JLA in the Press

After-Dinner Soundbytes
Posted on July 14, 1996

by Godfrey Smith

“You’re talking about people’s dreams” avowed Will Carling. He was, in fact, talking about the England rugby team but reckons his philosophy could equally apply to your company. If you want to make sure he is the right chap to motivate your workforce you can now get a taste of his style on a video cassette called Speakers’ Showreel. You only get soundbites, but they have to get 32 movers and shakers onto the reel, arranged in coloured sections: blue for business, red for sales, yellow for politics and so on. After-dinner speakers are rather ominously coloured black, though the section boasts some jolly names: Ian Hislop, Bernard Ingham and other laugh a minute thrusters.

Will is under green for motivation and teamwork with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the Arctic explorer (“the urine phials made excellent chessmen”) Heather Mills, the model and charity worker (“I had enormous boobs but have had them reduced”); Peter Moloney, former soldier and monk (“poverty is only uplifting if you choose it – like chastity”); and Flight Lieutenant John Nichol, RAF Gulf war navigator (“at 800mph and 100 feet above the desert I had to trust my pilot implicitly with my life. It’s the same with industry”).

The tape is the bright idea of Jeremy Lee, who argues that you can be spending tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands, but your keynote speaker may prove a flop, the after-dinner slot a minefield. This way, you can sample what you’re buying first. When you consider that the lowest-paid speaker on his reel comes in at £1,000 while the highest will set you back £6,000, it sounds like common sense. Indeed if you can get your staff to believe in Peter Moloney (“nothing is beyond your reach”) it may prove quite a bargain. Jeremy reckons his showreel will work even better when it goes onto CD-Rom. As it is, you have to fast forward till you get your dream speaker. That might take time and in this world time is money. Lots of it.

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