Conference Speakers Are Good Sports

Conference speakers, conference speakers, conference speakers. Sometimes all you think about are conference speakers. But then your favourite quadrennial fiesta of sport arrives and you get the chance to immerse yourself in the agony and the ecstasy of it all (whilst thinking about which sporting heroes will make the finest conference speakers, of course).

This summer many will ask: is it wise to host the world’s premier sporting event in a nation of corruption, slums, drug gangs and poverty? However, once the curtain opens, all that anyone will be discussing is the sporting drama on show. That’s right: the Commonwealth Games are upon us.

All of this neatly segues on to the real reason I’m writing this blog (it’s not a masochistic ploy to alienate my Scottish clients), which is to discuss legends of the Commonwealth Games past: specifically, which will be legendary conference speakers in your event future. So without further fanfare (or destruction of a derelict tower block), here are my Top 5 Gold Medal-winning Conference Speakers from the Commonwealth Games.

Chris Hoy
Listening to one of Britain’s all time sporting legends talk about the marginal gains that made him a champion is hugely inspiring, although some people in the office just seem to love his massive thighs. I say to them the two needn’t be mutually exclusive. Chris Hoy: great speaker; great thighs.

Colin Jackson
The former hurdler turned pundit never fails to impress, as the following feedback attests: “The client had a crush on him – two kisses, one on each cheek!” Whilst it’s not my place to speculate which cheeks these were exactly, I think we can all agree that Colin is doing something right.

Kelly Holmes
Yes, I know Kelly’s most memorable achievements came in that other sporting tournament that people tend to bang on about, but she also won a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. And she won Sports Personality of the Year. And she had amazing feedback for me at a recent diversity event. So take that, Olympics.

Steve Backley
With a sports psychology background, Steve is able to give an academic framework to his talks – although he still likes to throw in lots of banter about his fierce rivalries. Steve also plays golf, which is handy to know next time you need someone to come to your event and, you know, play golf. And if you need to rile him ahead of his next shot, just whisper the name Jan Zelezney in his ear.

Matthew Syed
Who can possibly forget Matthew Syed’s success at the Commonwealth Games? Table Tennis? Three Gold Medals? Yes, that’s the one. Matthew’s now best known as a sports journalist and writer of Bounce – a book all about determining what makes someone a champion. Matthew argues that it’s far more about practice and perseverance than any innate talent – which I’m sure will come as a relief to us all.

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