Which event has been your favourite and why?
I enjoyed being an MC at the Successful Selling Conference where we had over 1000 delegates. As an MC you have to provide interesting links and react spontaneously to the events of the day. It was a thrill.
How did the corporate speaking all start?
I was always good at speaking and presenting at corporate events. I spoke at Round Table and then Rotary meetings. Once my books were launched the interest in my talks increased.
Can you remember your first speaking engagement?
My first paid engagement was for a telecoms company in Manchester. I was very nervous but it went well.
If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?
I would like to speak at the major TED events.
Who would you most like to share a platform with?
Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Madonna.
On average, how many times a year do you speak at corporate events?
I probably do around 20 keynote speeches and 10 after-dinner talks a year.
Do you use PowerPoint?
No, I look them in the eye and talk from the heart.
Are you as happy speaking to 50 as to 1,000 people?
I am happy doing either but I definitely get a buzz from a large audience.
Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?
Of course. The more I know about the event and the audience the better I can prepare and customise my material.
What are the most asked for topics?
Lateral thinking for leaders, inspiring innovation, how to think what nobody else thinks and how innovative leaders think.
Is your speech at all interactive with audience participation?
Yes – I have a number of challenges, puzzles and questions that I use to engage the audience.
Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?
I spoke at a major conference and opened my talk with a really good joke. It went down well. Blow me but a subsequent speaker used the same joke and of course it flopped. It shows that you should listen to the speakers who go before you.
Your favourite film?
A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Favourite holiday destination?
Country or townie?
I like them both!
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