About Atkinson Communications

Unique approach to speaking and presentation based on original research that first came to public notice when a televised experiment showed how Dr Max Atkinson coached a novice with no experience of speaking in public to win a standing ovation at the SDP annual conference in 1984.


Max Atkinson's imagesacademic background:
From 1974-1986, he was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, having formerly lectured at the universities of Lancaster and Manchester. He was a visiting professor at the Henley Management College from 1986 to 2006 and has also been visiting professor at Duke University, North Carolina and the universities of Vienna  and Stockholm .


Speaker training for business leaders:

He's helped managers in numerous companies and organisations in the UK and abroad to improve their presentations, often working individually with CEOs and other board level executives.


Speaker training for political leaders:

In 1985, he ran a seminar on speech writing in the Reagan White House, and was a close advisor on presentation and communication to Paddy Ashdown throughout his leadership of the Liberal Democrats (1988-1999).

"Neither politicians nor business leaders can lead today without the   ability to communicate with audiences. They have two choices: (1) be born with the ability, or (2) read Max Atkinson's books and learn." - Michael Sheehan (speech coach to Bill Clinton and president, Sheehan Associates, Washington, D.C.)

"No one surpasses Atkinson in the rigor and clarity with which he spells out how to move audiences to applause, get quoted in the media and become known as the most brilliant presence on any podium." - Clark Judge (former speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan and managing director, White House Writers Group, Washington, D.C.

Now semi-retired from running large scale courses, Atkinson still does personal coaching for individuals, especially in the not-for-profit sector.

What We Do

What makes our approach different?


Design public speaking and presentation skills courses, coaching and speech writing services to clients in private and public sectors.

What makes our approach different?

Delegate feedback regularly singles out three factors: 

  1. The focus on how to make more effective use of language. 
  2. The fact that the techniques are soundly based on original research into verbal and non-verbal communication, and audience reactions to different styles of speaking.
  3. How to avoid inflicting death from 1,000 slides. 


Personal coaching

For reasons of time or confidentiality, some clients prefer a programme of individual coaching, often geared towards preparing for a major speech or presentation.

Speech-writing & editing


Max Atkinson has run courses on presentation skills, advanced presentation skills, public speaking, speech writing, etc. for companies and organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including:


Adult Learning Inspectorate

Allied Irish Bank

Association of British Insurers


Audi UK


Beck & Pollitzer

Boston Consulting Group


Boehringer Ingelheim


British Association of Medical Management

British Gas

British Heart Foundation

British Sugar



Cable and Wireless


Carnaud Metalbox

Cayman Islands Stock Exchange

Civil Service College


Charities Aid Foundation

Commission for Racial Equality


DAF Trucks

De La Rue

Department of Health

Deutsche Bank



European Central Bank

European Commission

Federal Express

Freight Transport Association

Food Standards Agency

GE Energy

Granada Television

Greater London Authority

Guardian Newspapers

Government Office for the South East

Henley Management College

Hill & Knowlton (Brussels and Oslo)

HM Treasury

Hudson Advisors




HM Treasury



Law Society


Lloyds Bank

London Business School

London Weekend Television

McKinsey & Co

MAN Trucks

Mars Group

Mid-Glamorgan HealthAuthority

N Power

National Farmers’ Union

National Housing Federation

NatWest Markets

North West Thames Regional Health Authority


PDL BioPharma





Red Bull UK

Roche Nicholas

Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Mail

Royal Shakespeare Company

Royal Society of Chemistry

Save the Children

Scottish Life


Smiths Industries

Standard Chartered Bank




University & Colleges Union


Virgin Group

S G Warburg

Westcountry Television

West Kent Health Authority

Further Reading

Books available by Dr Max Atkinson

Lend Me Your Ears: All you need to know...


 Speech Making and Presentation Made Easy




Our Masters' Voices: The Language and Body-language of Politics





Contact Us

Feel free to contact us, with the web form below or contact details.


Rose Cottage

Perch Hill

Tel:  01749 870600
Email. maxatkinson@speaking.co.uk