Alvin Law interview- part 1

Here’s part one of an interview with brilliant Canadian speaker Alvin Law.

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Alvin was born with no arms, a victim of the thalidomide drug.  I was inspired by this amazing man, who plays the keyboard with his toes.

He’s a natural storyteller and I’ve seen few who are better at holding an audience’s attention.

I  have no hesitation in recommending Alvin for your event, if you are looking to inspire your team.

More details on Alvin Law here

Phillip Van Hooser interview

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Picture courtesy www.vanhooser.com

It was a great to meet the National Speakers Association President Phillip Van Hooser.

I interviewed Phil at the Professional Speakers Association convention in November 2009 in the UK.
He was the only American at my talk ‘Putting the ‘U’ in Humour’. Afterwards I was worried that I might have picked on him a bit during my workshop session to illustrate how humour varies around the world. I feared I might have jeopardised my chances of ever speaking at an NSA convention, but he was very charming and said how much he’d enjoyed the talk.  Phew!

Tim Gard with me

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Tim Gard pic

Picture courtesy of www.timgard.com

Here’s my interview with Tim Gard, the brilliant American speaker.  He’d just come off stage at the PSA 2009 convention in Marlow. His after dinner set was hilarious.  For me it was extra special because it was my birthday, and Tim invited eight fellow speakers onto the stage and they played Happy Birthday for me on nose whistles!
It wasn’t the most tuneful version, but I will always remember it.

I’d been invited to speak about humour at the convention before I knew that Tim was headlining the event.  It was a bit like being asked to talk about physics and then finding Stephen Hawking is also on the bill.  Fortunately my ‘Putting the ‘U’ in Humour’ workshop was well received and I was delighted when Tim came and found me to give me a copy of his book.

Anyway, enough of the praise, here’s the interview.


Ten Unusual Things about Jeremy Nicholas

Jem with Lulu

1.  He was shortlisted for a job as a Blue Peter presenter, made it to the last three, fronted a film about recycling polystyrene, and….they gave the job to Anthea Turner. Why would they do that?

2.  When GLR Breakfast with Jeremy Nicholas and Clare McDonnell only won bronze at the Sony Awards, the table let out a gasp of disappointment, causing a Chinese lantern to catch fire and float into the air. Other tables thought it was a protest at the judge’s verdict.

3.  Jeremy was once punched in the face by maverick football manager Brian Clough, he fell over backwards and landed on Brian’s labrador, Del Boy. Later that year Cloughie gave Jeremy an exclusive interview in the changing rooms at Wembley to make up. Des Walker and Stuart Pearce were naked and drinking beer out of the League Cup during the interview.

4.  He’s been the voice of the stadium announcer for every Fifa video game on EA Sports since Fifa06 -The Road to the World Cup. He recorded Fifa10 back in April. Each year he adds ten personal announcements of his own, which play randomly during the game. Every car he’s ever owned has left its lights on and his nieces and nephews are all lost children.

5.  His first game as the West Ham United announcer was in 1998. It was David Beckham’s first away game after being sent off at the World Cup. The only thing that helped conquer Jeremy’s nerves as he announced ‘number seven David Beckham’ and a wall of boos cascaded down onto the pitch, was knowing that if he wasn’t the announcer he’d be back in his seat in the stands booing along with the rest.

6.  Jeremy was once ambushed by a bearded man in robes who claimed he was Jesus and was carrying a machine gun. The man wanted a statement reading out live on air and demanded to have his fingerprints compared to the Shroud of Turin. The man turned out not to be Jesus.

7.  His toughest gig was in 2007 when he was the after dinner speaker at the black tie gala dinner at the Professional Speaker Association International Convention. 120 speakers sat back and folded their arms and waited to be entertained. Jeremy was very nervous and wished he’d worn his brown corduroys. Fortunately the speech went down a storm and they asked him back the following year as compere. He is now a member of the PSA and on course to become a fellow in the future.

8.  For seven months in 2003 Jeremy presented a country music breakfast show from studios in Wembley. He doesn’t like to talk about it, but the pay was very good.

9.  He met his wife Jeanette Kruger on the internet dating site Match.com.  They were married at West Ham United Football Club on November 11th 2006.  It’s an easy anniversary to remember as it’s Remembrance Day. Each year when he sees people wearing poppies, he knows it’s time to book a table at a local restaurant.

10. Once when he was very tired from presenting GLR Breakfast, he was called to say Jeremy Nicholas was in reception to see him. He was so jetlagged as he walked along the corridor he wondered if he would get to reception and find himself.  It wasn’t him. It was an actor who’d used the name Jeremy Nicholas professionally since 1968.  The other Jeremy demanded that our Jeremy change his name, but our Jeremy refused on the grounds that he’d been born with it in 1962.

To book Jeremy as a professional speaker at your event please email jem@jeremynicholas.co.uk

Testimonials and all that malarkey can be found at www.jeremynicholas.co.uk

7 ways to be a MediaMaster- by my co-author, Alan Stevens

mm-cvr-redWhat Brian Clough could teach today’s TV performers

The late Brian Clough had great advice about sound bites. “If you think of a killer phrase that sums up your story, the media will swoop on it like vultures. Keep them fed and you’ll keep them at arm’s length with you in control.” If only media interviewees today knew that.
In a new book, MediaMasters, Alan Stevens and Jeremy Nicholas have interviewed many of the top media performers in the UK, to find out top tips that anyone can use. Here’s a collection of six more of them:
Former paralympic athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson says “You are usually asked the same old questions, time and time again.” Her recommendation? “Practise your answers and make sure you get better over time”
George Galloway MP agrees. He doesn’t believe in being diverted by inconveniences like interviewer’s questions. He says “You should say what you want to say. If it’s a good point, repeat it.” Exactly. You should say what you want to say.
Comedy performer Phill Jupitus urges caution when making comments in jest, advising “They may not look good when printed in black and white and attributed to you. Always speak the truth, except in wedding speeches when diplomacy is more important.” How true that is.
The creators and writers of the “Alex” cartoons, Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, also use humour, but emphasise brevity too. They say “We can create a story for Alex in just four frames of a cartoon, with a joke to end, so surely you can trim your message a bit?”
Turning to TV skills, Michael Parkinson tells you to befriend the camera. His best advice? “When you are talking on camera, imagine you are chatting to a family member or close friend”. It certainly worked for him with his relaxed interviewing style being much imitated.
Lastly, novelist Fay Weldon gives some great advice about writing articles. She says “I don’t believe in sitting staring at a blank page for ages. Write first, think afterwards and analyse later”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s all about preparation and confidence. There’s plenty more advice from the other MediaMasters in the book too (ISBN 1-905430-61-2), which is available from Amazon, or the authors’ websites at www.mediacoach.co.uk or www.jeremynicholas.co.uk.