An Interview with Pete Goss

1 January 2012

How did the corporate speaking start?

I was asked to speak to BT after the British Steal Challenge and found that I really enjoyed it and fortunately so did they. For me, it’s really important to have a good briefing so that each talk is bespoke. I am lucky in that as a businessman as well as sportsman, so I am able to relate to the audience and draw out relevant points.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

I did a talk to my local sailing club after a single handed transatlantic race in a tiny catamaran. The talk was more frightening than the trip, but I am glad to say that the nerves are settled now as I enjoy it so much.

And your last event?

I was speaking to a small group of very senior people in BAE Systems on Leadership – more of a lecture than a talk. Leadership is something that is close to my heart and I do a lot on.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

I can honestly say that I don’t know, because they are all so different in content, location and number. What I can say is that I really enjoy putting the effort in prior to the event, so that the client gets just what they are after. With several projects under my belt, I have plenty of material to draw from; single handed sailing, fully crewed sailing, and Polar trips. The fact that we raise the money, design, build, promote and then do the sailing gives all the above depth.

On average, how many times a year do you speak at corporate events?

It very much depends on the year, for there are some where I don’t do many as I am away on one of my ‘daft projects’. If I am about it can be anything up to six a month.

Do you use PowerPoint?

I use PowerPoint where appropriate as I have lots of lovely pictures which make a nice backdrop to the talk. Sometimes I will drop in some video but it is very short for mood as much as anything.

Are you as happy speaking to 50 as to 1,000 people?

Really happy with both as the small numbers can offer an intimate relationship whilst the bigger the better for the feedback in terms of emotion.

How do you like to be introduced?

‘Pete Goss Cornish Sailor’.

Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?

I insist on it as that is where you have the chance to make it relevant – what messages the client wants the audience to be left with. If it can be arranged I like a face to face.

What are the most asked for topics?

There are the usual headline things like leadership, teamwork, communications, responsibility, values and so on, but for me, it is the subtleties that lie below them and are specific to the client that are important and that is why I like plenty of time to explore this with the client.

Is your speech interactive with audience participation?

I can do whatever the client wants but the norm is to deliver the talk and then do questions so that the story is able to flow and often the questions that come up are answered later in the story so its more efficient that way.

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