Corporate Speaking Challenge 2014

College of Public Speaking - Corporate Challenge 2014

2 excellently contested heats on
Thursday, October 30th and Tuesday, November 4th 
have provided us with 10 fabulous finalists.

They will be:
(in speaking order)Errol Williamson in Final 2013

Lara Rathod
Lovelda Smith
Glen Savage
William Buist
Alexandra Spencer
Barry Watts
James Milton
Sofie Sandell
Malachi Talabi
Stephen Edun

The Final will be on
Tuesday November 18th
once again in the beautiful 
Ascham suite at Bloomsbury House, Holborn.



The Judges

Chief Judge - Richard Perks

Mintel - Director of Retail Research
For the last 15 years, Richard has been leading
Mintel's Global Retail Analysis.
He is a regular contributor to the media
and can be seen regularly on Sky News,
The BBC and ITN. In print, he can be found
regularly commenting on Retail Week
and the national press on
general consumer matters as well as retailing.

Alicia Eaton

Alicia is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner
with a successful Harley Street practice for over ten years. 
She`s an expert in helping people overcome a lack of self-confidence
and public-speaking anxiety as well as negative thought processes and bad habits -
anything that compromises your quality of life and success.

She`s worked alongside Paul McKenna for many years and is also a regular Speaker
and the author of the best-selling `Fix Your Life with NLP`.

Edward Boydell

Edward is highly experienced in all aspects of family law
but particularly financial remedies (including civil partnerships).  
He has for many years been listed in Band One of
`Leaders at the Bar` in Chambers and Partners directory 
for his family finance work.
He is heavily commended for both his advocacy skills
and his interaction with his clients.

`the clients love him, judges love him, and he's great in court.`

 Katy Baggott

Certified NLP Practitioner and CIPD accredited FMCG L&D Professional
with a history of working for corporate global brands since 1998 in learning and development,
national account management and shopper marketing roles with MARS UK,
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd and KODAK Ltd.

Currently working as capability manager for Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd
supporting GB category planning and senior leadership teams
through coaching on a variety of skill areas including
non-verbal patterns of communication and transforming stage presence.

Errol Williamson (Winner of 2013 Corporate Challenge)

A qualified Accountant and a lover of public speaking and cooking.  
He says that: Sharing the stage with remarkable business speaking talent in the
2013 Corporate Challenge and receiving
1st place inspired me to combine my career and passions to create `Engage To Inspire`, a company which focuses on enabling people in finance to speak with impact and flavour!




Alexandra Spencer 

Barry Watts

Glen`s passion is to develop people to improve performance and achievement.  A partner in Change Perspectives, Glen is an experienced coach, trainer, facilitator and speaker, using his skills as an NLP Master Practitioner, Coach, Psychometrics practitioner, Hypnotherapist and even International Scuba instructor to generate results.Glen relishes the opportunity to connect with an audience with thought-provoking, humorous and inspiring talks. He is an avid member of Toastmasters and 2013 London Div B Humorous Speech Champion. One of his current projects is working with an Australian law firm to raise awareness of animal abuse.
Glen Savage

After eight years in the Army as an Arabist and Intelligence Officer and seven in PR during which he worked both as a consultant and inhouse for Rolls-Royce plc in their press office, James decided to go back to University to qualify as a Data Scientist. After completing an MSc in Computer Science at Goldsmiths College, he now works as a Project Manager at Experian pH, helping large institutions make sense of their data. A published poet, he was recently invited to speak on Kipling's legacy as a war poet on the Today Programme for Armistice day. 
James Milton

Lara spent her formative years in Bahrain and Istanbul, returning to London 25 years ago.  A qualified solicitor since 2001, she has practised corporate law across different sectors both in private practice and in-house.  More recently she has taken a career break in which she has fulfilled her love of travel and cultivated her passions for writing (as an official blogger for The Escape School) and public speaking (as a member of Pony Express).  Living in London allows Lara to indulge in her love of the arts as a frequent theatre, film and concertgoer.  Lara is currently seeking her next challenge.
Lara Rathod

Lovelda Smith is the founder of the Collaboration Clubâ„¢ a collaborative, empowering community for entrepreneurial growth.  It's true that we can achieve more together than on our own, and using CGT (Collaborative Growth Technology) building your business is now simplified.  It will, therefore, be of little surprise to that her finalist speech will relate to business.  Cause surely increasing speed is great for business?  Or is it?
Lovelda Smith

Born in Southwark and raised in Bermondsey, Malachi Talabi`s life journey so far has been full of twists and turns. Having overcome childhood obstacles including poverty, racism and a lack of aspiration, Malachi won the Toastmasters International UK and Ireland Public Speaking contest in 2011 and went on to place third in the world semi-finals of the competition in Las Vegas, beating around 30,000 people that also entered. When he`s not delivering keynote speeches, writing books, or presenting and hosting, Malachi works as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at a primary school in Rotherhithe, where he continues his work of inspiring children with the same passion as he does adults.
Malachi Talabi

Sofie Sandell is an international speaker.  In the last year, she has been giving talks about Digital Leadership in the UK, Belgium, Kuwait, Sweden, Denmark and China. Her book `Digital Leadership: How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results` was published Sept 2013. In 2009 Sofie became the first person to be put in charge of a large publishing house's social media strategy and implementation program. Her job description was short and neat: to introduce new digital techniques. Sofie is guided by her belief that the world needs more leaders who know how to embrace technology and creativity. 
Sofie Sandell

Stephen is President of Meridian Speakers in Greenwich. He works in finance, lives in Canada Water and supports  Charlton Athletic - well someone has to. Stephen got into public speaking two years ago through Toastmasters to help deliver pitches more effectively and found a whole new world of storytelling and the art of engaging audiences. Public speaking is a leisure activity now and a chance to meet interesting people and help in his leadership and people skills by helping others improve their speaking skills as well as his own. 
Stephen Edun

A seasoned expert on collaboration, teams and effective business models, he is known today for making a dramatic impact on business owners and executives. His often times intuitive approach helps them uncover invaluable insights about who they are and what they do that enables them to transform their businesses quickly and sustainably.

William Buist

The College runs the annual 'Corporate Challenge' speaking competition in which companies and other organisations send representatives to compete in a six-minute speech contest.

It is a festival of speaking wherein the UK's top business speakers participate in a friendly but serious competition.

Corporate Challenge Background

The College of Public Speaking Corporate Challenge is an innovation to promote and encourage communication excellence in the business world. We are also looking to find the UK's top business speakers (entries from all sectors/organisations invited).

Popular TV programs like The Apprentice and The Dragons' Den underline the need for excellent communication skills. How many times have prospective entrepreneurs faltered at the first hurdle of their sales pitch? We know that these problems can be resolved with supportive guidance, structure and practice.

This contest is a marvellous opportunity for individuals to develop themselves in a friendly, supportive and pressurized environment. Speech contests emulate the rigours of a tough business world where millions of pounds can be won and lost on one strong presentation. It's also a development opportunity for contestants and companies alike.

Contest Rules

The College of Public Speaking will appoint a panel of experienced judges for the heats and finals. The guest judges for the final will not have attended the heats, so the same speech can be used without losing impact.

Speakers will be expected to demonstrate skills in terms of gestures, speech construction, speaking with conviction, vocal variety, vocabulary and word pictures, humour and audience rapport. 6x4" cards can be used, a lectern will be available if required, but most importantly, the speech must not be read.

The speech duration will be a maximum of 6 minutes and speakers will incur penalty points for speaking beyond this limit. Lighting arrangements: Green light 3mins, Amber light 4mins, Red light 5mins leaving 60 seconds to round off the speech. The red light will go off at 6 minutes. At six minutes thirty seconds, the speaker will be gavelled.

The timing of the speech begins with the first word following the salutation, 'Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen'.

The judges are looking for a strong message combined with excellent delivery skills. Please - no acting, performing, magic tricks or monologues. Please ensure that your content and delivery would be appropriate for a boardroom style meeting. Please ensure that the majority of the speech is original.

Contact Details

Initially, please send an indication of interest to Michael at

For media enquiries, contact on the email address above or call Michael on 07798-936886.