by Jacqui Harper
Can you share a bit about your back story with us.
I am the daughter of Jamaicans from the Windrush generation and I grew up in the east end of London. At school I was a grafter and I loved English and netball!
Today I teach Leadership Presence at INSEAD where I am called ‘the presentation doctor’ but my formal title is visiting professor.
I’ve spent the past twenty years developing the presentations skills of leaders around the world through my company, Crystal Business Coaching. The work has mainly been training courses and executive coaching engagements.
I know exactly what it’s like to speak in public under pressure. I was a television anchor for BBC News for many years and a chat show host. The best lesson I got from TV was that presence and presenting skills can be improved quickly and to an accomplished extent.
How and when did you know that you wanted to write a book?
I knew I wanted to write from the age of ten. I remember standing up in class to read out an assignment. My classmates had gone before me and read out mostly two pages. My story was eight pages! I realised then that I loved sharing ideas and I had a passion for writing.
It is evident today in my book, Executive Presentations, where I continue to share ideas with enthusiasm
Tell us about your book.
‘Executive Presentations’ is a highly practical guide to help readers achieve mastery in their presentations.
The best presentations are clear, compelling and gain trust. The way to achieve this is to develop the fundamentals of presence: the words, the use of the body and mindset.
I have created the BRIBE model to help readers express words and ideas that deeply connect to an audience, are highly relevant and well organised. In terms of the body, the reader is given two original and practical concepts to apply: vocal presence and a signature style framework. The third element of presence is mind set. I encourage readers to become more self-aware in order to create new choices and possibilities in their executive presentations. I have provided practical exercises and tools for reflection, achieving a more intentional presence and increasing resilience.
My book is bold, engaging and informative. It is created from my expertise in the newsroom at the BBC, the classroom at INSEAD and many, many coaching conversations.
What were the hardest things you faced whilst you were writing it?
The board of directors on my shoulders was my biggest challenge. The board was highly vocal while I was writing. At times voices would say “this writing lark is a waste of time”. At other times they would say “you’ll never finish so quit now”. Their worst message was “so who are YOU to write a book?”
Thankfully, the board was also my biggest cheerleader. The voices would often say “you can definitely do this” or “you’ve come this far so you’ve got to finish”.
What were the best things you experienced during the process?
Who knew publishing a book is so exciting. There’s the sublime relief of submitting the final manuscript. It’s also hard to describe the joy of holding the first copy of the book in your hands. It represents hope, a lot of hard work and many challenges.
Often writing was a lonesome task so one of my highlights was doing interviews for the chapter on Managing Nerves. I had lively conversations with experts and professionals including a CEO, a voice coach and an image expert.
What’s next for you?
A short break! It has been busy preparing the launch. Next I want to concentrate on keynote speaking.
Can you share your top 3 #booktips.
1) Get a book buddy to do weekly check-ins on the phone and daily check-ins via text message.
2) Form a facebook group to get regular feedback on your writing
3) Use a writing app to maintain the daily writing habit and track progress. I used ‘Writeometer’.
How can people connect with you online and find out more about your book?
Jacqui Harper – MBE MA Hon Fellow
Jacqui is a visiting professor at INSEAD where she’s called ‘the presentation doctor’.
She was previously a TV news anchor and has presented several news programmes for BBC TV, Sky News and ITV including a chat show on BBC 2.
Alongside teaching Jacqui runs CRYSTAL BUSINESS COACHING – a consultancy specialising in communication coaching for executives.
Her latest book, Executive Presentations, is out now. She started writing as reporter on the business desk of The Oakland Tribune in California. Jacqui has an MA in Journalism and BA from Sussex University.
She was born in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
You can find her online at:
Website – www.crystalbusinesscoaching.com
Twitter – @JacquiAHarper
Amazon – Jacqui Harper Books
‘The Author’s Spotlight is run in conjunction with Librotas, supporting authors to write and publish their best business building book’.