Season 1, Episode 12

Thomas Erikson, motivator, speaker, and best-selling author of Surrounded By Idiots

by | Jan 22, 2023 | 0 comments

Thomas Erikson, author of international best-seller Surrounded By Idiots (and many more books), talks about personality tests, the DISC profile, and how we can use it in a pitching scenario to serve our audience. We also discuss leadership styles, how to make people like you, and why we all need to be ourselves.

Thomas Erikson, author, motivator, and lecturer

In 2022 I was asked to run a one-hour session for IBM and Adobe apprentices on ‘How to own the room’ – I said yes because this sounded right up my street. I’ve presented and pitched to clients for the last 15 years, I’ve done public speaking, and I coach teams on how to present. That said, when I sat down to write my presentation, it was harder than I’d first thought. I think I’m pretty good in front of a crowd, but I haven’t often stopped to assess how, and why – I just…do. Unperturbed, I turned to research, namely Google, and typed in ‘How to own the room’. The very first result that came up was a book of that exact name by author and comedian, Viv Groskop. I got my copy on Audible and the rest, as they say, is history.

The book is a treasure trove. It’s instructional, inspirational, and not only helped with the task of presenting on the topic, but taught me a huge amount – like, HUGE amount – about mental preparation, beating nerves, breathing, and body language, as well as being filled with anecdotes about some of the best speakers out there.

“This Viv Groskop,” I thought to myself, “would be an incredible guest on the Pitch Masters podcast.” I went back to Google to do some stalking and found that after publishing the book, Viv had begun an entire podcast dedicated to the topic, with (at time of writing) 140 episodes. Guests include Hillary Clinton, Martha Beck, Margaret Atwood, Katie Piper, Valerie Jarrett, Katy Brand, Sophie Dahl, Sandi Toksvig, Julie Andrews…the list goes on and on.

You may have noticed that these guests are all female, and the book’s full title is How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking. This piqued my interest even more. Firstly, was I allowed to read this book, and would its contents apply to me? Answer: yes, and yes. Secondly, why was this book aimed at women?

When Viv agreed to be on Pitch Masters, these were some of my big questions, and Viv, of course, has thoroughly compelling answers. In fact, we talked about loads of topics in our hour together, including channelling the right energy when we communicate, flight or flight, the challenges that women face that men often don’t, overcoming nerves, why we should commit to a speaking event before we are ready, Viv’s journey from corporate-world to freelance, and how we all need to remember to be HUMAN.

If you haven’t read or listened to the book, then go and get in on Amazon now, and be sure to tune into Viv’s podcast on all major channels.

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