What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Lots and Lots of challenges! Biggest speaking challenge was when none of the IT worked so I had to speak for 45 minutes with no slides/videos but it worked. The biggest challenge in my life is probably being in a minority group i.e. a ginger Charlton Athletic supporter!
How did you get into corporate speaking?
After I finished at the Olympics I found I was getting lots of requests to speak to various audiences about how we planned and executed such an amazing event. I spoke to all sorts, schools, community groups as well as businesses. I really enjoyed sharing the lessons from the games and from my background in leading large work teams. I found audiences were really interested in the principles that drove such amazing and unique service.
Which event has been your favourite and why?
I enjoy all the events I speak at but I always enjoy the interaction with the audience, either though question and answer sessions or by getting the audience to participate in a simple exercise to understand their customers better. My style is quite informal (and irreverent) so I usually have some fun with my audience. One of my favourite events was speaking to the team at the Ministry of Sound where I spoke in almost total darkness in ‘The Box’ at the club.
Why do you enjoy being a speaker?
I love learning so I always enjoy getting insights into different industries and businesses. I see so many common issues and such innovative ways of tackling them. I find I can be a better speaker if I have some knowledge of the issues that the audience is trying to tackle.
Who would you most like to share a platform with?
I’d love to share a platform with Bruce Springsteen – no business reason but I have seen him in concert 28 times!
What do you do to ensure your presentation has a lasting impact?
I tell lots and lots of stories and use every day anecdotes – I don’t use traditional PowerPoint bullet lists (boring!) I use pictures of people and tell their story.
What can a typical corporate audience learn from your experiences?
That delivering a memorable customer experience is possible in whatever business you operate in. The knack is to unlock the potential and personality of the team who are responsible for delivering that service. I can share some simple achievable strategies for doing this.
What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday?
Cooking roast dinner for my family and listening to Elaine Paige on Radio Two playing fantastically camp show tunes followed by a snooze on the sofa and an old movie.
What personal ambition must you fulfill before you die?
Having been lucky enough to travel the world I am really keen to explore the British Isles.
Can you leave us with an inspirational one liner from your speech?
Positivity breeds positivity.
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