Interview with Carole Spiers
What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?
My focus is to empower organisations to achieve a healthy workplace culture through the successful management of stress and organisational change. With businesses under pressure to maintain targets and retain existing talent under a global economic downturn, there is a special need for organisations to pressure-proof their teams to enable optimum performance. Audience will gain global insights into workplace stress.
What is the feeling you would like people to take away?
My presentations are aimed at all audiences from the Boardroom to the shopfloor. I would like people to feel more in control of their lives – both at home and at work – when they leave my presentation. My presentations are aimed to empower people and therefore to them with a greater feeling of commitment to themselves and those around them.
How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
It is vitally important to know exactly who the audience is and to whom you will be addressing. Every presentation is unique to that audience and is tailored to them accordingly. Individuals have different roles and responsibilities and therefore are at different levels within the hierarchy of the organization. I always insist on the organizers of an event informing me as to the specific make-up of the audience e.g. whether it is comprised of middle or upper management, for instance, and the number of delegates that will be attending. I also need to know if the presentation is to be an inter-active one in which members of the audience will participate.
What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
It is a privilege to be a public speaker and it is certainly a very rewarding experience to know that people give their precious time to listen my experiences and the lessons learned over many years of professional work. I am always humbled by this awareness every time I present on platform.
How much does humour factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?
My presentations invariably contain anecdotal stories and case studies. The subject of managing stress and looking after our wellbeing is vital for our daily activity and there are certainly times when I use humour to illustrate some of the undesirable ways in which we sometimes behave. My new book Show Stress Who’s Boss! uses illustrated cartoons to make a point and these are also included in my presentations. They certainly make people smile at themselves.
What are the top three trends within the stress management field that people should be aware of, and which you elaborate upon in your speeches?
- Stress is endemic and a growing problem worldwide.
- There is now an awareness among employers of a duty of care towards their employees.
- Stress increases proportionally with economic downturns.
How are your keynote presentations unique?
My presentations teach stress management skills that have been acquired over many years in this specialized field both in the UK and abroad and are aimed to motivate and inspire people to take action as soon they leave the conference hall.
Do you have any unique memorable moments in your speaking career?
I remember delivering a presentation in Dubai on stress management in which I used case studies of people I work with on the townships of South Africa. The incongruence of the opulence of the Emirate to the challenged communities of the southern Cape, was stark. The audience was spellbound listening to the stories of adversity and how people are overcoming it. I finished the presentation to a standing ovation and people came over to me and, without asking, gave me money for the families.
Can you give some tips as to how individuals limit stress?
My top 10 tips are as follows:
- 1. Avoid getting angry over things you cannot change
- 2. Allow extra time for commuting + 30 minutes!
- 3. Learn how to say ‘no’ to unreasonable demands
- 4. Put 20 minutes ‘me time’ in your diary every day
- 5. Compartmentalise home and work activity
- 6. Don’t dwell on the past – draw a line
- 7. Have one ‘arrangement free’ weekend every month
- 8. Chunk your time into 2 hour blocks
- 9. Nurture your spirituality and keep a positive outlook on life
- 10. Set regular times to read and respond to your email