Interview An Interview With Nigel Barlow

An Interview With Nigel Barlow

Nigel Barlow is one of the most dynamic business speakers on disruption, innovation, and mindset change. He has been described as an alchemy of change for any audience.

Nigel Barlow

What can a typical corporate audience learn from your experiences?

My usual theme is Innovation: Applied and Practical. It might be applied to strategy, culture change, customer focus, or inventing a more successful future for the organization. In every case, I believe the magic of a great presentation is to inspire attitudinal and behavioural change in the audience. They take away specific ways of thinking more creatively, curiously, and open-mindedly, as well as making the mental shift to a Possibility Mindset; this means realizing that anything is possible - provided you have the skills and the will.

How did you get into corporate speaking?

I was doing a lot of training and consultancy work and gradually discovered that I got more of a buzz out of speaking to larger audiences. It’s become my specialty over the last 20 years.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

Always the last one I’ve done – which was in Boston – because I am obsessed with getting better at what I do. The moment that’s not happening, I should quit.

Why do you enjoy being a speaker?

I love the diverse nature of groups around the world that I work with, tuning in to their cultural nuances and specific business challenges. And I’m obviously deeply insecure because I need the appreciation; all good speakers have a bit of the ‘show off’ in them – which is why they enjoy it so much!

What do you do to ensure your presentation has a lasting impact?

Building in pre-thinking and having a follow-up call with the client on the theme of Keeping The Momentum Going. Peer-to-peer engagement after the event is one of the most effective ways of supporting learning and change; I come up with a range of these approaches for the client to ensure the presentation is not just a on- day wonder. But of course, it’s essential to have an impact in the first place: what I do is a serious message put over in an involving, fun, and memorable way.

What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday?

Walking in the Cotswolds with my family, playing tennis, or watching England struggle at football.

What personal ambition must you fulfill before you die?

I like Woody Allen’s thought about death: he said “I’m not afraid of it, but I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” So naturally, not to die would be my biggest ambition! Failing that, my answer is inner enlightenment – to have a deeper understanding of life’s bigger questions – What’s it all for? Who am I? How can I make the biggest contribution to the world?

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