We talk to Mark Denton, motivational speaker.

25th Jun 2023

Mark Denton, motivational speaker chats with Jane Farnham, Director of Great British Speakers.

We speak to motivational speaker Mark Denton all about getting ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things by leading a team in the world’s toughest yacht race, the Peaty Global Challenge.

Mark Denton, an acclaimed motivational speaker on the international stage, is dedicated to assisting leaders, teams, and organizations in successfully navigating the stormy waters of today’s business landscape.

His captivating real-life case study revolves around his remarkable leadership of a diverse amateur team, culminating in their triumphant success in the grueling BT Global Challenge, widely regarded as the world’s toughest round-the-world yacht race. This extraordinary achievement has garnered accolades from thousands of individuals worldwide.

Pierre-Olivier Landry, Head of HR at Ceva Logistics, describes Mark as “A game-changing speaker everyone will remember forever”.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book motivational speaker Mark Denton for your next event.


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Here’s the full transcript of motivational speaker Mark Denton’s chat with Jane Farnham of Great British Speakers:

00:00:11:11 – 00:00:27:59
Jane Farnham
Hi I’m Jane Farnham at Great British Speakers and I’m here today chatting to award winning leadership and motivational speaker Mark Denton. Now, leadership is one of the most popular speaking topics, but Mark really stands out from the crowd with a totally unique approach. So Mark, firstly, thank you for joining us today.

 

00:00:29:31 – 00:00:30:43

Mark Denton

Very happy to be here.

 

00:00:31:26 – 00:00:38:27
Jane Farnham
Oh, it’s lovely. Lovely to meet you. Even if it is virtually. Just tell us a little bit about your backstory to get started with.

 

00:00:39:37 – 00:01:10:52

Mark Denton

So specifically. The topic that I talk about is based on my experience of leading a team in the world’s toughest yacht race called the BT Global Challenge. So that that is the story that I share, it really is a unique case history of how to get ordinary people to achieve a really extraordinary thing. Because the global challenge, was a it was a very unique event that allowed anybody from all walks of life to sail the wrong way around the world and achieve a lifelong dream.

 

00:01:10:53 – 00:01:12:48

Mark Denton

So that’s what I talk about.

 

00:01:13:40 – 00:01:21:39
Jane Farnham
So we do have lots of sport speakers. Why is it, do you think, that the challenge really stands out from the crowd?

 

00:01:22:44 – 00:01:58:49

Mark Denton

Yeah, So I think it is because it is ordinary people trying to achieve an extraordinary thing. A lot of sports speakers really come in from professional sport, people that are 100% committed and dedicated to what to do in a sport and not say anything away from them. I’m sure they’ve got some great learnings to share, but my story is about a completely diverse amateur team all between the ages of 18 and 60 coming together when they’ve never met each other before to compete in an incredibly tough yacht race.

 

00:01:58:49 – 00:02:19:40

Mark Denton

And so for ten months around the world, and to come together as a team and try and achieve a result in that kind of environment with those kind of dynamics, you know, I think there’s a lot within that that business can learn from because at the end of the day, that’s what businesses are trying to do. They’re trying to bring disparate groups together to achieve something special.

 

00:02:19:40 – 00:02:21:16

Mark Denton

And that’s exactly what we were trying to do.

 

00:02:22:21 – 00:02:27:00
Jane Farnham
So how much experience do these guys have when they start the challenge?

 

00:02:27:07 – 00:02:50:13

Mark Denton

Well, you know, very little. And it was always a scary stat that 70% of them had never sailed before and literally anyone could apply to do the global challenge. It’s literally first come, first served. You have to turn up with a sizable check to be able to do it. And pretty much £50,000 in today’s money to take part in this ten month event.

 

00:02:50:58 – 00:02:55:48

Mark Denton

But other than that, you don’t have to have any experience whatsoever. And as I say, 70% had never sailed before.

 

00:02:56:20 – 00:03:16:51
Jane Farnham
And that’s quite remarkable. So quite often we have sport speakers and of course most of which have outstanding achievements in their field. But sometimes they’re lacking in what you might call transferable skills or take away benefits for the audience that you might be speaking to. But you have a track record of doing that. So how do you deliver lasting benefits, do you think?

 

00:03:17:00 – 00:03:45:12

Mark Denton

Well, I mean, there’s a couple of things about that. One is I had business and leadership experience before going into the global challenge, and I’ve also been a consultant, an accredited coach, and a strategy facilitator for the last 20 years since, and I’ve worked with some of the, you know, the world’s greatest companies, helping them to develop their cultures and develop their leadership to perform better.

 

00:03:45:43 – 00:04:05:34

Mark Denton

So I think I have a lot of experience from the business world also to reflect back on my story and to really think about, well, what what made the difference for us. But I just think because of the dynamics of the race and the dynamics of all t you know, there was an enormous amount of learning in that it’s applicable to business.

 

00:04:05:34 – 00:04:29:04

Mark Denton

I mean, we were we were competing in a very competitive, constantly changing environment with diverse teams. And, you know, that’s what business is facing into right now. And those are the challenges that business is facing. So what we learnt and what allowed us to be successful on the race course will also very much help them in what they’re trying to do.

 

00:04:29:54 – 00:04:44:22

Mark Denton

And so that’s why I think my story has always been memorable. I think people have often said they’ve taken enormous amount away, that they can use the very next day. But that’s why, because it just has such relevance for business within the story.

 

00:04:45:41 – 00:04:59:45
Jane Farnham
So given the situation that we’ve all found ourselves in over the last 18 months, obviously that’s meant we sort of move towards a huge amount of online delivery. And, what challenges and opportunities have presented themselves for your audiences?

 

00:05:01:24 – 00:05:22:42

Mark Denton

Well, I think in a lot of ways, yes. You know, hopefully we’re coming out of the pandemic. I think in a lot of ways the storm is still in front of us, which is what is the lasting effects of this pandemic. And my speech is entitled Navigate the Storm. It’s all about helping people navigate the storm to come based on based on our crucial learning on the race course.

 

00:05:23:24 – 00:05:38:15

Mark Denton

So I think the story is still really relevant to what people are facing into right now. And so I think I think that’s that’s why it really still hits the spot for so many audiences right now.

 

00:05:38:15 – 00:05:55:17
Jane Farnham
Very applicable to the current state of affairs, that’s for sure. So we also mentioned earlier, we briefly, we talked about take away benefits. So do you have this in a format so that it can go beyond the big keynote event itself? Do you have something that the audiences take away with them?

 

00:05:55:51 – 00:06:21:57

Mark Denton

Yeah, absolutely. So we have a number of different formats. And you said, you know what? You know, what have you learned about your audiences in the last eighteen months? I mean, one thing is Jamie put a lot of effort into virtual delivery. We have a 4K studio here that allows us to create a virtual stage here. So when I’m presenting virtually, I’m not just the talking head and sharing a set of slides, I’m at one with my content.

 

00:06:23:20 – 00:06:47:31

Mark Denton

So you would just see me as a as a, as a full screen with my with my content, my video behind me. So that’s a really kind of unique way to view the story. But the other thing is we’ve got different formats. Yes, you can have a keynote format, anything from kind of half an hour up to one and a half hours, but we also do a half day and one day masterclasses, which is where we’re just not downloading the story.

 

00:06:48:07 – 00:07:23:02

Mark Denton

We’re actually immersing people in the story. We build the story up to certain challenges that we faced around the world. But rather than me sharing how I dealt and how we as a team, dealt with those issues, we actually can put those challenges onto people in groups on a virtual platform in breakouts and have them brainstorm. Look, if they were in that situation, how would they deal with that situation and those particular breakouts all mirror directly challenges that they as leaders could be facing in business today.

 

00:07:23:34 – 00:07:51:25

Mark Denton

So, yes, the situations of the race course that we face, but it’s crucial learning that will then help them in business. And that’s what we call the masterclass format. And we also have follow up materials that we send to delegates afterwards. My speech and our masterclass is really based around the three key principles that not only kept us surviving on the race course, but also thriving. 

 

00:07:52:08 – 00:08:15:23

Mark Denton

And those three key principles are all around creating an environment where people feel safe. And I’m not just talking about physical safety, I’m also talking about psychological safety. So safe is the first one. Happiness is the second one because you can have the greatest bunch of individuals, but if they are not happy and they’re not happy working together, we’re happy doing what it is that they are doing.

 

00:08:15:23 – 00:08:43:12

Mark Denton

We’ll never get high performance them. So we must focus on, on getting people happy. And that’s that’s crucial right now coming out of the pandemic. And the last words that we really focus on is about fast. Slow boats never win Jane, not on the race course and never in business. And so we also talk about needing to be going fast, not just in terms of your speed, but crucially, your ability to learn.

 

00:08:43:51 – 00:09:06:30

Mark Denton

And it’s a bit like right now coming out of the pandemic. As I said, I think in many ways the storm is still ahead of us. We need to really quickly learn our way through what has changed in the last 18 months. How has that affected our business model? How has it affected, you know, how our people want to work and all of those good things, how has that affected how we need to lead them?

 

00:09:06:43 – 00:09:21:45

Mark Denton

And we need to learn that quickly. And so safe, happy, fast is what I talk about in the race. And you can access that in a number of different ways. As I said from a keynote right through to a masterclass, which is even more immersive and interactive.

 

00:09:22:46 – 00:09:29:33
Jane Farnham
It’s about being adaptive, isn’t it, in this changing climate, and as you say, navigate the storm as you face it.

 

00:09:30:05 – 00:09:50:29

Mark Denton

Yeah, got to navigate the storm. And that’s about being on the front foot Jane, and not being knocked over by the waves. It’s about being on the front foot and surfing the wave. So that’s what we help people do. We’ve done it for some of the greatest clients in in the world through through my experience so far in speaking.

 

00:09:50:29 – 00:09:55:42

Mark Denton

So I’m hoping to be to be sharing that story with, with a few more soon.

 

00:09:56:40 – 00:10:19:48
Jane Farnham
Well, thank you so much for your time today, Mark. It’s been amazing to chat to you. I know you’ve made a difference that world class companies worldwide. And if you’d like to either find out more about Mark and making a difference to your organization or to book him as a motivational speaker, simply contact myself or Steve at Great British Speakers on 01753439289 or you can email bookings at bookings@greatbritishtalent.com. Mark once again thank you very much and take care.

 

00:10:20:13 – 00:10:21:21

Mark Denton
Well, and thanks, Jane.

 

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Call +44 1753 439 289 or email Great British Speakers now to book leadership speaker Mark Denton
Contact us.

Mark Denton motivational speaker at Great British Speakers

Mark Denton motivational speaker at Great British Speakers


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