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Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Seven Keys to Stunning Presentations. 1. Absolute Authenticity


     1. Absolute Authenticity

Can you recall a speaker that seemly does all the right things, has great energy levels and is well prepared but for some reason that you can’t put your finger on, they just miss the mark.  You are left wonder “what happened there”?

We have all experienced sitting through someone’s “filing cabinet” speech.  I call it that because they have literally been recycled from the filing system.  Pulled out and used again.  Perhaps it is even memorised, like a script of a play. Audiences can smell these a mile off so don’t be fooled into thinking you can pull this off time and again.  If you do, you risk your credibility, the potential to make important connections and most of all you will eliminate any chance of achieving your speaking goal.

Perhaps they have read their speech or presentation to you.  It’s hard to swallow and hard to stay focused.  You are left wondering if they are really an expert because they didn’t speak from their heart, with passion. They decided to write a speech and not deliver one.

Ok, so we all have content that can be used time and again.  I’m not advocating ditching your content each time but you must start fresh with each new audience. No matter what you think, there are unique differences.  Starting fresh will allow you to be authentic!

For some of you, it’s easier to write than it is deliver and if that’s the case, you should seek help and coaching. Being a great speaker is just as powerful as being a skilled wordsmith.

So what does ‘to be authentic’ mean?

It’s not just about standing up and telling the truth.  It’s not about over rehearsing or for that matter ‘winging it’.  It’s about using an extemporaneous style of delivery (planned, prepared, rehearsed) in conjunction with the following things:

NATURAL BODY LANGUAGE- not rehearsed or planned. Natural, open and relaxed.  Body language the reflects you.


            Intend to be open with your audience

            Intend to connect with your audience

            Intend to share your energy and passion about your subject

Intend to listen to your audience, watch them, react to them and change to suit their needs    during your presentation.

Becoming an authentic speaker is step one along the path towards stunning presentations. It is the foundation to launch from.  Good luck and if at first you don’t succeed, get some help-its out there.  @del_speaks

Del Costello-Professional Speaking Expert



 What does that mean?

Branding yourself is a very big challenge and it is not always easy to get a tag line or a sharp, high impact group of words or images that describe what you do.  In Palmerston North we have the "How Man" Dave Gaynor and through a well designed branding campaign he has managed to make sure that most of us know exactly what he does for businesses. I recently heard the young and energetic real estate agent Latham Lockwood say that his goal was 'to be the most recognised agent in the region'. These are admirable goals and I am sure that all of us who 'sell ourselves' aspire to have a strong brand. As with any good business, you need multiple revenue streams and that is where branding yourself becomes tricky! I have a feeling that I am best known in the region as 'Del TallPoppy' which reflects the strength of the Tall Poppies Drama School brand, but I am oh so much more than that.  I am known nationally at the 'founder of the TalKit Oral Language Programme for Schools' but by far, the poor cousin alter ego to these two flourishing brands is Del Costello-Professional Speaking Expert!

Del TallPoppy-Drama School Founder
TalKit Founder
Professional Speaking Expert
In 2013 this is what she (DelProfessionalSpeakingExpert) got up to, does it link to my brand, well I'm working on it.

Del Costello-Professional Speaking Expert.

In 2013 this is what she got up to-

I am a professional speaker- yes, I do speak professionally at a range of events, conferences and just love working at an MC.  I am a member of the National Speaker Association NZ, Global Speakers Federation and Speech Communication Association of NZ.

I teach others how to be professional speakers- yes, I run programmes that provide people with the tools they need to deliver presentations and speeches to a professional standard. Last year I delivered to over 900 people throughout the country. Open programmes and specialised in-house programmes, whatever they wanted.

 I publish material and resources on the subject -yes, last year I published two books, "TalKit Oral Language for the Primary Classroom" and  "Clear Speech for Primary Age Children" available in soft copy on Amazon and from Tall Poppies Group Ltd. There are two more on the table and under construction.

 I create bespoke programmes for organisations-yes, last year I worked to created a full training programme for a call centre environment, delivered 'Classroom Training Techniques Courses', coached some of the regions highest profile experts to create high impact presentations and to work with the media, I consulted to organisations with communication issues within teams and departments, delivered team building workshops and trained specialist Speech and Drama teachers for the workforce.

So what drives me- people, people, people. People are important, connecting with people is important, strong relationships drive success. All three of my 'brands' are born of the same mother- "to inspire confidence and imagination" that's what I do. In schools, board rooms, in business, in corporations, wherever you will have me. 

Perhaps one way to look at me is as a great hand, three queens, not bad ah!- @DelTallPoppy @del_speaks and @talkit2

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Take Oral Langage by the Hand in 2014


While our sector has been a front runner in the news over the last few weeks, we, the people on the ground have continued to prepare, plan and gear up for another year in the classroom.

We listen to policy, agree or disagree, smile or gasp and we teach anyway - “we are educators, that’s what we do” Rita Pearson.

This year subscribe to TalKit Tips, the regular newsletter from the stable of the TalKit Oral Language Programme and it shares, updates and motivates those of you on the ground, in the teaching and assessing of oral language.  The big news for us is that our resources, “TalKit Oral Language for Teachers” and “Clear Speech Programme” have been published and are available for general purchase.  Visit to order.

Last year, as I travelled around the country, working in schools alongside teachers and one thing was very obvious. Teachers understand the importance of oracy.  They understand why we need it in the classroom and as I took them on the journey unpacking the details, they are able to recognise that oracy exists in their classrooms.  What they were missing was the framework, the progressions, the assessment models that they live and breathe in all other areas of the curriculum.  Once these things are gifted to them-there is no stopping them.

Today learners are just that-learners.  We teach children how to learn, they know what to do but without the progressions, learning intentions and assessment criteria, kids are lost too.  Give them that and they too are on their way.

Effective teaching of oral language is not brain surgery!  Talking is the essence of being human and in our changing world, as educators we need to take responsibility and add it to our stable of tools.  The reality is it will make all the other stuff easier too!

Children need to develop concepts and language skills that will enable them to continue to build their language knowledge, to learn new ideas, to be effective participants in the classroom environment, and to use this content knowledge as a cuing system in the reading process.


Try not to answer for a student or even clarify what they have spoken when you know that there is a lack of understanding.  Ask them to say it again (with a bigger voice, or in another way) if others don’t understand.  If they are struggling, tell them what to say but get THEM to say it.  Coach them, guide them but don’t speak for them.  Give them the voice.