My Toastmasters Pathway Begins

It was around 2011 when I first delivered any type of public presentation in a business sense. I’d been providing SEO for small business for a couple of years and was offered the opportunity to speak to a small group of local business people so that I could start to develop a profile for being the “local expert” within the business community.

That first presentation felt seriously good and I was walking on air when I’d finished and got a load of great feedback from the six or seven business people in the room.

Something troubled me though, and after a few days, I started to realise that I could have delivered a talk or workshop with so much more confidence. I’ve always been very self-critical with the ability to review my own performance and note many of the failings that maybe others would have seen too. I knew that I needed to improve if I was to continue to deliver public talks and training session, which is something I also knew that I would love to do more often.

A few weeks after that initial presentation / workshop, I was chatting to another local business person at a networking group and she mentioned that if I wanted to improve on public presentations then I should go along to a Toastmasters Speaking Club. She was a member of the Brghton and Hove Speakers Club and would be very happy to introduce me to the club. I was curious about how this would work and agreed to go along to the next meeting.

Toastmasters is a great place to develop and hone the skills needed to deliver a great presentation to an audience and over the next 5 years to 2016 I learned the skills needed to progress to what is known in Toastmasters as a “Competent Communicator”.

After a five year break from Toastmasters due to a massive lifestyle change that had me travelling around the UK adn all over Europe in a motorhome, I have now decided to settle down a bit and reenter Toastmasters and join the Northampton Speakers Club, currently running meetings every 2 weeks on Zoom.

I’ll be a fully paid up member starting from April 1st 2021 and will begin my journey along the Pathways Education program in order to continue to develop and home the skill to deliver great speeches to a public audience.

My aim is to eventually be good enough to deliver an impactful speech to a TedX Audience and to start getting paid as a public speaker.

I’m documenting my journey on the Toastmasters Pathways program through this blog and through a Podcast that I have just started to publish on Anchor.

Most Important Things When Creating a Podcast

You’re thinking about creating a podcast or have made a few already. Your mind probably wonders how you can make your podcast as popular as some of those you listen to, that seem to have thousands of downloads or millions of listeners.

Maybe you’re thinking “if only I had a better microphone” or “I wish my voice sounded better”, those things really are not all that important when you start out producing your podcast.

Your listeners and potential listening audience need to feel engaged and involved in your conversation. Feeling like they’re involved keeps people listening, helps with interaction, and keeps people coming back for more episodes. But how do you create that feeling for your audience?

Put simply, you need to tell stories that your audience can relate to; stories that your listeners feel that they could be telling. Situations that they’ve maybe seen or experienced first hand.

Creating some excitement and energy in the podcast by the use of your voice tonality, volume, and variety of expression.

When my children were young and I read them stories during the day time, I’d try to make to book exciting and add character voices at appropriate times, this made them want more!

However, if I read a bedtime story, I’d really want them to fall asleep so I wold change the way I read those stories to a smooth, calming and quite monotone voice. Essentially, making the story as boring as possible.

Do you listen to podcasts and audiobooks? If you do you’ll know that some are really interesting and engaging while others can send you to sleep.

Things to avoid

It’s all too easy to slip into that monotone way of speaking especially when you’re not getting live feedback from your audience. This monotone voice is to be avoided at all costs as it will certainly have you audience switching off and never coming back, leaving your podcast among the crowded backwaters of audio presentations.

Another thing that’ll have your audience running for the hills is too much tech talk that is not converted into plain english for all to understand. Part of that is the use of TLAs or Three Letter Acronyms, of course not all acronyms are limited to three letters so avoid all acronyms unless you are following them up in that same sentence with the full description. If you’re using an acronym a lot throughout your podcast consider explaining what it means a few times so people can make sense of what you’re saying without having to look it up externally to your podcast.

Things to do

Making your podcast interesting and, importantly, sharable can be easy but it takes practice. Try thesse things in your next podcast audio presentation:

  • Vocal Variety (tone, speed, and volume)
  • Change in volume of your voice (both louder and softer)
  • Add interest by maybe whispering into the mic (get closer to the mic)
  • Add more energy into your voice
  • Get excited about the subject

try these things and compare your recording with a previous recording and I’m sure that you will notice the difference. You’ll also notice the difference in your listenership.

What about sharing

Most people will be happy to share your podcast with their contacts who they think would benefit. However, most will not think about sharing your podcast so you’ll need to ask them to do it. Provide easy ways to share and guide your audience to the click to share buttons.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed and gained something from this short article and overview. Please do share it with your contacts ūüôā

Is a Smartphone Good Enough

Is a Smartphone Good Enough


Hi and welcome back to the how to start and grow your YouTube channel.

What I want to look at today is what sort of equipment can you start off with okay I’ve got radio microphones like wireless microphones I’ve got a Lumix G90 camera which is pretty decent gives great quality video and grateful quality still images as well if you want to take some still images to put into your video production when I started making videos and some of the advice I would give to my small business clients way back behind 5 10 years ago was if you have a smart phone you can use that now I’ve got a iPhone 10 and what I’m gonna do is just click the record button now and excuse the phone being in front of the lens there but what I want to do is just get get a bit of framing done on on the phone just to make it look about right so it’s all got this nice white background going on lots of sunshine which my might make it look a bit bright but I’ve got the the camera the phone held in my hand here and I’m gonna switch to the iPhone footage now and now we are gonna switch away from looking at that camera which is still recording and looking straight at the lens which is up at the top of the iPhone and just talking to that lens making sure that I’m making a connection with you people the other side now I’m holding it with my hand and it might look a bit shaky although the iPhone 10 is pretty good at steadying the footage so my it might be shaky it might not but we’ll see in the Edit and later on in the series I’ll be making videos about how to edit what software you might want to use how you can edit on mobile devices like an iPhone or an iPad my arms are getting tired so I’m going to switch back to this camera and get on we’re talking to you about the equipment you need as you can see the iPhone or any smartphone with video capability and for that matter any cheap camera that can take video so long as you can get that video off the camera onto a device where you can edit or in the early days I would do what I would call one take wonders I would think about a subject that I wanted to talk about and I would just put the put the iPhone up on a shelf and I would just start to talk and that confidence to talk came out of my time I spent at a Toastmasters club the Brighton and Hove speakers club down in Sussex in the UK spent five over five years five and a half years just learning a process of talking being confident and comfortable with public speaking and if you if you’re not that sure about public speaking speaking to a camera which is public speaking it’s still daunting isn’t it you should maybe consider going to your local Toastmasters club there’ll be one within a few miles of you but I would pop the camera or the iPhone up on a shelf I would practice practice practice my talk and maybe I’d make two three four five minute video and I just go into it and just get started talking if I did lots of arms as you know that sort of hesitation they could always be cut out and you could shorten your video down to really really concise message and then publish but I hope that’s been helpful I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the difference between a steadied camera on a tripod and let me let me just let me just record the one on what I’m seeing this is what I’m looking at right now you see the road radio mic receiver on the top there I’ve got the flip out screen going over there and well that’s that’s the nice steady I’ve got the tripod there you can see the place where I’m at in the background I’m actually on a campsite in Sweden right now and you know it it just goes to prove that you can formulate a message record it and get it out there wherever you are so long as you have something to record it you have a message and you have some internet access anyway that’s it for today thanks so much for watching hope you enjoyed see the differences between the types of kit that you can get started with the main messages here get started the kit doesn’t matter I’ll see you again next time bye bye for now

Start a Youtube Channel

Start a Youtube Channel

Video Transcript (scroll down for the video)

Welcome to this first in a series of how¬†to start and grow your YouTube channel.¬†I guess you’re here because you want to¬†have a following, you’ve got a brand¬†that you want to promote, you just want to get¬†your message out there in a forum that¬†lots of people can and will consume.¬†

They say “CONTENT IS KING” and these days¬†content in the form of video presentation¬†is one of the best ways to get your¬†message out there. I want to show you how¬†to build and grow your YouTube channel¬†and I’m filming this as a demonstration.

I’m outside at a country park, I’m¬†actually in a nature reserve in Sweden¬†and so you know you can film pretty much¬†anywhere to be able to get your message¬†out.

Now you might wonder how do I get¬†this nice white background, well let me¬†show you what it really is, so here you¬†go this is what the nice white¬†background is. I’m standing in front of¬†my motorhome that I use to travel¬†around the UK and Europe. You see, I want¬†to prove to people that you can start¬†and grow your YouTube channel with¬†almost any type of equipment and from¬†almost anywhere and still make it look¬†pretty good so that you can get your¬†message out now my message that I want¬†to get out there to people just like you¬†is that you can start and grow your¬†YouTube channel and you don’t need any¬†fancy kit ok I’ve got some slightly¬†fancy kit like a lapel microphone or¬†Lavelier Mic¬†with a radio transmitter like this.¬†These are from RODE the RodeLink System¬†but there’s all sorts of other¬†much much cheaper ways of doing that,¬†you can have a wired lapel mic you can¬†stand closer to a camera without an¬†external microphone so I’ll be running¬†through all of the equipment that you¬†must have all the equipment that would¬†be nice to have and some of the¬†equipment that would be really dream¬†stuff if you really want to go into the¬†higher quality production values of¬†almost cinematic video most of us don’t¬†need that to get our message out there¬†we just need something like a smart¬†phone a way to hold it steady or not if¬†you’re walking around and getting your¬†message really really well honed and¬†I’ll be talking about how you can¬†improve your presentation skills on¬†camera so that you get into a¬†conversation with your audience and one¬†of the things I love to do is to look at¬†the camera and notice I’ve got my¬†sunglasses on there’s a bit of sunshine¬†around clouds come over a lot of people¬†make the mistake of when they’ve got a¬†camera with a flip-out screen they look¬†at themselves like this and that’s¬†really disconcerting for you guys isn’t¬†it because I’m talking to myself rather¬†than to you and one of the things one of¬†the little tips I’m going to be walking¬†you through and how to do this and how¬†to get comfortable is to look straight¬†down that lens and make that connection¬†like I’m hoping and making a connection¬†with you right now hope you enjoy the¬†series don’t forget to come back on¬†publishing videos¬†so twice a week depending on where I’m¬†traveling and how the internet is for me¬†to upload but I’ll be doing that and¬†hoping to get two videos a week out on¬†Tuesdays and Fridays so check back then¬†don’t forget if you want to get involved¬†and learn how to start and grow a¬†YouTube channel following my journey¬†because I’m starting and hopefully¬†growing this YouTube channel subscribe¬†and if you’ve liked this video click the¬†thumbs up button oh if you want to get¬†notified about videos that are coming¬†out there’s a little bear icon next to¬†the subscribe button after you’ve¬†clicked it click that and turn on all¬†notifications I’ll see you again next¬†time thanks for watching bye bye

Series Introduction

Series Introduction


Hi, I’m Steve Counsell and I guess you’re here because you’re thinking about starting your own YouTube channel, well you’re in the right place because I’m about to start that journey with you.

I’m going to show you exactly what it takes and all of the steps to get your own channel up and running.

What it takes to promote it and to get subscribers and views.

In this video series, I’ll show you how to monetise your YouTube channel through Adsense, Affiliate Marketing and by selling products from your video.

This isn’t the first YouTube Channel I’ve started, I’ve run other YouTube channels and helped small businesses to start up their own in order to promote their business, services, and products.

Why not follow me on my brand new journey and let’s be successful on YouTube together.


Watch the video below and then follow the link at the end for more detailed information and training on how to get your Youtube Journey to provide you with the recognition you deserve.