OK then. We enter super weird territory. It’s Darren at the keyboard here and I’m about to write about possibly the least-interesting topic I could write about at any given time.
But although my initial response to writing a page about myself (ergh!) isn’t my ideal way to spend my time, I also get you’re probably trying to get a grasp of who I am, what I stand for and why that matters for you. I’d do the same. So let’s break this ‘about’ page into a pattern that hopefully solves two challenges;
- Let’s you understand a little more about me, and
- Gives me a little shelter to the pure discomfort of writing about myself.
That pattern is going to be a question and answer style. I trust that works for you?
Who are you?
Gawd. You’ve started with a doozie, haven’t you?
Truth be known, I am a completely unremarkable person.
I’ve never climbed a mountain in the Himalayas or undertaken some awe inspiring physical feat of endurance or real grandeur.
I’ve not had to overcome a near death experience (although I once ate a California Reaper Chilli and thought that was going to spell the end for me). Nor have I saved countless lives through some heroic act.
At this point you might be thinking ‘gee, this guy’s not exactly selling himself, is he?!’ But I’m very much an everyday person who deeply cares about some things…and these things have bought me tremendous success.
So what are those things you care about?
Well firstly, I’m deeply in love with my wife Alison, and have been since the moment I saw her across a table at a Karaoke night over 20 years ago. I’m in awe of my two kids, now teenagers, who are thriving in life.
I’m privileged to share my thinking on stage at conferences. And possibly this is the crux of us talking; I work really hard to create a remarkable experience, I think, because at my core, I think I’m quite unremarkable. I hope that makes sense?
What gives you the bonafides to stand on stage in front of a group of smart people?
I’m a Behavioural Scientist who studies human behaviour more deeply now than I ever did while at University. And that’s saying something, because I was the painful mature age student who asked way too many questions and HD’ed everything (including statistics!). In retrospect I am mortified how obsessed I was…
As the years rolled on, I’ve spent time at some of the most prestigious universities on the planet to further my knowledge in the area, and I constantly combine the theory with lived practice.
That lived practice is within my own business and the wider culture and strategy of our corporate clients and business owners I work with. Rest assured, everything I present on stage has been road-tested, battle-hardened and grounded in contemporary science.
I’ve been recognised for my work as a speaker, but let’s chat about that later, shall we?
What is your speaking style? How do you approach an engagement?
When first getting briefed about an event, my first objective is to see if I can genuinely add weight and value to what is being achieved. I won’t and I don’t take every speaking gig offered. I am quite discerning about what conferences I speak at, mainly because I hold a belief that I can’t be for everyone, and others might suit your brief better.
Once we’ve established that we’re a good fit for each other I like to get a detailed understanding of what the conference themes and objectives are and how my material matches this.
[Note: this may all sound rudimentary; but alas the conference circuit is overweight in speakers who don’t tailor to suit and event organisers who tick a box — I want to work with people that care; because I know I do. Endeth of mini rant.]
As far as my speaking style goes, I am at my core a scientist and like to come from grounded research. I sprinkle this throughout but certainly don’t beat people over the head with it. I try and take that research and make it fun (and funny) and also practical. I blend science and art together to disarm the barriers of audiences that have heard it all.
Amongst my toolbox of methods, I use everything from storytelling and case studies to data and trend forecasting. I mix it up and use spoken word and poetry along with stunning visuals and music. I get audiences to laugh (often) and cry (sometimes).
My role is to have an audience think differently and I obsess about it. I guess why it has seen me be recognised for that effort, being named in the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame in 2018 which I feel twin emotions about.*
*I love the recognition of the work if I’m honest and it’s lovely that peers think of me in that light; but when I look at the names (legends) of others in the Hall of Fame I wonder why the heck I’m there.
OK, I’m starting to get a sense of who you are; have you got a bio?
Yup. Here’s what MC’s and people use to describe me. I’ll just leave the room while you read it….
A behavioural scientist, and Co-Founder of 3-time AFR FAST 100 list company Pragmatic Thinking Darren understands people like few others do.
With a client book of Fortune 500 and ASX Top-200 companies, Darren Hill is one of Australia's most in-demand strategists whose culture change programs have been used in PepsiCo, Suncorp, McDonalds and Siemens to name a few. Darren's a best-selling author whose work has appeared regularly across the Fairfax Group (including the SMH & The Age), News Limited (The Daily Tele & Courier Mail), AFR, Business Insider and Smart Company. He's appeared on The Today Show, Sky Business News and as yet hasn't been chased by A Current Affair down the street.
An author of three books including the best seller “Dealing with the Tough Stuff: How to achieve results from key conversations" which has now been translated into 3 different languages, his clients consistently describe him as grounded and refreshingly real – something that’s reflected by his ongoing re-engagment rate with clients nearing 100%.