110 years ago today, the Titanic was launched… or was it?

By Titanic, Valentine PalmerNo Comments

RMS Olympic (left) alongside RMS Titanic (right)

110 years ago today, the Titanic was launched at Harland and Wolfs’ Belfast shipyard. Or so they say. Adolf Hitler is alleged to have said that: ‘If you tell a big enough lie, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you.’ Well, Adolf got a long way with his biggest lie, that the Jews were the vermin of civilisation and should be exterminated. He slaughtered millions of them before the armies of right and might finally crushed him and his evil regime.

So, is the Titanic, and what happened to it, a big lie? One so big that millions have swallowed the story hook, line and sinker for over 100 years. My great uncle was Charles, Herbert Lightoller, the only senior officer to survive the sinking of the Titanic. In 2011, I was commissioned to write a book, telling all that I knew of the famous second officer and the ship that sank beneath him. It seemed like a pretty straightforward writing job until I started to research the accident in detail. I came across the work of an extraordinary man, whose conclusions regarding the loss of the Titanic have so often been subject to ridicule and mudslinging.  Yet, Robin Gardiner was an expert engineer who devoted many years of his life to proving that the giant liner that sank on that fateful night of 15th April 1912 was in fact her near-identical sister ship, Olympic. 

Titanic and the strange case of great uncle Bertie

Chapter 19, Page 144 is where the ‘swap’ story is investigated.

Robin Gardiner’s 2010 book, ‘The Great Titanic Conspiracy’, totally convinced me, by his meticulous research, expert mathematical calculations, and knowledge of ships and the sea.

Millions around the world have an emotional investment in the glamour of the great ‘unsinkable’ ship going down, carrying rich and poor to a shared icy grave. When my 2012 book came out, I was interviewed on radio and TV and asked to deliver lectures to audiences avid for a new story of their beloved Titanic. I have now, to confound my critics yet again, written a novel called simply, ‘Conspiracy’. And it does what it says on the cover. It imagines two young men stumbling upon the conspiracy around the loss of the Titanic. They are actually onboard the liner when she sinks, and they only escape with their lives by amazing good fortune. The men behind the greatest maritime swindle of all time will stop at nothing to prevent our heroes from publishing the true story of the sinking. But this book is an adventure story, involving, sex, violence, romance and mystery, not just a conspiracy theory. Watch out for its publication later this year.

Speak English perfectly! Announcing my Free 12-part video course for Indians.

By Course, The English Way, Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingNo Comments

What is ‘The English Way’?

Every nation has its own particular language and its own particular way of communicating. The way we English engage with the rest of the world is sometimes thought of as eccentric or old-fashioned, but we like to do it our way. It’s a way that isn’t always easy to assimilate for those not brought up in an English- speaking environment. For this reason, I was asked, some fours years ago, to devise a course for speakers of Indian languages residing in both mainland India and across the world. I called the course, ‘The English Way,’ and it’s designed to be totally immersive and unique, enabling students who complete it to converse and interact with speakers of the English language. The course conveys the nuances and main characteristics of the way we English live and move and have our being. Those who have experienced it say that it has made them ‘feel’ more English when engaging with those from English speaking nations. 

The course consists of 12 videos demonstrating the particular tones, tunes and rhythms of English. When a child is very young, the language spoken by those around the infant are absorbed in its sense memory and stored there. That’s how we learn to talk, but when, in later years, the person decides to speak English, if it is not their native tongue, their use of the new language will always carry the tune, tone and rhythm of the language heard around them in their formative years. 

Something else of concern to those visiting, working in or living in an English-speaking environment is the customs and general behaviour of the English. What we eat, how we are entertained, our strange habits and customs. All these are dealt with in ’The English Way’ so that those who have studied it to the full can become at will truly English. 

In order that the vital information contained in, ‘The English Way’ can be freely available to all who need it, there is no charge for the 12-part course of video, e-books and audios, ideally studied over a twelve-week period.

The English Way CLICK HERE



What A Performance!

By Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingNo Comments

Now, there’s a fascinating phrase – ‘What a performance!’ English being the language that it is, what follows the phrase, ‘What a performance’ could be either complimentary or derogatory. As in – ‘What a performance – you pulled the place down!’ or ‘What a performance – what happened? Were you drunk?’

A performance, whether musical, theatrical or corporate consists of two main ingredients:

  1. Content.
  2. Delivery.

I’m sure that, like me, you love to watch TED talks on YouTube. Almost without exception, these performances have something unique to impart in the form of memorable content, a fresh take on a well-known subject, a new approach to an age-old problem. You have to audition to get accepted for a TED talk and your audition has to be unique and powerful.

At the moment, and for as long as our country’s anti-virus laws obtain, we still find ourselves having to communicate with friends, family, business associates and prospects through an electronic medium like Zoom. But it’s not the real thing. It’s just not like being in the same physical close proximity to the person you want to talk to, sharing their actual surroundings, breathing the same air.

When I first worked as a performer on television, the idea that my audience (hundreds of thousands) was seeing me through that cumbersome great TV camera was quite terrifying. And when the little red light on top of the camera went on, that meant that I was being instantly beamed into the sitting rooms of the nation. Yes, I started in live TV, and it was enough to make anyone extremely nervous. But eventually, you get used to it, although some major stars like ‘The Crown’s’ Olivia Coleman, admit to being paralysed by nerves every time the camera turns.

Your content in a Zoom call or a YouTube video may well consist of facts and figures, but it’s not always safe to assume that everybody watching you talks the same technical language as you do. Doctors, lawyers, bankers and specialists in many fields, all have their own language, liberally sprinkled with technical jargon and ‘professional speak’ that only a member of the same discipline can understand.

And what about delivery? Let’s assume that you’ve crafted a presentation designed to put your message across in a fascinating and easily followed fashion. Are you so enamoured by the content of your presentation that you fail to remember the golden rules of delivery?

Very often your Zoom call, or your appearance in a YouTube video, is someone’s first experience of seeing and hearing you. On screen, there are certain rules we should remember to obey. Most people talk too fast. On the whole, the smarter someone is the faster they tend to talk. I guess it’s all those unique and special thoughts in their brain fighting to get out and into your brain. When someone talks too fast, it can sound like nervousness or a ‘hard’ sell. Give the watcher time to catch up with each important point you make. But don’t be boring doing it, change the tone, tune and rhythm of your delivery.

And what about the pitch of your voice. Both men and women tend to find a deep, resonant voice comforting and convincing. So, where is your own voice? Is it, like many, high pitched and thin? Many people are so focused on their content, that they completely forget delivery. If you fail to take enough breath in at the start of a phrase or sentence, there is a strong likelihood that your voice will fall away before the end. And yet, very often, when we interface with others, some of the most important words come at the end of our sentences.

But a word of warning. Resist the temptation to go the other way and bellow. For many of us, an over assertive voice is as unappealing as a thin, high one. Practice makes perfect, they say, so vocal practice, as well as practicing the way you construct your script, is the route to online communicating success. After all – you only have one chance to make a first impression.


By Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingNo Comments

What is self-confidence?

You only exist as others perceive you.

Think about it. However you feel about yourself, people are going to sense it.

They’re going to pick up the ‘vibe’.

For instance, if you feel truly confident, you’ll project an aura of effortless sureness. You’ll appear to be absolutely sure about who you are and where you’re going.

If you’re really confident, you’ll be sure about what you want to say and how you want to say it. You’ll also give the impression of being able to get what you want.

How to gain self-confidence

If you think you don’t have this kind of ‘sureness’, how do you get to become really confident?

How do you create what you want in your life?

· By knowing exactly what you want.

· By believing that you can have it

· By taking the necessary actions to get what you want.

· By constantly stating it to yourself, as if you already have it.

The Vision Path

The thing you want is your vision and the way you get it is by traveling along your Vision Path.

Truly confident people have a drive and an energy that comes from being absolutely clear where they’re going and being absolutely certain that they’ll get there.

Confidence is contagious. It’s catching. That’s why companies want to employ confident people – they inspire others around them.

When you feel inspired, things start to happen: processes speed up, solutions are created, and objectives are reached with apparent ease.

The secret of how confident people get what they what

Once you experience feeling truly confident, what you want will be in the forefront of your mind all the times. Therefore you’ll be able to create something that never previously existed.

So, always keep in your mind what it is you want – not what it is you are trying to get rid of.

Here’s what you do:

1) You conceive of an idea and then you shape it into a vision.

2) Write down what this vision is.

3) Cut out pictures of the new house you want, the corporate headquarters of the company you want to work for, the car you want, and the garden you’d love to have.

4) Your vision could also be a business plan, a treatment for a movie, an initial blue print for a project, or just an increasingly clearer picture of who you really want to be.

5) Think about your visions daily. The best time to focus on them is first thing in the morning (when your brain is at its most retentive) and last thing at night (when the visions can sink into your sub-conscious while you sleep)

6) Whenever you spend time focused on your visions, see and experience it as if it’s already there, in existence.

7) Experience it for several minutes, feel it, walk around inside it, as it were. Use all your senses to make it appear as real as possible.

The energy you derive from this discipline will begin to shine forth and you’ll be projecting that wonderful aura of sureness and confidence. People will start to say of you, “There goes a really confident person!”


By Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingNo Comments


Hopes, dreams and visions

The late, great Steve Jobs once said: “Your time is limited. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

He also said: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying,

‘We’ve done something wonderful – that’s what matters to me.’

Some people have Hopes, some have Dreams and some have Visions.

What is a hope? It’s when someone says “I hope I get this job.” Or “I hope they buy my product.”

A hope is a nebulous thing. It doesn’t really exist and it has an element of possible failure about it.

A dream can be someone says, “I dream of retiring to a little cottage in the country” Or, “I dream of owning a Ferrari.”

A dream is something that only exists in a dream state. Not in reality.

The word Vision means to see. So a vision is something clearly seen in the mind’s eye. Like an inner movie running. For instance:

“I can see myself in a red Porsche 991 convertible.” Or “I can see myself as the CEO of a successful company.”

There’s the difference!


The secret is never to give up!

Bill Gates and I have something in common. We both dropped out of college. Our professors thought we’d never amount to anything. Well Bill has done really well, but I haven’t dome too badly. And someone else who never did well at school is Winston Churchill, Britain’s war time Prime Minister and the saviour of the nation. Despite his lack of academic success at school, on his 80th Birthday Eaton, the poshest and most expensive school in the country invited him back to address he boys. So thee they all sat, in their silly stiff collars and tail coats, the future rulers of the nation. Then on walked the Great Man. After the tumultuous applause had died down, Sir Winston delivered his message to the future captains of industry and top people.

Never – ever – ever – give up!”

And then he turned and walked off the stage.


Stop thinking of yourself as separate

Different nations, different languages, different belief systems.

Story of the one celled amoeba.


Change your perspective

We are all ruled by our brain and this brain of our is like a sponge. It soaks in data, ideas and opinions from all over the place, from friends, colleagues, teachers, trainers, politicians etc. And none of it is really our own personal opinion. It’s someone else’s agenda.

So, if there’s something you don’t like about your life, your job, your location or whatever, change your perception.

For instance, if you were in an art gallery looking at a piece of modern sculpture it might look a bit like a monkey. But if you moved round to a different position, it might look quite different, more like an old woman. What happened? You changed your position. Most people are wedded to a particular perception of a subject or a person but – if you change your perception, that is look at it from another angle – maybe you’ll see something completely different!

Why the English don’t understand you.

By Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingNo Comments

Feeling lost in Britain, because people don’t seem to understand you? The English voice isn’t easy to impersonate, because your own native voice will get in the way. The trouble is, your natural accent, which is the tune, tone and rhythm of your learned voice, when you first started to speak, will tend to overlay all the English you try to speak. Consider listening to BBC radio and watching newscasts on British TV, to get the inflections that the speakers use.

Most people who visit Britain from other countries rely on the English that they were taught at school. However, it’s very likely that the person teaching them English wasn’t an English person at all. This means that you may never get the proper way to speak the language. You would be better to listen to recordings of English pronunciation made by true English voices.

However, another challenge you may have with the language is that, although Britain is very small, you can fit it into India 12 times over, the influence of her language is felt everywhere in the world, on the Internet, in aviation and big business. That is why English is spoken by one billion people around the world. But learning to speak it so that everyone in Britain can understand you, is another matter. Many English people place their voice in a particular part of the face. It tends to be further forward and lower down than in many other countries. Is your voice far back? Above all, do you speak very fast and with your mouth not wide open? All these simple things can contribute to you not being understood and a few simple exercises can help to overcome these qualities that are making it hard for English people to understand you.

What women want in a man’s voice

By Valentine Palmer, Voice CoachingOne Comment

How seriously do you take your voice? And especially, how seriously do you take your voice when you are going on a first date? Women are impressed by looks, but only up to a point. What really turns them on, gets them seriously interested in you, is the quality of your voice. Women love a voice that is confident, a voice that is charming, a voice than makes them feel as if they’re the only woman in the world.

Women want a voice that is masculine, but not aggressive or overbearing. Your voice needs to have a quality of warmth, caring and friendship about it. So, be sure to get enough breath in, because the more breath behind your voice when you speak, then the warmer your voice will sound.

Make sure that you’re fully relaxed before you meet her. Not easy, I know, but do try. A voice that is nervous moves up higher in the head, as the vocal cords tighten. The more relaxed you are, the more your cords will relax, and your voice can move lower down into your chest. Breath deep, control your voice and keep it low.

So, deep but not threatening. That’s what a woman wants in a man’s voice.