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Confidence Tricks 8. Sir Walter Scott- Powerful Words

Confidence Tips. Powerful Words – Sir Walter Scott.

Voice, confidence & presentation coaching with Alan Mars
Voice, confidence & presentation coaching with Alan Mars



Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was an internationally famous writer in his day. His books are still being read and made into television serials and films. Many of his quotations have become embedded in our daily speech. So who did Scott turn to for inspiration?

‘Long life to thy fame and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns! When I want to express a sentiment which I feel strongly, I find the phrase in Shakespeare — or thee.”  The Burns Encyclopedia

Well there you have the answer – to Robert Burns or to Shakespeare.

When you are preparing a presentation or speech and you are struggling to express yourself with the appropriate power and grace… STOP! No need to re-invent the wheel. It’s really easy to get hold of powerful quotations by going into Google and simply entering the keyword “quotations” into the search box.

Often the best quotations will be heard from the mouths of humble people like ourselves in the midst of ordinary daily life.

Don’t hide behind quotations but, rather, use to bring out the piquancy, passion and precision of your own words. 


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This is a tale of how two Alexander Technique teachers’ were humiliated by a Viennese granny.
They do really do Christmas cheer well in Vienna. All the atmosphere and none of the stress of the UK. They even lay-on snow! Most years anyway…

My partner and I took a walk in Cobenzl, the Vienna woods, of a Sunday afternoon. A bit of a thaw had set in. The paths were perilously icey with only the edges still a little bit snowy. My partner had recently sustained a knee injury in Scottish country dancing ( that’s another story! ) and was doubly cautious. We crept stiffly along the side of the path staring fixedly at the ground two feet in front of us… when a Viennese granny powered past us at a high rate of knots, smiling broadly and drinking in the glorious surroundings with her eyes!

“How embarrassing” said my partner…“Yes, love, but you’ve got to consider that she’s got two specialised walkers’ sticks”And then a couple of runners, about our own age, overtook us, apparently oblivious to the danger underfoot!We crept on.

Not to be defeated, I asserted “But these Viennese know how to select the right type of ice gripping footwear.” A family, with three kids, ranging from nine to thirteen years, all wearing standard, international brand, trainers swept past us, deep in happy conversation… I decided to keep my mouth shut.

My partner, a Viennese resident, said “The Austrians just do snow so much better than we Brits. They all ice-skate and toboggan from infancy. They go on obligatory skiing courses in secondary school. And they all learn to waltz in sixth form. Here in the forest at least they are the Alexander experts.”

We didn’t adapt to ice anything like as easily as we adapted to water in Venice. But we still applied the Alexander Technique. When we walked we just walked. And when wanted to look we stopped. “Inhibited” to use the Alexander jargon. And marveled at the snowy, Christmas card, forest around us.