BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Speaking out - Sir Jackie Stewart, Motor racing entrepreneur

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Speaking out - Sir Jackie Stewart, Motor racing entrepreneur - Being a champion at more than one thing is hard for most people. Sir Jackie Stewart makes it look like a doddle. With a talk beamed by satellite f

by KHALID AZIZ, chairman of spoken communications specialist theAziz Corporation - www.azizcorp.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Being a champion at more than one thing is hard for most people. Sir Jackie Stewart makes it look like a doddle. With a talk beamed by satellite from Belfast to more than 8,000 people in 40 locations around the UK, he proved to be a champion speaker. It was aimed at engineers, particularly those in the motor trade. Stewart's record of 27 Formula One wins stood for 14 years so you could tick the box for authority on racing, but what about relevance to business? Well, Stewart has made the transition from sporting celeb to businessman with ease. His credentials doubly impeccable, his audience were all ears.

They were not disappointed. His technique was simply to tell it like it is. He moved straight into how he set up Paul Stewart Racing and how it went on to become Jaguar Racing. He had no problem in disclosing that Ford was a great sponsor but tight with margins. There were memorable bons mots, drawn from direct experience - for example: 'A lot of people can open deals, few can close them.' He was also refreshingly self-deprecating - he told us how he shook hands on a pounds 60 million sponsorship deal only to watch it disappear 14 days later. And there were killer facts - for example, developing and running an F1 engine costs more than pounds 20 million a year. A class act.

Key moment: How he got his major sponsorship from HSBC: a 40-minute presentation followed by a 45-minute Q&A session in the morning. They promised to call at 3pm, which they did, and the deal was done.

Key learning point: Use narrative to get most of what you want to say across. Stories tell best.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?

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