Jackie Barrie: Speaker

“I have had the pleasure of attending several presentations delivered by Jackie on a range of subjects and every time she is able to keep the full attention of the audience, with a range of audience participation activities. She always knows her subject matter in great depth and comes across very confident and professional. I would have no hesitation in recommending Jackie to deliver a presentation for your company.”
Alan Timms, Regional Manager, MTU at Santander UK Corporate & Commercial

Still a hands-on copywriter after over 30 years, I also speak and train for clients around the world. My core topics include clear communications, copywriting skills and effective websites.

Mixing in audience participation activities helps break up a long conference or training session, and injects a valuable boost of energy and laughter. My delivery style includes interactive and fun icebreakers, energisers and activities that keep your audience engaged while also embedding your valuable message. Most of the exercises I use are are simple, low-tech and low-cost, but they get a great reaction as shown in the examples below.

Let’s discuss some ideas…

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Icebreakers and energisers for speakers and trainers

Everybody talks about audience engagement and clients increasingly ask speakers to run an interactive session – but not everyone does it well. This session connects with my new book on the subject.

Participants experience a range of my tried-and tested icebreakers, energisers and games that inject energy into the room and help embed the learning for attendees. By incorporating elements of experiential learning and gamification into their talks, speakers and trainers will appeal to more audiences and ultimately get more bookings.

This session is highly interactive and lasts from 30 to 60 minutes. Ideally, it needs a room with plenty of space to move around. So far, I’ve run it in England, Scotland and Canada. Holland is next on the list…

  • Best time to deliver this talk? When you want to lift the energy in the room e.g. before a break
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4 x 4 x 4 approach to your website

I’ve delivered this popular 30-minute talk several times since 2014, both in the UK and South Africa. It suits sole traders, entrepreneurs and business-owners who write their own web copy – because they don’t know what they don’t know. I usually customise the case studies to feature the websites of the people in the room. (I use screenshots to demonstrate best practice; I don’t name and shame anyone.)

It’s a good fit with my third book The Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website which can be bought in bulk and given as a gift afterwards.

  • Best time to deliver this talk? When attendees are responsible for their own web content
  • Variation: Criminal mistakes businesses make on their website (top ten rundown)
  • Another variation: Homepage headlines

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Why your job ads don’t work

I was invited to deliver a five-minute talk one evening for an audience of recruiters. It was in Petcha Kutcha style with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds.

“Jackie was a speaker at our inaugural Inspire Recruitment event. In short she “Nailed it”, She took a potentially boring subject and made it interesting and exciting for the audience. Her delivery style showed not only her ability to engage a crowd but her commitment to tailoring her presentation to the audience. I would not hesitate to have Jackie speak at another of my events.”
Alex Moyle

“Jackie spoke at our inaugural Inspire Recruitment event and gave a very engaging presentation to the audience. It was a delight to work with Jackie both before and during the event. I’d be very happy to recommend Jackie to speak at future events.”
Louise Triance ‘Hub of the UK recruiting industry’

The talk can be adapted for any other audience – without the Petcha Kutcha format, it could be expanded to 10 or 20 minutes and include more detail.

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Quality v quantity networking

I was invited to run a networking session for the Young Director Forum at the IoD. I included my famous ‘networking bingo’ as an icebreaker and example of ‘quantity’ networking. I then divided attendees into groups using ‘fuzzy balls’ to present to each other for one-minute each as an example of ‘quality’ networking. Finally, I drew out some key lessons for them to take away.

Here’s a brief snippet that captures the energy that resulted in the room:

“You were excellent and spot on for our crowd. That was one of the buzziest nights we’ve had and that was down to your injection of energy.”
David Gordon, Chairman, IoD Young Directors’ Forum

  • Best time to run this exercise? Just before a break
  • Variations: Snowball fight – a fun way of getting people to mix and mingle. Card matching – a creative way of getting people into groups.
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Paper-tearing exercise

This is one of my most popular and memorable activities to demonstrate the importance of communication. Lots of other lessons can be drawn from the exercise too. Having done it hundreds of times, I’ve only had to give away money twice. Hmm, interesting…

Here’s how it works (sorry about the poor sound):

“Many thanks for your excellent talk on Thursday. I expected it to be good and wasn’t disappointed. I particularly liked the paper-tearing exercise.”
Huw Williams, Croydon Ecademy
  • Best time to run this exercise? When you want to improve delegates’ communication skills or teach them to respect and understand individual differences.
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Tart up your tagline

This 20-minute talk puts my copywriting skills to the test, as I rewrite the taglines of three volunteers – instantly – by playing the role of a 10-year-old, their ideal client, and Judge Jackie. While being entertained, audience members learn valuable lessons they can take away to help bring clarity to their own core message. This highly involving and interactive talk can be followed up by a bespoke training session for your team.

“With high energy and audience participation, Jackie’s talk was informative, entertaining and engaging. The volunteers who agreed to be featured benefited from personalised advice, while the rest of the audience came away with bucket-loads of tips to put into practice.”
Jackie Groundsell, Beckenham Business Association
  • Best time to deliver this talk? When attendees are responsible for writing their own core message
  • Variations: Count the dots (the importance of standing out)
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