Tom Peters, Management Guru

At 61, Tom Peters is the guru's guru. For 30 years he has been touring the world, expounding his theories.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

He remains undimmed in his iconoclastic enthusiasm, but cuts a fuller figure than when he first embarked on his voyage of enlightenment. As he strode among his audience of 350, many were fascinated not by what he had to say but by his turn-ups, flapping at half-mast. He needs a more forgiving tailor.

For most speakers, filling 10 minutes can be daunting; Peters was planning to fill a day. How does he do it? Well, it's clear he reads assiduously: newspaper and magazine articles form the basis of his presentation. And he breaks all the rules - wordy slides using disastrous colour combinations, which he reads out in full, adding his commentary on each point. His first session was a little overwritten but he warmed up as he progressed.

In the main, Peters spoke in a high-pitched, nasal, east coast US whine, interspersed for effect with a slow, low, ponderous voice when he felt reflective. It was great stuff and the audience lapped it up. Peters is a showman and the staging of the event was terrific. It ran to time, the sound was perfect and the organisers Benchmark for Business made effective use of a large screen projection to ensure that everyone could see him. All in all, a class act.

Key moment: The revelation that Asia Pacific is feeling the pinch of job exporting. One Singaporean worker now costs as much as eight Thais or 18 Indians.

Key lesson: If you're going to stride about among a large audience, make sure you have video back-up so everyone can see you in close-up.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?... Silver tongue

Khalid Aziz is chairman of spoken communications specialist the Aziz Corporation -

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