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Interview with Cyriel Kortleven

Cyriel Kortleven answers A-Speakers’ questions about presentations, preparation, humor and creativity. Read more below.

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

I want that people got inspired to use their creative skills more often and understand that creativity can be very simple and doesn’t cost a lot of time. They will go away with a very practical, down to earth ‘Yes and …’ attitude and can turn problems into opportunities.


How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

After a briefing with the client, my creative mind will pay attention for all kind of examples and methods that could be interesting for my target audience. And for the special projects, I collaborate with the my colleague – Master of the creative websearch – to find tailor-made examples to let the audience experience the power of creativity.


How do you suggest that businesses reduce risk aversion?

Too many people (and businesses) focus too much on the elements that can go wrong. They think in problems, risks, effort and costs. But if you want to discover business opportunities, you have to learn and allow mistakes (we even invented a different word – the nearling – to get away from the negative connotation of a failure). I recommend people to go for passion; dare to take action by going for small steps so you can fail fast and learn fast!


Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by a lot of things – three things that absolutely give me an inspiration boost: a week in the desert @ the Burning Man festival; unplanned meetings/talks with people (friends or strangers); and the unstoppable imagination of children.


How are your keynote presentations unique?

I use a lot of interaction (even with large audiences) during my keynotes; tailormade examples how creativity can work in the domain of the target audience and I try to be normal ‘human being’ on stage instead of the expert who has all the answers.


Why is the concept of creativity so important in the workplace?

The world is changing faster and faster and I’m afraid that people and organisations will be ‘out-of-business’ very soon if they don’t learn to think ‘out-of-the-box’. Creativity isn’t hocus pocus or a gift to the very few; it’s an attitude that everybody can learn and apply in their lives and work.


Can you give 3 tips to increase creative thinking?

Three tips to give a boost to your creativity:

1. Avoid the ideakillers (yes but, no money, it’s not for me, …) when you hear/see an idea

2. Explore the world with different eyes – look from a different perspective to your problem/products/services

3. Do it now – allow yourself to make nearlings when you’re have a new idea. Fail fast and learn fast.


You can read more about Cyriel Kortleven here!

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