A Toastmasters Podcasts on public speaking from Helsinki

Oscar Santolalla, from Peru, now living in Finland. 

"I joined Toastmasters in 2011.

I've been listening to podcasts a lot for the past years, in several topics including: economics, Product Management, entrepreneurship, comedy, football, and others. audiobooks. 

Summer 2014 I started with the idea of creating my own podcast. One day I made the decision to do it, and two months later I was launching (first the 17th October). 

I chose public speaking as my topic, and I decided that I would interview experienced people who would be willing to share their experience and ideas. 

I wish to connect public speakers with people who are learning, so everybody can shine. Its time to shine."

Oscar contacted me first through Facebook, then interviewed me first through email, then through Skype. 

His interviews of around 20 minutes are very interesting.

Links to episodes (until now):


Video by Spark London 'Mistaken Identity' night Julie Kertesz true story

First told as registered here, at Canal Cafe for the Spark London 'mistaken identity' this video spokes of change of life and about "we have more in us then we know".  And the telling of how I changed my profession at age 48, changed again my life at 77!

The audience laughed, a lot, why? How may I do when I want them to laugh? I discovered Standup Comedy, took classes, and went to open mic clubs. Got awards and lots of laughter.

Now after 77+ performances? I can tell : I had funny bones I did not know about! Plus at any frustration I now look: how can I present it look at it with comedian eyes.
Will I be able to retell this in only 7 minutes instead of 11? What should I cut? Finaly, they let me tell almost all of the story. 

 Yesterday, March 25, they told me I can cut the first three minutes! I'll try it thus. But I have to add the motivation: 'I want my son back' then later that I did. And perhaps, at the end, mention him again, so the end matches the beginning. Instead of 'microcomputer' use 'personal computer'. Instead of 'cave' use 'cellar in the garden'. 
There is a video from another angle of my performance (one taken by my family and the other by organiser), alas I was more facing the audience then the videographer. 

In fact, I told it first, 4 year ago in the middle of the deep recession, as Mystery Speaker to a Toastmasters club near Victoria Station. At that time the title must have been "think outside the box" to show that we could look at all we know and like not only at a job or profession description of us.

This storytelling November 2010 was a pivotal experience for me, because the audience laughed a lot and I decided to learn how to make humour - when I want!  I found my first Stand Up Comedy Workshop at the Comedy School. Then, the second Standup & Deliver, and then later the same year the third, with David Jones. After then, at age 77 I went out to the Comedy Circuit "at least 20 he told us".

As to now, beginning 2014 I have performed more then 77 times as Standup, and have also given many many other true stories together with other storytellers at Spark.

 One of the "secrets" is to go out not to "win" but to try out something new, challenge yourself to experiment each time something. It is very useful, at least at the beginning to take video and see yourself.

That is how I realised that I run out to fast in Mistaken Identity, I hid from the lights another times, and I realised the next time when I do not hide, fast my eyes get used and I forget about lights in my eyes.

Another time, Johanna told me "you move too much" and yes, again I was to avoid the strong reflectors, next time after my opening sentence I sit down and gave all using voice variety and face. It was a very successful performance: "you looked straight to me when you told the stories!" - I did not tell her that in the dark of the audience I could not see anyone other then the first row.

 Going out like there are our friends, not as we go to the "lions den", and even speaking with some before and becoming nearer is important. After you have spoken, they seem to be nearer you, and you to all audience through them and react more, better.
Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/sparklondon to see other storytellers too!


9 recommended books (and others) from my bookshelf

Public speaking is telling stories, using humour, presenting them all together. And conveying an old wisdom in a new way. Here a few of my favourites I studied and read again and again, Each time discovering new nuggets and understanding deeper.

1st where all starts :
The Power of Personal Storytelling, Jack Maguire
Why, how to find, how to shape, how to remember
- the speaking champion Malachi studied it before going all the way up to Las Vegas
- the renewed education Ambassador and well known workshop leader is studying it now too

2nd, Improving your storytelling, Doug Lipman
About finding MIT, the Most Important Thing, about our links to audience, story and the teller.
And different kind of audience and evenings and the joy of reaching the one who does needed it.

3 th Wired for story, Lisa Cron,
How to hook the reader, delving deeper in why we are expecting, what we are expecting, deep, not easy to reach all the goals but explain clearly what we are "wired for" to expect from a story.
Some of these in this picture
from my Books for Public Speaking

4rd speak like Churchill, stand like Linkoln by James C. Humes
Secrets of Histories great speakers, easy to read, great techniques. First one "the power of pause".

5th the Story Factor by Annette Simmons,
Influence and persuade at work through art of storytelling in the enterprise and workplace.

6. Be a great standup, by Logan Murray, from London (also great workshop leader)
For all budding amateur comedians, explains some important basics, with exemples

7. Standup Comedy, the book by Judy Carter, 
First ever book about standup, some great techniques, basics on humour

8. The naked presenter, Garr Reynolds,
Presenting with or without slides, but opening up going deep into your story

9. Resonance, Nancy Duarte
Present visual stories that transform the audience

Another time, I will add three more to the list.
These books I read and studied and re-read., they all helped me to progress and added to the total.
I am still in need to study them again, as at every stage we understand differently.


Gig at Comedy School (back to perform after 3 years) as special guest

November 2012 after a refreshment workshop with the Comedy School.

I opened the show, alas I was allowed only seven minutes from ten prepared. But of course, one has to adapt each time.

This year I had my ten minutes at "Old folks jokes" but I do not have yet its video recording. And now, 10' also opening at Ivor Dembina's 'you should have listened to Ivor'. Went very well, made those present laugh a lot.

New tips to look for when you look at it the second time.

Listen to how I begin.
First recognising what everyone can see: I am old. (Later, then I am not English, but Hungarian.) It is good to recognise what they see and hear, then of course comes the surprises.

In my case proving that we old are "open minded" surprising those listening with 4 letter words.
Finally, toping by telling the tale about my daughter and she "not being there". That connects to all.

"Toping" is adding to a punch line without necessity to introduce, it also give it a more impromptu feeling. Like you just invented it, now for this audience. I top even more at the end.

Be aware that nor in Comedy or in Storytelling do you have to stick to the exact truth about time, names, durations, for example. It is very important to be "in the moment" - so my daughter really called me - but it was more then a year before, so what? I told it first the day it happened.

It is not important when other then make it seem more "fresh".

I still tell from time to time "I am 77" and it seems sexier year, easier to remember then 78 or 79.

Observe how I finish.
I segue with what come before, "I am a bit out of practice now, but" and 'top" again then give my most outrageous sentence. It work very well every time. But then, I do not stop but top it and top it, usually getting big laughs after laughs for the end. It is best to leave your best working part to the end, your second best at the beginning.

Note, that I found the sentence after six hours of workshop at Camden with Ivor Dembina, who probed deep into what is we do not tell usually because "that is what the audience is interested is enjoying best".  I hesitated for three month until I first tried it out. It does work each time.

Added to the routine (and make it grow with new frustrations)
There are some added parts that come the first here, from frustrations I got recently, just a little before I performed this, November 2012, of my teeth.

I also added the routine about my eyes (is it in this yet?) Later, I found a better way to introduce my Kindle (not in this performance yet). It does get a huge laughter as I talk about "size is import - sometimes" and let the audience think first of something else, as just before it I added a part that is about a message I got on Facebook. (see my later gigs for that).

Observe how I go from one part to the other.
Just before I performed I was told that I have to do only 7 minutes not 10 as I was promised. I had to cut some parts. Because the routine has been made in Parts, I could leave out some. But is is more difficult then as usually I put a word at the end of a routine to trigger in me and remind the next part.

All audience is not as receptive as this was. Sometimes parts go better or less depending whom listens.


Let's be prepared for the "chance"

Tulipes au milieu de la route (14)
2008 April. On the route with my car taking my grand daughter to photographie birds on Seine.

Suddenly, tulips on the middle of the road.

"Mamie, stop! I would like to take photos of those!"

I just offered a camera for her 9th birthday. Stop, in the middle of the road, with four even if small and relatively quiet streets around? Where?

"OK, I'll stop, I'll stop, as soon as I find where to leave the car."

A small field, offered a place for the car, and we went careful, hand by hand to the flower arrangement in the middle of the roads. Each of us with our camera. I was first more fascinated with my grand daughter taking careful one flower ofter other and making macro photos of each.

Then, I move a bit and see this quiet street. Click.
Tulipes au milieu de la route (3)
Just a second later a car passed. Click.

This photo was taken at the "decisive moment", and become one the most favourited on flickr.
Ensemble près de la Seine (33)
Of course, I had to stop in the middle of the road, I had to get there, I had to be ready for it. Ready for the unexpected, for the non prepared, ready and flexible.

In photography, preparing the next speech or story, or meeting the "one" that will count in our life, it is important to be ready and open for what will arrive.


Back on the saddle

Standup comedian, me? I can barely stand on my feet...The 7 November, gigging again.

Yes, I broke my leg and feet in 5 places almost seven month ago and I had to make a pause. The pause was only in delivery not in creating jokes.

Frustrations, bad situations, mishaps offer the best occasion to jokes, so I do have now a lot of new material in my repertoire.

Of course, I have to try them out, not only on one or two, which I did, all along, but the audience of comedy clubs.

In seven month, the only place I gigged was BBC1 The One Show, where I proved I can make laugh and I can remember my lines and take out from the bag of jokes one or another as requested. More, to link it to something I just heard a minute before my tour come. Now, in New Cross, I am on again, and looking forward to it.

Well, my comeback will be in December, not November - my broken leg and strained knee did not want yet to take me up the stairs yet.


Manchester "When I was ten the war caught up with me" Julie Kertesz

"True Stories with Grant Whisky" at Manchester Town hall with 400 audience and two big screens showing the performance so all can see it well.

It was from the beginning a decision to tell this story from the eyes of a ten years old me, and do not relate how I see it now with knowledge not even from what I learned a year later.

Another big decision was to add to it a part about "now" and link it with "holding hands" with the past: that leaves all with a warm feeling and also a non told but important second message.

Asking Advice
Toastmasters to whom I told this story in my different clubs (it was each time from a project Manual speech), and asked advice, all gave me very useful advices.

Where should I stretch to hold the suspense longer, where should I change my face and make more pause, for example. Joanna Yates, producer of Spark London, helped me a lot to shorten and cut from my long initial beginning where I talked, for this story at least, a lot more of my cousin.

Telling it some other time, perhaps I could add back as different blocks can be taken out usually and added depending of the circumstances. But this story I told so many times that I learned it as is, and last year as I went to give a keynote in AYR, West of Scotland, I met two young women on the train and told them the story. It went so easy and they were fascinated.