Posted July 9th, 2013 under

Warren Gatland on Leadership

Here is an interview I did with Lions Coach, Warren Gatland.  He runs his team like a CEO runs a business and gives some great insights on leadership.


Posted June 19th, 2013 under

Could you make a great TED Talk?

There are a few key ingredients that make any talk great. They are a passionate speaker and a great story well told. With TED talks the story needs to be built around a great idea. “An idea worth spreading” as they say. You need all three of these to create a great TED talk. Not all TED talks have all three. But if they have the idea and the passion you can coach the rest.

If you are considering an opportunity to do a TED or any talk ask yourself what is your idea or story and how passionate are you about it. Remember you cannot fake the passion. It will show and people are so good at picking up on this. Like a dog can smell fear and audience can smell a fake.

Often the best way to establish whether you have a good TED talk in you is to start by asking yourself, what am I passionate about? Explore this and you will find the idea you need to spread.

Posted June 13th, 2013 under

Do Good Speakers Wing It?

There is a misconception that speakers that speak off the cuff and look relaxed on stage are doing it because it is just natural and they are improvising most of what they are saying. This is not true. The trick to making it look like it is happening in the moment is preparation. When I worked in comedy you would hear people say things like, “He seemed to be making it up as he went along”, or “it was all off the cuff”. I can assure you in 99% of times it was material he had used before and it is made to look fresh and in the moment as part of the performance. Every speaker that is making the same speech a number of times needs to keep it fresh and give it the improvised feel or it becomes mundane for both speaker and audience. As Mark Twain said,“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Here are two ideas on how to make a speech look impromptu…
1. Tell lots of stories – they always feel improvised as they are usually more animated and you can also improvise a bit here while staying within the story-line.
2. Ask questions of the audience – but be prepared for the outcomes you get. For example, if the response is negative or positive have a prepared answer for both. This is improvised to an extent but you are still prepared for the outcomes.

Posted April 12th, 2013 under

What Do Innovative Organisations Look Like

Below is a summary of the 2011 Best Companies:
¹The Hay Group; Summary Of The 2011 Best Companies for Leadership Study.

94% are prepared to run unprofitable projects to try new things.
100% let all employees behave like leaders, as opposed to 54% of heir peers.
100% manage a pipeline of qualified leadership candidates.
90% let employees bypass the chain of command with an excellent idea.
95% see problems as opportunities.
100% take action when a leader is not collaborating. It’s mandatory!
95% reward leaders based on their ability to build excellent peer relationships.
95% of leaders take time to actively develop others. Only 48% of leaders in peer organizations do this.
95% of leaders at the best companies are culturally savvy and are able to be effective with diverse teams.

Only the leaders that, (a) insist employees have a voice in their work, (b) back it up with the provision of resources, then (c), support them in their efforts to succeed, will create cultures that champion innovation.

Posted August 1st, 2012 under

Non Performing Sales!

“How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Anyone who has worked in sales knows what it is like loose a sale. A sure thing disappears. Even the high performers have had low moments in their sales careers. But it is how they respond to losing the sale or even a number of sales one after the other for a period of time. The two key strategies I find again and again with high performers are perseverance and staying positive. A common strategy I have found with high performers is the more knock backs they get the harder they try. They also adopt a positive view on it. They don’t think “I am a terrible salesperson”. They think, what am I learning from this or how can I change and improve my sales game to be successful.
Actions: If you are struggling to make sales adopt a positive thought process and approach. Ask yourself, what am I learning, what am I really good at when I am selling, what do I enjoy about selling. Who can help you get back on track? Secondly, don’t let your activity levels drop. Keep getting in front of your clients and keep your confidence high.

Posted July 23rd, 2012 under

Speaker or Talker?

“To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.”
Ben Jonson

To Have a look at this short video I made on public speaking on Meet The Boss TV.

Posted July 20th, 2012 under

Selling Your Show

This is the time of year when a lot of my friends in the comedy business are all getting ready for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is the place to go for a laugh in August. There are thousands of shows to choose from so the challenge for performers is to get people to choose theirs. This requires a big focus on promotion and often some time pounding the pavement handing out flyers.

Flyering is a tough job and requires a certain mindset (one that successful sales people use). You need to stay positive in the face of people not showing any interest in what you are doing, not giving you any attention or being sometimes rude. A fellow coach once told me a good way to think when you are flyering. He said keep in mind the following; SW, SW, SW, SW. which he explained stands for. Some Will, Some Won’t, So What, Someones Waiting.

Posted July 19th, 2012 under

Positive Sales Mindset

I have been working with a number of highly successful international sales organisations and have been impacted by the importance of the mindset of successful sales people. I have found that there are a number of behaviors that performers exhibit. Here are two key behaviors to look for in successful sales people.
They like to interact with the customer.
This might sound simplistic but you would be surprised at the number of sales people that look for reasons not to interact with the customer. They put off making the call and dread receiving a call from a customer. I worked with a sales person recently who felt she needed to have extensive research done on the clients business before she contacted them. She worked in new sales and was spending too much time researching before finding out about weather they had budget or not. She was putting off the call and wasting a lot of her time.
Another behavior to look for is sales people that know that selling is asking for the business. Again, this is obvious but it is common to see sales people skirting about the close. A common belief that creates this behavior is that, “If I ask for the business the customer will not like it, it will create tension”. Yes it might create tension. But its a tension you want. The customer expects to be closed. If you find yourself displaying this behavior try to see how other sales people manage the close and learn from them.