Beat the Fear of Public Speaking / 3

…previous page

Quite a cliff-hanger, eh! If you read my book, or sign up for my course, you will find out what happened.

I survived, obviously. I didn’t actually die, if you see what I mean. And it’s important to emphasise this fact, because surveys have shown that most people fear public speaking more than death itself.

The comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a good joke about this:

At a funeral, most people would prefer to be in the casket than deliver the eulogy.


I’m glad I survived – survived the AGM and ALSO survived my breakdown.

I saw too many people in psych ward who had tried and failed to end their lives.

So I decided to contribute a portion of the fee from my speaking course to Samaritans, the charitable organisation that takes calls from people who are desperate.

People who don’t have anyone else to speak to.

By improving your own speaking you will make it easier for others to speak.

This “receipt” (email screenshot, below) from Samaritans acknowledges the contribution made by the first person who took the course.

Dear John-Paul, Thank you for your generous donation of £50 which could help Samaritans answer 10 more potentially life-saving calls...

BUT I’ve changed my mind about making a donation to Samaritans.

It’s come to my attention that people like me who run courses sometimes promise to donate a portion of proceeds to charity and then DON’T.

This discredits everyone.

I also read somewhere that even if I DO make the donation, that means I get all the tax benefits, or whatever.

So instead I’m doing this: If YOU make a £50 donation to Samaritans and send me the receipt, I’ll deduct that amount from your fee.


Where Was I? Oh, yes…

That first participant wrote this after joining me for one of the online Ask-Me-Anything sessions:

I honestly can’t thank you enough for your time, attention, and insights today. They’ve been invaluable.

I’m not even two full lessons into this course, but already I’m thinking completely differently about what public speaking is, and how I might shape a personally meaningful talk into something valuable for others – a talk I would not have considered at all, had I not been (gently) pushed to consider it!

I was also grateful for your honesty about your own public speaking experiences throughout this session. Not only were they fascinating to listen to and learn from, but I felt encouraged to open up in return. This has helped me define some more areas to think about for my Arrangement homework.

I’m a bit scared about where all this is going to end up (I’m thinking it might be a big, hairy talk!) but this is already turning out to be a thought-provoking and fulfilling course, so thank you again.

Big hairy talk! I’m delighted.


Good Enough For These Fine People…

Rather to my surprise, participants on my in-person courses have included:

  1. a well known British psychotherapist-author-TV presenter
  2. the host of a much loved podcast
  3. a man who wrote speeches for Barack Obama when he was US president

Philippa Perry, the psychotherapist-author-TV presenter, was preparing to go on tour with her latest book. She wanted a refresher.

Isabel Berwick, the podcast host, was preparing to face her largest live audience (at the time), 800 people.

Terry Szuplat, the president’s speechwriter, was curious about what it’s like actually to deliver speeches. He was generous enough to say this afterwards:

"Learn, as I have, from John-Paul Flintoff. Highly recommend" - Terry Szuplat, speechwriter to US president Barack Obama

Philippa, who goes by the name of her cat Kevin on Instagram, posted this when I asked how the book tour was going:

Philippa Perry testimonial.jpg

Not bad, eh?


Your Turn Now

I hope you are tempted to take this course. If you sign up, you’ll get:

✅ Five Modules, taking you approximately 60 mins each.

✅ Homework, built around ideas from from Rhetoric, Speechwriting, Journalism, Event Planning, Preaching, Litigation, Politics, Theatrical Impro, Sales, Activism and Motivational Speaking.

✅ Case Studies, including beginners who overcame their own fears to start public speaking.

✅ Audio files and transcripts.

✅ Access to me during a 60 minute “Office Hours” session each week (6pm UK, Thursdays).

✅ A Private Group in which you can deliver a version of your talk (up to 15 mins) and I’ll give you detailed feedback.

Money-back Guarantee

If you aren’t satisfied, for any reason or no reason, I’ll refund your fee.

If you want to make a donation to Samaritans, please go ahead and do that, then send me the receipt and I’ll set up a discounted payment link.

If you really want to take part, but struggle with that fee, send me an email explaining your situation.