An Interview With Kevin Jackson

1 January 2012

What trends do you see in the events industry in the next 3 years

More, deeper, multi-sensory. More - as the world gets more virtual there is more need than ever to get together in the real world.

How did the corporate speaking all start?

Way back in my Grand Metropolitan days (look them up they used to own everything!) I did an impromptu after dinner “bit”, loved it, they seemed to like it too and it built from there.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

No, not really, I think it was sooooo long ago and I was probably very young and naive. I’ve erased it from my memory.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

That’s really difficult, they are all great, because of my style, lots of humour to build up to the good stuff they are always fun. I enjoy the ones where I’m sharing a new idea or a new piece of thinking ...and it gets a positive reaction. As Peter Sellers once said to Spike Milligan “Audience with me all the way managed to shake them off at Watford”

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

The TED thing is an ambition – obviously.

Who would you most like to share a platform with

Harry Hill, Seth Godin, Heston Blumenthal and Wayne Hemmingway and challenge the audience to tell us apart!

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

8-10 is average, this year slightly more.

Do you use powerpoint

HA! Powerpoint death; yes, er....I .. no - it’s not PP as you know it - one BIG picture on a slide to give the audience something different to look.

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

Yes absolutely, 3 men and a dog gets a little embarrassing, especially when I ask for my build up announcement - "Give a great welcome to the one the only, live and direct its Keeeevin Jackson."

How do you like to be introduced

See above, no seriously my name and a bit of loud music works for me .. I really do the rest myself once I start. People need to know who you are and why the heck they should listen, so it’s important they get an introduction.

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

Always, always, always – I don’t really make the same presentation twice, of course there are common themes but the detail comes from the briefing.

What are the most asked for topics

Brand Experience ....the future of marketing: Sales..where is it going, how do we get more.

What are the key areas that clients are looking to improve to increase their brand awareness

Brand awareness is a bit misleading. Most of the brands we think about have awareness, how do they then drive sales, how do they become the brand of choice. That has to be through relationships. That has to be through brand experience

How badly has the events industry been affected by the economic climate or has there been positives that have come out of it?

Not sure there are many/any positives to come out of the recession. A few companies were masking bad business models/cultures in the boom but still real people trying their best lost jobs. There is a lot of chat about making us leaner, hungrier, more cost effective, think then events industry was already there ... and had been for a while.

What would you like to see improve in the events industry as a whole

Training and development – without doubt.

Is there any event you wish you have been involved in?

That’s the great thing about being at Jack Morton - most of the events on my wish list we did.

What event are you most looking forward to in the future?

London 2012 can’t wait.

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

It would be much too embarrassing to share the time that a very senior conference chairman shared a couple of “jaunty winks” with me during my presentation. Believing it to be a ringing endorsement of my content and style, I of course winked back, only to discover later he had a famous (known to everyone but me) twitch. Or about to go on stage to an audience of 500 marketing leaders in Turkey, I knocked back the espresso they had given me as I stepped on the stage only to discover it was, of course Turkish coffee, so with a mouth full of grounds I started. Or the time, thinking I was rehearing the sound, the projection guys leapt on stage to adjust “stuff” only to find the event had would be too embarrassing so I won’t say anything.

Your favourite film?

Too many to mention but my latest favourite is Scott Pilgrim vs the world, directed by Edgar Wright – genius.

Favourite book?

Again too many, the one I’m reading at the moments is Dan Pink’s DRIVE about motivation, again – Genius.

Favourite holiday destination

Have been so, so fortunate to have been (almost) everywhere but if you put a gun to my head and made me pick one it would be any golf course in Scotland.

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