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Nigel Collin

virtual speaker

How to Present on Camera: Top 5 Tips

By | Presenting to camera, Useful Conference Tips | No Comments

Presenting on camera is a vastly different skill than presenting from a stage or in a boardroom. If you don’t connect, you’ll disengage your audience and they’ll disengage from your message.  Here are some proven pointers to help.

1. Look through the lens

Where do you look when presenting to camera, at the lens or through the lens? The answer is to look through the lens because it softens your eyes and connects you with your audience more. If you look at the lens it hardens your eyes and give you a glazed outlook. Which is why you should always present to camera and never a phone or computer.

2. Less is more

Camera is a very intimate medium and everything you do is exaggerated. Unlike presenting from a stage, large movements look even larger. Small subtle movements carry well. Remember that less is more. So do less, move less, and you will connect even more.

3. Present to one person

A big trap is treating camera as a mass medium. Sure you might end up in front of 1000’s of people but from the viewers point of view you are talking to them. It you mass broadcast you loose connection. So present to just one person.

4. Warm up for the start

A presentation on camera is like a motor race, if you start cold and slam your foot down, it takes a while to gain traction and momentum. If you have a rolling start, you are up to speed before the start line. That is how you need to present. Say a few lines before the camera rolls, walk into shot and start presenting before the first word.  

5. Don’t present

After years of coaching presenters and executives on camera the biggest tip, and probably the hardest, is not to present. Put people in front of a camera and most instantly slip into presenter mode which is stilted, robotic and fake. And camera picks that up. So don’t ever present. Just have a chat, a conversation, keep it real.

To find out more about how Nigel can help train and coach your executive team click here

For video and presenter training in a studio environment, we recommend and work with Scene Change Studios through the country

coach or mentor

Do you need a coach or do you need a mentor?

By | Coaching | No Comments

Successful leaders and individuals rarely, if ever, achieve success by themselves. They don’t just surround themselves with great teams, but also have coaches or mentors working with them, especially through uncertain times.

With Covid-19 creating not just an uncertainty but a situation none of us in business have ever dealt with before, who is more appropriate to help navigate the next 6 months, a mentor or a coach?  The benefit of each is rarely disputed but there is a lot of confusion between the two and the difference is often misunderstood.

Mentor Vs Coach

A mentor is someone who has done what you want to do and has experience travelling the road you are travelling. And because they have been there before you this can be beneficial if you want someone to advise and tell you what to do in a specific area.

A coach, on the other hand, will ask questions to get you thinking, act as a sounding board and guide you to be the best you can be and find the best solutions. A coach is a partner who helps you see clearly, make better decisions, clarify any mist or confusion and become self-aware and accountable. It is far more powerful because when you find the answer to a problem, clarify your goals and how to there, figure out how to be the best you can be, you start to take greater ownership and grow

So, do you need a coach, or do you need a mentor?

Both are valid options and it really comes down to what is it that you want to achieve. If you just want someone to tell you what to do next within a specific area, then a mentor may be the go.

If you’re looking for someone to help you achieve the things in work and life and you want to achieve, help you achieve your goals, and be the best you can be having a coach is the go.

A preference for mentoring or coaching

I’ve had both in my life and I’ve always found a coach far more effective because when I figure out what to do, I become accountable to myself and get stuff done. Which is also why I choose to work as a coach more than a mentor

With Covid-19 no-one really knows what to expect or has been through it before you and so in times of uncertainty like these, perhaps a coach is the better path to help you find clarity, bounce ideas around and work with you.

Find out how a coach can help

Stong Leaders

Strong leaders don’t run, they walk fast in times of crisis

By | Leadership | No Comments

Back in the 90s when I had an entertainment business I received a powerful lesson in how to be a strong leader. I was taught never run but walk quickly when there was a problem or crisis. It was during a large event of about 1000 people when one of the performers was standing behind a lit screen and everyone could see their shadow. Hardly a crisis I admit but one that gave me a valuable lesson in leadership. Seeing the shadow, I started running towards the stage to tell the performer move, when my producer at the time quietly said to me, ‘don’t run, walk quickly’. Running (or panicking) does three things.

  1. As you run you are in danger of tripping and causing more havoc.
  2. People will notice you running and assume something is up and panic results.
  3. Your decision-making process goes south as your knee-jerk reaction cuts in.

Good advice. Especially now.

As the impact of Coronavirus takes hold ask yourself if you or your leaders running or walking quickly? Not literally of course but metaphorically.

Strong Leaders are adaptive while staying the course

An attribute of strong leaders is adaptability. I like the way Jay A Conger (2004) puts it when he talks about ‘Chameleon Leadership’. The next 6 to 12 months will test the ability of businesses and their leaders to adapt to change and deal with the impact of the Corona crisis, while still maintaining course. That requires taking decisive action in a calm and non-emotional way. It requires good communication, so everyone knows what expect (well… as best as possible) and what steps have been put in place.

Strong leaders are consistent communicators

Your team needs to feel safe and certain that you as a leader are not panicking yet, at the same time, not deflecting a crisis. They need to know what the plan of action is, and they need to know that things could change at any moment. They also need to feel they have a say, that they are contributing, and they need to know that the little things they do, which to them may seem unimportant, will make a big difference. A strong leader addresses these.

If a leader runs, they will not just panic their staff and their clients, but they risk making bad decisions.  As my manager, Simone Ashton’s partner put it (who is ex-defence force) ‘officers don’t run, it panics the troops’.

Find out about our coaching services.

You might also like Are great leaders superheroes not villains?

Leveraging Change.

By | Change | No Comments

The rate of change is faster than it ever has been, it’s been around for a long time. Interestingly there are some great lessons in history, of leveraging change. People and businesses who completely revolutionised themselves, their businesses and their markets when change came their way. And although we live in unprecedented times, we can learn from them.

A past example of change

Let’s head back to Hollywood in 1927 when the world changed dramatically forever. At a time when Hollywood was in its prime and produced more movies than any other time in history (up to 800 per year), stars like Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickton were considered Gods and Saturday Matinees were more popular than YouTube.

In 1927, great change was afoot when ‘Talking Pictures’ arrived. A major technological disruption. For many, the advent of sound was a major upheaval which created imponderable challenges.

Film Studios were forced to build new sound ‘stages’, clunky and noisy cameras were of no further use, directors and technicians needed to re-think and re-invent camera movements, microphone placements, all to accommodate ‘talkies’ and the new technology required to create them.

Many actors were less fortunate – with heavy accents or trill voices some simply didn’t manage the transition from silent to sound and saw their careers abruptly end. Stars such as Agnes Ayers, Emil Jannings, and Gilbert Rowland, (don’t worry I hadn’t heard of any of them either which just reinforces my case) saw their careers tumble from beneath them.

The advent of sound changed the Movie industry forever and with it the lives and careers of many. Some adapted got creative and thrived, whilst others didn’t.

Ignoring the opportunity of change

Take Charlie Chaplin. Now there’s a name you would have heard of. Chaplin was a Hollywood God. He entertained millions and influenced countless stars and actors (in fact still does). He brought vaudeville to Hollywood, co-founded United Artists, and is, without doubt, still considered one the Hollywood greats.

But Chaplin refused to have his ‘little tramp’ character talk. Of sound in movies, he said ‘action is more generally understood than words’. Chaplin obviously thought having the tramp speak would undermine and detract from his endearing, pantomime character. And who’s going to argue with that! Even though he added musical tracks to films such as ‘City Lights’ he only ever briefly spoke once in ‘The Great Dictator’ when he mocked Hitler.

No one would argue the legacy he left behind. Chaplin is synonymous with silent film. And there lies the rub.

The tramp didn’t or couldn’t make the transition from silent to sound. Chaplin failed to fully adapt to the ‘talkies’ and create an opportunity from them. He made countless films before the advent of sound but only a handful afterward.

Leveraging change – an example

In contrast, let’s look at someone who saw the dawn of sound not as a hurdle but as an opportunity and turned it to his advantage

In 1928, only a year after sound arrived, a small mouse made his debut in the world’s first talking cartoon ‘Steam Boat Willie’ and stunned the movie world and audiences alike. With Steam Boat Willies – Walt Disney had truly arrived. He saw an opportunity in sound and went with it.

And it wasn’t a once-off – Disney had a knack for sensing change, getting creative and turning it to his advantage.

In the 1950s, when another enormous change rocked Hollywood and the world forever – television, once again Disney was there ready to take advantage. Television, some said, would destroy the movie industry – why would people go see films when they could watch shows in their own home? But as one of Hollywood’s leading studios, Disney didn’t see television as a threat – he saw it as an opportunity to be used to his advantage.

Thinking differently to everyone else Disney had an idea. At the time he was creating ‘Disneyland’ and needed capital to get it up and running – he saw TV as a fundraiser and also as a promotional tool for his new project. Having done a deal with a major network, he provided an exclusive weekly show called ‘Disneyland’ and got the funding he needed. At the same time, as viewers all over America tuned in to watch, Disney would show them snippets of the park being built, exciting his potential guests.

Leveraging change is a game of inches

Talking pictures and the advent of Television were two quantum leaps beyond the control of most people in Hollywood. Some survived and some didn’t, some saw change as opportunity, got creative and took control.

What’s interesting is that Disney, as revolutionary as he was, didn’t invent talking pictures and he didn’t invent television, he adapted to them. A small change here, and evolution there. You don’t need to make a quantum leap or reinvent everything you do to be an innovative giant. It happens in step at a time.

In 2020 we live in radically changing and disruptive times. The question is how you will deal with it. Do you hide our head in the sand or will you see the opportunities it presents? Will you be Charlie Chaplin or Walt Disney?


Disney’s World -Leonard Mosley Scarborough House 1990

The Man Behind the Magic, The Story of Walt Disney – Katherine and Richard Greene, Viking 1991

Film History of the 1920’s – Tim Dirks

The Great Chaplin,

The Worlds Great Movie Stars, – Ken Wlaschin, Salamander, 1979

Related Articles:}
The Tasmanian who changed an industry or The Power of Incremental Change also Strong leaders don’t run, they walk fast in times of crisis

Have Nigel Speak at your conference or event. Find out more here.

Get some real case studies at Ingenious Oz Project

Change an industry

The Tasmanian who changed an industry

By | Change, Innovation | No Comments

Let me take you back to 1902, when an enterprising young man had an idea. J.A. Birchall owned a small stationery shop in Launceston, Tasmania Australia. Someone who would change an industry without being a juggernaut.

Back at the turn of the century, if you wanted to communicate with your clients or just keep in touch with family and friends, you couldn’t email or text them. You could jump on your horse and head off across town, or you could write to them. And unlike today’s world, when you bought writing paper you did so in large individual sheets, usually rolled up that you would then cut to size before use. 

Our young hero could see problems from his customers’ point of view. He noticed that if it was windy or raining his customers would leave the shop fighting to keep their paper rolled neatly without it getting crushed or wet or blown down the road. There had to be a workable solution to this problem and that’s when Mr Birchall had his idea.

He wrote to his suppliers in England and suggested they cut the sheets down into smaller, more manageable sizes. He then evolved the idea and suggested they place a firm backing board under the sheets, so you didn’t have to roll them. He took it even further and suggested they get some gum and glue the top edges of the loose sheets together, so people could peel them off, one by one, as they needed them. 

It took a while to convince his suppliers, but eventually, J.A. Birchall’s creative scheme came into existence. A Tasmanian from Launceston invented the writing notepad that we know today.

What I love about this story, and I tell it often when speaking at conferences, is that it demonstrates three important pillars to change an industry and for business growth.

Firstly, the need to find gaps. Not just market gaps, but small gaps in the way you do things, that solve customers’ problems. Continually look for areas that can be improved bit by bit, inch by inch.

It also demonstrates that creative thinking and innovation belong to everyone and not just the leviathans of industry.

And finally, there’s a spirit in the story you often see throughout places like Tasmania. One which we can all learn from. It’s the spirit of having a crack. It’s the ability and courage to have a go and make ideas happen.

You don’t need to be a juggernaut to change an industry.

Related articles

Is your ability to influence important in leading change?

How the McVikers cashed in on Change

Leveraging Change

Is your ability to influence important in leading change?

By | Change | No Comments

To get people embracing change you need to become a master influencer.

I’ve been speaking and facilitating most of my life. Recently I read a magnificent article from HBR on the art of influence and persuasion. It was so compelling it got me thinking about the importance of influence when it comes to leading change.

People want and need to understand the importance of change and how it will be a benefit to them if they are going to embrace it. In fact, they will fight it. As leaders, it is paramount that we become masters at communicating the importance of change and what it means for others. Otherwise, change simply won’t happen.

It’s one thing to be the instigator of change but it’s a different thing to have change thrust upon you. According to McKinsey there is a 30% more chance of a change initiative succeeding if people embrace it and are invested in it.

Which is why this recent article by Carmine Gallo in HBR was so profound for me because its spoke of 5 keys that Aristotle wrote about more than 2000 years ago. What I find fascinating is that these ideas are still relevant today, more importantly, vital for anybody within an organisation leading and communicating new initiatives.

Let’s have a look at each of these 5 elements and how they relate to making change happen within teams.

1. Character in leading change

When it comes to change, we need to know the person leading us has the character and credibility to do so. Otherwise, we just won’t accept it. As leaders, if we expect our people to adopt change and act on it, we better make sure we believe in it and act on it as well.

2. Reason in leading change

A few facts and figures go a long way because they satisfy the logical part of our brain. Of course, not everybody wants to be overwhelmed with statistics but a few quantitative examples of why a particular change is important (such as an increase in real wages or decrease in stress levels) can make all the difference

3. Emotion in leading change

As humans, it is when we become emotionally connected to something that we begin to embrace it and engage with it. When trying to influence people as to the need to make change happen, finding ‘what’s in it for them’ emotionally is powerful.

4. Metaphor in leading change

At film school one of my tutors once said to me ‘we are genetically engineered to understand story. in the world of business, the storytelling is becoming more and more popular and for good reason. One of the simplest ways to use story is metaphor.

5. Brevity

No one likes changes because it seems too hard, too big and too scary. A great antidote to that is making it simple so it doesn’t seem overwhelming or complex. Keeping a message concise and clear isn’t easy but it worth the effort. Take time upfront to keep it short and simple.

Unless you can influence the people within your organisation to adopt new ideas and new ways of doing things the status quo will remain. And in a rapidly changing world, status quo is the nemesis of business growth.

Other related articles to read are Change Management requires Ownership not buy-in and The power of incremental change. Also Leveraging change and Strong leaders don’t run, they walk fast in times of crisis

Take our ‘Change Survey’

great leaders

Great leaders – are they superheroes or villains?

By | Leadership | No Comments

I remember rocking up to my dad’s office as a young kid during school holidays and asking to see his films. He didn’t work in the film business; he was in advertising. His secretary (I don’t think they had executive assistants back then) would amuse me by setting up a 16mm projector in a spare room and bringing out a pile of Dad’s advertisements. I would sit there for hours, just watching the ads and promo reels, playing them again and again and again.

I used to love the sound the film made when it was running through the sprockets, seeing the light glow in the projector and how the dust would flitter and play in its beam. Sometimes, just for kicks, I would play the films backwards. Very cool. My dad never said no to me watching his films. He was never too busy to bring a projector home to set up in the living room.

Great leaders are supportive

A few years later, when I was a teenager, he set up a meeting with a family friend who was a film producer, to chat with me about a career in the film business. That led to me getting work on TV and film.

Around the same time, my mother owned an art gallery, so much of my teenage years were surrounded by people who appreciated self-starters, entrepreneurs and successful business people. People who also managed to make a living, and some of them very good livings, from their ideas and their creativity, (at 80 my Mother still painted). People who understood that success takes both passion and good business skill and that it doesn’t happen immediately but takes effort and time. That it’s a game of inches on all levels.

Great Leaders have influence

I am incredibly grateful that people who were supportive and open to entrepreneurial endeavours surrounded me in my youth. People who didn’t judge, mock, or try to interfere, but instead mentored, guided, and led by example. Just being who they were and doing what they did was an enormous influence.

There lies a great lesson. I learned at a very early age, without even knowing it, that we each hold an immense power of influence over other people and that we can either draw the very best out of them or shut them down. We can inspire people to be their best or we can point them to mediocrity – without even knowing we’re doing it. We can also inspire ourselves to be our best or we can point ourselves to mediocrity – without even knowing we’re doing it

We can be superheroes or villains. A great leader knows that the first choice is a nobler one. Inspiring people to be their best is a much better pursuit.

To find out more about how Nigel can help your leaders be superheroes with his leadership presentations.

Others articles on leadership include ‘Change management requires ownership, not buy-in’ and ‘How do I foster an innovation culture in my team?

conference MC Facilitation tool

Could This Be The Best Facilitation Tool Ever?

By | Innovation, Useful Conference Tips | No Comments

I’ve been facilitating for over 20 years now and am always on the lookout for effective facilitation tools. So when I came upon this I got excited. The story goes that at Virgin’s head office, in their boardroom, is an empty chair. The chair represents the customer, so whenever Sir Richard and his executives get together, symbolically the customer is right there with them. This way they are reminded to see things from the customer’s point of view and not just their own.

Powerful Stuff. And one of the best facilitation tools ever.

Facilitation needs a third person perspective

Often when we’re drawing ideas from others and trying to find creative solutions we get caught up in our own point of view and fail to see things from the point of view of others. As a result we limit our thinking and may even fail to see opportunities outside of our own vision. A third person view of the world can very often make all the difference and so it’s important to see things from someone else’s perspective. To come up with quality business solutions it’s vital to see things in different ways. 

And this is exactly what the empty chair does.

I often use this as a device when facilitating business sessions and also when coaching executives. It is also a brilliant device I often use when facilitating conference sessions. By placing an empty chair at every table and as delegates work through various tasks and problems. They are constantly reminded to consider the customer’s voice, needs, and point of view. As a result, they arrived with solutions that are not from their own point of view but from the point of view of the customer. 

A Facilitation tool to see things through other people point of view.

The empty chair can be used to represent other people as well, such as your stakeholders if they’re opinions and influence are important. Or perhaps the chair could represent a mentor or role model who can symbolically advise you and prompt you to see things differently. 

So why not place an empty chair in your office, boardroom, or creative space? Let it be a reminder to get out of your own head and into the head of someone else and see things from their point of view.

It’s a fantastic facilitation tool to use.

Other related articles to help you get the most from your meeting or events include ‘How to get the most from your conference mc or facilitator’ and ‘4 ways to create delegate engagement at your next meeting or event’.

The Power of Incremental Change

By | Change, Leadership | No Comments

There’s an old zen koan (story) of a wealthy man who wanted to build a new house that illustrates the importance of incremental change. He wanted a three-story dwelling so he could look out over his land and marvel at the beautiful landscape for many miles around, and more importantly because the higher one lived the higher one’s status.

And so he contracted highly skilled builders to build his beautiful home. Being a busy man himself he then left them to do what it was he was paying them to do and set off on his business travels. Upon his return several weeks later he decided to see how they had progressed.

To his horror he found that they had only started on the ground floor. ‘Why have you not begun work on the top floor?’ he cried. There could be no status living on the ground floor and much loss of face.

The builders, of course, explained to the wealthy man that they must start at the bottom before they could begin to move up to the next floor and ultimately the top floor. But he wasn’t happy because he didn’t want the other floors, he only wanted and desired the third floor. The others were not needed.

Change is incremental and happens one step at a time

Many business leaders and entrepreneurs are like that. They want change to happen all at once. They set out with massive visions and write enormous BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and get miffed if it doesn’t happen fast enough. They want to jump straight to the endgame. Many managers are like that as well. They want the yearly budget done by September, or need the return on their innovation investment before the product is ready. The effect of incremental change is often overlooked

Yes having a vision is vital because otherwise how do you know where you are going. Having goals are vital because they make your vision a reality. Without either business doesn’t grow.


Business growth and change takes time. Meeting budgets takes time. Developing your people takes time. In order to get to the endgame, whatever your vision and whatever your goals are, you need to work meticulously on getting every stage right and complete before you move onto the next. Always remember that business is a ‘Game of inches’ and change is incremental.

Like the top floor, your business will only be solid, secure and lasting if you take the time to build everything correctly on the way up. Desired change can only happen in increments.

Related articles include ‘How the McVikers Cashed in on Change‘ and ‘Change Management requires ownership, not buy-in’. Also ‘The Tasmanian who changed an industry’

Find out how Nigel can help your conference delegates make change happen or about his executive coaching and other keynotes.

Take the ‘Change Survey’