An Interview with Richard Huntingford

1 January 2012

What are the most asked for topics?

Entrepreneurial leadership in a corporate organisation; building new businesses; driving business performance through customer differentiation and superior customer service; creating a culture and leadership ethos to inspire, how empower and motivate staff; communication as a leadership tool; Heart FM - a brand-building success story.

How did the corporate speaking start?

Having retired from full-time executive roles, I have been building a portfolio of part-time interests (Non-exec Chairman/Director, consultant/mentor roles) over the past year and it was suggested that I should add Speaking to my portfolio. Having done plenty of speaking in the past in my various CEO roles – and having always enjoyed it – I have jumped at the opportunity to bring some of my 30-year long career learning and experience (warts and all) to a wider audience.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

It was at a media industry conference attended by all the seasoned established industry players in 1992, I think, when Chrysalis was just starting to throw its hat in the ring as a potential newcomer to the Radio sector. None of the audience knew who I was and seemed pretty disinterested at the prospect of me telling them anything they didn’t know already. By the end, I think many of them realised that we had some serious plans to disrupt their cosy industry “club”!

And your last event?

Two very different events. Firstly, a speech on how to build high-performance teams at the annual senior management conference of a FTSE 100 Property company. Secondly, the keynote speech at a Charity Ball for 900 guests which raised £250,000 during the course of the evening.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

Speaking to a radio sales executive conference held at the Royal Society – principally because I had been useless at science at school and therefore took huge pleasure in imagining how appalled my old science teacher would have been at me taking centre-stage at such a hallowed venue.

If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?

Any corporate event being held in Sydney during the time of the Ashes would be ideal!

Who would you most like to share a platform with?

Bill Clinton

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

I hope to speak at a dozen or so events a year.

Do you use PowerPoint?

I’m not a big fan of PowerPoint presentations, but can use it if required.

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

Yes – happy with any size audience.

How do you like to be introduced?

Richard Huntingford, former CEO of Chrysalis Group plc and Founder of Heart fm.

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

Yes, essential in my view, if I’m to meet expectations and deliver value for the client.

Is your speech interactive with audience participation?

I like to take plenty of questions from the audience.

Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?

Plenty – more than I’d care to remember, including many from the world of showbiz!

Your favourite film?

Joint favourites: Chariots of Fire; Meet the Fockers.

Favourite book?

Joint favourites: The Making of Modern Britain (Andrew Marr); According to the Rolling Stones.

Favourite holiday destination?

Sandy Lane, Barbados.

What’s your tipple – wine, beer, champagne?

Wine – and the occasional vodka and tonic (with a slice of lime, not lemon).

Country or townie?

Townie (in spite of growing up in Suffolk).

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