Futurist, designer, business entrepreneur and innovator | A Q&A with Anne Lise Kjaer

1 January 2012

What are the most asked for topics?

I can speak about almost anything really. Usually I create clarity out of complexity about a given topic – I help companies navigate the future using my methodology.

How did the speaking all start?

It started with a public engagement in 1999.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

Yes, it was in Cologne to 150 people and it was the warm up for Sydney Design 99 where I gave a keynote to 800 people. I remember that I have practiced so hard that I even gave the talk in my sleep.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

All of them really, as they have all been different experiences - none of them have been the same. In fact, it is my passion to share with people – inspire and inform - to empower them.

If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?

I guess it would be at TED – as the people you meet and exchange ideas with there are so inspiring.

Who would you most like to share a platform with?

There probably wouldn’t be just one person but many – hence TED will be the most empowering setting of visionaries – to engage in a dialogue rather than a monologue would be ideal.

On average, how many times a year do you speak at events?

An average of 25 talks annually.

Do you use PowerPoint?

Yes, it is a fantastic tool to deliver a holistic and multidimensional vision of the future. Some people like to listen others prefer visuals – as they often say more than words when carefully selected. My job is to bring a whole brain vision of the future - creating a bridge between left and right brain thinkers.

Are you as happy speaking to 50 as to 1,000 people?

Yes – I like both but nothing beats the intimate atmosphere of smaller groups. You connect in very different ways depending on the dynamics of the group.

How do you like to be introduced?

As a future narrator and visionary thinker.

Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?

To create a dialogue with the client is essential to understand what they will like to achieve as well as to tune into the audience expectations. However, a very well written brief is equally good – it’s up to the clients to decide what they are happy with.

Is your speech at all interactive with audience participation?

On a few occasions I have suggested my clients to make the events more interactive. One of my favourites is to get the audience to vote on the future via mobile after my talk.

Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?

Maybe the time I went to New Delhi to give a keynote on Emotional Consumption for the Pearl Academy’s annual event. The organisers where great and invited us down to Agra for the weekend. We had our own private driver and on our way out of Delhi I saw a great building and it said the Indo American Hospital. I remember saying to my son: “I wonder what the hospitals are like here? I am sure they must be in the style of a great hotel service but also really expensive”. Little did I know that 48 hours later we would both be in that very hospital with ‘Delhi Belly’. As they say: “Be careful what you think - it might just come true”. We had fresh salad Agra and that didn’t agree with us. When we got back we were taken into the hospital by taxi. On our way to the hospital my son asked me: “Mum why do they have white covers on the taxi seats in India?” I replied: To protect them from getting dirty” And in that very moment he got sick all over the car seat. When the driver stopped the car, I saw a delegation of 3 grown up men running towards our car – I remember thinking: “What is happening?” It was the organisers that had send 3 of the key people from the event to make sure we were all right. They came with us to the hospital and made sure we were given the right medication. 24 hours later we were out of the hospital and the next afternoon I was on stage giving my keynote.

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