Before you get too excited – this might not be quite what you think!

Alistair and I went to the cinema last night – just the two of us. It’s been a while since we went to see an adult movie – that is, a movie for grownups, not the other sort, I hasten to add. Usually we’ve got one or more kids in tow as we head for the latest Harry Potter or Toy Story movie (see my previous blog).

Instead, we went to see The King’s Speech and as I’m a big Colin Firth fan I fully expected to enjoy it, which I did. What I didn’t expect was the lovely humour. Some bits of it were ‘laugh out loud’ funny.

Another surprise was the type of exercise that Lionel has the King do to overcome his stammer. Without giving too much away, in case you haven’t seen it, there are breathing exercises, physical exercises and some very silly vocal exercises. When I say silly, I mean they appear silly at first sight, or should I say sound. According to the movie, they do work though.

The surprising bit for me was that they are exactly the same sort of exercises we have people do as a vocal warm up in some of our presentation skills training and public speaking workshops. I just didn’t realise they could be used to overcome a stammer.

Over the years we’ve become used to delegates looking at us a little oddly when we explain what we want them to do, but by then they’ve usually learnt to trust us so they just get on with it.

What I like about it now is that we can introduce the exercises by saying something like “Even King George did this!”….

And a presentation skills tip for those of you who want to improve your public speaking, go to see the movie and then practice those exercises. I recommend you do it in private though or you risk some very odd looks.

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