From Cloud Gazing to Tour Guiding: Pete’s Evolution as a Public Speaker

Yes, I’m a public speaker, I speak in public, to the public on my tour. I’m used to speaking in public, although I don’t really know if I’m any good at it, because of previous experience. In adulthood this started when I was at the University of Sussex, and of course, public speaking to the class or even the faculty are par for the course. In university the first time the class were asked to do this we were asked to pick our own subjects and pair up with someone else in the class. I paired with a Japanese lady and for fun we decided to talk about Sushi. I like Sushi, though I prefer my fish cooked, so we had a debate about this. It was very funny at the time and a perfect ice-breaker.

Ben explaining a piece of street art to the people on his tour.

Stepping Back in Time: Junior School Panic

I am now going to take you, the reader, back to the very beginning of my public speaking experience, to my junior school. I was about 8 or 9, and the English teacher Mrs. Goddard told us that in 2 weeks we were to give a talk on a subject of our own choice, I panicked! I was a shy kid in school, I had some friends, but not anyone close. It was towards the end of the school year, so about April time and the weather was nice, I sat in the garden racking my brains about what to talk about while at the same time panicking even more. My mum came out and looked at me, then looked at where I was staring and said “Your head is always in the clouds”. Bingo! There’s my subject. I ran to my room and found an old book about the weather that I’d not picked up for what seemed like years and looked at the chapter concerning clouds.

Cumulonimbus clouds

I read the chapter again and again, but I could make up my mind about which ones to talk about. After panicking for 2 or 3 more days I decided to talk about the most common British clouds, the one’s with rain! I do mention on my tour that I’m from Manchester and the nickname for my home-town is The Rainy City, just like New York is The Big Apple or Chicago is The Windy City.

Please don’t ask me to mention which types of cloud I talked about because I only remember three types all these years later Cumulus, Stratus and Nimbus, though I cannot for the life of me remember which one is which and which are the rainy ones! I got a ten out of ten for my mark and even a small round of applause, which gave me a little bit of confidence to take forward.

Guiding with Confidence

These days I know that, from this humble beginning, I can talk to my customers with a certain amount of confidence, plus with the knowledge that, although “my head is in the clouds”, I certainly remember and have experienced the things I talk about when public speaking to customers on my Brick Lane tour.

As ever, thank you for your attention and I’ll see on my Brick Lane tour soon.