Delegates held Hostage by 4 Speakers

The Gatwick Diamond Speakers Conference provided its members with a group of diverse, interesting and thought-provoking guest speakers (Luise Usiskin, Tori James, Dr.James Bellini & Kirk Kinnell) at South Lodge, Hotel tackling a number of interesting subjects. The team met as a panel to discuss delegates questions, with the conference hosted by BBC reporter / compere John Young.


Luise Usiskin started the morning off with a wonderful talk on 'Unconscious Bias' challenging us with our own sub conscious preconceptions which we didn't necessarily know we had, leaving many uncomfortable with themselves. This Unconscious bias is often put into us into childhood, by our parents and environment learning the values. Luise showed a number of BBC Children's show titles for every programme with a female name there were 2.5 with male names. She explained 'It is part of human nature to be bias but it needs to be brought into our conscious so we are aware of them'. In Parliament a male MP was in a lift, when joined by an Asian female. He politely reminded the entrant the lifts were for staff not cleaners. Only to find out the Asian female was one of the new MP's. There are IAT tests that have been proved pretty accurate in showing us such bias, these can sometimes be disturbing to oneself when we are faced with the results. It has been found that organisations addressing these issues by implementing good diversity and equality programmes become more profitable.


Tori James is an adventurer and explorer who showed the heart and determination of a lion. She was the youngest Welsh female to climb Mount Everest. She underlined the importance and the need to dream think big. Highlighting 3 stages of thinking The Comfort zone. The Stretch zone and the Panic zone. She believed the 'fear of failure is stopping us' reaching extra ordinary goals. The clips and footage of her mountaineering training, preparation in climbing Everest and the final few steps to the summit were heart-warming. Tori warned us that many people will put you down or discourage you saying listen but 'Keep the positives what people say and bin the negatives'. She finished by stating 'Success comes in cans, not cant's'.


Dr.James Bellini is a 'futurologist' helping businesses and organisations to prepare and plan for the future. What is likely to happen? However, Bellini underlined the point 'the future is with us now'. He has worked for the Hudson Institute and quoted Herman Khan (1922 -1983) by stating 'if everyone says something is true … go out and take another look'. Khan a preeminent futurist became known for analysing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick's classic black comedy film satire 'Dr. Strangelove' (1964) starring Peter Sellers. He also worked secretly for governments on predicting scenarios for the Cold War and Vietnam war.


Bellini described the tools of the futurist as -
Scenario's (How the future might unfold)
Strong trends (demographic trends birth rate, ageing,)
Weak Signals (keeping one's ear to the ground a warning what could happen)
Wild Cards (Things not known, such 9/11)


James further stated the further you look into the future the more unpredictable it becomes, but kept on the theme of the future is with us today, nothing is new, maintaining that urban farms (with us now) on top of skyscrapers will be a large part of the future, with the growing of plants and crops moving upwards in glass containers rather than sideways. He also showed us a very impressive hospital bed of the future, how Theresa May could do with that now. Bellini left us with the thought that the 'Oil of the 21st Century is 'big data' maintaining the further growth of the Amazon's, Facebook's with the impact being what oil did for the world economy.


Former Policeman Kirk Kinnell shared his knowledge and experience as a hostage negotiator, approaching his audience directly with a number of challenges. Speaking on the skills and approaches needed when trying to persuade someone in a hostage situation. Kirk who has been deployed to around two hundred hostage and crisis negotiator incidents said the skills are 'transferable and is essentially a pitch'. Much emphasis was put on listening skills being able to cut through and understand what each party wants. The negotiation route map, read initial contact with party and making impressions, preparation & planning, first meeting, investigation, proposal, counter proposal, bargaining and review. The whole approach was very similar to the skills needed in direct sales - Persuasion.


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