Creating Entrepreneurs talk

I’ve been asked to speak at the Institute of Directors Annual Conference in Suffolk. The topic is Entrepreneurship and I guess my opinion is considered relevant as East of England Business Woman of the Year Enterprise Award recipient. Public speaking isn’t an area where I have much experience. Those of you who know me may well raise an eyebrow at that statement and think ironically about the fact that I talk up a storm – all the time. But speaking in public is quite different to just having a big mouth!

I decided for a number of reasons that if I was going to accept this request I would need to make an investment in getting the final product to the state where it was absolutely the best I could do. Firstly, I know how valuable time is to people who run businesses. I owe it to the audience to make it worth their while to sit and listen to me for half an hour. I also owe it to myself to use this opportunity to develop a killer presentation and the skills to deliver it really well – because then I can do it again in June when I have a second speaking engagement.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve been working with two great people to get my output to a professional enough level. More about them in a later blog.
For the current presentation I’ve been researching companies that behave in exceptional ways. And I found it fascinating. I just had to share one of the best stories I’ve come across:
Southwest Airlines took part in an event which became called ‘Malice in Dallas’ in 1992. At 61, with a smoking and drinking training regime, Herb Kelleher took on 37 year-old weight lifting head of rival company, Stevens Aviation in an arm wrestling match. And all because they didn’t want to involve the lawyers in a dispute over the use of a slogan. If only all corporate disputes could be settled so brilliantly – its worth reading the story.

Its easy to see why Southwest Airlines is one of the USA’s top companies to work for when you understand just how far they go to make work fun.

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