An Interview with Sean Chapple
If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?
Harvard Business School.
How did the corporate speaking start?
After completing the first ski crossing of Iceland in 1994, I was invited to speak about the journey to my childhood Scout group. The talk featured in the local town paper and I began getting other requests to speak.
Can you remember your first speaking engagement?
My first corporate engagement was supporting a 4-day teambuilding conference. My talk overran by 30 minutes!
And your last event?
Speaking in the Middle East with the use of an interpreter. The interpreter became so interested in listening about my journey she kept forgetting to translate and I frequently had to prompt her to translate.
Which event has been your favourite and why?
I really enjoy speaking at the London Business School. I always have to allow for long Q&A session because the audience always want to discover more about how I manage risk and how I get my team to perform at the highest level.
Who would you most like to share a platform with?
Miles Hilton-Barber. A truly inspirational adventurer.
On average, how many times a year do you speak at corporate events?
Do you use PowerPoint?
My presentation is visual, multi-media and PowerPoint based. I use powerful imagery and video footage from my polar journeys.
Are you as happy speaking to 50 as to 1,000 people?
Yes. Whatever the size of the audience I always speak as if I was sharing my insights over a coffee with one person.
How do you like to be introduced?
I have a short script that I take along to speaking events. It includes a few bullet points on my achievements - the 'Ice Man'.
Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?
The majority of speaking engagements include a briefing call which is useful, but email correspondence and the completion of pre-event questionnaire is equally important to gain as much detail about the desired outcome of the event, key messages and understanding any challenges the client organisation is facing. Ultimately, I aim to ensure my talk ‘fits’ with the overall objectives of the event.
What are the most asked for topics?
Team selection and alignment, gaining commitment and maintaining focus, facing and overcoming setbacks, the critical elements for success and leadership challenges.
Is your speech interactive with audience participation?
Not during the speech itself. Q&A on completion.
Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?
Early in my speaking career I was once invited to speak at an event only to discover that the event organiser had the speaker booking dates mixed up. I ended up speaking on the wrong date, to the wrong audience and on a topic that in no way fitted. The talk went ahead, I think to bemusement of most of the audience wondering why I was about team leadership and polar exploration!
Your favourite film?
Paint your Wagon.
Favourite holiday destination?
The Scottish Highlands.
Country or townie?
I was born in the City, but now live in country and as an explorer I do have an affinity with the outdoors. So, at heart a country!
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