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The BBC legacy
If my background in BBC broadcasting has taught me one thing (and I hope it’s more than that, but one is a start) it’s the gift of the gab. There’s nothing like standing in a place where nothing is happening, and having the studio say to you “you’re live in ten seconds ... talk for three minutes!” to give you the knack of being able to speak, instantly, clearly, authoritatively, about anything, for as long as is required.
I have hosted countless live news and current affairs discussion shows and documentaries where I had to present, explain and test two or more opposing points of view. Sometimes you interview a protagonist for one side of an argument, and present the opposite view by asking the right questions. Then you do the same for the opposing faction. On other occasions spokespeople for all sides are sitting in front of you, and you interview them simultaneously, keeping the peace and making sure each one gets a fair crack of the whip. So the kind of hosting that happens at conferences and events – introducing everyone, explaining and presenting the key issues, introducing speakers, chairing debates – is very familiar to me.
Another role which is comfortable for me and which is sometimes useful at conferences and events, is that of the interviewer. Occasionally, to vary the format or because an event speaker lacks skill or confidence, s/he isn’t asked to give a stand-alone presentation. Instead they have a conversation, standing or sitting on stage, with someone like me. This draws out their key messages in a relaxed, informal and entertaining way. I am a very experienced interviewer with an instinctive grasp of when, and with whom, to be gentle, and who should be handled politely but firmly.
A serious, informative approach
As a keynote speaker, I can speak with confidence and authority on any aspect of media, communication or presentation. My career has been an unusual one, spanning journalism, creativity and comedy, and I have rare and valuable insights from all three, and from the combination. I went from being a newspaper, BBC radio and BBC TV journalist into writing film & TV drama and corporate video, including a spell as creative director of a corporate communications company. Then I became a writer and performer of topical songs on radio and TV. And all the while I was advising key figures in government and business in how to handle media interviews and presentations to live audiences.So you’ll get a unique and memorable presentation, packed with tips.
. . . or a funny one
Alternatively, if you want the low-down on working with Steve Coogan, Chris Morris, eccentric news readers, a trans-gender bicycle repair man, sleazy tabloid hacks, the perils of singing a song on TV while dressed as a condom or a Sun Page Three girl, or recording an interview while ice skating or on horseback - maybe you should treat yourself to a fine dining experience in convivial company, and invite me to speak afterwards!