 1 hour

Lunch 1 hour

Emotions 1 hour

Practice in groups 30 mins

Break 10 mins

Finding and creating audiences 30 mins

Getting feedback 30 mins

Appraisal and end 10 mins


There’s a limit to what can be achieved. We found that it is best to recognise that the actual issues of climate change are large and complex and impossible to cover in a day. Best to point people to the factsheets and any other sources of information (and if possible send them to people ahead of time and tell them to read them).

However, what can be achieved is:

    • making people feel more confident speaking publicly- giving them speaking skills, confidence and empowering them

persuading people that they have the authority and right to speak up (and that you do not have to be an "expert" to speak)

  • above all- getting people to connect with their emotions and put these at the core of their speaking. The feedback showed that this was the most useful part of the training. People are reluctant to speak "from the heart" but this is what persuades audiences and gives them complete authority.


  • Start by finding which areas need particular help with.
  • Do not get stuck into a detailed explanations- there isn’t enough time.
  • The template talk is the best tool, as it has a "recipe" for covering the ground within a limited time. So it’s best to refer people to talk people through template talk.
  • Make sure also to talk through the "arguments against climate change"- people need to be familiar with these as they can potentially destroy a talk.
  • To feel confident, though, people will need to do additional reading, so have further materials to point them to.


We started working in pairs talking about the three aspects of a talk which we had enjoyed, and three we hadn’t. This was fed back to the rest of the group on the flipchart. This was followed in the same format talking through when you’ve done public speaking before, and your first thoughts on public speaking (on climate change). We then had somebody to a two minute presentation on the science of climate change, displaying the classic things to avoid when speaking, followed by a brainstorm on all the negative things which he did. This was followed by the same format but in a positive way. This was done as a whole group, and was fairly light hearted.

I talked through some speaking skills, which are in more detail on the corresponding handout

Body language · speak to people rather than at them · eye contact - very important · watch for nervous habits · smile and be friendly to the audience

Feeling confident · remember a time you spoke confidently - what were you thinking?, what was your voice like?, how was your posture? Try to stand like this and think of time you feel confident just before you start speaking to an audience. · You have every right to speak about this issue · dress appropriately to the audience and feel comfortable

Bridging the gap between yourself and the audience · What are your aims in giving the talk? · What are your audience’s aims in coming and listening? · You are the bridge - build a relationship, show a bit of yourself and make the common ground between you obvious. · Humour breaks down isolation · bad news overload can spur people in to action or numb them out - you decide the optimal amount of info which is appropriate to your audience · Ask questions out to the audience, and invite responses

Speaking · speak clearly, loud enough and slowly · ring the changes in the tone of your voice · leave pauses and thinking space

Organising the talk · time - plan accordingly · stick to a few points and do these well · lead people through the arguments, include everyone at different pitches · have some notes and practise your talk

Content · tailor the message to the audience - use metaphors, stories, recent / local events and news · which piece of information will motivate this particular audience? · Make room in the talk to say how you feel about the issues · break the talk up - maybe with a video

We then split randomly in to four groups, and practised talking about an aspect of climate change - either off the top of our heads or from the template talk sheet.

EMOTIONS — Cliff Jordan

  • Intro — the place of emotions in this work
  • Listening in pairs: "How do I feel?" (either right now, a feeling that arose during the morning, or generally about Climate Change)
  • Go-round in full circle: One word: "My present feeling."
  • Presentation of concepts
  • Emotion Energy
  • Cycle of resistance, denial etc
  • Making Space/Releasing.
  • Open Circle: quiet into which anyone may speak how they feel.
  • Listening in pairs: "What matters"
  • Listening in pairs: "Why Climate Change is important to me"
  • Closing go-round: One word: "What do I feel now?"
  • Closing remarks and appreciation.

(Paired listening each about 2 minutes each way/ Open Circle 15 minutes/ every other section 2 — 5 minutes)


Drawing from the ideas expressed in the previous session, in groups of 5, people have a few minutes preparation and then take it in turns to address the rest of the group on "why do I feel fighting climate change is so important to me".


We brainstormed different types of events which we could talk at as a whole group, and talked about using local media to create more news about the event and climate change in general. The activists media guide by George Monbiot is a great resource to use when planning a media campaign of any sort.

We then looked at degrees of challenge in talking to different audiences, and people worked in pairs to come up with a first step audience, a ‘pushing the boat out’ / more challenging audience, and an ‘ocean sailing’ / most challenging audience.

With the more challenging audiences identified, we looked briefly at

  • where the challenge lay
  • where people needed support or advice
  • what the first step in he challenge would be

Ways to get support involve planning and doing the talk with someone else; getting a contact you know in different areas, using the network from the day to take a first step. We suggested getting a friend to sit in the audience and make notes of how you did in the talk, so that you get constructive feedback every time.


Really a full speaker training would be two day- one day is hardly enough.

For a short session, half a day, best to concentrate on just emotions and speaker skills.

For a really short session- say an hour or two. Either:

  • run people through the template talk
  • do emotions- and empower people to put them at the heart of their speaking
  • do speaking skills