Show cover of How To Own The Room

How To Own The Room

Want to own the room? Comedian and radio and TV presenter Viv Groskop talks to inspirational women about the secrets of brilliant speaking. They share the tips and tricks that will get you the attention you deserve.


18.2 Kamila Shamsie, Writer
Can you easily switch between private and public modes? Viv Groskop talks to the award-winning writer, Kamila Shamsie, about the different kinds of energy she needs in her life as a successful author. She tells Viv about the peace and solitude required for writing fiction and how audiences’ curiosity fuels her public persona. Kamila shares with Viv her thoughts on the long history of patriarchy and the way it cuts across every facet of life. She reveals her thoughts on the power of her platform as a writer and how it compares with the reach of social media trolls. Kamila refuses to disengage and shares with Viv how she constantly challenges herself to ask – what needs to be done? Find out more about Kamila Shamsie’s new novel: Best of Friends A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
35:23 10/07/2022
18.1 Kit de Waal, Writer
How do you find your authentic voice? Viv Groskop talks to the writer, Kit de Waal, who found success later in life with her book My Name is Leon. Kit tells Viv how she reconciled the different parts of her Birmingham childhood, born to an Irish mother and African-Caribbean father, in her recent memoir - Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood. Not expecting to even make it into adulthood, Kit says that every day has been a bonus. Although she was brought up in the ‘oppressive and joyless’ Jehovah Witness religion, she tells Viv how it prepared her for one thing – and that was public speaking. Talking to a literary crowd was, however, another matter. Overcoming self-doubt and nerves, she shares her secret with Viv: know your subject, and the rest will flow. Find out more about Kit de Waal’s memoir: Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
34:14 09/30/2022
17.7 Marisha Wallace, Musical Theatre Performer
Do you believe in yourself? Viv Groskop talks to the musical theatre performer, Marisha Wallace, best-known for roles in Something Rotten, Dreamgirls, Waitress and Hairspray. Marisha tells Viv that she was drawn to London six years ago for work and has never left, enjoying the freedom it’s given her to try different roles. She explains to Viv why she resists the ‘strong Black woman’ stereotype and that it’s ok not to be a superhero. Marisha nurtures her confidence by drawing on her spirituality, while leaving the more constraining aspects of the religion she was brought up with behind. Viv and Marisha reflect that bravery is feeling your insecurity and fear of judgment and putting yourself out there anyway. Find out more about Marisha Wallace on her website. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
32:51 07/22/2022
17.6 Sadie Jones, Writer
Are you reluctant to be in the limelight? Viv Groskop talks to the writer, Sadie Jones, who made her name with The Outcast, winning Best First Novel in the Costa Book Awards. Sadie is a self-confessed introvert who would much rather not leave her room, and certainly not own public ones. But sometimes her job as a successful author requires her to do so. She shares with Viv the tricks and techniques that she’s taught herself over the years to overcome her shyness and give back to readers who have come to hear her talk. Interestingly, she reveals how she even surprised herself during the pandemic by actually missing the nerves of going into a crowded room. Discover Sadie Jones’ latest novel Amy and Lan. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
36:24 07/15/2022
17.5 Sheila Hancock, Actor
Can you manage your nerves? Viv Groskop talks to legendary actor, Dame Sheila Hancock, ahead of a theatre audience to share reflections from her second memoir Old Rage. Dame Sheila reveals how she has always suffered from chronic stage fright and remains terrified until the end. They discuss how nerves are normal and getting through them. Dame Sheila is frank about shocking stories of sexism in the stage and screen world with overwhelming pressures to conform to a typical look or height. She talks about the experience of being spotted by Theatre Workshop’s Joan Littlewood and how it was a liberation to be herself. Viv reflects that it’s a constant struggle not to pigeon-hole yourself and how important it is to resist that pressure, even if others around you are doing it for you. Find out more about Dame Sheila Hancock’s Old Rage. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
33:50 07/08/2022
17.4 Abi Morgan, Writer
Can you tell your own story? Viv Groskop talks to award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Abi Morgan, whose work includes The Split, The Iron Lady, The Hour and Suffragette. Abi has occupied and owned many rooms in her life and career – the solitary writer’s room, the family rooms of bustle, the emergency hospital room, the space on set to direct. In all these arenas she’s adapted herself while keeping a steady eye on maintaining space to tell the stories she wants to tell. Four years ago, Abi and her family’s lives were blown apart by a devastating medical emergency suffered by her partner. How would this sudden and unwelcome plot twist affect Abi’s life and writing? Channelling confusion and pain, Abi turned the lens onto her own life in This is Not a Pity Memoir. She reveals how a space to write has always been essential to her survival and none more so than in these crisis years. But having reached relative dry land, she tells Viv that it’s not over yet. There are more rooms to own and more stories to tell. Listen to This is Not a Pity Memoir on BBC Radio 4 A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
40:05 07/01/2022
17.3 Ellen Nichols, Writer
What are you waiting for? Viv Groskop talks to writer, Ellen Nichols, author of Remember Whose Little Girl You Are. Now in her 70s, Ellen Nichols has published her first book – a memoir of growing up in the Deep South in the fifties and sixties. Ellen shares how her confidence to speak the truth was nurtured from a young age by her father, a Methodist preacher who spoke out against segregation in the face of vicious opposition. One memory of an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan as a young child imprinted itself on her mind forever and she discusses how her mantra: ‘just be honest’ has guided her over the years. Ellen reminds us to seize the day and trust our instincts for using our voice to say things as we see them. Find out more about Ellen Nichols Remember Whose Little Girl You Are. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
24:14 06/24/2022
17.2 Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO
Do you bring your true self to the table? Viv Groskop talks to CEO Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Founder and Executive Chair of the fintech Snoop. She was the CEO of Virgin Money from 2007 to 2018, working closely with Richard Branson, and was often the only woman in a man’s world. Jayne-Anne discusses how she owns the room - sometimes using her full height to command authority - and sometimes showing openness and abandoning notes to connect with an audience. She asks what is true diversity? And discusses challenges with depression, including a recent revelation that has worked for her in treating it. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
32:38 06/17/2022
17.1 Emily Chang, Executive and Fosterer
What will your social legacy be? Viv Groskop talks to corporate high flyer Emily Chang about her philosophy which has inspired a unique way of life, where the spare room is always available to young people in need. As soon as she was able, Emily followed her instincts to offer help in the form of a place to stay to the most vulnerable young people whose lives she crossed. She explains how it is a practice she continues to this day and how it informs her work in the corporate world as well as in raising her daughter. You can find out more about Emily at A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
32:25 06/12/2022
16.7 Delia Ephron, Writer
Are you doing what is expected of you? Viv Groskop talks to writer Delia Ephron about following other people's rules. She explains how to blow it and still have a life. She talks about grief, about storytelling, about not having a strong sense of yourself - and about working out how to be true to yourself. It's not important to own the room, she says. It's important to own your own vision.   You can find out more about Delia on her website, and buy her book Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop  
34:28 04/14/2022
16.6 Julia Samuel, Psychotherapist
Do you have a good relationship with yourself? Viv Groskop talks to psychotherapist and author Julia Samuel about how hard it is to own the room and relate well to others if you don't relate well to yourself. She talks about how our family history affects our confidence and how we are all haunted by the untold stories, the pain passed down through families. Julia reveals the "shame spiral" she herself experienced after appearing on the BBC's Desert Island Discs. And she explains the secret of instilling confidence in our children. You can find out more about Julia on her website and buy her latest book, Every Family Has a Story: How We Inherit Love and Loss A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop  
41:50 04/08/2022
16.5 Vanessa Sanyauke, CEO
Have you stepped into your greatness? Viv Groskop talks to Vanessa Sanyauke, founder and CEO of Girls Talk London and expert in diversity, inclusion and sustainability in business. Vanessa celebrates uncertainty, curiosity - and never listening to your parents. She calls on us to move from being allies to advocates for marginalised communities - and reveals how important male allies have been to her journey. Oh, and she shares what Oprah Winfrey told her about how to look great in photos... You can find out more about Vanessa at  A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
40:21 04/01/2022
16.4 Paula Hines, Teacher
Is your dream a nightmare? Viv Groskop talks to yoga teacher Paula Hines about giving up her dream job to take a different path as a yoga teacher, and the importance of trusting your instincts. She reveals how yoga can help you own the room, working with your own breath patterns, using simple exercises to release tension and not fixating on the perfect "yoga body". She explains the importance of paying attention to the space you are in and the reactions of the people in it. And she advises compassion when dealing with difficult people - while accepting a negative reaction may have nothing to do with you. You can find out more about Paula at A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
36:30 03/25/2022
16.2 Anne Fine, Writer
Have you done your best? Viv Groskop talks to writer and second Children's Laureate Anne Fine, about the freedom of being well prepared. She says: if I've done my best and they don't like it, that's their problem. She talks about why she hates interactive talks and how much you can learn from bad speakers. And she argues you should never overestimate an audience's knowledge or underestimate their intelligence - particularly when talking to children. You can find out more about Anne Fine and her new book, Aftershocks here. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
35:38 03/18/2022
16.2 Lucy Foley, Writer
Do you know what you're talking about? Viv Groskop talks to author Lucy Foley about squeaky voices, head girl energy and never quite feeling you are a "proper" person. They explore judicious giving up, failing better - and just how you take the plunge and become a full time writer. You can pre-order Lucy Foley's book, The Paris Apartment now. A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now. @vivgroskop
34:02 03/11/2022
16.1 Jan Ravens, Actress and Impressionist
Do you have the confidence to fail? Viv Groskop talks to Jan Ravens, the actress and impressionist. Jan (or is it Liz Truss?) talks about exploring the space between vulnerability and control. She recalls the way mental illness (and the stigma around it) shaped her family life, and reveals how working with others gave her back a sense of control after the strange end of her first marriage. She (or is it Theresa May?) talks the power of the double act, the horror of writing - and the vital importance of doing things that scare you. You can follow Jan on social @thatjanravens   Viv's latest book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
37:25 03/04/2022
15.7 Jules Breach, Presenter
Can you laugh at yourself? Viv Groskop talks to Jules Breach, presenter for BT Sport, Premier League Productions and the Football Ramble podcast. She says knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with the whirlwind of live TV. But keeping it real matters even more. She reveals that as a woman in sport she is still far more scrutinised than her male colleagues, and even as one of the most sought after broadcasters around she still gets asked: "do you actually like football?" You can find out more about Jules @JulesBreach Viv's latest book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
37:01 01/28/2022
15.6 Kate Mosse, Writer
Can women win? Viv Groskop talks to writer Kate Mosse, founder director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and founder of the global Woman In History campaign. They discuss playing by your own rules - and winning. They talk ambition, feminism, being a carer and the horror of reading your own books. And Kate recalls actor Juliet Stevenson's advice: if you see a closed door, go round the side. You can find out more about Kate's work including her latest book The City of Tears at her website Viv's latest book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
40:49 01/21/2022
15.5 Siri Hustvedt, Writer
Are you too polite? Viv Groskop talks to writer and public intellectual Siri Hustvedt about sexism, misogyny and why she believes politeness is a bad policy. She recalls being a child whose illness and "Alice in Wonderland syndrome" altered her perception of the world. She describes being an adult drawn to break down the traditional boundaries between ways of thinking. And she reveals the secrets of keeping calm, speaking out - and owning the room in the face of the hostility which can be the price of confidence. Siri's latest book, Mothers, Fathers and Others is out now. You can find out more about Siri and her work at her website Viv's latest book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
41:48 01/14/2022
15.4 Amanda Horton-Mastin, CEO
Do you believe your own story? Viv Groskop talks to Amanda Horton-Mastin, formerly senior director at Comic Relief and current CEO of Semble, which connects companies and communities to drive positive change. They explore how conviction can be contagious, whether you are fundraising or networking. They talk sickening nerves, and the power of pretending everything is fine. They talk over-compensating for having very fluffy hair - and what losing at tennis can teach you about winning at life. You can find out more about Amanda at Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
34:36 01/07/2022
15.3 Dame Helena Morrissey, Financier and Campaigner
Have you asked? Viv Groskop talks to financier and campaigner Helena Morrissey DBE about the power of just asking for what we want and need. They explore the value of expressing your true self as opposed to trying to fit in. Opting for personality rather than perfection. Embracing your own style rather than mimicking a traditional pinstripe. And why even she struggles to call herself ambitious...   You can find Helena's latest book, Style and Substance: A Guide for Women Who Want to Win at Work here. Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
41:28 12/17/2021
15.2 Yrsa Daley-Ward, Writer and Performer
Could it be like jazz? Viv Groskop talks to writer, poet and performer Yrsa Daley-Ward about allowing a bit of improvisation into your performance, so that you can respond to the energy in the room. They talk shyness, nerves - and bringing the realest, clearest, most honest version of yourself. Don't look for perfection, she says. There's always another chance to create something new.   You can find out more about Yrsa and her work, including her latest book The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself, here. Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
34:22 12/10/2021
15.1 Dame Eileen Atkins
Do you feel lucky? Viv Groskop talks to actress Dame Eileen Atkins about how owning the room is sometimes about being open to chance. They explore the genuine terror of the first night, the horror of being publicly judged, and why your own opinion is what matters. And there are room-owning anecdotes aplenty, starring the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier... Dame Eileen's book, Will She Do? Act One of a Life on Stage is out now. Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop    
35:07 12/03/2021
14.8 Anne Taylor, Activist
Could you be a rebel? Viv Groskop talks to former French teacher and climate activist Anne Taylor about joining Extinction Rebellion to fight the climate emergency. They explore getting arrested, speaking in court and how to communicate with people who don't want to listen. They talk about quietness, passion, privilege - and discovering that a vital cause can drive you to own the room in ways you would never have expected. You can find out more about Extinction Rebellion here  Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is out now. @vivgroskop
37:50 11/05/2021
14.7 Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, Broadcasters
Are you homely or buccaneering? Viv Groskop talks to broadcasters Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, co-hosts of the Fortunately podcast and authors of Did I Say That Out Loud? Notes on the Chuff of Life. They explore the horror of bar stools, the power of pinching yourself and the nervous nosebleed. They discuss being small, being authentic and why the show must not go on in all cases. And why Boris Johnson's overconfidence ought to encourage a generation of schoolgirls. Fi and Jane's book is out now. Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is also out now. @vivgroskop  
36:05 10/29/2021
14.6 Mel Robbins, Author
What's the worst that could happen? Viv Groskop talks to the lawyer, TV host and motivational speaker Mel Robbins about facing bankruptcy, unemployment and divorce - and how she completely turned her life around to become one of the top speakers on the circuit and a viral sensation. They talk the five second rule, the high five habit, and why your new mantra should be: "Usually, I'm double". Oh, and what it's like to literally wet yourself on stage. You can find out more about Mel at Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is also out now. @vivgroskop    
40:40 10/22/2021
14.5 Nayna McIntosh, Founder and CEO
Are you missing the bleeding obvious? Viv Groskop talks to Nayna McIntosh, founder and CEO of Hope Fashion, about how we can be  so unused to saying what we really want - that we can miss our true calling. She explains that her first retail job was on her mum's market stall, how she went on to work at M&S, Per Una, Next and Asda - and how starting a business is like jumping off a cliff. And she reveals everything she wished she'd know when she started.
31:15 10/15/2021
14.4 Cathy Rentzenbrink, Writer
Are you a work in progress? Viv Groskop talks to writer and journalist Cathy Rentzenbrink about the power of seeing yourself as an ongoing project, free from constant judgement. They explore how the right time to do something may not be the first time you try, and how writing can teach you about yourself. Oh, and the horror of the "participatory chair"... You can find out more about Cathy's work at Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is also out now. @vivgroskop  
38:02 10/08/2021
14.3 Indra Nooyi, Businesswoman
Need to dig yourself out of a hole? Viv Groskop talks to Indra Nooyi, the former chair and CEO of PepsiCo. She may be regularly listed as one of the world's most powerful woman, but as a woman of colour she explains how she always felt like she started at a disadvantage, in a hole that she had to dig herself out of. She explains how important it is to avoid anything that takes the focus away from what you have to say, why society needs to support families - and why stomach butterflies are brilliant. Indra's book My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future is out now.  Viv's book, Lift As You Climb is also out now. @vivgroskop
34:28 10/01/2021
14.2 Dame Jenni Murray, Broadcaster
Fat cow, fat chance? Viv Groskop talks to the writer, journalist and broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray, the former presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour. They talk being nosy, being prepared and why you must NEVER say "tell me about..." They discuss appearance, being criticised by your mother, and Dame Jenni's latest book on the science and psychology of size. Oh, and how she tackled an interview with Hollywood legend Bette Davis on only her second day at Woman's Hour. Dame Jenni's book Fat Cow, Fat Chance: The Science and Psychology of Size is out now. Viv's latest book, Lift As You Climb is also out now. @vivgroskop   nosiness bette davies science and psychology of size interview technique mother critising her appearance value of preparation Never say tell me about
36:56 09/24/2021