In a slight change from the advertised schedule, I’d like to focus this blog on an extraordinary conference I had the pleasure of attending last week.
Now I have to hold my hand up and admit to “swerving” most conference invitations. In my experience, they tend to be thinly veiled sales pitches by speakers who should know better to audiences with only a passing interest in the content.
This conference, however, was a little different…
Firstly it featured some notable and worthy speakers – Simon Woodroffe of YO! Sushi and YOTEL fame along with Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent Drinks. Whilst these brands may not mean a huge amount outside of the UK, they are big news and much admired over here in Blighty. As expected, both Simon and Richard performed brilliantly and delivered interesting and engaging presentations. Good job all round.
However the speaker that took the conference from “good” to “great” was a chap called Jeremy Gilley. He is the founder of the Peace One Day movement, a not-for-profit organisation focussed on stopping all warfare across the world for one day every year (the 21st September seeing that you asked).
Think of it like peace fuelled version of “Mothers Day” – the idea is that everyone across the globe acknowledges it every year but rather than rushing out to buy overpriced cards and flowers, its represented by people laying down their weapons for a day.
A laudable idea but how to present this to a business audience..?
From a presentation structure and delivery perspective, Jeremy shone. His presentation managed to be simultaneously humble, moving and motivational. His message was heard and understood loud and clear by everyone in the audience…and I have no doubt, will stay with many of them for a long time to come.
He used his content wisely – never blinding the audience with too much detail (it would have been easy to turn the presentation into a “this is how complex international diplomacy is” rant) and using video to illustrate points quickly and effectively.
It has to be said that the few PowerPoint slides he did use weren’t great but we’ll be working on those for him over the next few weeks!
Ultimately the reason he was able to deliver his presentation so effectively was because he truly believes in his message. He’s presented the same story hundreds if not thousands of times to a range of audiences – business conferences like this one…but also Heads of State, C-Level Execs in organisations like Coca-Cola and, um, the Taliban.
All tough audiences in one way or another…all bought into Jeremy’s vision because his message was so crystal clear and simple to understand. Something all presenters should bear in mind…
All of this said, the most important message I and my fellow delegates took from the day was that Peace One Day is working. It’s a frustratingly slow process…but it’s working. I take my hat off to Jeremy and the rest of the Peace One Day team on their amazing achievements so far.
To learn more about Peace One Day, please view the short video below. I assure you it’ll be worth it.