A little over four years ago, I was invited to write a weekly education column for the Suns, a community newspaper published each Tuesday as an insert in the Northern Territory News.

The Suns has gone through a number of changes over time, and I am outlining distribution as it happens in 2017. The Suns is also published as a stand alone paper which people can pick up for free.

Along with other NT News products it is also available online.

This week was my 200th column for the Suns, my first being published on July 2, 2013. I have enjoyed developing the column and can confirm that educational topics are never-ending.

My columns are necessarily edited for inclusion in the paper. Unedited versions are published on my blog at

I have enjoyed giving back and giving to the community through my column. Many people comment to me and generally in terms of appreciation. It is a nice and personally rewarding way of engaging with the community in a volunteer context.

And I wanted to share my 200th celebration on my blog.


Henry Gray


Tip 40


There are far too many presenters who are quietly regarded as ‘know-alls’ – and not in a particularly complimentary manner. They may well be very knowledgeable in their fields. However, if they present to their audience in a ‘high and mighty’ manner, then the respect that might be theirs for a more wholesome and humble presentation will be lost.

The MANNER in which a presenter relates to his or her audience is of absolute and paramount importance.

Tip 41

Note: The next few snippets are offered from the position of listening to presenters on radio or viewing them on television. There are of course parallels to be observed and appreciated in a live audience context.


When watching television or listening to the radio, listen intently to what is said and how the presenter comes across on the screen. Consider his or her speech from the viewpoints of pitch, rhythm, tone and intonation. Does the voice catch on and engaged you or is style a bit of a turn off. The way in which vocal qualities engage (or disengage) listeners is every so important.

Think about what you are hearing and make mental notes about the example this presenter or speaker is offering. To study others can help in reflecting upon the need for personal awareness and self improvement.

More to come in the next few days.



I hope people may be finding these useful.

Tip 36


* “Andrew fix him up”: Should be “Andrew, please fix it up.”

* “You staying back for five minutes.”: Should be “You will be staying back for five minutes.”

* “Tell something about what you learned.”: Should be “Tell me (or us) something about what you have learned.”

* “Today the last one.” : Should be “Today is the last one.”

* “Are you talking something about your story?” You should have said “Are you talking about your story?”( The word ‘something’ was not needed.

* “Please come to sit on the floor” should be “Please come and sit on the floor.”

Tip 37


* The shape is “rhombus ” not “rhombos” -pronunciation.

* “Depth” not “depf” -pronunciation and substitution of “f” for “th” in word usage.

* “You like this song?” should be “Do you like this song?”. Always use “do” as an upfront word when asking a question of this nature.

* “Carbor box” should have been “cardboard box”.

* “Pu your hands up” is “put your hands up”. Always use “please” when asking this of children because that is modeling the manners we want of them.

* “Look at here” should be “Look up here”. Again the use “please” at the front of a request is important.


Tip 32


In a role with the Charles Darwin University I was working with a number of International Students. Most were undertaking one year Graduate Diplomas in Education. Part of my role was to observe them in classroom teaching situations, advising on teaching methodologies and voice usage. Some of the points I made with members of the group overtime are included below. They tend to be points of pronunciation and speech application that needed a little attention. I’m I am including these points as they build up over time to become a statement of things to watch that I could share.

Tip 33

Some things to watch:

* Your pronunciation and use of ‘sh’ – you tend to go to ‘s’ with words.

* The need to be aware of the fact that some words (ie ‘sugar’ are said as ‘shugar’ although they are spelled without that sound (sh) being emphasised.

* Similarly with ‘cl’ ie ‘in the next class’, not ‘in the next cass’.

* Similarly with ‘th’ ie ‘thirty centimeters’ not ‘tirty centimetres’.

* Sometimes you miss plurals, ie ‘use your coloured pencils’ not ‘use your coloured pencil’.

* “How many we need?” should be “How many do we need?”



Continuing the series. I hope they are of use.

Tip  22


* Look at people. Don’t look over them, under them or around them.

* Engage people individually and collectively through eye contact. Rest on individuals and cover the audience.

* Make your eyes friendly, encouraging and inviting.

* Avoid flat or hostile eyes.

* Eyes are the most important parts of the anatomy when it comes to gesture.

Tip 23


* Needs to be compatable with the presenter and magnifying of speech.

* Gesture is a tool that can help emphasise and reinforce points.

* Overdoing gesture can undermine conversation because recipients are studying aspects of body language rather than listening to what is being said.

* Objects in hands can distract.


Continuing some thoughts on this very important subject

Tip 16
As a presenter, never resort to SARCASM or berate others when dealing with those who have counter viewpoints to what you are espousing. This indulgence can only ever lead to self- belittlement.

When addressing MULTICULTURAL AUDIENCES it is critically important to deliver the message honestly, but without offending race, culture or creed. That can so easily happen and consequences can hurt.

Be presenters for whom LISTENERS THIRST. Don’t be a presenter causing audience to wish either you or they were elsewhere. It can and does happen. How do we guard against this being a consequence?


Tip 17
The proof of the message imparted by a good presenter is the life changing impact that can happen in and for the lives of others. Words are powerful artefacts of social and cultural expression.

It matters not if your audience is big or small. All those who come to hear you are paying you respect. Respect them in turn by offering the best delivery possible.

Should the development of speech and speaking programs be part of the curriculum available to children and students of all ages? 



This is the third instalment of this segment


After presenting, take a few minutes to self reflect and evaluate your delivery. Be analytical. Self praise and reflect on things you might do differently. Make a few notes on pros and cons.

Keep a notebook or a running file in which you note things being done well and mastered. Also note speech and speaking challenges that continue to confront you during your development.

Appreciate the speech efforts of others and where appropriate commend them on strong points of delivery and impact of message. Have the confidence to offer advice in a non – threatening or ‘put down’ manner. People can only improve if they know where areas of challenge exist.


Consider SOCRATIC DISCUSSION. It is a method of engaging presenters and recipients in great discourse methodology. It is superior as a way of developing shared learning and understanding.

The Socratic method of discussion helps students think logically and in a problem solving way. It focuses on issues and messengers rather than messengers. It uplifts debate and brings everyone into the conversational frame. If the discussion area is appropriately set, it ensures everyone is on the same level, with all participants able to see each other’s faces. There is no talking to the back of hears, rather the opportunity to engage in meaningful visual and eye contact.

Think of having someone as a CRITICAL COLLEAGUE offer you feedback on your presentations. Ask for recognition of your strengths and constructive criticism on things you might improve in future.

The presentation challenge is everlasting. We never reach the pinnacle. If we feel we have made it, with nothing left to learn, our slide into the area of lesser effectiveness begins immediately.

Encourage those in your workplaces, to consider speech and speaking development. So many people are frightened of dealing with the public because they lack communications confidence. Help them up.

Consider developing and including a MISSION STATEMENT of 25 words or less on the reverse side of your business or personal card. I did this from 1983. It can make a significant impact when shared.

When speaking to an audience be meticulous about acknowledging your sources if using quotes or referring to a particular thesis of thought. Plagiarism may not be intended but can be a speech blot.

Know your AUDIENCE CONTEXT and speak in a genre with which they are familiar and therefore feel comfortable. Talking above the heads of the audience would be unfortunate. Research audience background.
When speaking convey your RESPECT to and APPRECIATION of the audience. You commit to present and they commit to listen. Within every auditorium and lecture hall should exist a positive partnership.

It seems to me that school leaders, teachers, support staff and students are the ACTORS. The school and classrooms are stages. ‘Education’ is the plot and the future in life’s world the conclusion.

Can it happen that a speaker presenting the same content to a number of different audience groups can stereotype the presentation so those ending the speaking chain are unimpressed by the delivery?