Every Friday I profile a speaker on my blog and invite them to share their experiences and insights with us. I am delighted to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Robert Gerrish. Robert is one of the founders of the amazing support community Flying Solo, and if you are looking for a credible and highly experienced  mentor for your solo business I highly recommend you get in contact with Mr Gerrish. Please say hello to Robert Gerrish.

What topics do you speak on?

Issues facing those going it alone in business. Particular themes are:

1. How to start and spread a referral virus

[Harnessing the power of word-of-mouth referrals]

2. Work less. Achieve more.[Explores productivity, time management and the importance of leaving your work]

3. Standing Out[Tips to get noticed and attract opportunities]

4. Get it right. The secrets to starting and growing a business on your own.[Uses the findings of extensive research we’ve run at Flying Solo and leaves all delegates with a plan of action]

What tips do you have for beginner speakers who want to improve?

– Watch as many other speakers as you can. Whether good or bad, you’ll learn heaps. Spend plenty of time researching online; YouTube is FULL of very valuable tips on  speaking…and lots of videos of presentations of course.

Ditch PowerPoint where possible. Get used to working with the bare minimum and avoid anything that takes the focus away from you.

Talk to anyone who’ll listen and don’t worry about income in the early days, just get some runs on the board and you’ll know when it’s time to start charging.

Are you a member of speaking organisations?

Currently no. I was for a while, but due to other commitments my speaking had to take a bit of a backseat. These days I speak when invited…it’s icing on the cake, not a key source of income. (I adore it though and it never feels like work!!).

What was your biggest disaster on the platform and how did you handle it?

It was actually on the lead up to a platform. I was speaking at a national photography association’s annual conference and my plane was badly delayed. My hosts met me at the airport and we had a white knuckle drive in a 30 year old Volvo, driven by a photographer who clearly wanted to be a racing driver. (Er, bad choice of car methinks!).

Anyway we got to the venue and as I fell in through the door I heard the MC say, “Please welcome Robert Gerrish”.

Relaxed? Composed? Centred? Grounded? Not a chance I was shredded.

I saved the day be being described the ordeal in lurid detail. The audience were highly amused and their warmth settled me down very quickly. No sure my chauffeur was overly impressed.

Have you written a book or created other related products?

Yes, I co-wrote Flying Solo: how to go it alone in business in 2005, a business bestseller. We’ve just rewritten it and re-released and it’s still selling very strongly. Alongside speaking, I love writing.

See the book here: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/book

When is your next speaking gig?

I’m running a discussion panel for CBS and Hewlett Packard in a couple of weeks and commencing a 12-15 venue national tour of local business groups in May 2012.

How can people get in touch with you?

I hang out at www.flyingsolo.com.au or get to me through linkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/robertgerrish