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What do great Sports Writers and successful Business people have in common?

… the ability to ask good questions in a conversational way.

A bad first date is where the person on the other side of the dinner table spends the whole evening telling you how great they are!

Here is a situation …

You have the opportunity to speak to a really important prospect, a person you’ve been trying to arrange a meeting with for ages.  Now, mostly by good networking and a little luck, you are in the same room and anxious to make a good impression.

So how do you do that?

Start the meeting by asking questions that engage the prospect in a conversation?

This was done brilliantly recently (09/02/17) in an interview Michael Bamberger ( had with Rory McIlroy who is currently injured and not competing.

Here are some of the great questions Michael asked Rory …

  • Are you watching golf on TV?
  • What did you make of the Super Bowl?
  • What did you think of Lady Gaga?
  • Do you believe that golf undresses a man?
  • How have your feelings for the game changed as you’ve gone from boy to man, and from amateur to professional?
  • What new person in your life has made biggest impact on your on-course life?  And your off-course life?
  • When and where have you been happiest on the golf course when you were not playing in a professional tournament?
  • What was it that made that occasion so special?

(Note how the questions become more informative about Rory’s values as the interview progresses.)

What I usually hear when I start working with a client, goes something like this …

”We’re the biggest, the best, the most environmentally friendly, we support equality, we’re the most technologically advanced, we focus on our clients’ needs etc.”

These are all claims about your organisation and nothing about the prospect!  (BORING)

Does this sound familiar?

I believe business meetings can often be like bad first dates!

A bad first date is where the person on the other side of the dinner table spends the whole evening telling you how great they are!

When this happens, are you likely to go on another date with this person?  I doubt it.

You should think of your prospect meeting as a date you would like to go well.

How do you plan/prepare in order to enjoy a positive outcome?

Step one:

How much do you know about your prospect(s)?

Do as much research as possible about the organisation and the individuals attending the meeting.

Step two:

Prepare open-ended questions to engage your audience in a conversation about their issues.

This part of the meeting should be allocated the majority of the available time. You will find out during this conversation, how you can help address identified problems, allowing you to tailor your offer around a prospect’s needs.

I have no doubt a successful outcome for this type of meeting would involve sending a proposal to your potential customer.

A great proposal says to a prospect –

“I understand your problem better than anybody else and I have a tried and trusted solution”.

If you follow my advice and have a conversation, one that asks engaging questions of the prospect, it’s more likely to lead to a winning proposal.

My challenge to you is prepare four or five questions that will kick start a rewarding conversation with your prospect.

My clients often find this the most challenging and rewarding aspect of our work together.

If you would like some help in this area, please make contact and we can explore what questions would work best for you and your organisation?

Please CLICK here to see over 100 Client testimonials

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7 Steps to a More Focused and Intentional Life

Andrew Keogh with Joe Schmidt







7 Steps to a More Focused and Intentional Life

(Create Pictures in your Head)

What have …

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg, Padraig Harrington, Gabriel Byrne, Joe Schmidt

and little old me got in common?

We all have the ability to dream, visualize and create pictures in our heads.

Why is this ability important?
When we read about or meet successful people we realise it is their ability to dream dreams and create pictures in their head that is an important key to their success.

In my discussions with people in workshops and on a daily basis in one to one  coaching sessions, I realize that few people have the ability to create pictures in their head.

This was something done in childhood, but now forgotten or dismissed like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

By developing this skill again, you can enjoy more success in your life or simply enjoy life more.

Try the following 7 simple and enjoyable steps …

Step 1: Start by reminding yourself of how you used to dream

Start by reminding yourself of how you used to dream and create pictures in your head, as a child.

As an example here is the postscript to the introduction to Gabriel Byrnes book entitled ‘Pictures in my Head’.

“I’m sitting by the Rio Grande. The Desert stretches away endlessly. I am making a cowboy picture with two old friends from the Apollo cinema in Walkinstown, Robert Mitchum and Jack Palance. I am still playing cowboys! And the sky seems as blue and innocent as it  always did back then. And for just a few moments I can believe that nothing has changed. And that’s the magic”.

Step 2: Use your imagination again

When did you stop?

Why did you stop?

Was it suggested to you perhaps that daydreaming was for children only and not for tough people in the business world. Yet all the successful people you meet or read about will talk and get excited about their future visions and goals.

Take the advice of Jack Black, Rory McIlroy, Joe Schmidt and Gabriel Byrne, start dreaming and visualising yourself enjoying the benefits of living the newly created pictures in your head.

Step 3: Create New Pictures in your head

How?  Find a quiet place free from interruption and start.

We have just completed the Christmas festivities and a new year stretches out ahead of us like a blank canvas.  What do you want to paint on this canvas?

Learn to think in pictures, flesh out your thoughts and experience the adrenalin rush this will provide.

Have fun developing this skill again; involve a partner or mentor in the process.  This will emphasise your commitment to success and also provide you with support and encouragement ensuring that your picture becomes a reality.

Step 4: Commit your Pictures to paper

Write or draw your picture, have yourself in the picture, enjoying whatever it is you want to do.

This picture must excite you each time you read it.  How often should you read or look at your picture?  Every day. (First thing in the morning and last thing at night)

Start now, using clear powerful, present tense language. Have lots of detail in your picture, colours, smells, textures, movement, sounds, images, joy and excitement.

Think like a child, an artist, and a poet; be at your most creative.

Take a blank page now and fill it!


It is …………………………  (a future date)


I am…………………………


e.g.      Sitting in my new office……

            Enjoying working in my own business………..

            Driving my new car……………………………

            Decorating my new home………………………


Step 5: Enthusiastically act out your dreams

What do I mean?

Take steps that lead you towards your picture!

For example …

  • If you picture yourself skiing in the Alps.
  • Book a skiing lesson as a first step.
  • If you picture yourself in a new house in 12 months time.
  • Visit some show houses or buy a small accessory for the house that you can keep to hand.
  • If you picture yourself in a better job.
  • Dress to suit the new position and not your current position.

This has the added advantage of testing out the water to ensure the picture you have created for yourself is practical.

As an example, I have always driven Alfa Romeo cars and had the ambition some years ago to own an Alfa Spider soft top.  I am 6’4” tall and when I took a test drive in a Spider my head was above the windscreen.   I would have had to wear goggles to keep flies out of my eyes.

The test drive demonstrated that my picture was not practical, so I needed to re-focus.

Step 6: Succeed = Practice living your dreams

This is what successful sports people and business people do.

  • Start with the shorter putts
  • The smaller orders

Create successful outcomes, which will motivate you to move on to bigger successes.

  •  Sink the medium putts
  • The medium contracts

Having sunk the 12ft putts and closed the medium deals you have now created a cushion of success giving you the confidence to face the big challenges.

Work on sinking the 20ft putts, the bigger deals, all the time reminding yourself of your past successes.

Step 7:  See BIGGER Pictures

Once you are in the habit of implementing the six previous steps you will realize how simple and enjoyable it is to plan for your future.

One of our biggest failings in planning for our future is that we plan based on our past achievements not on our true potential.

Our pictures are often too small, we need to make them BIGGER

7 Steps to SUCCESS:

S – Start by reminding yourself of how you used to dream

U – Use your imagination again

C – Create new pictures in your head

C – Commit your pictures to paper

E – Enthusiastically act out your dreams

S – Succeed = Practice living your dreams

S – See bigger pictures

If you need help and encouragement to take the first step or would like support throughout the process click here to contact me


Christmas in Ireland


Christmas in Ireland is a collection of short stories written by well-known Irish authors about their memories of Christmas. This is a book I gave my daughter Jennifer as a Christmas present in 1990. After she left home, it stayed in our house and on December 8th each year the book comes down off the book shelf and I re-read the wonderful Christmas stories contained between its covers.

Irish people are naturally gifted storytellers and in particular we are very good at writing short stories. I believe we publish and sell more short stories in Ireland than anywhere else in the world. Continue reading

What has James Bond and Business Pitches got in Common?

You have arrived in the cinema with your bucket of popcorn and can of coke and you anticipate watching the new James Bond trailer.  Before you have taken your first mouthful of popcorn or sip of Coke, he’s got into an aeroplane without the pilot, out of an aeroplane without a parachute, rolled the car four times and you are thinking, I must go see the movie.  That’s what a movie trailer is supposed to do. They show you all the exciting, interesting and engaging bits that encourages you to go and buy a ticket to see the movie.

A pitch is like the trailer to the movie.

I often use this analogy to explain to people what a pitch is.

You should tell your listener(s) all the interesting bits, exciting bits, engaging bits.  A pitch is not a business plan. If you are at an early stage, there are lots of things in the plan that are still quite vague and that you have not got absolute confidence in. Do not try and shoehorn an uninteresting business plan into your pitch (trailer).

If you would like to know more, please view my short (3 min video) below:

Poetry and Pitching: The Similarities!







Regularly when I work with presenters, be they start-ups or established business people, I hear the same plea, how can I explain my business or my business idea in five minutes?

You have a choice: you can bore your prospect for 30 to 45 minutes, or you can engage and excite in 3 to 5 minutes. They may then give you permission to continue.

This is the real challenge for presenters – how to grab your audience’s attention?

I suggest you tell an interesting story in a short space of time.

If you need help please get in touch.


Let me give you some examples from my favourite poet Roger McGough.

In these poems Roger tells somebody’s life story in four lines.

Poems from his Book: Sky in the Pie

(if you have children, buy them this book for Christmas)

Humorous Children’s Friendship Poems

Two’s company
One’s lonely


I’m a fish out of water
I’m two left feet
on my own and lonely
I’m incomplete

Adult Poems: from ‘Collected Poems’


I wanted one life
you wanted another
we couldn’t have our cake
so we ate each other


I feel like a priest
in a fish and chip queue
quietly thinking
as the vinegar that runs through
how nice it would be
to buy supper for two

If you need to make a good impression in 5 or 50 minutes why not talk to me, I can provide coaching on line or 1-2-1?



There is no better speaker’s coach than Andrew – his very obvious skill as a keynote speaker, coupled with his coaching skills make him the perfect choice for the senior executive looking to polish their personal presentation skills – whether for a one-off event or as part of an ongoing personal development project.
Besides working with Andrew directly I have also recommended him as a keynote to several valued clients – and all of their feedback has been equally excellent.

Deiric McCann – Author & Keynote speaker

Presentation Tips from 3 American Presidents



What is the biggest mistake speakers make when preparing/delivering presentations?

Answer:  They say too much!

I will use three former US Presidents; Obama, Clinton and Reagan as examples of really engaging speakers.

In all their election campaigns they had one clear message.
(Enough said about this year’s candidates).

In the case of Clinton every talk was about the economy, no side issues or distractions; the economy was his key focus.
(It’s about the economy – stupid! – James Carville’s advice to Clinton).

In the case of Obama, it was about change. ‘Yes we can!’
(Do you look back with fond memories on the hope this campaign generated?)

My final example is President Reagan, also regarded as an engaging speaker.
Ronald Reagan’s message in all his campaign talks was: “Before you vote, ask yourself have you more or less money in your pocket now than you had four years ago”?

These examples demonstrate the importance of a single powerful message.


My advice is to simplify your story and allow all the audience to easily understand the core of your message.

If you need help doing this, please get in contact; opportunities to get in front of the right audiences are hard and expensive to come by, do not waste any more opportunities.

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