Stephen Edun was last year's winner of the Corporate Challenge, but he is not your typical public speaker. He is an experienced accountant who has held senior finance positions at The O2, Charlton Athletic Football Club and consulting firm Atos. He now owns and runs a small accountancy firm that provide Finance Directors' services to SMEs and companies in the Live Entertainment industry.
Stephen is a member of Toastmasters where he has served on the district leadership team in the UK. President of Meridian Speakers in Greenwich and sponsor and mentor for a number of speaking clubs in East and South London.
Stephen's passion for public speaking came 4 years ago, attending Toastmasters firstly to improve his communication skills in the work environment, but after delivering a humorous best man speech developed a passion for his public speaking skills with storytelling and humour.
Stephen believes that being able to communicate who you are, what you do and more importantly why people should care is one of the most powerful skills you can have in your success and is what makes you stand out in a crowded world
1.Please describe your job in detail?
I work as a virtual Finance Director for a number of SMEs that want to move to an 8 digit business from a 7 digit business. It's a great way to work, I spend lots of time working remotely, where ever I happen to be and visit clientsâ€œ offices when I need to. So generally I can fit work around the things I need to do. Clients also love it because they only have to pay for 3-5 days to get a high level Finance Director on their management team which they would struggle to afford otherwise. I think it's the way of working for the future. It's rewarding to see companies grow and expand just by having that different mindset once they are supported on tough decisions.
2.How would you describe yourself?
I was born at a very young age, I was so poor that I couldn't pay attention. I always win, not immediately, but definitely. People think I am funny but actually I am just really mean and people think I am joking. And I am probably the only public speaker who doesn't claim to be a coaching guru.
3.What attracted you to being part of the judging panel?
Firstly the money, I have not seen the cheque yet, but I am sure it's in the post. However, I am very critical of judges in these types of contests. Toastmasters for example, is normally made up of people that simply do not have a clue what makes a good speech and often see a good slapstick performance as a good speech and they are very different. It's like trying to compare Richard Burton to Mr Bean and awarding Mr Bean the Oscar. The Corporate Challenge as always, tried to get qualified people to do the judging at all levels so it is an honour to be part of that.
4.What advice would you give to beginner public speakers?
At first keep it simple and just try and get as much speaking time as you can, like most things the more you do it the better you become and ask for feedback every time. Learning to take feedback is a skill that helps you in life as much if not more so than the public speaking.
5.What's the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your career?
Don't try to communicate with someone who is not ready to listen to what you have to say.
6.What do you love most about public speaking?
I have lots of stories to tell so I love the ability of crafting a story and delivering it to a group. Normally when I try and tell my stories on a one to one basis all I get is, 'Please Sir can you just take your Big Mac meal and let me server the next customer.'
7.What are you hoping to see from the contestants?
What I don't look for is the performing seal. I am looking for the accomplished speaker who has a clear message a good story to back it up, in a way that makes it relevant and original to me. Someone who knows that strawberry shampoo doesn't taste as good as it smells
8. Have you had the opportunity to contribute to any magazines or national/local
When I was at Charlton I had a brief appearance in a program they filmed about the club. When I was at The O2 some of my emails were presented in Court in LA when my employer AEG Live was being sued by Michael Jackson's family. Not sure if that counts or if I should even be sharing it, but it's one of my claims to fame. I am also dyslexic as you may be able to tell from my spelling so occasionally I am asked to contribute and speak at certain events of my experiences in my career being dyslexic. I participated and contributed in a number public speaking events and newsletters,
8.What do you feel is your contribution to the world of public speaking?
I have probably spoken to over 10,000 people in the last 4 years, both large AGM events on finances and speaking events. I am often asked for tips and advice on how you talk to an audience, though a balance sheet and profit and loss account without sounding boring.The other thing I asked about his my humour in my speeches and how they can incorporate it in their speeches. Also being involved in helping run speaking clubs for Toastmasters.
9.Are you a member of any specific speaking clubs and/or groups?
10.Please list your own website, twitter, LinkedIn details.