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to influence others, we need to create impact

Since 2004 I've been working with my clients to help them develop greater impact and become better influencers, whether it's when presenting to groups, one-to-one, in their leadership, as negotiators or when responding to difficult situations and people.

My client list includes:

After studying Psychology at Oxford, I worked in film and television drama for twenty years, initially as an actor but for most of my career as a director, working on series like Holby City, Dream Team, Eastenders and My Parents are Aliens as well as television films. You can find some (though by no means all) of my credits on the Internet Movie Database. And on the 'Stage to Screen' page of this site you can find details of my 2014 Bloomsbury/Methuen book about the differences between stage and screen acting.

As a director, I was working with all the nuances of behaviour through which characters influence each other. There are the words in the script, of course, but there's also what actors call the subtext – everything that's being communicated non-verbally. So I'm very practised at identifying and shaping the under-the-surface stuff that creates impact and massively influences the tone and dynamics - and ultimately the success or failure - of interactions. It's these skills I now use to help clients make more intelligent choices about the impact they create.

There are two major influences on my approach.

The first is Daniel Goleman, who popularised the term 'emotional intelligence', especially in his writing about leadership. [1]

And the second is the Nobel prize-winner Daniel Kahneman, who has spent a lifetime exploring the relationship between what psychologists call 'System 1' – the automatic, intuitive and subconscious functioning of our brains – and 'System 2' – our conscious, deliberate 'thinking'. [2] While we like to believe that System 2 is in charge, Kahneman's research demonstrates starkly that most of our decision-making is actually done in our subconscious by System 1.

And it's System 1 that dominates our estimation of others and this is where impact is created. Consequently much of my work with clients looks at how they can become more aware of what they're communicating on the level of System 1 and therefore influence others to create greater impact.

The New Leaders;
Goleman 2002
Thinking,
Fast and Slow;

Kahneman 2011

experiential learning

While this is the theoretical underpinning, what really counts is what happens out there in the real world. Precisely because System 1 is so powerful, when we're confronted with a person or a situation we want to influence, usually we simply respond intuitively to what's in front of us. We may know there are better ways of doing things, but to make the transition from intellectual appreciation to real, tangible, behavioural change, it's essential to practise. You can't learn to ride a bicycle solely by reading about aerodynamics and balance. You have to get on a bike and try it out.

Mostly I run workshops for small groups or coach individuals on a 1-2-1 basis. This is because what I'm best at is working very specifically with the needs and ambitions of individual people. My aim is to create a supportive, dynamic environment in which people can examine how they currently do things, explore new ways of thinking and practise new skills and methods of behaving of interacting.

I also regularly challenge people. I do it with a smile but I try to give people the feedback they need rather than telling them what they want to hear. Basically I'm just not interested in mediocrity and there's nothing so satisfying as helping people make a real step-change in their effectiveness.

You can find a selection of testimonials on the page 'what clients say' and this is my LinkedIn profile which has a large number of recommendations if you scroll down.

I'm quite expensive because I'm very good at what I do and I bring a lot of experience and professionalism. But I'm quite a bit less expensive than the top-flight consultancies with their large overheads.

I tend to work with individuals, smaller companies or teams within larger organisations. If you're looking to run a larger development programme, then I'd strongly urge you to talk to Maynard Leigh Associates, a fantastic outfit that pioneered the use of theatre skills in people development over twenty years ago and has a long track record of running large programmes with blue chip companies like DHL, T mobile, Barclaycard, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Aviva and so on. Given the plug, it may not surprise you to know that I also work for them on a regular basis, but I have no hesitation in recommending them because, in my opinion, they really are the best.

On other pages of this website you can read and hear me speak about specific aspects of impact, but if you're interested in knowing more about how I can help you, the best way would be to get in touch. While I'm always happy to respond to emails, my preference is always for a conversation, so I'd encourage you to ring me on 07973 890578.

  • [1] The New Leaders; Goleman 2002
  • [2] Thinking, Fast and Slow; Kahneman 2011