Some recent testimonials from some of our students and parents

“I cannot speak highly enough of Samantha Richards and her Building Voices Public Speaking Program! Samantha is absolutely brilliant and has done so much for my son. Not only has Samantha instilled so much confidence in him but he has learnt life skills that I could of only dreamed of attaining at his age (11 years). The way that my son now delivers a speech compared to when he first started is like chalk and cheese. Thank you Sam for offering a life-changing course to these young kids! Added to this, Samantha gives so much of her spare time to help our kids, at no extra charge. In the first COVID-19 lockdown, Sam ran an extra and extra long 2.5 hour session to help with their wellbeing -no charge and has offered two free sessions to help children who want to try achieve leadership roles for their year 6 year. Samantha takes going the extra mile to the next level. So grateful to have this amazing course offered at our school!

Lauren Scher Woolf
Parent of Aiden (see his testimonial below), Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

“Samantha Richards has made an excellent program, that I can personally say helps you a lot and teaches you lots of life skills. For example we learned how to not go to court when you debate about something as an adult, so basically how to settle a debate. She also gives tons of extra lessons to kids which is free of charge. She also teaches in a way that is easy to understand for kids. Her program is also really enjoyable and fun, I look forward to it every week. She is also really approachable and you can ask her for help any time you want, she also can help you if you get bullied a lot. There are absolutely no problems with her program. She always goes above and beyond the parent expectations for any in-school program. Even with these tough times where she has to teach on zoom, she does it really well, even using breakout rooms for discussions about what to say for the group talk. If you want to be a school leader she can really help with that like she helped me, she also gives extra lessons if you want to be a school leader. She also never pressures you into doing something you don’t want to do, so you never have to do anything you don’t want to do. Also every week she gives a certificate to people who did really well that lesson. So overall, the program is excellent with no flaws that I know of, I really recommend putting your kid into Building Voices Public Speaking Program, you will not regret it.

Aiden Woolf
Grade 5 student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

Steph Halamantaris Video

Steph Halamantaris
Radio Presenter, Podcaster & Mindset Coach

“Sam, from Building Voices, was engaging and skillful in educating our students on the importance of non-verbal communication (body language, eye contact, facial expressions) in leadership and confidence building.  Our students enjoyed participating in applying what they had learnt to practice on stage in front of their peers.  It was fantastic to see students growing in confidence with guidance and support from Sam, in a short period of time.”

Bridgitte Roberts
Head of Student Wellbeing

“I encouraged my daughter Elly to participate in the CCLP & ACCLP courses offered by Building Voices Public Speaking as I knew she would develop skills that would assist her in so many different areas of her life. She was unsure and reluctant, but decided to give it a go!  I was so impressed with the skills, knowledge and techniques she learnt during the sessions.  Elly’s growth and development as well as her confidence have grown since completing these courses.  She independently plans and structures her school speeches using methods taught by Sam. When delivering her speeches she now understands the importance of breathing, pausing, engaging with the audience and having a good speaker’s stance.

When Elly applied for a School Captain position she knew how to prepare for the interview, how to articulate her responses and extend her answers by providing relevant examples.  All these techniques were taught by Sam through role-playing an interview situation. Elly was thrilled when she got the role of School Captain!  At times, Elly has had to resolve conflict and negotiate a win/win outcome in the school yard or at home with her sister.  Listening and negotiation skills taught through Sam’s classes have assisted her to achieve a favourable outcome.

Impromptu speeches, which are a regular feature of the classes, have encouraged Elly to think on her feet.  This has especially come in handy when conducting school tours for new parents. There are so many situations where I have seen the teachings of CCLP & ACCLP being applied into Elly’s life.  Little does she know how essential these skills will be when she reaches high school, goes for job interviews and in her relationships with others.  Thank you Sam for creating and delivering your programs with enthusiasm and passion…you are definitely equipping our children with skills for life!”

With lots of gratitude”

Haidi Emmanouil
Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School Parent

“A lot of people think that public speaking is boring, but it really isn’t. At least, not with Building Voices Public Speaking. Already being a pretty good public speaker before I even started the program, I wasn’t sure that the program would teach me much at all. Well it did. I am now an even more confident public speaker with great knowledge in a lot of areas of public speaking. I was taught so many things! From impromptu speaking to debating and interview preparation, this program has it all. It’s fun and very beneficial. I’ve loved every bit of the journey and I highly recommend this program to everyone.”

Anastasia Zaytseva
Grade 6 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School
(Confident Communication and Leadership Program – CCLP & Advanced CCLP).

“Sam helped me at a very difficult and emotional time of my life eighteen months ago when I lost my father. I was to stand up and deliver my father’s eulogy in front of the congregation at church, and I was worried that I might not get through it. Sam helped me not only write my eulogy, she also showed me how to control my emotions and taught me techniques in how to stay focused so I could get through reading it aloud, in a clear voice – it was very important to me that I do this for my dad.I could not have delivered such a beautiful eulogy without your help Sam, thank you.”

Venessa Zaknich, Personal Stylist.

“Thanks so much for the video! Please pass on my deepest thanks to Emily for always looking out for Harvey while we talk. It is such a wonderful opportunity for me to understand Jack better and how I could possibly help. A big thanks to you too. Your work has been amazing and you have shown a care for Jack that I have yet to experience elsewhere in Melbourne. Hope you ladies have a lovely day.”

Ely Ferguson, Parent of Jack Myers-Ferguson, Grade 1 Student (Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School)

I am so happy because Sam has helped Jason in particular in his communication techniques.

I have noticed a huge rise in his confidence because he is now able to articulate himself more easily when he answers questions. His vocabulary has grown, as well as his ability not only to write a good speech but give one too.

As for my daughter, Abigail, she has plenty of confidence which she needed to channel in a more helpful way when communicating, and she now does this.

I feel that the Building Voices Public Speaking program has helped both of my children, not only at school but at home too, since they now no longer use that annoying whiney voice when asking for something.

I would definitely recommend this program, as not only do they learn about leadership and communication they have fun while doing it. I also like Sam’s particular coaching style, which is passionate, compassionate, firm and fair, but most of all fun.

Adeline Raymer
Parent of Jason, Grade 3 and Abigail, Grade 2 (Tucker Bentleigh Primary School)

I just wanted to tell you that Josh had his barmitzvah yesterday, and afterwards he delivered a short speech before we had lunch.

I had so many people come up and comment on how well he spoke, his delivery, how calm and confident he was, and thought you’d like to know how well he incorporated the skills he’s learned from your classes.

Many thanks for all you’ve done.

Angela Stein
Parent of Joshua Stein, Grade 7 (Cheltenham Secondary College)

As a parent, I am worried about my kid’s future. Whether we have done enough to prepare our kids for what the future brings.

The CCLP and ACCLP courses at TRBPS run by Samantha Richards did help my daughter to gain some experience, not only in public speaking, but also in confidence. Kids have learned many aspects of life ranging from teamwork, finding solutions, sales skills, and leadership skills.

I recommend these programs for other kids at TRBPS.

Thank you Robyn, the School Principal, and Samantha Richards for giving my daughter the opportunity to learn these skills.

Margareta Go
Parent of Maisie Lieng, Grade 6 (Tucker Bentleigh Primary School)

How many fears do you think I have? Well, for the past 2 terms I have overcome four phobias by attending courses that Samantha Richards provided; the CCLP (Confident Communication and Leadership Program) and ACCLP (Advanced Confident Communication and Leadership Program).

The minute my mum told me she had signed me up for a public speaking course I was scratching my eyeballs out! The first day I ‘tried it out’ it became like an addiction, I wanted more not because of the lollies we received during the listeners questions, but the ambience of the class which was so friendly and relaxing. Our focus in CCLP was speeches (personal, entertaining, and informative), we even did impromptu speaking. The last session of the program we presented a showcase where we had a chance to show our parents what we had learnt.

I graduated the CCLP and chose to move forward doing the ACCLP course as I wanted to learn more. ACCLP focussed on learning persuasive, inspirational, entertaining, and informative speeches for the first couple of weeks. Then we learnt how to debate, do sales pitches (Sam taught us to ditch the pitch), interviews, and resolve conflict. All of which can be used in a real life.
Similar as the CCLP, the ACCLP also had a showcase where we voted to do a great debate! Nick Staikos, MP was invited to watch us. Personally, his presence made me more nervous, but using the skills that Sam had taught me, I would say I did well. Thanks to the public speaking courses Sam provided I can now talk to crowds or debate, etc. Even though you may think you are good at public speaking, there are many other tricks you can learn from these courses.
The courses teach you the skills and the teamwork, everything related to life.

I would like to thank Samantha and our School Principal, Mrs Farnell for giving me the opportunity to learn these skills at our own school.

Maisie Lieng
Grade 6 Student, (Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School)

Cannot speak highly enough of this amazing program Willow has been doing this term! It’s taught her confidence, poise and how to think on her feet! Looking forward to many more awesome terms!

Jessica Kelemen
Parent of Willow Kelemen, Grade 3 (Tucker Bentleigh Primary School)

Wow. Blown away by a video that lovely Darah Criss sent me of Abbie delivering her impromptu speech. Blown away by what you’ve taught her. Yep, I cried! So proud.

Thank you.

Jacqui Slaughter
Parent of Abbie Slaughter, Grade 3 (Tucker Bentleigh Primary School)

Public speaking has been an amazing experience. It has taught me a lot of new things. I’ve had so much fun completing all the lessons. I have got a lot of things out of the course. It has made me better at speaking in front of people, have more skills and help me be more confident in myself. It has helped me become a School Leader. Special speaking roles in various events and lots of people tell me how good I am at public speaking.

The reason I’ve learnt lots of things is because it has been a fun experience. I would always want to complete homework tasks, speak in front of the class, get certificates, and of course Mentos. It makes anything better when it’s fun. Of course there’s one things left. Samantha the owner and the teacher. She is the one that makes it fun and interesting. She also encourages us to always try our best. She is very nice, a bit strict, but it isn’t a bad thing.

Thank you Samantha for giving me this life lesson and I’ll always use what you’ve taught me.

Rakesh Viswanathan
Grade 6 Student, School Leader, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

(Confident Communication and Leadership Program – CCLP & Advanced CCLP)

Thank you Samantha, your speaking course has really boosted my confidence and made me think of public speaking in a totally different perspective. You’ve helped me become a more confident and independent person, I’m so glad that you gave me the courage to be able to speak in front of many people at graduation and if I wasn’t pushed into the course I never would be as confident as I am now. You should be so proud of how many people you’ve helped to be more confident in themselves and accept who they are. Many kids didn’t want to do the speaking course but truly they are missing out and are one step behind all the kids who have. Just think for a second about how much the kids you’ve taught have grown, now they are all set and ready for high school. You are truly an inspiration to many.

Tara Collins
Grade 6 Student (Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School)

The ‘Building Voices’ program is Exceptional! Thank you Sam for helping to boost both confidence and growth through your Exceptional program.  You have armed both William and Tara with important skills and tools for life. From where they started to where they are now, we as parents are so happy and excited to see the difference you have made to them both.

Kerry and Rick Collins
Parent of Tara Collins (Tucker Bentleigh Primary School) and William Collins (Brighton Secondary School)

The Confident Communication and Leadership Program is an excellent way for children to improve public speaking skills, meet new people and learn what they are capable of. But it wouldn’t be nearly as successful if it wasn’t for Samantha Richards.

Sam has a natural ability to work with children, as well as fantastic leadership skills, which together make her a naturally great coach. My experience with Sam has been great. With great advice, and a couple of lollies to keep us going, we’ve all grown as leaders and speakers.

From tone, speed, visual aids and the powerful pause, Sam taught us all the basics of being fantastic public speakers. We have learnt to think on our feet, time and count filler words in these sessions.
Overall, my experience with Sam was wonderful, and I can’t thank her enough for her time and effort in these classes, I’ve enjoyed every minute, and I look forward to coming back next year for the Advanced Confident Communication and Leadership Program.

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday and that the other children, including myself, don’t eat too many sweets, as we’ve had far too many over this term!

Again, thank you Samantha, I hope you had as great of a time coaching us as we had during this program!

Marlena Skoneczko
Grade 5 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School
(Confident Communication and Leadership Program – CCLP)

I was impressed by the way the program was led by Samantha Richards. Kids had the opportunity to learn not only how to speak publicly but they were pushed to deliver their speeches in a timely manner. They were also taught organisation and management skills.

I would recommend the program to others!

Margaret Skoneczko
Parent of Marlena Skoneczko, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

I want to say thank you to Samantha and her Public Speaking program.

Both my sons have loved her training style! She makes it fun and interactive for them both. The benefits of having a great junior speaking coach is that my sons have developed self confidence and it’s rapidly improved their public speaking presentation skills which is a great advantage to take from youth to adulthood.

Sarah Cross, Cross Success Coaching
Parent of Lachie and Riley Paterson, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

I enjoyed doing public speaking. I enjoyed the “Who Am I” activity the most. I learnt so much from your class and now I feel more confident getting up in front of the kids in the classroom.

I had a lot of fun in class time and we did lots of fun activities. Even Mrs Mehl said that I’m putting my hand up more in class as I’m not scared to speak up anymore.

Thanks so much for everything you taught me.

Emma Chantry, Grade 2 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

I’d like to thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for Emma this year. Enrolling her in your public speaking class was one of the best decisions we could have made for her.

Earlier in the year, Emma struggled with participating in classroom discussions, would never put her hand up to volunteer an answer, and was very much happy to sit in the shadows where she felt comfortable and where nobody would notice her. Within just a couple of terms of attending the  classes she’s actively engaging in classroom discussions, and her teacher has mentioned to me numerous times recently how Emma has very much come out of her shell and she couldn’t be prouder of her. This change has even impacted her extra-curricular activities, whereby she’d once sit towards the back of groups, now she happily finds a place right at the front and centre where she can be noticed and participate openly and happily.

You’ve put Emma in a great position going forward to her new school in 2017, and I really can’t thank you enough for giving her the confidence to be who she wants to be without the fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.

You really are amazing Sam, and Emma and I are both going to miss you heaps. We wish you luck in 2017 and hope that you continue the great work you do with the kids at Tucker Rd Primary School.

Melanie Chantry, Parent of Emma Chantry, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

Hi my name is Sofia, and I’m 8 years old. I started these classes in Term 3. I really love it, it’s so much fun. I’ve learned about doing change of voices, to give a speech in front of a class, which by the way is awesome.

I’m so much more confident just talking in front of the class. My public speaking teacher Samantha is AWESOME! She is such a funny person, and she makes the class fun for us. We do a lot of fun stuff in class, and you get a certificate as well. I’m looking forward to my class in the new year.

Thank you Samantha, for making my class so such fun and for being such a wonderful teacher. Thank you for listening.

Sofia Anastopoulos, Grade 2 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

Most people would think, why would anyone want to do a public speaking program? Well you won’t think that if you do it. Today I am going to tell you three reasons why you should do this fantastic program.

Firstly, the public speaking program does not only teach you how to get up and speak, it teaches you tactics on how to speak. Some tactics this program will help you with is how to stand, project your voice, and not use filler words, and much more.

Secondly, everyone loves lollies, am I correct? Well, in public speaking you get Mentos, depending on how well you do. You’ll probably get more than one.

Finally, you can’t forget the only person who guides us along the way. Samantha will try and help you in any way she can to make you do the best you can do. This program wouldn’t of happened without you Samantha.

Rahul Viswanathan, Grade 3 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

I remember how I was told by my mum that I was going to the ‘Building Voices’ program. I am not going to lie, but I didn’t want to go to the program at all, and now I thank my mum for taking me to the program.

The first two weeks I didn’t like, mainly because I didn’t want to go to the program, but at week three I understood that the program was fun and I learnt how to talk in front of audiences really well, and now I thank my mum and Samantha Richards, so much for helping me with doing this program. I highly recommend this program to anyone, it’s something you won’t regret.

David Heifetz, Grade 6 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Confident Communication and Leadership Program)

Thank you for the great program! I am very happy that I enrolled my son into Samantha’s public speaking program. Apart from enjoying every session he learned invaluable skills, which will be useful in both his future professional and personal life. Thank you for the great program!”

Anna Heifetz, parent of David Heifetz, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

What I think I have learned is not be a follower and be more confident when I speak. I can project my voice very loud, and talk only moving one step1 from one area. I recommend this program if you are wanting to learn something new and get good confidence.

Jack Kidney, Grade 2 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

1. The one foot/step exercise is where the individual gives a presentation with a limited area for movement. They are not to move more than one foot/step in any direction as they deliver their speech. This encourages vocal variety and control of body language and gestures to enhance their presentation and reduces the desire to either stand like a statue or pace out of nervousness.

Jack chose to do this program! The greatest thing I feel that Jack has achieved from this programme is confidence and being able to speak up and speak properly. I finally feel he will become a leader as before this he was such a follower and now this is starting to change. I personally love this program and would recommend with no hesitation.

Nina Hanna, parent of Jack Kidney, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

I like going to ‘Building Voices’ classes because it helps me project my voice. It helps me to speak louder. My favourite part so far was writing a story and telling it to everyone.

Daniel Nazaretian, Grade 4 Student, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Junior Public Speaking Program)

My son started the JPSP (Junior Public Speaking Program) last term at Tucker Rd Bentleigh Primary School. He is really enjoying the sessions and always walks out with a smile on his face! Since attending the program, we have really noticed an increase in our son’s confidence in talking and expressing himself. We appreciate all your efforts in running the program and look forward to Term 4.

Silva Nazaretian, parent of Daniel Nazaretian, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

After completing the Confident Communication and Leadership Program for Schools course I now feel more confident to stand up in front of people and give a talk or speech. Samantha made each lesson so much fun that it didn’t even feel like work even though I learnt so much.

Samantha taught us how to prepare for our speeches (mentally wise) and we also learnt how to present our speeches e.g. how to stand (Speakers Stance) and how to show what we are feeling by expressing ourselves with hand movements and facial expressions. My friends and I who I did the first program with are about to start the advanced course which I am really looking forward to.

Matthew Day, Grade 6, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School (Confident Communication and Leadership Program)

After our son completed the ‘Confident Communication and Leadership Program’ (CCLP) we have found him to be much more confident and willing to speak in front of his peers and adults and because of this he is being offered more opportunities to use this skill that he has recently acquired.

We found most of his spare time was spent doing organised sports and with not much benefit to his academic side. This has added another dimension to him as a person and has helped him feel more confident and happy to stand up in front of his team mates in a leadership role.
I thoroughly recommend this course if you are looking at expanding your child’s vocabulary, knowledge and confidence.

Liza Day, parent of Matthew Day, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

Hi Sam, I thought you would like to know that Lachie had to give a 2-minute presentation on, “The Four Things I Can’t Live Without. The topic was set for homework, and he had to present the four things and talk about them to the whole class. Lachie was outstanding, and he made eye contact with the audience, skimming across the room.

He used his cue cards effectively, his content was excellent, and within his delivery he shared his sense of humour. The audience were totally focused on his presentation; its duration was exactly 2 minutes. He is a real credit to you and your program.

Diane Nevitt, Grade 6 Teacher, Tucker Road Bentleigh Primary School

I wanted to thank you for a very inspiring and empowering workshop. You are a great teacher and I learned some very important skills during the workshop. Now comes the hard part which is practising to improve. Thank you so much.

Daniela Barel, Half-day Workshop attendee

Attended a half day workshop today. Can’t praise Sam enough, she is inspiring to listen and learn from. The time flew so fast. I have come away with strategies to overcome my issue pertaining to public speaking. Also learned heaps of pointers on giving a more interesting and entertaining presentation too. Thank you, Sam and Ink says ‘thank you too’ for being so accommodating with having a boisterous pup in attendance. Would highly recommend this workshop. Thanks again.

Diane Nevitt, Half-day Workshop attendee

Today has been great. It has given me a lot to think about and practice.You make public speaking look very simple!

I will work on confident posture, inflections and pauses to increase audience awareness of the important points, and think about how I write. Death by PowerPoint is not for me anymore. Thanks again.

Helen Kennedy, Half-day Workshop attendee

Thank you Sam for an amazing session at Jaanz ‘Camp Invincible 2016! The students (and parents) have spoken highly of your session, and have all taken so much away with them as a result. Singers regularly speak of how they find it easier to sing into a microphone, and that it’s the speaking they find difficult- and yet, artists today need to speak confidently in interviews, at gigs, on Television, and in a variety of often impromptu situations.

Your session was an excellent foundation for our students to move forward with their communication and public speaking skills. We especially found the areas of body language and strategic pausing very valuable. Thank you Sam, for attending our annual camp and sharing your wisdom with our students. We are looking forward to working with you again in the future.”

The Jaanz Team, David Jaanz School of Singing


Samantha helped me with this tremendously and taught me some quick ‘wins’ I could implement straight away.

When I first started Little Rockers Radio I didn’t think interviewing artists and performers would become part of my job description. Being a naturally quiet person, I needed some help with interview techniques, structuring the questions and importantly for me, filling in the silence or gaps. Samantha helped me with this tremendously and taught me some quick ‘wins’ I could implement straight away and some other things to work on longer term. Thanks Samantha!

Sarah Morrissey, Rocking Director, Little Rockers Radio