An Exclusive Interview with Sir Clive Woodward OBE

The mastermind and architect behind England's rugby World Cup victory in Australia, Sir Clive Woodward is a national hero and one of the most coveted public speakers in the industry. We interviewed Sir Clive to find out a bit more about his approach to public speaking, how he prepares for each gig and his top tips for winning in sport and business!

Sir Clive Woodward

1. As a Rugby World Cup winning Head Coach, you led your country out in front of nearly 83,000 fans at the Telstra Arena in Sydney. Is there any comparison between the pressure you felt on that day and the pressure of delivering a presentation?

Pressure can occur in many aspects of life in sport and business. When I coached the England rugby team we placed huge importance on the ability to Think Correctly Under Pressure, which we dubbed “T-CUP”. Being able to perform under pressure is all about predicting those pressurised situations and rehearsing accordingly to a huge level of detail. If you have prepared correctly you should give yourself the best opportunity to perform on the day.

2. What preparations do you make prior to delivering a speech? Both personally and in terms of your material.

The most important thing for me when delivering a keynote speech is the relevance to the audience. My team and myself will always spend time with the client prior to the speech to understand their brief and objectives to make sure that our messaging is aligned. We have a huge bank of archive content that we have built up over the years that we can draw on but we are constantly challenging ourselves to evolve this content so that we are talking about current practices.

3. How does your experience in sport translate to the world of business?

Before becoming a professional rugby coach, I worked for Rank Xerox in the UK and Australia and then used what I learned there to start my own sales & leasing business, so I fully appreciate the cross-over between business and sport for techniques used to develop and manage high performing teams. When I first became head coach of the England rugby team I used my learning from business to set long term goals for the team with personal development programmes tailored to the needs of the individual. This approach helped us to go from 6th to 1st in the World.

4. What’s the number one strength that a leader needs?

No-one has the automatic right to be respected as a leader just because they carry a title; the position of leader has to be earned, and that confidence, respect and trust has to be continually reinforced.

5. Finally - What is your top tip for winning in sport or business?

I’m a great believer in the importance on capturing & sharing knowledge. Talent alone will only get you so far. To be the best you have to keep improving, to learn about your skill, sport or business, to keep learning and work hard at continually developing and refining talent – that is what makes winners. Talent is just the starting point. Interested in booking Sir Clive Woodward to speak at your event? Find out more here.

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