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Interview with Nadine Dereza

Nadine Dereza discusses her favorite moments and memories as a speaker as well as the importance of laughter and life lessons. Learn more below.

Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

Having worked in the industry for over 25 years, I have worked on some amazing events and conferences. The best moments are when you have a real connection with an audience and you feel you’re having a conversation with them. When I launched my book, Insider Secrets of Public Speaking with my co-author Ian Hawkins, that has to go down as one of my favourite experiences because we hosted a party at the iconic King’s Place in London, for lots of family, friends, speakers and business colleagues, and I like to think we put in all the essential ingredients that go into an entertaining and informative event.

How much does humour factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

I’m not a comedian, but have a ‘light touch’ and appreciate that humour can help get a serious message across. When I’m speaking on a particular subject, I put a lot of prep work in and tend to lead with facts and research interwoven with stories and examples.

I counsel other speakers not to necessarily start with a joke, because if it falls flat, you look silly from the off. It’s more important to make something accessible and easy to follow, and the best humour works naturally and ‘in the moment’ rather than being fully choreographed.

What skills are needed to be a good interviewer?

Listening, and keeping an open mind. Have you ever heard an interviewer with a set of questions they have planned to ask? Sometimes the interviewee will say something that demands further exploration, and if you plough on to the next question on your list regardless the whole interview can come over as superficial.

As the interviewer, you are representing the audience, so you need to gauge what their particular interests are, and sometimes, hold the interviewee to account. As a rule of thumb, the better your manners, the tougher the questions you can ask!

Why did you pick business as your journalistic area of expertise?

I completed a degree in business studies, and having run SMEs and worked across the whole business spectrum, I am really pleased that I chose this area, because I have come into contact with all sorts of companies and organisations around the world

Sport did come a close second. I’ve always been a huge football fan (QPR, but don’t judge me) and it isn’t too much of a stretch to see the links between football and business.

As an individual player, you put in the training and talent. As a team you have tactics and management. And then you’ve got ninety minutes to face down eleven other players who also want to win. The combination of experience, personality, talent, luck and tenacity versus tough competition – that sounds like a typical business scenario to me.

Why should clients use you for their next event?

The measure of being a good presenter is repeat business and I’m very proud to have built up strong relationships with some of my clients that benefit everyone beyond the events themselves.

As I said, I always do my homework and know what I’m doing. Inevitably on the day things won’t always go to plan, but as the presenter, it’s my job to keep a hand on the ‘rudder’ and steer things back on course. In my book, Insider Secrets of Public Speaking, I tell readers to aim to be a star, not a diva. I hope the people I work with would say that I make things easier for them, and help the event organisers look good. Events are like swans on the lake – you don’t want people to see all the work that goes into it. From an organiser’s point of view, being able to keep an eye on the clock so you finish the interview in time doesn’t hurt!

Click here to learn more about Nadine Dereza!

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