Amplify was born on 16 February 2011 in a freezing portakabin behind Woodside Park tube station.
Our founder Stew Bewley was meeting with his friend Mia, who had a big presentation coming up and wanted some help getting over her fear of public speaking. He hadn’t done any coaching before, but his career as an actor had naturally made him comfortable on stage – and his simple tips managed to transform Mia from a quiet, anxious speaker, whose nerves made her throat dry up so she couldn’t talk, into a fantastic, confident presenter!
Mia was so excited that she decided to pay for Stew to go on a presentation coaching course – she was convinced that the work they’d done together in that portakabin had all the makings of a great business, and she figured that taking a look at what other coaches were offering was a great way to get started. As it turns out, the course did have the intended effect of pushing Stew to action. Just not quite in the way Mia had expected…
There were 35 people on the course, who had all parted with their money to be taken through a programme that was meant to grow their skills as speakers. But it did the exact opposite. They were being led to believe that the only way to become a good public speaker was to keep coming on these courses and to work hard, fail a lot, feel miserable, compare themselves with everyone around them and then one day, maybe, make it as a proper speaker. Confused, appalled, and angry, Stew left early and said to himself, ‘That’s it – I’m starting a business that will actually encourage people’s potential rather than make them feel inadequate and afraid.’
The rest, as they say, is history. From Amplify’s first official coaching session – a meetup with five people in the back of a Brick Lane coffee shop – and our first ‘proper’ job teaching interview skills to soon-to-be-released prisoners at HMV Pentonville (yep, both as interesting and as unnerving as it sounds), the team has grown to the point of delivering coaching to companies like Google, Hitachi, Microsoft, and Dow Jones.
To date we’ve coached more than 10,000 people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and levels of experience and confidence, working for the smallest of start-ups and the biggest of corporates. And all with the same approach – filling people with confidence and a love of story, so that they can connect with their audience and win more business.