Inspirational Speaker, Author
& Master Speaking Coach
Cert 1V Assessment
& Workplace Training
The following testimonials are genuine stories from real people who now speak with confidence as a direct result of my exciting sessions, publications and self-paced e- learning programs. They are grouped under the headings ‘Public Speaking’, ‘Effective Conversation’, ‘Wedding Speeches’, ‘The Eulogy’, ‘Job Interviews’, ‘Younger People’ and ‘My Credibility as a Speaker’.
This from a person who was reduced to a quivering wreck at the mere thought of public speaking and had lived with this fear all her life.
Many thanks Laurie for curing my crippling fear of speaking to an audience. Since completing your half-day coaching course I have had to present many times and although initially nervous, I speak comfortably and confidently. I am no longer afraid. I can walk to the front of an audience without feeling weak with fear, which is extremely liberating. My husband has noticed the difference; he has said to me on numerous occasions that he can see that I now enjoy public speaking. And my university marks have reflected my new ability to express myself well - thanks to you.
Laurie, your job is a noble one. You have helped me enormously and I love your work.
This man simply didn't believe that such ingrained fear could be decisively dealt with in such a short space of time:
Many thanks for the wonderful session I had yesterday. It was exactly what I needed and I enjoyed it very much. I will follow your advice and change the way I think about myself and the fact that I've earned the right to be there. This complete paradigm shift and me being in control instead of my fears will make a big difference to me.
Successful business people are prone to suffer the same fears as everyone else. These words attest that my results are long-lasting…
It's been three months since I took your half-day, one-on-one course and I would like to report that IT WORKS! Before making your acquaintance I found it very difficult to prepare for and execute a talk to a large audience. It seemed that no matter how detailed my speech I always felt that I was boring them to death. Knocking knees, dry throat and losing the place in my carefully prepared text exacerbated this. Since you showed me the light, I've had a number of opportunities to talk with large, medium and small gatherings and I just love having them in the palm of my hand. The easy conversational communication, which you showed me, attracts listeners and holds them. Once again many thanks for your contribution; it's certainly made my life easier and more rewarding.
This from a very successful entrepreneur whose only obstacle was her fear of public speaking…
Recently I was nominated as a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman awards. Although extremely proud of my achievements, the notion of accepting my finalist award at Crown Casino and addressing audiences as guest speaker was overwhelming. An online search led me to the website of Laurie Smale. The most appealing aspect of Laurie’s technique included an offer which suited my busy lifestyle. Unbelievable as this may sound, in 4 inspirational hours my public speaking fears had totally left me and I was back in control of myself and my ideas. Thanks to Laurie, I am no longer a victim of fear. I now tell my story with confidence and engage my listeners in an interesting way. Thank you Laurie!
Amelia was so delighted with the outcome of our session that she got her partner Tom to do it too!
Amelia and I have proof that your coaching skills deliver what you promise: Towards the end of last year Amelia and I were approached to act as guest speakers at a business breakfast with a half hour on the topic of “The Challenges of Employing Generation Y Staff”. We both followed your principles (in particular linking key points in a narrative, conversational style) and were both amazed to discover we felt relaxed and presented in an informative and entertaining style. After the first breakfast (which had its moments!) the organizer invited us to present at a further three breakfasts throughout South West Victoria. Accomodation was provided at each engagement and we were even well paid for our insights!! Thanks again for your help.
Tom Richter (and Amelia)
This young business woman lived in the shadow of her husband’s scintillating public speaking ‘cleverness’ and was convinced she could never measure up to him. She believed her crippling public speaking fear was her lot in life and nothing could be done about it…
I had a procession of people coming to thank me for my presentation. At least 20. They told me I was genuine, interesting, warm and engaging. That they thought most advertising people were bold and I was real. I was not nervous. All of your advice worked like magic.
Thank you Laurie
This from a person who undermined her own career prospects for years because of her debilitating paranoia of public speaking…
I’m pleased to report I managed not to panic today, and I almost looked forward to it! I got a little nervous, but managed not to completely panic and everyone said I did well. Though it was a fairly minor part I had to play today, I’m really pleased with how it went and it gives me so much hope for the future. There were about 40 people, including the country management team and lots of other high profile people and I kept it pretty much together. It’s such a relief. Thank you so much.
This from an executive who was asked to be the MC at the annual conference dinner in three days time and was beside herself with fear. The idea of speaking in front of 250 colleagues, the Chair and Board Members terrified her, compounded by her racing heart and loss of breath. The morning after the event I received this simple email…
It was fabulous! Thanks so much.
This from a guy who had more than his share of challenges to contend with…
It’s been quite a while now since your valuable session and I thought I’d bring you up-to-date on how things are going. As you know I was born with a slight hearing disability and have a slight speech impediment. There is nothing wrong with my brain as I have 3 Degrees, which includes an MBA. At the time of our session I had a severe confidence issue which probably stems from various childhood experiences and the cruelty of kids at school. You may also recall that at the time I was required to manage 35 staff, do presentations and was working in a sales & marketing environment after coming from a financial sector - a situation with daunting responsibilities!
The difference with you is you have the knack of making people feel at ease and comfortable prior to your training. You are quick to pick up on the ‘you’ and somehow just seem to make it all happen. I walked away with the tools to be more confident and just to have your offer of post-workshop support in the background also strengthened my confidence.
It certainly is money well spent, opposed to consultants engaged by some overseas organisations who seem to lack your personal approach and drag things out a bit in the workshops which is not necessary. Your 4-hour session and ongoing help does it all and is extremely good value.
Thanks again Laurie
Manager Business Support
Corporate Security Group
Niv Neyland was so fired up after our mind-opening session the moment he got home he penned this poem and emailed it to me. It says it all…
Before I met Laurie, I had plenty of worry
‘bout how I would get up and speak
the audience scared me, and even dared me
to be bold and open my beak
Come time to declare, my two cents worth; I share
t’was a frightening experience to tell
Outside I was calm and full of aplomb
But inside reduced to mere jell
Then a meeting with Laurie, and I wasn’t sorry
For he unlocked the secrets inside
Of the years of pain, the fear and the shame
And the skeletons I tried hard to hide
Now, I stride onto stage, to the audience, engage
And minus the worry and fear
For the secrets he shared from the vault of his laird
To be sure, are to what I adhere
Laurie, you’ve got, what others have not
And to this, grateful, I will be:
To find you by chance, thru an internet glance
And remove that knock in my knee
The causes of our fears can stem from all sorts of places. This from a person who grew up in a privileged culture and had a dominating father…
Thanks again for your time with the course last week. It has really worked wonders for me. I am now more confident and able to speak before groups without much trouble.
This from a young university student who was absolutely petrified of ‘blowing’ years of careful study and research with her thesis presentation…
My thesis presentation couldn’t have gone any better. They loved the manner in which I presented my work and the scenario I set up for them at the beginning. Thanks for all your help. I’m going out to celebrate!
This is a classic example of not knowing your own self-worth from a CEO who lived with his fear of ‘formal’ public speaking for more than 60 years!...
I'm very pleased to report that my speech at last night's networking event went very well and I experienced that same 'good feeling' afterwards that I had only experienced once before ' by accident'. We had 150 people along last night so it was an important occasion for me to represent our Association well. Thanks again for your valuable assistance in helping me to overcome my long held problem of believing in myself.
My insightful sessions cut to the chase and deal with the core issues that have been holding people back for so long…
Laurie, you did not let us down. Not only were you inspirational as our keynote speaker at our end-of-conference dinner, all our presenters, including those presenting for the first time, were highly appraised by delegates as a direct result of your personal coaching sessions in public speaking. The amazing thing is they only had to experience you once!
ITT Fluid Technology International
These words after many years of failed options to overcome her long-held fears…
What you helped me achieve in one four-hour session is quite remarkable. I am now comfortable speaking publicly and presenting to a room full of strangers.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Victoria
Even very technical specialists can gain communicating confidence from the practical magic I weave…
As a direct result of your remarkable coaching in public speaking, my tutorials for graduate anaesthesia students on the topic of local anaesthetic techniques for eye surgery will never be quite the same!
Dr Craig Morgan
This after years of wondering why others could speak comfortably before groups and she couldn’t…
Thanks for a fantastic coaching session. It was quite inspiring. Next time I have to stand before groups and public speak I know I can do it!
Sue Bowman, Blood Bank Victoria
People don’t expect a polished professional with your Wedding Speech. They do expect someone who is real, speaks from the heart, and has give some thought to what they want to share…
Not long back I had to give the most important presentation of my life - my wedding speech. I had absolutely no idea of where to begin or what to say and would lie awake at night dreading this looming public speaking ordeal. I still find it hard to believe that in one 4-hour session you turned all that completely around. My speech was fantastic and people actually came up and congratulated me on how wonderful it was and how confident I appeared! Now that I've made one successful speech, I know that I can do it again. Thank you Laurie!
Father of the Bride speech: This guy was gripped by decades of a real palpable fear when speaking before groups. He was terrified of making a fool of himself and what to say at his daughter's wedding. His email sums up what happened...
Thank you Laurie, I can’t believe it, it went fantastic! Someone took a photo of me with the microphone in my hand and I looked like a confident pro running the show! Still trying to come to terms that this was really me! I felt in total control in saying the special things I wanted to say throughout the whole thing and hardly looked at my notes. My nervous energy was friendly and actually helped me. Our strategy of getting them involved at the start to take the pressure of me worked like a treat. I had them laughing and even deeply moved at times as I comfortably held that room full of friends and family in my hands. I can’t thank you enough. In that one afternoon - and your generous final run-through - you led me from a life of sheer public speaking fear to one of utter joy in being able to publicly express myself as the proud father I am. All the people who came up to me afterwards to tell me how wonderful my speech was says it all!
Again, my heartfelt thanks for this meant so much to me
This from a young person who, in her words ‘passed the ultimate test’ by speaking at her brother’s funeral in front of 300 people…
My previous crippling fear of public speaking didn’t even bother me, I wanted to get across to everyone what I had written, and not for a minute did my fear stop me or even cause me to hesitate. You would’ve been proud, I had to use the microphone on a podium and I spoke clearly and made eye contact with everyone, I even managed to smile in some parts as I spoke of precious memories. Thank you for your training, I was recalling what I learnt from you as I prepared.
Many thanks, I hope this finds you well.
This from a government official in PNG who was unexpectedly called on to deliver a eulogy. Her main concern was that she felt she was a fake and a fraud because she was the simple daughter of subsistence farmers, hadn’t earned the right to be there, and lived in the fear of being ‘found out’. She flew all the way to Melbourne seeking help from me for nothing else had ever worked for her…
Just want to share something exciting with you. I accompanied my Events and Public Relations Manager to a mourning house this Wednesday to contribute some assistance in cash and kind to the family of my late colleague who passed away last week. I was caught off guard when my two managers asked me to speak on behalf of the NCDC to pass our heartfelt condolences and to explain the assistance that we brought with us to give to them.
At first I was shocked but the big difference I noted was that I was not afraid nor felt fear when asked to speak. To my surprise I willingly accepted the invitation and stood up with ease, no fear, and started speaking to my late colleagues' relatives. There were about 100 mourners present to listen to what I had to say on behalf of my employer. At first I was a bit nervous but as I continued speaking the nervousness stopped. And I also happily realised that I didn't even sweat or was lost for words.
So Laurie I am so happy and thankful that my long trip to Melbourne for that session with you was not a waste. I thank and praise God above for this greatest achievement in my life.
Thank you and I will always attribute the success of my new life changing experience to you - my good Aussie friend and Master Speaking Coach Mr Laurie Smale.
Younger people aren’t normally my target market but once in a while you come across situations you just can’t say no to…
Laurie, just a short note to let you know how happy I am with the astonishing results of your inspirational session for my 15-year-old son Robert (after being somewhat sceptical that anything dramatic could be done in such a short space of time). For years he had suffered from a terrible public speaking fear, which affected all facets of his life. Thanks to you and your insightful teaching, this is no longer the case. He now walks tall, freely talks with people and can look them in the eye, and, most remarkable of all, he is actually looking forward to a talk he has to do in school next week! Hard to believe as it is, your 4-hour session transformed Robert into the confident person I always knew he could be. I couldn’t recommend your work highly enough.
Manager, Davro Qld Pty Ltd, Anderleigh, Qld
This from a grateful mother whose little boy needed some empowerment to believe in himself…
Ben found you and your story very inspirational and seemed to connect with you… Often that’s all it takes for boys of his age to reflect, believe in themselves and strive for great things in the future. I am very aware that Ben doesn’t have a father figure in his life and therefore when he does meet outstanding and ‘Special’ individuals they have a lasting effect.
Sincere thanks once again and best wishes.
This from a fear-stricken14-year-old girl who took it on herself to email me because her whole class had laughed at her humiliating public speaking attempts. All I could do was guide her into how to get the most out of my download program by linking it to her uncertain ‘young’ world…
Hey Laurie I would love to let you know that reading your books and taking your advice really did boost my confidence and you know after reading everything especially when you said people have problems of their own really made me feel a lot more confident! Going red all the time I realised it was all in my head! My anxiety was because I over think things and once I learnt how to control these things with your tips I really felt more confident about myself! I don’t even know how to explain it, even though I’m still going red and stuff but I’m slowly overcoming it with every step I take and I believe you should be known as a hero to many! You don’t get enough credit for the things you do, you basically save people’s lives! There should be more people like you in the world I will never be able to thank you enough and for helping total strangers out! When I grow up I aim to be someone like you.
Thank you sooooo very much!
Amie (You can imagine how I felt when I received this!)
This from someone who always held back when confronted by people she didn’t know…
Laurie, I'd like to thank you for showing me how easy it is to not only strike up a conversation with people I don't know, but to have something to say after I've broken the ice. Your simple strategies work like magic and have enriched my life. They've given me the confidence to get to know people, make friends easily, and discover just how interesting others can be.
Job interviews can be so daunting and overwhelming that those doing the interviews can completely miss out on the true potential of the ‘nervous’ person applying for the job. The following testimonials attest that what I do really works…
Laurie, I write to share my recent success for entry to the MFB training program to become a firefighter. Prior to your incredible session I was worried about all sorts of things that would stand in the way of me being accepted during the interview. At the end of our session you had me feeling in control and no longer at the mercy of others. At the interview I confidently said what I had to say and radiated that I could keep my head in a time of crisis. I couldn't recommend your work highly enough.
These heartfelt words from someone who had experienced a life-time of personal challenges that were no fault of her own, yet she saw this as a serious flaw in her quest to be a police officer. My mind-opening session helped her see that her painful journey was in fact her greatest strength in selling herself as an understanding member of the police force…
I’d like to thank you for your valuable expertise as a speaking coach as the session I spent with you paid off. Yes Laurie, I made it through the panel interview with a great result. Furthermore I have been offered a place at the police academy, starting in Feb. I can’t thank you enough for the short time we spent together, and you were right, it was one of the best investments I’d ever make in myself!
Once again thanks, looking forward to advice from you in the future.
It’s amazing how many school teachers don’t realise that the effective way they are already communicating with young people in the classroom is easily transferable to other public speaking situations with grown-ups. I helped this fear-filled person make this connection…
Everything turned out fantastic on Saturday and lots of people congratulated me after I had finished my speech. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to do justice to my family on such an occasion. I will forever be grateful to you for making this possible.
So once again thank you and all the best.
Although a respected and renowned architect in her own right, for many years this lady’s self-esteem took a battering every time she saw the confident way her male colleagues could speak before groups - until we shifted her thinking in one of my life-changing sessions…
Good morning Laurie
Well I did it!! And it went really well. Bit nervous at first but when I opened with my question to the students and put my hand up at the same time, it really did work – they all followed by putting their hands up to!! Amazing!
The second presentation was quite easy in comparison – I didn’t feel nervous at all and I managed to talk and talk and it was great. I had got through my nerves and it was much less daunting. Afterwards I had two students with their parents come up to me to talk about studying architecture and they both told me they enjoyed my presentation. I also caught up with the school’s alumni manager afterwards and she had sat in on the first presentation. She said she thought my presentation was great and that she was looking around the room and she noticed that the kids were absolutely riveted! She asked me to come back next year to talk. So thank you Laurie for your help and the many lessons you taught me. Today I am starting to prepare those major presentations I was telling you about for next week and confidently thinking about how I’ll plan and deliver them in an engaging way… can’t believe it!
Thanks again and kind regards
This testimonial from a Major Construction Project Manager here in Melbourne who was absolutely terrified of chairing his obligatory progress meetings. I received this email three days after one fear-banishing session with me (I have his permission to post it and haven’t changed a thing)…
I creamed it man, the meeting went fantastically well.
I woke up at 3am, my heart was pounding and my chest was tight. The meeting minutes were running like mad around my head. I couldn't sleep. I got up and showered, went to work then realised I had lost my work keys, couldn't get into the office to printout the minutes, programs, registers etc...........................not a good start !!!!!
Anyway I composed myself, somebody arrived and opened the door and I calmly went about preparing the documents for the 11am meeting. I started feeling good about myself, I told myself I was in control and it was just a piddly little meeting.
I arrived at the meeting room early and had a little chit chat with a few people and invited them to have a coffee. [I told him to do this to radiate leadership and show he was in control, instead of slinking in at the last minute like he’d always done]. Instead of pushing a bundle of meeting minutes down the middle of the table I calmly walked around and handed a copy to each person and said their name as I did it.
I had already met the new guy Bill yesterday. His boss sorta beat me to introducing him, but I sorta busted in and said yes, Bill is new to the project team so why don't we make him welcome by introducing ourselves and explain what our rolls are.................off you go there Sandie. ..................PERFECT!! Certainly took the pressure off me!!
I had completely reorganised the minutes yesterday to simplify it a tad, it had become somewhat messy to be honest. I then got straight into it and explained the potential issues with the material procurement form overseas and asked everybody for comment / opinion. This really got things buzzing.
For the first time I felt like I was actually chairing a meeting and I was in total control from start to finish...................loved it.
I never would have believed it. All it needed was a bit of help to see things differently! Now I can concentrate on what I do best instead of lying awake at night worrying about my next meeting!
Thanks for all your help Laurie,
Even those at the top of their game continue to seek ongoing coaching help…
Thank you so much for all your Extraordinary help over the years. Wishing you continued quintessential success always as you inspire others to their greatness!
Dr Ann Quinn
Peak Performance Specialist
Meeting planners want a speaker who delivers more than they promise. If the speaker they engage is a dud it is they who have to live with the consequences! The following planners sing my praises because my presentations far exceeded their expectations…
What do you do when you have to schedule a workshop on public speaking for professional speakers and, in your heart of hearts, know they think they’ve probably heard it all before, done it and discarded it? Well, you call on somebody like you with special talents, skills and abilities. I marvelled as you went to work presenting exciting and inspirational material to an audience of your peers that literally brained them!
Past&Present National President NSAA Conference Director
Laurie, a personal note of thanks for your wonderful effort as keynote speaker at our 63rd Annual General Meeting and dinner. With Olympic Gold Medallist Kieran Perkins as keynote speaker at another function we held last year you had a hard act to follow! But you more than met the challenge with your inspirational presentation on effective networking and relating to others. The feedback I’ve received is that you’re one of the best speakers we’ve ever had. Not only were you entertaining, your practical insights will be of real value because they’re so easy to use. You left a room full of people with the firm knowledge that they can now network with confidence to successfully promote their business and the region as a whole.
Wangaratta Chamber of Commerce Inc.
The committee of the Association of Civil Marriage Celebrants of Victoria has asked me to express our appreciation for your inspiring presentation at our recent development seminar on effective public speaking. Your words were thought provoking and your presentation style was a model that will enhance the celebrancy role of all those present.
Chairman, Seminar Committee
Your superb contribution as MC added significantly to our conference. Anyone who can bring together two hundred and fifty people and organize them to sit at twenty-five tables is a genius. But to have them change tables five times, enjoy themselves and learn, is a consummate professional.
Past Victorian Chapter President NSAA
After your visit our members have very high expectations of the group and this is testimony to your world class training skills and knowledge of business presentations and public speaking. On behalf of the committee and our members, thank you very much.
Australian Institute of Management
(FPSG Special Interest Group)
I found it truly remarkable to experience the fun way you tactfully lead people from the debilitating mindset of uncontrollable panic, to the firm belief that public speaking can indeed be enjoyable and attract success!
Manager Business Support, Corporate Security Group
Laurie Smale is a unique and original communicator who emotionally empowers his audience through the use of superbly presented true-life stories. The result is that those who listen to Laurie learn from his life. I for one love to listen to him.
Australia's foremost comedy coach
*All testimonials on this site express the personal views of the writer on how they feel about their experience with my training and publications. Some names have been changed for privacy reasons. It's important to note that the results may vary from person to person for some fears are so profound they need extra help. This is where my promise of ongoing coaching comes in so you stay on your new path of speaking confidence and are never left to flounder.