I first met Jeremy Nicholas at a Professional Speaking Association London meeting at the end of last year. The PSA brings together speakers and those who (like me) make their living on their hind legs, and the meetings are a packed mix of great and would-be great speakers, business and marketing tips and networking. Jeremy, whose business tag line is ‘Keeping conference delegates awake since 1994’, was the host of the meeting, linking everything together in a relaxed yet very skilful way. I happened to sit next to him at lunch, and we swapped business cards as one does in this kind of setting.
The following week, I received Jeremy’s email newsletter. Reaching for the delete key, I started to read and discovered that rather than a hard-sell, this email was packed with interesting, topical and practical tips on speaking. It really was a masterpiece of thought-provoking content, with several sections and inspired by talks and TV interviews, some recent and some less so, with Jeremy’s comments about how the speakers achieved (or not) their desired impact. It also mentions his workshops and coaching services, of course. Over the months I have come to eagerly look forward to Wednesday morning, when the next instalment arrives.
A few weeks ago, Jeremy offered an invitation to his readers – “Buy me a coffee and we can talk about speaking.” Being in London and with an hour or so to fill, Jeremy invited the first four respondents to join him at London’s funky Groucho Club and ask questions about speaking and speaker-biz. I responded instantly, and last Friday Angie, Cyril, Sean and I went along to the Groucho. Jeremy was excellent – he was interested in what we did, shared his experiences, gave us insider tips, responded to all our questions, and actually even bought the coffees as well.
I took a couple of minutes to describe Host Leadership to him, and between us we figured out that he was being an excellent host leader!
- He has stepped forward and initiated an opportunity for this discussion to happen
- He had invited us, let us know where to be and when, and been clear about what we could and couldn’t do in the club
- He had found a nice space where we could all sit together and talk without interruption
- He was the most experienced (and so shared that experience) but was also interested in us and our experiences – all in a generous way, with few preconceptions or conditions
- He introduced us to each other, got us talking, sometimes let us take a lead and then bringing the discussion back together
- And he joined in as ‘one of the group’ as well as being the leader.
I was rather surprised when Jeremy told us that this was the first time he’d done a meeting like this with four people – his previous forays had been to invite one person, but it was clear to me that having a small group meant that everyone benefited from a variety of views, that other people’s questions were just as interesting as your own, and that the time flew by. I had to leave after an hour and three quarters, but the others were still going.
So, I would rate Jeremy as a good host leader as well as a very skilful speaker and speaking coach! If you are interested in speaking, so sign up for his weekly newsletter at http://jeremynicholas.co.uk/newsletter/. Who knows where it might lead? And thanks to Jeremy for an excellent morning in London.