presentation skills — lessons from a solicitor & a message for founders

Most presentation skills and public speaking articles are focused on politicians, celebrities or those who have graced the platform of I’m as guilty as everyone else in fixating on such a select group.

Every now and then someone stands to speak who isn’t world famous or simply in the public eye. That person has a message; a belief and a passion to change the world in their own small way and the rest of us get to learn from them. We get to see and feel the power of words and belief in a way that inspires us to stand back, breathe and take stock.

Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of attending an event in London hosted by an incredible entrepreneur, founder and spectacular speaker. Shainul Kassam, who is the founder of Fortune Law a corporate and commercial law firm in London, spoke at the launch of DRIVE, a brilliantly conceived initiative to bring founders and entrepreneurs together.

Shainul was kind enough to let me have details of her speech although what this doesn’t of course reveal is the eloquence, beauty and belief in the way she delivered it.

Here are the written words which were delivered with enormous impact and grace.

“Starting a business is an act of pure rebellion.

At Fortune Law we know this because that’s how we started.

Tonight is a celebration.

It’s easy to celebrate the successes of others; it’s much harder to celebrate your own.

It’s down to that voice inside your head you know the one I mean — the one that whispers imposter. You’re nowhere near where you’re meant to be. That voice that says don’t rest, don’t sleep. You can sleep when you’re dead. Stay up. Stay up and fight. There’s no time. Time is money.

And a moment later, don’t listen to that, you can do it, you’re almost there.

Don’t give up, don’t give up, ever.

Don’t get distracted.

Keep your eye on the ball, I believe in you.

You’re never going to make it, what were you thinking!

You fool.

The market is saturated you can’t make a difference.

It’s visionary, no one has ever done this before, and it’s incredible; you are going to be a legend.

No one has ever done this before; it’s ridiculous, you’re insane!

Sound familiar?

We battle to silence out the negative and instead try and persuade the positive to take centre stage, and we succeed; for a while.

If only the positive would stay put.

It’s relentless, isn’t it?

There’s no time to celebrate the successes.

The big ones

The little ones

The life changing contract

Getting the key to your new premises

Hitting your month end target

Someone passing their probationary period

The final investor saying yes on the day of closing

Finding the right supplier

Not only isn’t there time, there is a bigger picture, a wider vision.

There is always the next mountain to climb.

Every obstacle brings you closer to your destination and before you arrive you map out the next stop on the long rocky road of achievement. But it’s important to take stock to remember why you do what you do and why it’s worth it.

So tonight’s the night to celebrate you and what you’ve achieved so far. Tonight is also an opportunity to connect you with our other founder clients, our founder friends and our wider Fortune Law network.

It’s useful to hear of the experiences of others. Whether they are dizzying successes or battles hard fought and scars well earned.

I believe we all have to make our own mistakes.

But ideas? Ideas it’s said are the true currency of the 21st century. Ideas change the world.

This is one of the reasons we are launching DRIVE tonight.

So what is DRIVE?

DRIVE is a series of direct interviews with Rebels. With founders who with significant courage have decided to go it alone. Over the years we have had the honour of meeting so many founders whom we have had the privilege to represent.

Thank you to our clients.

We know you; we believe in you, we will fight for you. We will defend you.

We have also met so many other founders who have generously shared their journey and networks with us. We thank you and we cheer for you.

The connections we have made, the stories we have heard and the journeys we have witnessed have inspired us. What should you do when you come across something good? You should share it. Your experiences should be made known.

So who’s in the room?

We have founders who are just about to incorporate a company or start a fund, founders who have closed a seed or Series B, founders who have been in business for over 30 years having built businesses across both sides of the Atlantic. We have founders who are building something that has never existed before. We have founders who are in tech, hospitality, retail, finance. We have founders who support founders whether they are in law, finance, insurance, PR or accounts. We have investors who invest in start-ups and we have the press.

Truth be told, we don’t know where DRIVE might lead.

We’re excited ourselves about the outcome of putting a room of formidable people with great ideas together to see where these take you and your businesses.

Maybe you’ll network.

Maybe you’ll create a movement.

These are your stories and storytelling changes the world.

It’s up to us.

There’s someone in this room for everyone. Someone who will hear your story, will change their life.

Carlotta will be set up downstairs this evening to film founder stories so please do take a script card with our DRIVE questions and find Katherine to let her know you’d like to take part. We will also be arranging filming dates in London first in the next few weeks.

Then who knows? Share your story because your business deserves it. Whether it’s making your product or service known to a wider audience or to enable you to focus for a moment on what’s really important.

This is one way of taking some time out to work on the business. No one is going to drive your business forward as hard and as fast as you.

So first we’re going to see a short video to show you what DRIVE is all about. The screen is a little smaller than I expected but it’s not just what you see it’s what you hear that’s important. Then drinks, food, filming, sharing ideas, dancing maybe? And some magic.

Tonight is your night.

We want to celebrate you, because you’re the reason we get up in the morning.

Enjoy it.

Own it.

Celebrate your success!

Tomorrow, you can change the world.

Thank you. “

This is an extremely mindful and well written speech which to ensure its impact most professionals wouldn’t leave anything to chance and read it word for word.

Shainul didn’t do this. She glanced at it a couple of times but she didn’t need to read it because she believed every word.

If only I had filmed her short speech but unfortunately I didn’t.

If you are a founder and entrepreneur who may be interested in learning more about drive the following YouTube film will set you on your way.

If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.





Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.

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Maurice DeCastro

Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.

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