Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade & Triumph With The Hidden Power Of Story, by Peter Guber

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

♥ Love This One

Tell To Win is a keeper. It’s a wonderful addition to my reference library on story telling, persuasive speaking and inspiring people with genuine emotion. Tell To Win is a delightful book filled with incredibly useful tips, reframes and stories for tapping into the power of purposeful story telling. My husband read it first and choked up every time he tried to read me one of the stories. So much good stuff in one little book from the local library. I began to fold corners as reminders of “the good bits”, but really there were so many, I ordered the book online. I’ve now asterisked, underlined and happily dog-eared my own copy. My husband recommends it to so many people, there’s now a waiting list at the local library. To get your own copy, order it from

3 Gems From Tell To Win:

  • p.57: “Stories make facts and figures memorable, resonant and actionable… ignite empathy in the room and face to face and your audience won’t just hear you, they’ll feel you. (Geez I love that bit!!)
  • p.174-5: “…mirror neurons in the brain only switch on when the sense another person is acting intentionally… humans begin reading each other’s intentions as soon as they are physically close enough to see, hear and smell each another… intention can speak louder than words.
  • p.197: Human communication is mostly non verbal. Half is visual and one third is vocal tone. We talk through our senses, rather than our words.

The author, Peter Guber works in the movie, entertainment and sports industries often as CEO. He is well connected and fills his book with stories, case studies and examples of famous people, firms and films. Here’s a quote from the actor George Clooney who says it well: “If anyone knows how to survive in business, it’s Peter. This book is a manual for that. It gives you the two keys to success – first, everything starts with a good story, and second, don’t drop names (actually Frank Sinatra told me that.”)

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only.

Presence Power: 6 Steps To Super Speaking!

No longer hiding beneath her cape, Dianna threw her anticipation anxiety aside and strode to centre stage.

Well ok, it was her lounge room and her family was her audience on this occasion. But next week, it will be in front of 250 of her colleagues. Quaking in her boots no matter how pretty, or calling in sick last minute will just not do.

So how did Dianna shift from a slink to a strut?

For starters, she worked with me earlier this year in a 5 session program called Feel Fear Speak Anyway. Dianna learned how to embody leadership presence, inside and out. Before I launch into describing this 6 step sequence (it’s a kind of elegant 3 minute ritual), I better explain a bit about the significance of Presence Power and why you definitely need it.

Why You Need Presence Power

If you suffer from speaking nerves, presence power will fix it. If you wish to engage the respect and attention of your listeners, presence power will deliver it. If you wish to boost your personal influence and find a large audience for your ideas, presence power will take you there.

Recap: What Is Presence?

Presence is a state of being. It’s something you feel, not do. Presence is also described as “charisma”, “something drew me to her”, “compelling”, “magnetic”, “powerful”, “mindful”, “now.”

Presence is mind, body and emotions working harmoniously. It is radiantly attractive. There is no space for fear and doubt when you are fully present in the moment. Listeners “switch on” when they realise they are in for a special treat: the speaker is truly authentic and right here right now.

Presence charges the atmosphere and inspires trust, rapport and connection. It generates credibility, energy and impact. The most compelling leaders speak with presence power.

Wow! Who wouldn’t some of that? And it’s free! Flowing through your veins right now. You just need to know how to activate your super power!

How To Activate Your Super Power

You need to coax your super power into it’s full magnificence. This involves trust and perhaps some cajoling. The state of presence is a habit like any other. Until it becomes second nature whenever you speak and lead, you need to cultivate it, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Homework Before You Do The 6 Step Sequence

  • Watch the Amy Cuddy TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” to understand the significance of a power pose and how to do it.
  • Spend some time getting clear about your purpose for the next time you are going to speak to other people. Be specific. “I want to talk good” is not good enough for a purpose. You want your purpose to ring true, to enliven your words and your listeners. To capture the very essence of a meaningful outcome. “I want to show my group how to take a 5 minute break every hour to decrease stress and increase joy”.


Presence Power: 6 Step Sequence

  1. Power Pose: Strike a powerful “super person” stance for about 1 minute. Feel stable, grounded and strong. Become aware of your breath, pace and thoughts. Relaxxx.
  2. Calm Belly: Close your eyes, hands on lower belly, count 5 slow, even breaths in and out. Feel the natural rise and fall of your belly. With each breath, relax more deeply.
  3. Be Present: Now open your eyes slowly and awaken your senses. Identify 3 things you can see, 3 you can hear, 3 you can feel on your skin. This will keep ground and calm you.
  4. Purpose: Bring to mind your Speaking Purpose. Focus on the result you want for your listeners. Let the clarity fill every cell of your body. You know you have a job to do! Speak it!
  5. Refocus: Intentionally shift your focus onto your listeners and away from yourself. Be 100% present with your listeners and your message. See their enthralled faces.
  6. Now Move! Do a gentle shoulder roll, slightly tilt your chin up, walk forward into your future…

Unexpected Bonus

Talk about a transportable skill! Recently I had 10 minutes before I left the house to run a 3 hour workshop. I needed to be calm as I was teaching, “How To Be Calm Under Pressure!” Well, I had an unexpected visitor who was demanding and rude. I got very angry. I was now late. As I drove my car away, mentally obsessing about where I could hire a hit man, it occurred to me to practise my Presence Power sequence.

While I couldn’t close my eyes and stand like superwoman, I adjusted my posture, went through the process and stated my speaking purpose whilst ducking and weaving through traffic. And you know what? By the time I finished this cute little 3 minute-ish sequence, I was indeed, cool, calm and connected. I was so surprised with the unexpected bonus… Presence Power can be applied to any challenging situation… not just “public speaking”.

Go Get Your Cape!

Well, what are you waiting for? Presence Power is here, there and everywhere! It really does start with you, knowing how to transport yourself and then others, into that better place. Go forth and strut your stuff with dum de dum daa… Presence Power!

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only.

The Sheer Beauty Of Speech Structure

Great Speech Structure = Great Results

Imagine this: I’m holding up a beautiful emerald green satin shirt. It is form fitting with a frivolous long bow at the neck and short flouncy sleeves.

Now imagine this green satin shirt without the structure of seams. Without seams, there is no coherent shape, no clarity of purpose and no defining detail. What I am holding up to you is simply a large green piece of satin. Could be anything really.

And a speech without seams or structure is simply without shape, purpose or definition. An incoherent ramble. Could be anything really.

Speech structure provides context, shape and form. It helps you and your listeners make sense of your message. Audiences like to know where you are taking them – structure assures them you know where you are going. Nothing loses the interest of an audience faster than pointless rambling.

Writing speeches, presentations and workshops becomes easy when you use a defined structure to elegantly hang your thoughts so that they look, sound and feel like a shirt with purpose, not a shapeless, vague thing.

Craft A Perfect Fit For Your Message

When people hear the word “structure”, I do see shoulders droop. I guess it can sound kind of boring, because structure is generally hidden; it’s not out there and sexy. Structure refers to the internal blueprint of details, planning and intention. Without structure there is nothing to display, connect and promote your brilliant ideas.

I have created a delightfully logical speech structure to ensure the perfect fit for your next speech, presentation or workshop. The simple speech structure I use and teach clients is my own. I call it PAPISA and yes, say it with an Italian accent so it rolls musically off the tongue… as will your speech. PAPISA stands for:


Purpose What is your purpose in speaking?
Audience Describe your audience in detail to customise your message.
Problem What is the main problem the audience needs fixing and one you’ve experienced too?
Impact Describe the impact of what could happen if audience members don’t fix that problem.
Solution Describe your solution to fix that problem by demonstrating proven results.
Action Offer the audience simple steps they can take immediately to fix that problem.


How To Use PAPISA & Link Ideas With A Kiss

PAPISA provides underlying structure to ensure a coherent flow and sense of forward movement. You could literally say a sentence or two for each section of PAPISA and you’d have a perfectly formed mini speech. However, that will not be sufficient for presentations longer than one minute!

To begin, take a piece of paper and draft up 6 columns with the PAPISA headings on the far left side. Make several copies and start by quickly jotting down some ideas in each section. Let go of perfection. Edit later.

Link the sections of your speech with connective sentences to demonstrate a logical progression. Use your voice and pausing to emphasise major points and signify changes in pace and direction. Follow the “KISS” principle: “Keep It Simple, Silly.” To give you a few examples I frequently use when speaking:

  • “The PURPOSE of my 20 minute presentation is…”
  • That’s a little about my background, now I’d like to hear about yours. We’re going WARM UP by…”
  • “It’s been a big 3 days. Now it’s time to FINISH. I’m going to summarise, then open to questions for half an hour. We’ll END with a powerful completion process. LASTLY I’ll invite you to register for…”

Email Geraldine If you have a speech, presentation or workshop coming up and you want a perfect fit for your message and need help with speech structure. Email me to set up a time to work together over phone or Skype to craft something truly beautiful.© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only.

Chocolate Coconut Banana Loaf

Yum! Especially with a dollop of crème, butter, crème cheese or if you must, ricotta… because chocolate coconut banana loaf does not contain any butter or oil. We can masquerade it as a health cake if you like. And a disclaimer: I cut the recipe out of a magazine years ago and forgot to include the “Method”. So I improvised until it worked.

Prepare In Advance:

  • Cutting board, mixing bowl, beater/mixer, measuring cup, heavy knife or grater, fork, teaspoon, loaf tin approx. 19 x 9 x 6cm, baking paper.
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Use the middle shelf. Line a loaf tin with baking paper so you can tip it out.

1 large or 2 small, disgustingly soft, ripe and sweet bananas; ask the grocer if they have any tucked away.

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

2 eggs, lightly beaten.

Half a cup of milk.

Half a cup of sugar.

1 teaspoon baking powder.

2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Half cup of desiccated coconut.

1 cup of plain flour – I use either spelt flour or 1 & 1/2 cups of almond meal – up to you.

180 g of dark chocolate, chopped into slivers.

Putting It All Together

Thoroughly mash the banana with a fork and mix in the vanilla, eggs and milk. When a smooth mush, add in the sugar, cinnamon, coconut, flour and baking powder. Beat until smooth. I use a hand beater. Finally, tip in your delicious chocolate slivers and lumps. Lumps are good because you get a solid chocolate hit now and again, and I always find that exciting!

Pour into your lined small loaf tin. Give it 3 gentle shakes, yes, kind of like a blessing… and in it goes for approximately 20-30 minutes. Keep your eye on it.

It’s difficult to do the long prong test to see if the cake is cooked, because chocolate always comes out gooey. When you feel it’s done, and it will get dry if left too long, tip it out upside down onto a cake rack.

Ok, now self discipline is needed. Give your chocolate coconut banana loaf at least 30 minutes to itself if you can. Turn it over. Cut slowly and lovingly into loaf pieces or one slice at a succulent time. Add butter or crème to spread. OMG.

(c) 2017, Geraldine Barkworth, Goddess Of Public Speaking. Yes ok, it’s a tenuous link between chocolate and public speaking but who cares… it’s chocolate. And we’ve all got to eat, especially if you are doing an energy demanding task like speaking in public. Right?

Video Review: What I Learned From 100 Days Of Rejection by Jia Jiang

What I Learned From 100 Days Of Rejection  is a 15 minute TED Talk which shows how to turn a great fear into a great gift.  Jia Jiang offers powerful and poignant lessons about learning from rejection rather than running from it.

Jia begins with a 2 minute story of shameful rejection at age 6, something most of us can relate to. He explains how his fear of public rejection and humiliation undermined his bodacious plans for young entrepreneurship until he came across an online game called Rejection Therapy.

Similarly, avoidance of public speaking situations frequently stems from a fear of social rejection and the initial trigger doesn’t have to have anything to do with speaking in public. Our mind perceives a parallel and reacts to it. Generally, with fear we avoid and move away, with reward we approach and embrace.

At 10 minutes into What I Learned From 100 days of Rejection, Jia explains how he stopped running from potential rejection and changed his approach. There is a magic word (“Why”?) and a simple feeling (empathy and voicing the other’s fears and doubts). He sums it up: “Just ask”. Stay, hang around and talk to the person. Find out what’s behind the “rejection”. There can be good reasons why your request can not be fulfilled. And it’s nothing to do with whether you are good enough or likeable.

Take Jia’s insights and apply them to yourself when you feel like running away from a public speaking situation. Frequently what we perceive to be rejection is nothing of the sort. It’s our own fear stuffing us up. Embrace your greatest fear and receive your greatest gift. And that’s what Jia Jiang does with his hilarious and refreshing speech.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

© 2017, Geraldine Barkworth.  This Video Review is entirely the opinion of the author.

Body Language: Learn How To Read Others And Communicate With Confidence by Elizabeth Kuhnke

Book Review by Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

♥ Love This One

“The purpose of this book is to help you recognize the power of body language and turn you into a top notch communicator.” (p. 8). Like every word in this little book, the author Elizabeth Kuhnke efficiently articulates how to inspire and relate to others based on your ability to read body language. These are essential skills for coaches, therapists, trainers, managers, leaders and people who work with people… as almost everyone needs to build empathy, trust and rapport and learn how to persuade, negotiate and lead. And yes, that includes introducing yourself to a room full of strangers, having that difficult conversation with that difficult person and motivating people to change.

Useful Gems From Body Language:

  • To feel at ease and increase rapport while networking, act as if you are the host of your own party (open smiles, body and gestures, survey the room like you own it.)
  • Don’t jump to conclusions based on one gesture or tone; interpret body language in clusters and context.
  • If the other person’s body is still and gestures are few, match their containment. You’ll have difficulty establishing rapport if you are bouncing off the walls.
  • Before interviews and leading groups: find a private mirror, smile, lift your head high, widen your stance and stretch your arms up and out. Think, Superwoman. Ideally hold this pose for two minutes to activate testosterone flow. Then shake out arms and legs and give yourself a big, genuine smile.
  • To raise your energy, openess and engagement, smile and lift the muscles at the corner of the eyes as well as the mouth to create a genuine welcoming expression. Bright eyes denote interest, soft eyes denote care. Aim for 65%-85% eye contact. Any more is just weird.

And to leave you with an interesting quote from George Bernard Shaw (p.193), “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Body Language by Elizabeth Kuhnke is a book I’ll dip into often to help my clients become cool, calm and connected communicators.

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only.


Upcoming Courses And Events

Byron Area – Weekly Course

24 October- 28 November 2017

“Free Your Inner Public Speaker”

“If you are nervous about speaking in public… then this is the course for you!” said one participant. A gentle, 6 week face to face course, Byron Community College, Mullumbimby. Maximum of 8 people, nervous about public speaking… but who really want to face their fears and speak anyway. Tuesdays, 10-12 noon. Apply directly to the College via this link:


Byron Bay Hinterland, NSW – Retreat For Women

6,7,8 & 9 August 2018

Public Speaking Goddess Retreat

Being able to speak from the heart with ease any where and any time is your best promotional tool… and best life tool. So why not make 2018 the year to finally free your inner speaker at our Public Speaking Goddess Retreat? For 6 women only, our all inclusive retreat package includes public speaking workshops and coaching, queen room, gourmet meals, optional retreat activities such as massage, yoga and dance. 4 Days/3 Nights, Byron Bay, Australia.  Learn More About Our From Fear To Fabulous Retreat



Have An Email Chat With Geraldine

Your Name*


Your Telephone*

Company or Organisation*

What Do You Need & What Are You Looking For?*

The Radiantly Attractive Communicator

Do People Listen When You Speak?

To become a radiantly attractive communicator, 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, you need first to connect with your inner speaker, the purpose of your message, the space around you and then with your listeners, before you even open your mouth.

Are you thinking now, “Geez I don’t want to change the world, I just want staff to follow our new policy,” or “All I want is to rustle up a few new clients with this little talk.” Who cares about being “radiantly attractive”?

Well, let me explain dear reader. A sense of connection is more powerful than words. Communicating from the heart, fully present with other human beings, creates acceptance and understanding… and take-up of your ideas. There is a sense of “oneness” which is healing for all – speakers and listeners. The ability to connect with others is radiantly attractive to all people. It is the defining characteristic of inspiring leaders and great communicators.

  1. Connect With Your Inner Speaker

The core belief that we are separate, isolated or different from everyone else, generates uncomfortable feelings of self-consciousness, fear of rejection and doubts about self worth. Connecting authentically first with your inner self, then with others, is a simple and effective remedy for our western epidemic of social isolation and fear of you guessed it, “public speaking.”

When you feel connected to the self, you are connected to your foundation. This is a place of great peace, stillness, strength and clarity for many people. When you speak from this place, you speak in authenticity. Your presence carries a natural charisma and authority without trying to be something you are not.

Connecting first to your inner speaker occurs at the beginning of all powerful presentations and conversations. It is also described as “being present.” It takes only a few seconds. Simply do this by:

  • Consciously take a moment to pause,
  • Feel your feet on the floor and take an even breath in and out,
  • Focus your attention on your purpose in speaking, not on yourself.
  1. Connect To The Purpose Of Your Message

Before you begin writing or speaking, be clear about the purpose or intention of your speech. The word “purpose” means “an intended or desired result” (Macquarie Dictionary, 1990). Without a sense of purpose, your words can appear directionless. Your listeners may miss the point because you did too. When you are clear about your purpose, your listeners will be clear too. It works really well to ground your speech with: “The purpose of my presentation today is….” or “What I hope you will learn and take away is…”

Help yourself to become a radiantly attractive communicator by asking yourself:

  • What is my purpose in speaking today?
  • What outcome do I want?
  • What do I want my listeners to remember or say about me?
  1. Connect To The Room

Before you enter the room or just before you speak, tune into the space around you. Again the time it takes is mere seconds. The “space” refers to your surrounding environment on every level.

The term “holding the space” refers to the skill of balancing your awareness simultaneously with the 4 aspects of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual connection when you communicate with others. It is a skill requiring a high level of self-awareness and emotional control. Speakers who learn this skill deliver with greater impact, communicating beyond mere words. Their words are radiantly attractive, bypassing the mind and head straight for the heart.

To give you a real life example, I once attended a coaching conference where the opening speaker held us spellbound. His quiet, slow paced story (mental space) caused us to wait in relaxed silence (spiritual space) as he strolled across the room (physical space) to pour himself some water. It could have been his living room. By witnessing a normal, human event, it connected us to each other (emotional space). Rather than “him up there and us down here”, he gave us a chance to pause and take a drink too – we were all in this together.

  1. Connect To The Audience

It’s now time to connect with your listeners… it takes only seconds…

Take a breath, feel your feet on the floor, make your intention to be 100% present and available to the human beings in front of you. Offer eye contact to someone in the audience who wants to be with you; they are leaning forward, smiling and waiting.

Begin your first words to that available person and then move onto the next willing-to-be-engaged listener. Speak directly to them. Open your story. Speak from your heart. Show you understand the problem they’ve come to hear you talk about, because you’ve had that problem too. Explain how you overcame the problem and how by the end of your presentation, they will understand how to do it too.

Connection is ultimately far more important than content. Your content may be spine-tinglingly brilliant and world-changing, but it you fail to build genuine trust and rapport with your listeners, they will not listen. Your brilliant words will not be heard.

Physiologically, when we soften our eyes, our whole body relaxes. Imagine your eyes are resting in hammocks when you softly gaze one listener at a time. Having the ability to sustain, comfortable, relaxed eye contact builds trust and rapport – in effect, you are saying without words, “I hear you, I see you and I am with you.” Fundamentally, I think this is something we all want deep down. And as speakers, we definitely want and need, our listeners to hear, see and be with us.

Do You Want To Be A Dull, Miserable Communicator? Is That Working Out For You?

So does being a radiantly attractive communicator still feel like overkill? Are we waving the stars around and do they still feel too far out of reach? Just think about a time you were bored silly at yet another meeting, presentation or party. It doesn’t need to be like that again. Everyone wants connection, acknowledgment and attention so why don’t you be the first to offer it when next you speak? And what you will likely receive in return, is radiantly attractive listening. Wow! It works both ways.

We know when a speaker leader is present with us and we know when their mind and spirit have left the building. We feel the absence of presence just as much as we feel the thrill of being in the presence of a radiantly attractive communicator.

One last point: be aware that as the speaker, you are “on” from the moment your name is called and you take the floor (even it’s it just the family dinner table), right through to leaving the floor and finishing. Your listeners’ eyes, minds and emotions will be engaged and assessing you before you even open your mouth. Your integrity (who you are and what you stand for) is always on display. Yet another reason to understand why it is so important to take time to connect first with yourself, the purpose of your message, the space and the human beings in front of you.

Listen to your inner voice…. your radiantly attractive communicator is calling your name next.

(A great book to read on this topic is Lee Glickstein’s “Be Heard Now!”)

(c) 2012-17, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach,