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Spotlight On: Dr. Nick Bontis, Leading Strategy and Management Expert

Spotlight On: Dr. Nick Bontis, Leading Strategy and Management Expert

The “knowledge era” is here. Do you know how to survive? An internationally recognized intellectual-capital expert, Dr. Nick Bontis helps individuals and organizations accelerate performance by working smarter—with the power of knowledge management. His dynamic and engaging presentations empower audiences to maximize performance to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business world. Nick was kind enough to let us turn the spotlight on him today:

What inspired you to want to be a speaker?

As a university professor, I speak to audiences every day.  Making the jump to professional speaker seemed like a natural development of my career.  After I finish my presentation, I still get a “high” feeling that always re-energizes me.  Being a speaker is truly an honour that I cherish, because connecting with individuals in the audience is very special.

Any advice for aspiring speakers?

Keep watching, listening, and learning from the best speakers in the world.  With YouTube, you don’t even have to travel far!

What do you like to leave audiences with?

I finish every presentation with “5 action items for tomorrow.” I want to make sure that every single audience member has “real world” takeaways that can be implemented right away.

How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?

I have the same lucky charm that I put in my pocket.  I always take deep breaths before I start and make sure to turn off my smartphone. I never walk after being introduced.  Instead, I jog to the centre of the stage.

Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?

I have two stories:

1) I remember a conference producer that was really particular about finishing on time.  In fact, she had a stop watch around her neck!  I told her to time me.  I finished exactly on time, to the second!

2) I had a speaking engagement on a Friday night in Philadelphia and on a Saturday morning in Montreal.  My flight on Friday night was cancelled…so I rented a car and drove myself the whole way to Montreal overnight!

Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?

I once gave a keynote presentation in Sun City, South Africa, which was an amazing location for a business conference. Earlier in the day, my host took me out on jet skis. It was a great experience for me, but he ended up crashing into a pier and sinking his jet ski.  No one got injured, and it was a freak accident.  When my host introduced me on stage later that same day, he showed some photos of our jet ski exploits.  Ultimately, it was a funny introduction.

Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?

I am very much involved with the United Way.  I was Chair of the United Way campaign in Hamilton in 2012, and we helped raise $7 million for the community. I also volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Soccer Association.  I am still very much involved with youth sports as a volunteer coach for soccer and basketball.

If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?

I would love to be a professional soccer player and score the winning goal with a bicycle kick in the World Cup.

Desert island album?

I have Greek roots, so any Zembekiko works for me.

Best subject in school?

Business of course!

Last film you saw?

I keep watching the Godfather movies over and over again.

Celebrity crush?

Steven Spielberg.

Favourite TV show?

Big Bang Theory.

Favourite food?

Meat lovers pizza.

Favourite drink?

Arnold Palmer = half iced tea + half lemonade