My name is Georgina Kirk (but please call me Georgie) and I’m a coach/trainer and speaker, based in Manchester, UK. In one capacity or another, I’ve been a teacher, trainer or coach all my adult life and I love it!
My first job was as an IT trainer in London. After that, I spent two wonderful years in Milan, teaching English and presentation skills to Italian businesspeople. Back in Britain, I opened my own language school/training company, teaching European and Oriental languages to adults, alongside personal/professional-development training (presentation, interviews – essentially, what I do now).
I’ve got a BA in Italian & Russian and a Master’s in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations, both from Manchester University. I’m fascinated not only by language but also by psychology and spent four years (one weekend a month) studying Transactional Analysis at the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy.
Partly because I’m a firm believer in constantly exploring and learning, and partly because it’s good for me – both personally and professionally – to be the student sometimes, I regularly attend training courses in areas about which I know very little and push myself to acquire new skills. These range from the civilised (photography, journalism) through the reasonably challenging (clay-pigeon shooting, mountain navigation) to the way-out-of-my-comfort-zone (outdoor survival).
In 2009, I went freelance because I wanted the freedom to travel, and I chose to focus entirely on public speaking. As a coach and a professional speaker, in normal times I work all over the UK. Since coronavirus, that hasn’t been happening, but the upside is I’ve been working with clients all over the world, because Zoom brings everyone together.
My opinion as a public-speaking coach has been sought by Sky News and the BBC and quoted by journalists in the TES and Unilad.
In the Handbook of Quality Assurance for University Teaching, published in 2019 by Routledge, I contributed chapter 30, based on my experience coaching university lecturers.
I’m currently writing a book of my own on the subject of… guess what? … public speaking. It should be ready by May 2021.
I grew up believing I was something pretty special. That sense children have of being the centre of the universe never really left me.
In my first job, as an IT trainer, I reckoned my company and all the clients were exceedingly fortunate to have me around. I was so busy being brilliant and wise and entertaining that I didn’t notice people rolling their eyes and sighing and tutting.
At this stage, of course, I never used to prepare for public speaking at all. I imagined I could talk for hours, eloquently and compellingly, off the cuff. I also imagined people wanted to listen, for as long as I wanted to talk.
After a few years, the truth began to dawn on me – and it came as quite a shock. I slid into depression and became a recluse. I agonised over every word I uttered, flagellating myself if I was less than smooth on the telephone when booking a dentist appointment. The dreaded day I had to make a little speech at a community meeting, I read from a tight script and couldn’t raise my eyes from the page.
So I’ve seen public speaking from both sides. As I recovered from my depression, I studied everything I could find about human interaction and communication, tried it out, discussed it with people and synthesised a formula for success, which I now share with my clients.