founder of naked leader

Two Questions That Made Me Stop and Think

Naked Leader Week – 79 – Monday 15 November 2004

Last week I was talking at a school, and I was asked two questions that made me stop and think:

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


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

 I remembered the first answers below at the time and then thought up some more, afterwards:

 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 all of the lights, microphone and electrics blew…twice. I carried on in the darkness. Afterwards the technicians came up and said “thank you for the perseverance” to which I replied, “thank you for the training.”
  • In Russia I was asked “of all your recipes, Mr Oliver, which is your favourite?” (this was after I had given an hour’s presentation on leadership, and to my knowledge not mentioning food once!)
  • 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 was I would 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,” jumped off the stage, opened the door and walked straight into a cupboard.

Q         “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         “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 bleeding 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

With love to you, wherever you are



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