Martin Brooks is an Impacttologist, after refining his key skills over his 25 years in the sales industry, Martin knows what it takes to make an impact in a saturated economy. Being moved by key moments in his life like designing a communication app for his severely disabled daughter, and seeing Barak Obama being propelled from nothing to being the first African American President through his incredible speaking techniques, Martin has realised what it takes to make an impact in this world.
Despite there being such a small distance between first and second place, a sales pitch, interview or a bid that comes second won’t win a prize and Martin is acutely aware of this. This is why he has dedicated his life’s work to sourcing out what makes the biggest impact, and what will win you first place.
An Impacttologist is quite an unusual title and career path, can you explain what it is and how you got there?
For over 25 years I have had job roles where the ability to convince, influence or motivate people has been a central skillset. In that time, I have been researching the methods that enable people to consistently and convincingly communicate their message.
After a successful sales leadership career, I set up my own training and development consultancy in 2002. I initially ran quite traditional training courses in; sales, negotiation, presenting and leadership. However, over time I realised that even if someone had the technical ability to sell, negotiate or present well, there was something else that could limit, or increase, their chances of success – what I call their individual “impact”. I wanted to discover more about the behaviors that created “impact”, the behaviours that I found most commonly used by the world’s top communicators.
I collated all of the knowledge I could on impactful; body language, vocal patterns and compelling language structures. Being able to perform under pressure, handle nerves and influence people were all core skills needed. I started integrating these “impact” skills into my traditional training courses.
Following the last worldwide recession and now the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote, I find that these skills give business people something highly valuable – a competitive advantage. That advantage comes from the ability to convince, influence or motivate others better than your competition, because of your advanced “impact” skills. As an Impacttologist, I work with leaders teaching impact skills, coaching people on how to construct and deliver compelling business proposals and share what I have learned as a conference speaker.
What has been your proudest speaking achievement?
My proudest achievement is the feedback I get from people. At one speaking engagement, I had an experienced senior executive say to me that he had been to many communication sessions and he was hoping for a good refresher, and he wasn’t really expecting to learn anything new.
Martin can teach an old dog new tricks
Following the seminar the same delegate came up to me with a broad smile, shook my hand and pressed a folded piece of paper into my hand which was for me to read later. When I unfolded the note it said; “they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks- but you did, thank you for a great session”. I felt very proud to have received that piece of feedback from such an experienced person.
What have you found is the biggest mistake individual's make in their communication?
The biggest mistake I consistently see is a lack of preparation. Communicating convincingly and confidently is something that takes planning, preparation and practice. Experienced people will often have the data and information needed to run their; sales meeting, presentation or important client meeting - but will have given little thought about how to best communicate that information through their own body language, voice and choice of words – the core impact tools.
Underutilising these core tools, means lowering your chances of success – even if your business case is good and well supported by facts and figures. This is why you need good information and great delivery of it, to maximise your impact and with it, your chances of success.
Obama is an inspiration for Martin
What or who has been the greatest influence in your life?
Doing research and working with incredible clients has left me influenced by so many people. From top communicators I have not yet met, to clients I meet every day - all of these people have all inspired me in some way.
Professionally, the communication skills that propelled Barack Obama to the Whitehouse from nowhere to make history as the first African-American President, was a real turning point in my professional life. It was a real demonstration of what is possible when you have a great message and an impressive inventory of impact skills with which to communicate it.
Personally, my severely disabled daughter, Mia, is a huge inspiration to me. Despite her physical disabilities meaning she cannot speak, it has been a privilege to witness her determination to communicate through alternative means. Her great spirit and determination inspired me to invent an award winning application (app) for the iPhone (iComm), to help disabled people communicate simple choices. This core skill of making choices and communicating through her eye movements, was a building block of a complex communication system she now uses to “speak” using a specialised computer that can enable her to communicate.
What are your plans for the future?
Alongside my growing consultancy work helping individuals and bid teams communicate with more impact, I am also working on my first book; Success through Impact. This book showcases the skills used by the world’s top communicators to convince, influence and motivate people. It is my mission in life that people should be rewarded in line with their potential, not just how well they can communicate. If I can help brilliant people communicate their ideas, thoughts and strategies with more impact; then I consider it a privilege to work alongside them to help them achieve their potential and dreams and that is what I am focused on professionally.
It seems so easy to let key skills slip through the net, if you don’t have the means to communicate them properly, especially when considering recent tumultuous times. The post-Brexit era has created a tough and competitive environment, where only the greatest communicators will survive. Having the best techniques to make an impact seems no longer a luxury for big businesses, but now a necessity for anyone wanting to make the mark.
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