‘THE STRANGER WHO TAKES YOUR LIFE SERIOUSLY’
I coach speakers. My speciality is helping wedding speakers; and particularly the Father of the Bride.
Why? Because in 2017 my elder daughter was getting married and of course I was going to speak at her wedding. I had been speaking in public for over forty years; then in the 1990s I began training speakers. So you’d think I could approach that speech in a pretty relaxed way. But you’d be wrong. I was more nervous than I’d ever been before speaking. Because it mattered, of course.
Will you be speaking at a wedding soon? Does the idea fill you with excitement or fear? With pleasure or pain?
For many people speaking at their wedding, or the wedding of a friend or family member, is the first time they’ve ever spoken in public. For some people, it’ll be the only time. The occasion is happy but the task of the speaker can be terrifying.
Psychologists say that the fear of public speaking is one of the top three phobias for most people. They say that many people fear it more than dying. A wedding is all that and more, because it’s personal and emotional; and it’s a one-off.
If you’re planning a speech, or facing any stressful situation, and the task is worrying, get in touch. I’ll help you build and maintain a high level of confidence for the big day.
HOW DO YOU WORK?
The coaching and advice sessions utilise my formal training as a coach, my knowledge of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) tools and the DISC system of personality profiling, allied to my own years of performing experience.
WHERE DO YOU DO IT?
During the pandemic it’s all been online of course, via Zoom.
As we return to normal, it can also be face-to-face, if you’re based in London or Bristol.
AND WHAT DO YOUR CLIENTS SAY?
Jessica Bell. Singer, author, speaker, Greece.
“I can’t recommend Michael MacMahon highly enough. Before speaking with him, I didn’t think I would ever be able to tame my anxiety enough to step onto that stage. But his words of wisdom did. And now, something I greatly feared and avoided at all costs has become something I embrace.”
Caroline Arnold. Business coach, Bristol
“I had an excellent coaching session with Michael discussing how to have greater impact as a speaker. In one session I came away with specific actions that I could implement quickly and easily. I would highly recommend Michael as a coach especially if you have a big presentation at work or a wedding come up soon! “
Tom Walker. Business owner, North Somerset:
“If you need to give the most important speech of your life and need guidance and structure, then Michael MacMahon is the man who can allow you to deliver what you have hoped for.
“My speech was as ‘The Father of the Bride’. To say I was nervous and out of my depth is a serious understatement.
“Michael helped me construct and flow the words; and then gave me tuition and tools to allow me to deliver confidently; and then the reward, having my daughter show how happy and proud she was of me and what was said.”
Pete Judge. Musician, Bristol:
“I highly recommend Michael MacMahon’s coaching. His lightly-worn wisdom, and unflappably clear thinking, have been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.”
Lisa Middle. Regional Secretary of teaching union, Bristol:
“Crafting a speech to deliver at a national conference, it dawned on me how far I’d come since I first started coaching with Michael MacMahon. I had, during 6 sessions, become able to focus on the task knowing I could complete it with aplomb. I was now able to recognise the success I had, not just to look at how far I still had to travel, to separate my to-do list into urgent and important jobs and not spend too much time looking at the frogs I had to eat!
“Michael had listened to me carefully, remembering from one session to the next the vital points I had made. He had thought hard about what would benefit me to talk through and directed me kindly to what made the difference. He made me laugh unfailingly with tiny anecdotes which illustrated the insightful discoveries I made weekly under his careful coaching.
“His skilful coaching encouraged me to achieve where I had previously been diverted by possible failure, with a different confidence that now underpins all areas of my life. I would heartily recommend working with him to anyone who feels they could probably do more and be happier doing it.”
WHAT DOES IT COST?
You choose, literally.
I want the benefits of coaching and mentoring to be available to as many people as possible. And because people’s needs – and budgets – vary widely, I’m experimenting with the ‘Pay What You Want’ policy.
What does that mean? Here’s an extract from Wikipedia’s definition:
Pay what you want (or PWYW) is a pricing strategy where buyers pay their desired amount for a given commodity. This amount can sometimes include zero. A minimum (floor) price may be set, and/or a suggested price may be indicated as guidance for the buyer. The buyer can select an amount higher or lower than the standard price for the commodity.
Does that all make sense? If not, contact me and I’ll let you know how it works in practice.
For my coaching strapline (‘The stranger who takes your life seriously’), I credit American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford. In his early novel The Sportswriter (the Washington Post didn’t like it much but I loved it) his protagonist Frank Bascombe often visits a clairvoyant and finds talking to her therapeutic. Even if he knows she’s out of town, he’ll drive to her house and park outside for half an hour. He concludes that she is ‘that priceless thing: the stranger who takes your life seriously.’
I too know someone exactly like that, though he doesn’t claim to be a clairvoyant. He’s Steve Yabsley, a presenter at BBC Radio Bristol. I’ve been interviewed by him more than once and his research is so thorough, I tell my friends that he knows more about my life than I do.Going back to Richard Ford, he came across the Atlantic to promote his later novel ‘Canada’ and I met him when he was in Bristol. I told him how much I loved his Frank Bascombe trilogy, the second of which won the Pulitzer, and I mentioned the clairvoyant. ‘Oh yes,’ he said. ‘I could take you to the house of the woman who inspired that story.’
In conclusion, being ‘a stranger who takes your life seriously’ is a quality that’s admirable, in my view, and it’s one to which I aspire.