An Interview With 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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