Claptrap – World in Action

Part 1
Part 2

Covid 19 has meant that we have not been able to do any face-to-face coaching for three months. So we are now offering online coaching and courses via Zoom, etc., further details of which can be obtained by email (maxatkinson@speaking.co.uk) or phone (+44 (0)1749 870600).

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 – see parts 1 & 2 of Granada’s World in Action programme above.



Design of 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, speech-writing & editing

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


Max Atkinson’s academic 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 .

He was recently elected to a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences and was given a lifetime achievement award by the UK Speechwriters’ Guild.


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 the late Paddy Ashdown throughout his leadership of the Liberal Democrats (1988-1999) and when he was the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia Herzogovina.

“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.

Although Max no longer runs large-scale courses these days, he is still actively involved in writing speeches and coaching individuals on speechwriting, speech-making and presentation.


His books include:
Lend me Your Ears: All you need to know about making speeches and presentations
Speechmaking and Presentation Made Easy: seven essential steps to success

Our Masters’ Voices: The Language and body-language of politics


      Seen & Heard: in politics, in the media and around the world


One Comment

  1. Max AtkinsonAuthor 20 July 2020 Reply

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