An Interview with Dan Germain
Which event has been your favourite and why?
A trip to Madrid to talk to O2 was good. A few events in Paris talking to about 2000 sixth form students at the Palais des Congres – that’s always a good one. Speaking at Little Big Voice, organised by a company called Howies in some tents in west Wales. That was the one where I think I had most fun, just saying what I really think of business and how it can be a force for good.
How did the corporate speaking start?
People seemed interested in the story of how we started our business, and how we created a brand from nothing, so we just started talking.
Can you remember your first speaking engagement?
I think it was to some people at Shell, after we had won a prize for being smart entrepreneurs. About 70 people, I was about as nervous as is possible.
And your last event?
I spoke at an annual sales/marketing get together for O2 in a fancy hotel in a forest. Luckily, I’m not as nervous these days.
If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?
My funeral. It would be good to cheer everyone up a bit.
Who would you most like to share a platform with?
Bill Clinton. I sense that he has some sort of weird, unavoidable charisma. Would be good to see/feel it in the flesh.
On average, how many times a year do you speak at corporate events?
Probably 6 or 7.
Do you use PowerPoint?
Yes, but I use pictures instead of words.
Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?
It helps. Not always necessary but usually helpful.
What are the most asked for topics?
Creating a strong culture within an organisation; building a brand from nothing; looking after customers in a unique, exemplary way; how you don’t have to spend loads to get noticed; creating a tone of voice for a brand.
Is your speech interactive with audience participation?
In places, sometimes it can be very interactive, it depends what people want and how many people there are.
Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?
Not really. I do everything in my power to avoid having any of those. I get there early, do my homework and behave myself.
Your favourite film?
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
East of Eden.
Favourite holiday destination?
Devon with the kids.
What’s your tipple?
I’m trying to go booze-free for a bit, so we will see how it goes!
Country or townie?
Country dweller these days (near Oxford).
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