Last Thursday, based in the wonderful surroundings of William Fry’s HQ on Grand Canal, my two big stressors came together, Millennials and public speaking.
A couple of years ago I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join the brilliant Entrepreneurs Organization. I have learned a lot, met so many people and benefited greatly since I joined the group. If you ever need help, the EO members alongside your smaller Forum group are there for you.
Four weeks ago, my fellow EO member Orlaith Carmody invited me to do a talk at an upcoming EO Ignite event. Naively I agreed to speak prior to understanding the topic that I would have to deliver a presentation on “Millennials – Raising, Employing, Understanding & Inspiring them.” Now I was really nervous…
My track record with millennials could be better and the fear of public speaking, especially on a topic I knew very little about was growing. I am always talking but normally to small groups and I never use PowerPoint. I didn’t want to let Orlaith down and so I was honestly feeling the pressure.
The MC for the day, Orlaith’s husband Gavin Duffy effortlessly set the tone for what was to come. Then came Patrick Boland from Conexus who was the first to speak. Fortunately for me, he delivered terrific insight into the Millennial generation and how they differed from the old folk like myself. The pressure was off for me, the insight the crowd looked for had been received from a young and fresh voice worth hearing. I could fire ahead with my own tips on how millennials and others could achieve far more in the workplace and in business.
I told them my own story. My presentation focused on topics that I care deeply about. Mainly myself, TPI Group and football (topics I felt as comfortable as Tony Robbins talking about). I spoke about our journey bringing The Printed Image along from a small printer with a very small turnover in 1990, to a dynamic group of five businesses selling clever marketing products and services to some of Ireland’s leading organisations.
I recommended that all Millennials should bring visible passion to their work. I feel passion in business is undervalued and it tends to bring its own rewards. If things aren’t going your way, it is your job to change them. Don’t look to others to make your luck. Never stay still and always be willing to change, as those who remain static will eventually fall far behind. Above all else, I said never give up. This is a family motto that has served TPI well.
Mainly I told the room stories. For example, I maintained the tale of Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2016 will be a legend told for years to come. The perfect case study of how 2+2 is equal to 5. Many would argue it was a fluke. I don’t agree with this. It is simply a case of strong, canny management linking with hard work and team collaboration. The ordinary can achieve the extraordinary if the team is working with and for a driven leader. That experience, a 5000-1 outsider coming good is something that translates to the millennials of today’s world. Collaboration is key in most successes. Teamwork works.
Hannilee Fish, Orlaith Carmody, Brian Keegan, Rory Geoghegan and Eleanor McEvoy all spoke after me and nailed the subject of ‘Millennials – Raising, Employing, Understanding & Inspiring them’ better than I ever could have. A really good gig in my opinion.
I would like to extend my warm gratitude to Orlaith Carmody and to Gavin Duffy for once again providing me with the opportunity to step out of my own comfort zone. The rewards of completing something that frightens you long outweighs the “Why did I agree to do this?” moments. Maybe that is the only lesson that younger people need from me. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Colin Culliton is the CEO of TPI Group an an EO Ireland member.