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3 Most Frequently asked questions

Naked Leader Week – 53 – Monday 3 May 2004

Please feel free to distribute any of this as widely – no need to reference “Naked Week” as source – just cut out the bits you enjoyed and send on…

With energy and love to all



Three questions asked this last week about speaking at conferences / events

 What is the most unusual thing that has happened when you have been presenting?


Three memories stand out from this year…


  • In Cyprus opening a conference for 600 travel agents al of the lights, microphone and electrics blew…twice. I somehow carried on – it was the best on the job training I have ever had!
  • In Russia I was asked “of all your recipes, Mr Oliver, which is your favourite?”
  • And in Britain I was closing a conference and decided to start my talk with a high-risk approach. It had worked for me once before…I basically said to the audience that everyone who had already spoken had said everything I was going to say, far more eloquently than I could ever say it, so there was no need for me to stay. The plan is I then walk out of one door, along a corridor and in another, to continue with “Although I would just like to say…” On this occasion two doors looked very similar and I not done my planning properly, so after the quote above I said that I was now off; I said a very grand “goodbye” and walked straight into a cupboard.


2          “You speak a lot with children, what are your favourite memories/ experiences?


In terms of most vivid the nephew of a very close friend of mine, a boy of nine who was very unhappy and no-one could reach the root cause. When he came to visit us once, I asked him if he would like to play a game- called the “happy game” – in which we both have to act “as-if” we are very happy (deliriously so, on this occasion). We told each other jokes and quickly reached the stage of laughing just for the sake of it. After we finished, he was in a far better “state” than when we started – because it is simply not possible to act happy without actually being happy

And in terms of being completely floored I stood up in front of a “sink” school in London and asked 200 children who would play the biggest part in their future, and their future success. A young girl (who I later found was aged just seven), put up her hand and said:

“Ourselves – duuuh – David – we children get this stuff; it’s you adults that have all the hang-ups”

By far the most frequent question I get from children at schools is “What do you do?”!

3          “What is the most negative question you have been asked?”

 I don’t like to label them as negative, as they are brilliant experience, and I think we sometimes find our “best” responses when under pressure. Recent experiences:

Q         “What do we do if we don’t agree with anything you’ve said?”

A         “Then do the complete opposite of anything I say”

Q         “How on earth did your book become a best-seller?”

A         “Because a lot of people bought it”

Q         “Are you an expert in anything?”

A         “Not really – if anything, it’s the bleedin’ obvious

My all time favourite question was at The Legal IT forum at Gleneagles in Scotland. Having said during my talk that only 10% of business and personal development books are read beyond the first chapter, and only 1% ever finished, I was asked the following – you should have seen this guy’s body language as he asked it – and imagine my joy as he spoke.

Q         “You say that only a few business books are every finished, does your book have a chapter two, and if so, as you say only 10% of people will ever get that far, why? And, if your book does have a chapter two, isn’t that a bit inconsistent and hypocritical?

Me       “Now, before I answer that, can you confirm to the audience that you are not my brother or a close friend”

Him     (confused look) “No – I’ve never met you before”

I then explained about the choose your own adventure style of “The Naked Leader.”

Moments like that make spreading these messages so worthwhile

(Cambridge message – please ensure it is headed at the bottom so it is clear that the nlweek message has ended– clear separation – and worded as nlweek54 not as nlweek 52 which sounded a bit arrogant)

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