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Meet Chanti Niven of Captivating Speakers in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chanti Niven.

Chanti, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Dramatic circumstances, a brush with death and three years of blindness ultimately led me to this career that I so love – helping people express their stories and messages and be captivating.

I have had a lifelong passion for communication and have studied everything I can on the subject, but I learned more from trauma and tragedy than I could ever have learned in a classroom or in books. I often say that my education started the day my education stopped. The truth is that education is something that continues every day if we open our eyes (and our minds) to opportunities to learn through life experience. I have won many awards for public speaking and still enjoy speaking in public but my real passion is to help others shine. I once coached a man who spoke broken English (English was his fourth language) and who had never presented a speech before and, as a challenge, entered him into the World Championships of Public Speaking. Within months he was winning at every level and was selected out of 3000 contestants to compete in the finals in Kuala Lumpur. This man is now a successful actor and has credits on shows like Homeland, Scandal, and many others, including an Oscar-nominated short. It’s gratifying for me to sculpt and shape raw material to create captivating speakers. I love watching people transform. I believe that every human being has what it takes to shine. My job is to cut and polish the rough stones and turn them into diamonds.

Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has not been a smooth one. Alfred Hitchcock once said that a drama is life with all the dull bits cut out. It seems that very little of mine would find the cutting room floor.

As children, my brother and I called ourselves The Throwaway Kids. We dealt with our feelings of rejection and abandonment by escaping into an exciting world of dreams where our imaginations reigned supreme. We invented our own language ‘Garconian’ and enjoyed many great adventures that would make a person’s sideburns curl. Our favorite place was atop ‘Dassies Rock’, a giant rock of about 50 feet in diameter, precariously balanced upon a pile of other rocks. It look us a long time to figure out a way to the top but when we achieved this goal, we spent a lot of our time there. This was the place where we’d share our dreams of a bright future, where we would change the world and make it so every child would know what it was like to be loved. Sadly, my brother struggled through life and a personal tragedy set him on a path to destruction that led to jail and in 2008 he took an overdose and died. My path was very different. After an inauspicious start during my school years where I was an average student and suffered the shame of being expelled from a private boarding school, I became an achiever and ostensibly enjoyed success in my personal and professional life. It all came tumbling down as I faced tragedy and disaster. South Africa is a beautiful, albeit harsh place, and crime was (and still is) rampant. My family, like many others, fell prey to crime, and after a series of tragic events, the stress ultimately took its toll. I became seriously ill and inexplicably lost my eyesight. I was blind for three years until I underwent two operations to restore my sight. I often say that it took dying to learn to live and it took going blind to see. I learned more through these tough situations than I could ever have anticipated and have begun to realize that hardships provide such opportunity for growth. I often tell my audiences that our greatest gift lies under the rock of our greatest challenge. I’ve done some heavy lifting to find mine. The beautiful payoff was that I developed tremendous tenacity and grit, while still maintaining the ability to feel empathy and show compassion. I have shared just a few of the struggles I’ve faced. There have been so many but all have served me in some way and because of them I have been able to better serve others. I believe that I’m here to help people emerge from the construct that they have of themselves (of how they are or should be) and to lead more genuine, authentic and meaningful lives. The only way I’ve been able to make sense of everything is that I’ve arrived at the place where I believe I cannot help anyone out of a pit I have not been in. You can learn about something or you can learn through something. There is no greater lesson than the one delivered through firsthand experience. I’ve been blessed to have learned many lessons, albeit in sometimes excruciatingly painful ways.

Ultimately I’m grateful for all I’ve endured. I treasure my life and every breath I take… and every morning, I open two gifts – my eyes! I have learned that when something bad happens in a day to say, “A bad thing happened in an otherwise good day”

I could look at my life in two ways. I could see it one that was filled with trauma and tragedy or I could see it as one that was filled with lessons and triumphs. I choose to see it as the latter. I remain a work in progress…

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Captivating Speakers is a Personal and Professional Development Company that provides training in communication skills, with a focus on oral communication (public speaking). Anyone can get up and speak but it takes skill to be captivating – to grab and hold an audience’s attention and present content that is memorable and that sticks.

Chanti Niven’s extensive experience in public speaking training, combined with the latest developments in brain science social and behavioral psychology, allows us to provide training that helps our clients become captivating speakers and achieve their goals and dreams.

We have also run our program in hundreds of schools and taught thousands of students, including exchange students at UCLA (recently we trained student leaders from universities from China) and have seen the transformative effect of our training on young people. We have a selection of impressive before/after videos on our website.

Our Rapid Results Program produces dramatic results in the shortest possible time. We have a 100% success rate. Results are observable in just 3 days. All our students improve their speaking skills in just three days.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis with plenty of opportunity for a business like ours. It is densely populated and people of all walks of life live and work here. If there was one thing I could improve it would be the traffic problem.


  • Captivating Rapid Results Program (3-day bootcamp style) – $1,497
  • Captivating Private coaching package $ 2,800
  • Captivating Speaker’s Gym $ 200 Initiation fee and $39 per month gym fees

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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