Fascinating events tailored to your needs
training for professionals
working with young people
talks for students,
staff or parents
events for adults, teenagers
I have done hundreds of talks around the world on many aspects of adolescence, wellbeing, the reading brain and life online. My talks are robustly evidence-based or where evidence is lacking I say so. The talks are delivered with authority, intelligence and sensitivity to audience understanding.
Inspire, challenge, engage, inform.
I give Keynotes, lectures, seminars and breakout sessions, as well as talks for teenagers. My talks are packed with strong science, insights, ideas and connections. I do not do role-playing or extrovert-type activities, or ask audiences to perform a group activity of dubious value! There may be voluntary interaction to keep interest high but overall my aim is to inspire, challenge, engage and inform with my words and ideas, so audiences go away with their eyes opened and their minds buzzing.
I am UK-based but travel willingly. If you’re thinking about inviting me to speak outside the UK, do go here, where you’ll see examples of trips I’ve made and some of the things to consider about the trip.
UK or overseas, each talk is individually tailored to your brief. We will discuss exactly what you want so that I pitch it exactly right. You can tell me whether your audience already knows a lot or nothing at all or something in between: I can tune my talk for any ability level.
Suggested titles and topics
Here are some suggested titles and topics, though feel free to come up with your own related ideas. Once you’ve decided the main thing you want me to talk about, we can discuss the exact focus.
or similar adults
Understanding Your Teenager – teenage brain changes, teenage stresses, understanding and strategies:
• With or without extra emphasis on screens and social media use
• With or without something on the evidence-based benefits of reading for pleasure
• You can ask me to focus on sleep, exams, social media, self-esteem, resilience, mindset–almost anything
For adult professionals in education, library, mental health or social services – typical conference talks
Harnessing the Learning Brain – how we learn, metacognition, growth mindsets, resilience to failure, supporting risk-taking:
• Extra focus on any of the above elements
• Focus on study skill techniques
Reading and the Brain – what reading does to us, evidence for why it’s important:
• Focus on difference between fiction/non-fiction, simple/complex and digital/print
• Focus on science to support reading for pleasure
• Readaxation – reading for relaxation
For younger audiences – secondary students and upper primary
My fiction – gripping, inspiring, engaging stories and the opportunity to watch me amputate the leg of an audience member, without anaesthetic:
• Including, if you wish, something about the life of a writer
“It was a pleasure working with Nicola at our flagship conference for schools in Cambridge in 2016. She was a wonderful and knowledgeable presenter who engaged our audience and gave them plenty of insights and practical ideas to take away. We gave her a tight remit of only 20 minutes in which to talk, something which many education speakers would have shied away from or not been capable of, but Nicola kept to the brief, was adaptable in her approach and succinctly put across a very strong message. Our audience of a wide range of nationalities from all over the world greatly appreciated her session, and many delegates continue to quote the key points she made.
“Nicola was subsequently invited to present as a full keynote speaker at two more of our conferences in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. She also wrote a popular blog for us and made an outstanding contribution to a new guide for schools about learning habits and dispositions.”
I am delighted to be increasing my consultancy work, advising organisations about aspects of the teenage brain and other related topics. I love this work as it allows me to share the fascinating state-of-the-science knowledge about adolescence, risk-taking, emotional behaviour etc with adults who work with young people. It means that organisations have accurate, nuanced information for their press releases or other materials. It means that their clients don’t have to rely on unsupported, out-of-date or flimsy “knowledge”.
Examples of recent consultancy work:
- I did some exciting work in 2015 for a large adoption charity which offers training to parents. I conducted a training session, checked and reported on their own training manual, wrote some materials for them and was interviewed in-depth to camera for their training resources.
- I did advisory work on teenage sleep for This Works when they produced their rather wonderful sleep products.
- I have a very exciting project underway at the moment, relating to teenage risk-taking and responsibility. This will involve writing a report to inform the press releases for a major launch, and doing any media work that ensues.
Examples of topics I am expert on:
- All aspects of teenage brain changes and behaviour, including risk-taking, sleep, emotions, social embarrassment, vulnerability to peer pressure, mental health changes, response to alcohol etc (See Blame My Brain)
- All aspects of teenage stress and wellbeing (See The Teenage Guide to Stress)
- Preparation for exams – study skills (See my latest book, Study Skills)
- All the above from both the teenagers’ and the parents’/teachers’ point of view
- Reading for wellbeing – readaxation, the science behind the benefits of reading
- Reading and the brain – including what we know about fiction/factual, simple/complex and digital/print
- Digital distraction issues and the myth of multi-tasking, especially for young people
- Online behaviour for young people
My rates and terms
- I generally charge a minimum £750 per day. That minimum tends to apply to work I can do in my office. Minimum half a day. No VAT. If the work involves travelling, the daily fee is usually more. Very often, a day is all you’d need.
- I charge expenses if you want me to travel. (I live in Northamptonshire, handy for Peterborough and Corby stations and can get to London very easily.) I keep expenses as low as feasible.
Do contact me if you are interested in accessing my expertise and we can discuss. It costs nothing to have a conversation! You can use the contact page above.
These things are certain: I work extremely hard for every client, am dedicated to following the brief precisely and I am very straightforward and decent to work with. Above all, I pride myself on sharp intelligence and the standards of a perfectionist.
What people say about my work...
Frequently asked questions
I have been studying the topics I talk about for over 20 years, and always read a mass of research, from different viewpoints, before I dare talk with authority about any new topic. I have a classically trained and highly analytical mind and do not believe anything I read or hear unless it is well supported by robust research and fits with my existing understanding. Because I am not a research scientist, I have a very wide overview: real scientists tend to know far more than I do about their particular focused area but if you want a wide range of insights and the connections we can make between them, I’m your woman.
You’ll find masses of the research I have read in the resources section of this site. There, you can chase up the research yourself and see if you agree with my analyses.
I can adapt to your time-table. However, a session with adults really needs at least an hour and a half if you want to include Q&A and a talk for students really needs an hour. INSET can be anything from 1.5 hours to a whole day. A keynote is typically an hour and anything less is very difficult.
As big as you like! I do not charge more to speak to large audiences. Of course, if you want me to be interactive, larger audiences makes that harder. Also, it’s usually best not to mix ages – ideally no more than two consecutive years for student talks.
As far as you like! I live about 70 miles North of London and can reach Stansted and Birmingham airports and stations. Of course, all my expenses must be covered. I keep costs to a minimum with the exception of long-haul flights, which would usually be Business Class. Experience has taught me that this is necessary if I am to remain healthy and in the best condition to work for you. See the International Speaking page for some more details but still enquire in the same way.
It depends. I compute my fee based on the complete time I think the work will take, including preparation, admin and travelling, as well as the day of the event itself. I am effectively working out the “cost” to me and charging accordingly. For something particularly high-profile or interesting, I might be able to lower my fee but I value my time and expertise highly and I hope you do, too. I believe you will get terrific value. Some types of event are quicker to prepare than others. Do discuss your budget with me, as there are often ways we can reduce my cost.
To give you an idea, I tend to work on the following minimum guidelines for UK trips:
- A day or part day spent at home on preparation and admin – £250
- A day or part day spent travelling – £300
- A day or part day spent with you at your venue – £500
Expenses are extra and will be discussed in advance. See the International Speaking page for anything that might be different.
Certainly. They are here.
Don’t delay, especially for overseas trips. My diary is likely to be full 3-5 months ahead and I usually take bookings 6-12 months or more ahead. We can always make it provisional if you aren’t sure of your dates or budget. Because I have to keep enough time in my diary for writing and consultancy work, I can’t fill my diary too full with events so I do quite often have to say no. This is why getting in early will help you!
Contact me using the form. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t decided what you want: discussion is free!