Tag Archives: tips for public speaking

Entrepreneurs have the power

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremony for a Leadership Symposium at the Monash Business School. One of the keynote speakers was Creel Price.

Gary RyanAs the owner of a small business, Creel made a statement that caught my attention.

“It is not governments or large corporations who are going to make the world a better place. It is entrepreneurs.”

I had subconsciously believed in Creel’s statement before he said it. He simply provided the words to describe what I already knew to be true. Ever since we started our enterprise in 2007 we have been giving a percentage of our income to specific charities. Late last year I was introduced to Paul Dunn, co-founder of Buy One Give One (B1G1). Upon learning of Paul’s vision, we immediately became Lifetime Partners of B1G1 and have been enjoying the power of habit, impact and connection ever since.

To understand why we made this decision, please view Paul’s Tedx Talk  and consider becoming part of B1G1 yourself and sharing The Power of Small with other entrepreneurs in your network. We can and are already making a real and positive difference in the world in which we live. You can too.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®.



7-Eleven Scandal an Ethical Failure of Leadership

The ABC Four Corners and Fairfax joint investigation into the systematic wage rorting and exploitation of employees within 7-Eleven’s Australian franchised stores is an example of an ethical failure of leadership.

Gary RyanThe investigation uncovered widespread evidence of staff being underpaid and ‘forced’ to work long hours. Many of those staff were international students who’s visas only allow them to work 20 hours per work. It appears that many of those students were effectively blackmailed by their Franchisee that if they complained to Fair Work Australia about being underpaid, they would be ‘dobbed in’ to the authorities for breaking their visa regulations and therefore risk being deported.

The evidence produced by Four Corners and Fairfax indicated that these systemic issues have been going on for at least six years, which has included several investigations and findings by Fair Work Australia. Yet the behaviour has continued.

7-Eleven Australia has attempted to distance itself from the problem suggesting that the issue has been caused by a small number of Franchisees. The ABC Four Corners and Fairfax story argues that the problem is not limited to a small number of Franchisees. The story also highlights the plight of the Franchisees, many of whom are people whom have migrated to Australia. In simple terms, the joint investigation by ABC Four Corners and Fairfax suggest that the franchise business model is not one that can work in Australia if the Franchisees pay the wages they are meant to pay according to Australian Law.

7-Eleven Australian stores are generally open seven days per week, 24 hours per day. Given penalty rates etc., the wage costs of operating such a store would be significant. According to the report, Franchisee financial reports are supplied to the 7-Eleven Australian Head Office. In an example highlighted during the story, a financial statement indicated total wages of a little over $64,000 for six staff. Ex ACCC boss Professor Allan Fels says that in his view the only way a Franchisee could ‘make a go of it’ is to underpay their staff.

No doubt the marketplace will hold the leadership of 7-Eleven Australia to account, even if the law doesn’t.

Let this be a lesson for all leaders. It is not ethical to maintain a system that cannot operate profitably when following the law. Despite the law appearing to not have many consequences for the leaders and owners of 7-Eleven Australia, they cannot hide from their ethical failure. Washing their hands of their Franchisees behaviours is simply not good enough. They presided over a system that under most circumstances could not work. Human beings have been negatively affected. These are simple, hardworking people who are just trying to get ahead like you and I. For their sake, I hope some good comes from the courage of the whistle-blowers whom have taken great personal risks to ensure that this story has been told.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

Tips for public speaking in another language

Imagine having to do an important presentation. A lot hinges on its success. Get it right and you’ll maintain your grade point average or secure your first overseas job. Get it wrong and all the money you have invested in studying overseas could be wasted.

Gary RyanAs part of a leadership development program at the Monash Business School that I have been facilitating for over 8 years, I teach public speaking.

The majority of the attendees are international students. In the pre-workshop survey that I conduct, the responses to the question, “What are you greatest concerns regarding public speaking?” are generally along the lines of, “English is not my first language and I am worried that I will use the wrong words when I speak. This causes me to worry a lot about public speaking.”

To alleviate their concerns about this issue, I explain the following key points to them.

1. Your audience wants you to be successful

When you are an audience member, what are you hoping the speaker will do?

The majority of people I have asked this question respond by saying that they hope the speaker is affective in getting their message across.

I then ask, “Are you waiting for the speaker to fail?”

“No, of course not!” is the response I receive.

The first place to start to be an effective public speaker is to realise that the audience does not want you to fail and is not sitting there ready to pounce on every mistake that you make. Instead, they are anticipating that you will get your message across and want you to do well.

2. When English is another language for you, use the words you have

Everyone has an accent, me included. Your accent only becomes noticeable when it is different to the accents of the people with whom you are speaking.

As soon as you start to speak, your audience will recognise your accent and immediately understand that English may not be your first language. Over time your vocabulary will grow, so use the words that you have at your disposal, rather than worrying about the words that you don’t have. Your audience will understand.

3. Test your speech on people for whom English is their first language

A quick way to expand your vocabulary is to test your speech (as part of your preparation) with people for whom English is their first language. Give them the specific instruction that they are to identify when there may be an easier way to say what you are trying to say. You don’t have to use all of their feedback, especially if you don’t understand what they are suggesting you should say. Nevertheless this tip will quickly improve your vocabulary.

4. Include challenging words in your presentation

If there are words that you intend to use in your speech that you recognise may be difficult for the audience to understand due to your accent, include these words in your presentation. Make them nice and big so they are easy to read.

When your audience reads the words and connects them to your accent, it helps them to ‘tune in’ to your accent which in turn helps them to understand you. As an example, last weekend a Thai student spoke about “Mergers and Acquisitions”. When she first spoke without an accompanying presentation, very few audience members understood what she was saying. When she repeated the speech, this time with an accompanying presentation with the words, “Mergers and Acquisitions” prominently displayed, everyone understood what she was saying. They ‘tuned in’ to her accent.

5. Recognise that what you are doing is amazing

There are over 320,000 international students in Australia. This can make it seem as though it isn’t a big achievement to do a presentation in English. The reality is that any presentation that is conducted in another language is an amazing achievement. Be proud of yourself because you really are awesome.

I am constantly in awe of the international students with whom I work. Studying, let alone public speaking in another language is a huge challenge, yet you do it.

Use these five tips to help you to build confidence in your public speaking. See yourself as someone who is constantly learning and improving and be proud of your improvements over time.

Gary Ryan enables talented professionals, their teams and organisations to move Beyond Being Good®

Enabling organisations to be worthy of the commitment of employees