Professional speaker, Graham Jones, was one  of the judges at the London inter-schools Public Speaking Competition held in Hammersmith and Fulham last night (Friday 15th October 2010). Graham had been invited in his role as President of the Professional Speaking Association and was one of five judges, including public speaking champions and a TV presenter. After the contest, Graham presented the prizes together with the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Adronie Alford.

Graham said: “I was really honoured to have been asked to present the prizes and judge this contest. The children were just fabulous. Some real professional speakers in the making.”

The event saw 16 children competing in the finals for a £200 cash prize as well as an iPod and a personal tour of BBC TV Centre and the chance for them to present their own news bulletin.

Graham added: “Every one of these youngsters is an excellent public speaker. And that’s fantastic news because speaking is such an important skill – often neglected. But something like 60% of the time spent by a CEO is in speaking in public. The higher up the hierarchy you go, the more important public speaking becomes. Getting it right at an early age is a huge asset to future potential”.

He said that teenager should be encouraged to take part in as much public speaking as they could. “It will really enhance their career prospects,” said Graham.

The competition was organised by Peak Performance Plus and was held at the Burlington Danes Academy – one of the UK’s most improved schools, according to OFSTED.

“Teenagers often get a bad press,” said Graham Jones, “on visiting this school and meeting so many of them tonight, I am solidly convinced that this reputation is completely undeserved. I met a bunch of polite, helpful, eager and intelligent children who provided an example that many adults could learn from.”

In three weeks time, Graham is judging a similar competition between schools in Birmingham.

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