Category Archives: Speaking

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well known canadian adventurer

Well Known Canadian Adventurer gets busy on the speaking circuit | Motivational speaker inspires people to tackle their biggest project

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Well Known Canadian Adventurer gets busy on the speaking circuit | Motivational speaker inspires people to tackle their biggest project

well known canadian adventurerMotivational Speaker and well known Canadian Adventurer, Mark Jennings-Bates has never been afraid of big projects. Since a young age, he has lived a life of adventure and at fifty-three years old he still enjoys setting himself challenges that make many people cringe.

Jennings-Bates’ diary is getting busy as he speaks to more and more business groups of late.

“I think all of us have a project that makes us uncomfortable. It could be the scale, the fear, the perceived lack of experience – whatever it is, it usually prevents us from starting” said Jennings-Bates, adding “I have personally started a large adventure project without knowing all the answers to the many questions that will come up but it did not stop me from getting started, many adventurers are the same”

As a well known Canadian Adventurer, Jennings-Bates’ background offers a perfect example to CEO’s and entrepreneurs of how sometimes the seemingly impossible can in fact become possible. His style of delivery during his keynotes allows an audience to engage and lean in to his presentation while he supports his points with entertaining and often humorous stories as well as stunning video from his adventures.

His latest keynote topic focusses on innovation which is tied closely to his current business consulting work. “Innovation is a fascinating area to study at the moment, but as we progress in our knowledge and application of technology we are seeing innovation without practical application – that is not necessarily progress” comments Jennings-Bates.

His talk which can include a workshop focusses on the culture of innovation that you can expand in to an existing organization. The culture will help improve products, processes and services to stay ahead of the competition, if not, Jennings-Bates indicates you could be obliterated from the competitive landscape.

Jennings-Bates who spoke at Kelowna TedX last year with an inspirational presentation titled “When Pigs Fly” always leaves an impact on his audience. He is currently represented by several agencies in Canada. For information in regards to bookings, email or call 250 859 4893.

“The instant choice was Mark, he is enthusiastic, entertaining and can keep car lovers on the edge of their seats with stories of cross country bike racing through the deserts of Africa and training for the Dakar with International drivers. As well as being a philanthropist, Mark has a wonderful personality that connects with everyone in whatever size crowd he is engaging. After the event, Mark’s speech was the talk of the group and was received incredibly well in the post-event reviews.”Nicki Beverley, Co-Organiser, TARGA Canada West


Mark Jennings-Bates is a well known Canadian Adventurer and Motivational Speaker who spends much of his time planning and conducting exciting adventures. He has led a team on a successful Guinness World Record expedition and has participated in other World Record attempts. He runs a Canadian rally team and is a two times winner of the Western Canada Open Class Rally championship. Mark speaks to businesses, non-profits and adventure groups about innovation, living on the edge and overcoming fear.

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Innovation Management – 5 ways to energise your organisation

Innovation Management Tips

When I was a student, I remember working for a year in industry during my tertiary education. At one point I received a lesson in Innovation Management.

I was working with a gentleman called Eric Stonebank, a VP with Cherverton & Laidler in the printing and packaging industry in the UK. Eric had asked me to go into the plant and research some information to allow them to make changes in some processes that would increase efficiency.

I remember chatting to a few of the guys on the presses and asking about some pretty direct questions about how they were doing certain jobs. Between my age and foolhardy line of questioning, something was lost in translation.

Then Eric decided to give me a lesson in Innovation Management. In a fraction of the time, he was getting all the answers he needed and more in a casual conversation.

What was I missing? Eric had learned to speak their language and could phrase a question very differently to me with my lack of experience. If he failed to get the answer he was looking for he would ask again slightly differently.

innovation managementIn a way, he managed to get the employees themselves to be excited about future potential innovation.

What can we learn in our organisations to help progress our business and production practices?

Let me give you my five tips to improve innovation management that I have learned through business and adventure:

  1. Follow Eric’s advice. Ask questions differently. Phrase the question to let the employee know they are a partner in the process.
  2. Listen intently to their answer. Engage with them in what they believe is an idea that can help you and answer your question.
  3. Don’t be afraid to copy from a peer/competitor. The rest of your company may be in great shape and just needs a tune up – someone else may have just what you need. Innovation can be a little like music. In a scale there are only twelve notes which limits our ability to create a unique phrase (string of notes) because somebody has probably put them together in that order before. Innovation has more to do with a “basket of good ideas” used together in the right recipe than it does a singular good idea.
  4. Take innovation seriously – make time for innovation. The tech industry is notorious for beer and pizza sessions where staff take time out to innovate and create a new idea/theme/game.
  5. Communicate better. Learn to transmit and receive information in a way that benefits a culture of innovation. Innovation can come from employees, managers, clients, suppliers and competitors. Have a plan to talk more openly to those sources. One big question I have always asked my staff to ask in our businesses is “What is the one thing I could have done that would have made your experience even better”? Try it…

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motivational speaking

Motivational Speaking – My five tips to giving a great talk

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When it comes to Motivational Speaking, for most people it ranks up there with falling from a great height.

But rest assured that when it comes to motivational speaking, we all started in the same place.

motivational speakingSure, we either have a solid background in a process or technology and we have become an expert or we went and gathered a whole pile of life experiences and can use them to inspire people.

But if we want to turn that in to Motivational Speaking income, how do we put together a great talk?

It is not as hard as it may seem, although it takes time, structure and discipline.

For me personally, I started speaking in front of audiences as a politician. I had had some experience in chairing committees so I was used to being in spotlight somewhat, which really helped. At the end of the day though, just having given a lot of presentations doesn’t make you a good keynote speaker.

For that matter, being one of the top speakers at your local Toastmasters club will not do much to further a speaking career either.

To be good at Motivational Speaking you must have a story to tell. You must be seen to be an expert in that area, and you must add value to the lives of your audience.

Does it mean you are technically a great speaker? Frankly, today that is low on the list of qualities. I have seen amazing speakers who did not have the perfect delivery, who hummed and err’d their way through their talk but had the audience captured.

Learning to get the audience on the edge of their seat listening to you is one of the most important goals you should have.

So here are my five tips for Motivational Speaking

  1. Don’t try and live off one presentation. Life changes and your experiences and knowledge should grow too
  2. Have an introduction that grabs the attention of your audience in the first minute, use humour or emotion but get their interest immediately.
  3. Speak to them about how they can improve their lives. Your stories can help but don’t make the whole talk about YOU – make it about them.
  4. Give your audience tacit examples of how their lives can improve if they apply some of you ideas. Think of the benefits of what you shared, not the features.
  5. Make sure you get their attention enough to lean in to your talk. The best way to get another booking is for that audience to be telling the organiser how life transforming your presentation was.

To carve out a career in motivational speaking, you need to be disciplined with your preparation, hard working with your outbound sales calls and tenacious when starting your career. Put that all in the mixing bowl and it is just hard work after that.

One guarantee is that it is an exceptionally rewarding career.

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Motivational Speaker | How to get your start

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Motivational SpeakerSo you want to be a motivational speaker but you are not sure how to get started?

Like any business, developing a keynote speaking income is hard work. The good thing is that a plan combined with tenacity will pay off.

What are the steps to become a Motivational Speaker

Let me share with you the five steps you can focus on to becoming a motivational speaker.

  1. Develop your talk. There is so much information on the internet that is free in regards to developing a good keynote that you don’t need to look far or pay a lot of money. At the end of the day, you can boil a keynote presentation down to a methodology that psychologically delivers what an audience and more importantly a meeting organiser are expecting,
  2. Practise, Practise, Practise. Look for opportunities to talk. Start free, offer your services to service organisations, schools, community groups – all people that typically don’t have a budget for a professional Motivational Speaker. Build a resume of talks that you have done and testimonials from organisers.
  3. Communicate. In order to develop a good business as a Motivational Speaker, people need to hear from you. Building your database of potential clients is critical to your success. Make sure you are adding valuable content to your website and delivering it to those interested parties on your list.
  4. Build your stories. Just because you know a lot about a subject does not necessarily make you a good motivational speaker. The art of story-telling is disappearing. You need to learn to keep it alive. Learning to incorporate your own personal experiences as analogies is extremely important but remember they must be relevant and entertaining.
  5. Don’t worry about uhm’ing and err’ing. I know Toastmasters will tell you it is a terrible thing to do and so was talking a cell phone to a concert at one time. Times have changed and along with it came a lot of grace for speakers who may have the occasional uhm or err. You will overcome that. I have seen some amazing speakers who were so good at delivery that unless you went back and counted how many times they stumbled you would never have known. Relax, enjoy the ride, and gauge the feedback from the audience not somebody who wants to be a professional speaker but has  not made it yet.

I understand this is a very simplistic overview but the main point to remember is tenacity will pay off. It has taken me a long time to even build the stories that I can share with an audience. I am not an Olympian or Movie Star, but to a certain extent that is what makes me relatable.

You can check out my promotional video here:


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Winter AdventureThis time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided.

Having won the Open Class rally championship in Western Canada on two occasions, I have used that experience to put on occasional safe winter driving courses. I am not sure my schedule allows me too this year, however, if your group or organisation can benefit from a 90 minute classroom session, I invite you to contact me, and I will see what I can do.

The plain truth, in terms of rallying is that winter conditions are some of the fastest conditions we drive in. Usually because the surface we drive on is so consistent. It sounds strange I know, but with the right driving style and tire choice, snow and ice can be a surface that you can drive extremely fast on.

Accidents are caused by only a few circumstances, some of which are very subtle. In the right conditions simply lifting your foot abruptly off the throttle can send your car in to a spin. Who would have thought? Rally drivers, including myself will use this technique on gravel and snow to “unsettle” the car before a corner. We can lift the throttle abruptly, change the direction of the car and initiate a slide that is beneficial to us. If you are not aware of the weight transfer that can happen or the resistance that lifting the throttle can create on a slick surface, you should be!

So here are a few tips that may help you keep rubber side down this year.

  1. Practice driving on loose surfaces. This year, the Big White Winter Rally ( which is happening in early December may present an opportunity for you to enter their “snow cross”. Grab a helmet, take your daily driver up there and push yourself on a closed course. It is very safe and you will be the only car on the course. The worst thing that could happen is you may get stuck in a snow bank and need a tow out… you will have learned something!
  2. Concentrate. Rally drivers will routinely drive at 200kph on surfaces that make you “pucker up”. So what is the difference. They concentrate. Most people I see driving today are on their phones, drinking their coffee or checking their make up in the mirror as they slide off unnecessarily into a ditch! Pay attention. After a fast winter stage that is 8kms long I will be soaked with sweat because of the concentration and effort. When we are driving 4,000lb vehicles on the road I am absolutely shocked at the lack of attention to driving. Driving is serious business.
  3. Be aware of the surroundings. If the wind is blowing left to right on a highway and you pass a truck, expect the impacts of the wind after you come out of the wind shadow beside the truck. It is often enough to send you in to a big slide if the wind is strong enough.
  4. Be a passive driver. Use the throttle and brakes gently and don’t use cruise control. Sure I know your truck sounds cool, but hitting the gas hard is not going to prove anything other than how expensive it is to fix the pretty truck you are still paying for. Don’t change lanes aggressively and develop some “spider senses”. Particularly in a diesel truck you have so much torque that the automatic gearbox change can set the back wheels spinning.
  5. Slightly contradictory to the above, when you need to use the brakes (If an accident is imminent), step on them hard if you have anti lock brakes. There are very few vehicles without anti lock brakes today. The problem is that if you are my age or older you don’t trust them. We learned to “threshold brake” or “cadence brake” which is what we use in race cars, THAT DOESN’T WORK WITH ANTI LOCK BRAKES! They do the job for you, you just press hard and when the brake pedal vibrates, they are doing their job, brake and steer! If you don;t have anti lock brakes, you will need to learn the techniques for threshold braking – go look it up on Youtube!
  6. Please, get the right tires. Go see Big O Tires in Westbank. They have sponsored my rally team for years and know as much about tire technology as anyone. You don’t need studs, just good winter tires. The difference in control you will have is massive. Don’t cheap out on the only part of the vehicle that is going to stop you in the winter… your tires!
  7. The final piece of advice. Four wheel drive will not stop you going off the road, it won’t stop you sliding when you loose traction. It will help you get up the hill! Whether you have all wheel drive, front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, with the right knowledge and equipment you can drive safely on BC roads this winter,

For a country that spends a lot of time in the winter with snow and ice conditions we should not see so many bad drivers in the ditch, but it is guaranteed, every time the snow first flies. We seem to forget that we live in Canada!

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Think BigYou may have read the book with the same title. I did many years ago and it supported the way I have always tried to make decisions.

In his iconic book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz leads the reader through a discussion on how to be successful using a lot of mental techniques that we all use daily. Sometimes however, we forget to use them in the most important areas of our life.

Often, when the going gets tough, we want to roll over, go to bed and close the drapes, believing that problems will evaporate. Not so. The only way to tackle problems is to charge head on at them.

Anyone who has watched the action movie Bravo 20 with Sean Bean will have watched the gripping scene of an SAS patrol, vastly outnumbered, yet charging towards a much better equipped foe with all the gusto they can muster in the circumstance. In the end, they terrorise their enemy with the ferocity of their attack – they thought big.

So, taking a leaf out of the SAS book, my life is often head on, full tilt and for many, including my wife, a little fast paced.

At the moment I am heads down with my business partner, Andre Voskuil planning what will likely be the biggest expedition of my life. To date I have had some great adventures, but the best (and biggest) is yet to come. I have had the privilege of climbing, flying and racing with some of the most amazing adventurers. The next chapter of my life however, will be very different.

Over the coming months we will make some announcements as to how you can follow along, join in and support what is sure to be a world changing event. A global first in the realm of aviation.

As usual I want to support the charity that my wife and I founded several years ago… . With your help and support we will be able to bring more families around the world life saving water.

In the meantime, we have to get planning, training and preparing for a long, audacious and frankly, massive project.

First on the list of jobs to do is to get a pilot’s license… stay tuned as we fill you in and join us as we progress towards this exciting project.