An Interview With Melissa Sterry

11 January 2012

What can a typical corporate audience learn from your experiences?

I will always look at the big picture. There are plenty of speakers who can tell you about pixels, but though I will bring details to the fore when absolutely imperative to the discussion, my attention is always on the wider scheme of things - the historical, social, political, economic and ecological context; where we are coming from, where we are now and where we may be headed. I'm the person that points out why the impossible today could be possible tomorrow and encourages new ways of looking at things, because to quote Einstein 'No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it'.

How did the corporate speaking start?

Accidently. My first speaking engagements were in academia, having been a visiting lecturer at a handful of universities since my late twenties. Around my early thirtities invitations to speak at expos and assorted industry events started to tumble in, which led to a number of corporate speaking invitations.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

In all honesty no, but I do remember that when I started out I had two flaws... firstly speaking too fast, to the extent I probably gave Mini Mouse a run for her money at one or two events. The second was bamboozingly my audience with too much information, including Powerpoint slides jammed full of statistics and other data. These days I take things steadier and tend towards a minimalist approach to visual information, as I'd rather people were concentrating on what I'm saying than on the backdrop behind me!

Which event has been your favourite and why?

This may sound as if I'm trying to be PC, but in all honesty I have enjoyed every event, most likely because I've been fortunate enough to present to plenty of pioneering people, sharing the stage with distinguished peers from the world over, discussing some of the most exciting subject matter of our time. An agent provocateur in spirit I always endeavour to liven up the debate and provoke new thinking, for as the great Arthur C.Clarke once said 'the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible'.

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