Testimonials

“Neil works with us to help improve the communication and presentation skills of our senior team. His ‘advert’ talks about “using improvisation to improve delivery” and, sure, he can do that — but we’ve found that he does much more. He has taken the time and interest to really understand our business and this, together with a sharp intellect, allows him to also offer real content insight to his audience of smart guys. And he pitches his coaching and feedback style perfectly for each different person – pushing as far as possible, but never to the point of humiliation. Neil is a thoroughly decent guy, without ego and much loved within our firm.”

Alan Middleton

CEO PA Consulting

 

“The very important aspect of positive messaging is brought to life
with Neil. He makes the work fun and that relaxes people, drops their defences
and allows them to learn more quickly. He brought fun and humour and energy.

Neil’s session added a completely different dimension to our senior
grade workshop. Getting our people up their feet and trying out personal
effectiveness techniques they wouldn’t previously have known about, amidst our
other sessions on business plans and the economic outlook, ensured we delivered
a much more textured and rounded learning experience.”

KPMG

 

“Neil has led many workshops on communication what is now hundreds of
Directors of Professional Services Firms like KPMG & Barclays Capital for
me.   He has always done his homework
and, coupled with his skills and knowledge, is able to engage, enthral, delight
and teach what can be difficult audiences.
He is also a delight to work alongside.
This is what some of the delegates have said about his workshops:-

‘Neil highlighted some different aspects for me to think about that
will be very helpful.   His delivery was
outstanding.  And it was fun!’”

Deborah Tom

Managing Director, Human Systems Ltd

 

“I have had the pleasure of working with Neil on a range of events both
large and small. He is exceptionally engaging and effective with both groups.
One event held in a large venue in Westminster attracted over 500 participants
and from the moment Neil walked onto the stage they were completely engaged. He
has an uncanny knack of identifying major issues and challenges. Through
engagement with that audience he demonstrates how they can think differently
particularly about the way they could communicate better and think more
creatively and collaboratively. There is a perfect balance of laughter and
learning and at the end of the session lots of people stayed in their seats
talking with their neighbours or just reflecting on ‘what just happened’.

Dr Lynne Maher

Director for Innovation and Design, NHS Institute for
Innovation and Improvement

 

“The atmosphere of the sessions is always fun and energised and even
the quietest of participants surprise us by volunteering to join in on the
exercises which they wouldn’t normally do.
I believe this to be down to Neil’s ability to put people at ease very
quickly and being so inclusive in his training style.  When Neil is training you hear a lot of
laughter, and there is a buzz in the room that continues for days and even weeks
after the session has ended.

Neil’s background allows him to make every participant feel important,
he effortlessly remembers and uses the participants’ names and continually
refers back to them and unique situations discussed in group work and during
the introductions making everyone feel part of the course.  His style also keeps people on their toes, as
they never know when Neil might refer back to them!

Feedback from Neil’s sessions has always been exceptional and they work
in so many different settings with so many different audiences.”

Training Manager,

LEO Burnett

 

“I was responsible for organising a conference for all the news editors
at the BBC. These are a notoriously cynical bunch of individuals who are not
known for their collaboration skills. Our aim was to break down the silos in
which they had become comfortable and to try to get programmes to work together
for the greater good of the Corporation. There were about 200 individuals at
the event. Neil handled this large group of hard-nosed BBC news journalists
with aplomb, keeping them amused yet making them think about their own
communication styles. His session saw the editor of the Today Programme working
closely with the editor of Breakfast TV – something unknown before that day.
The feedback was that this was the best session of the day and we were very
pleased with the result.”

BBC News

 

“When I heard Balfour Beatty were organising a conference for the whole
company I had no hesitation in recommending Neil for workshops and the final
session of the event.  At the end of long
hard day, Neil’s finale was perfect – high energy, interactive and highly
thought-provoking. He has the skill to select just the right individual to
perform in front of colleagues while making sure everyone in the room is included
and involved in the exercises.  The whole
company found it delivered something for everyone while ending the conference
on a high. I would have no hesitation in recommending his work with any size of
group in the future. He can always be relied on to deliver.”

Lindsey Grist

Managing Director, Grist Communications

 

“Neil showed consummate professionalism and a seemingly effortless
grasp of the key messages to be conveyed at the Baxi UK Sales conference. He
researched and prepared thoroughly for the event and was superb on the day,
interacting seamlessly between directors and the management audience. His warm
and witty style both relaxed the senior contributors from across the business
and set an open, inclusive tone. He facilitated several interactive sessions
during the course of the day and ran a brilliant (and hilarious) improv comedy
masterclass over dinner in the evening. Having been lucky enough to work with
Neil on a number of live projects I have seen how he goes out of his way to
ensure that everyone involved feels both valued and engaged.He has a unique
ability to combine very classy comedy with a genuine knowledge and enthusiasm
for business. I really could not recommend him highly enough.”

Andy Porter,

Managing Director, Veracity Digital

 

“A great evening , which I enjoyed but also learnt from – a great
combination.  Those who were sceptical
were quickly bought onside by Neil as he is clearing very good at ‘reading’ the
audience and putting everyone at ease.
In the very limited time available Neil ensured that we learnt the key
points associated with the acronym ‘LAGER’ through interactive exercises and demonstrations.
I would highly recommend Neil’s work.”

Women in Property

 

Feedback from Neil’s sessions has always been exceptional and they work
in so many different settings with so many different audiences. “I would
recommend Neil Mullarkey to anyone who is trying to improve their public
speaking or the way in which they present themselves in work situations. Every
minute I spent with Neil was incredibly useful – within half an hour of meeting
and chatting, he had a real grasp of the issues I wanted to tackle and the
context of my work and presentations. In the sessions that followed, he made
sure that I felt able to experiment and push myself while building confidence,
skills and technique.

He has remained interested in my progress and my sessions with him have
made a perceptible improvement to my public presentations and my
confidence  – this has not just been noticed by me but by my colleagues.
Thanks to Neil, I now feel that I make speeches that feel more like the
real me and now feel that I am in control of the situation rather than the
presentation controlling me.”

Music Charity

 

“Neil was great and a change from the norm – we need more sessions like
“Having Better Conversations”. It was fun and reminded me of things I know I
should know but sometimes forget. Neil’s session was hugely enjoyable and yes –
I’m trying out some of the techniques already.”

Comic Relief Grants Team

 

“A funny man with a deep sincerity about what he does. He elegantly and
provocatively shakes up your thinking, challenges your self imposed limitations
and pushes your creativity. You will certainly laugh at yourself and others and
you may well surprise yourself too.”

“What you did was stunning – wonderfully conversationally provocative.”

Paul King

Managing
Director, The Beyond Partnership

 

“I had the pleasure of working with Neil during the UK Sport Elite
Coach Programme, Neil ran a workshop entitled “Courage and Bravery”. I am a
reflector by nature and usually enjoy space and time to think and digest,
Neil’s workshop allowed me to learn while doing in an environment that supports
both the individual and the group. The experiential nature of the work that
Neil offers means there is no right or wrong there is just “do” and learn both
in the moment and from the outcome. It has allowed me to stop spending time
thinking so much about the consequences of right, wrong, good or bad and allows
me to do and react.

Neil uses his quick thinking intellect, sharp humour and amazing
understanding of people and their daily circumstances to articulate and act out
human behaviours aligned to those circumstances.

It’s ok if other peoples thoughts, actions or interpretations are
different to mine as long as they are aligned to the direction we want to go.
Detours can be fun and enlightening.”

Nigel Redman

Elite Coach Development 
Manager, Rugby Football Union

 

“I noticed I was much more alert than normal and the atmosphere was one
of lively anticipation. Neil’s approach is different because he moves and flows
with the audience – it’s more like a dance than a presentation.”

Iain Carruthers

Partner, The Encounter Business

 

“Neil provided a superbly-energetic and inspiring post-lunch
session for our conference of 150 business teachers. He provided them with
hands-on experience of exercises which will encourage their students to think
more creatively – a key skill for which they receive no formal training.

A stand-out session from all our conferences
last year”.

Jim Riley

Managing Director, tutor2u

 

“Neil teases you out of being who you think you should be and
dares you to be who you are……by being an Improvocateur! For
me……….absolutely at the heart of what is needed for personal and
professional leadership (mine and my clients’) in these tough times!”

Sharon Torpey

Business Coach

 

“Neil gives you a vocabulary for diagnosing communication
breakdowns. His simple (but not easy) framework offers a prescription for
success. He makes improvisation accessible to all , not just the verbally
agile. We learn that we improvise most of the time and that we can get better
through understanding what we are doing. I have collaborated with Neil in
working with managers in the public and private sectors and with postgraduate students
of different nationalities. He has something to offer to everyone. Sometimes
where an individual has a block, Neil’s session can be personally transforming.
Neil combines a warmly human style, sharp as a tack verbals, and a willingness
to confront and expose difficult issues.”

Senior Fellow

Said Business School, Oxford

 

“In his exceptional sessions, Neil lifts a room of people, shares some
incredibly simple and yet powerful techniques and prepares people to succeed -
while having an enormous amount of fun.”

Senior Manager (Learning & Development)

Global media company

 

“Thank you for your lively and engaging sessions.
The participants were spellbound and the feedback has been really positive. I
have personally seen many examples of real active listening, with people
picking up the cues of others so obviously the learning has landed.”

Garcia Williamson

UK Head of
Talent, KPMG

 

“We were delighted to have Neil share a session at our off-site. His session helped us to examine the way we interact
with others in a positive and entertaining way. He highlighted the power of stories and how to build on the outputs of others. The end result was a challenging, thought provoking and highly entertaining session. Neil is truly a master in his trade and we look forward to him joining us again in the future.”

Lynn S O’Connor

Organisational Development Manager, HSBC

 

“The delegates have learnt a lot from you and I thank you for the positive influence you have had over circa 250 planners
in the past 4 years. Not to mention the good laughs at the Comedy Store, of course.”

Sandra Kinmont

Global S&OP
Capability Director, Unilever

 

“I just wanted to write and thank you for running the course for me the other day. It never ceases to amaze me the impact
that it has on people.  It is such a genuine course backed up by years of experience in
understanding people, emotions and body language.

As I said to you prior to thesession it was a key part of a plan to develop the team I am working with. They
interface across the whole business and heavily in to the external world and
the day has allowed them to develop better understandings of how to sell,
negotiate etc….in fact I found myself being ‘Mullarkeyed’ the other day by
one of them such is the impact. Thanks again and we will be looking to have you
back again in the early New Year to follow up.”

Marc Lawn

Interim Director of Marketing Services -
Europe and Africa, Castrol

 

“A fun approach to a serious subject that engaged me with everyone &
developed new skills at the same time.”

“The evening with Neil Mullarkey was fantastic! It’s always fun to do something different and this
event certainly offered you that! The session was informal and most importantly
on your doorstep!”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn improvisation from the master! It
was a really fun session, bringing to life the ever important skill of thinking
on your feet in a way you couldn’t imagine.”

“I found the evening to be interesting and an entertaining way to work on
our improvisation skills, which in turn could then be put to good use in our
day to day working lives.”

“Neil Mullarkey’s improvisation was a fun, inspiring and energetic
approach to clearing the cobwebs and thinking out of the box.”

Weber Shandwick

 

“A very inspirational and thought provoking course – thanks.”

“Thanks very much for the day. It was very enjoyable, and eye opening. At
the start I said that I wanted to have the confidence to state my opinion, but
I also wanted to do it in a calm, collected and knowledgable manner, rather
than sounding flippant. The exercises, especially the grounding, really helped
me. And I’ve already managed to be more assertive in meetings, so some part of
Jeremy Clarkson must be rubbing off. Again, thanks very much for an incredibly
useful day.”

“Thanks Neil, I really enjoyed the day and I know everyone else did too.
Even *****. You did such a good job with him he was better than me by the end
of the day. And I think ***** took a lot from it too in terms of my objective
for him to have more in his armoury.”

“I really enjoyed the day and have come away with new skills which I’ll
use when presenting. I hope we use your services again.”

“We’ve been talking about it on the train and everyone agreed what a great
day it was. Everyone has taken something away from it and was excellent to see
the crew’s confidence grow from the morning to the afternoon session under your
guidance. Thanks once again.”

 Virgin Money

 

“The participants loved the session. It was something different and fresh. Thanks again. You were great.”

Deutsche Bank/London Business School

 

“Thank you so much for such a fantastic session at our recent sales conference.

Our plan was that people left the conference
after two days on a real high and they did just that! I have has several emails
since from delegates with really positive comments about what they took away
from your session. Hope to see you again next year.”

Jo Revitt

Archant

 

“A huge thanks to you for a fantastic afternoon. Everyone had a great time.”

“I would like to say how good the event was. The venue was fantastic but the speaker was absolutely
brilliant. By far the best Deloitte event I have been to.”

“Everyone felt great about the event on Friday, so thanks very much for your part in that.”

Deloitte

 

“Delighted as ever to work with you and watch an artisan at work.

They had great sessions the next day where they could really see offers
and blocking at work. I think they were quite surprised at their everyday
occurrence… thank you for your consistency, generosity and professionalism.
Look forward to the next time.”

Umbro

 

“The level of pitches was actually terrific and I put that down at least in part to you inspiring people
and getting them limbered up earlier. It was actually a very good day and we
have had only positive response which is great…so thanks as ever!”

Wayne Garvie

Director of
Content & Production, BBC Worldwide

 

“Thank you so much for running such a fantastic session yesterday.  I have
received several e-mails today which sing your praises…”

“Thanks again for a truly fab event…people seem to have been very positively
surprised by the whole thing – its content, tone and attention to detail”

“Just been for a coffee and was stopped by 7 different people wanting to say how good
Neil’s session was.”

“Neil’s workshop was great, I just didn’t want it to end!”

Boots Healthcare
International

 

“Your session worked really well and set just the participative, innovative,
risk-taking tone and theme of conversation that we wanted.

It was a really high energy way for people to recognise the connections
they had made. I finished off the event with a short session building on your
great start.

The workshops were approached with scepticism but leaders found it fun and
engaging. Most importantly the impact is that we have more ‘Yes, And’
conversations and are getting better at listening and building on others’
ideas.”

BP

 

“It was a great experience in learning to shake off habits, pre-conceptions and my own single-mindedness to help
enable better participation and interaction with other people. Having given the
very rare presentation in the last eight years, I never really thought about
getting up in front of a room of people and trying to hold their attention,
whilst actually enjoying the experience. Usually it is something I would like
to have over and done with and forgotten as quickly as possible.

Ever since attending Neil’s seminar, I’ve been reciting some of the lessons
that I learned: Lessons that would apply in ANY public facing session. It
doesn’t necessarily need to be a room full of people.

Mostly I took away the need to listen and have an open mind. Otherwise one
could miss all the inputs that your audience is giving you consciously or
unconsciously).

I appreciated the approach that Neil took in conducting exercises utilising
games that enable us to see how our own perspective closes our mind to all
other possibilities that there may be right in front of us. I think if I could
have spent any more time with Neil, I would get that much closer to being able
to confidently speak/lead/present almost anywhere, anytime and with potentially
any audience.

The day we spent was about learning then utilising the tools and exercises we
were taught to achieve our goal. Being shy or self-conscious never came into
it. Don’t just recite a message, deliver it.”

Bulldog Broadband

 

 

“I hear people saying they have ‘done a Neil Mullarkey’ meaning that they’ve taken a different approach to a
presentation – less formality and more passion and connection with their
audience.

Our  leadership team meetings have more energy and
imagination, as though Neil has given people permission to think and act
differently. We have been trying to get people to think this way for a while,
but somehow Neil persuaded them!

We often use the ‘Yes, And’ technique. Even when we don’t do it overtly, we
often hear people stop themselves and change tack, saying, “I mean ‘Yes,
And’ …” It has made people think about the positive aspects of a
situation.

This is really important to the work we are doing on culture change. Even our
‘Word-At-A-Time Story’ has left its mark.

All those involved know what we mean if we mention ‘Neil’s Story’.”

Claire Clancy

Chief Executive,
Companies House

 

“Working with Neil’s unique talents and techniques has many benefits above and beyond straight-out skill development.

The added value aspects include a real drive to understand what objectives lie at the heart of the training and, as a
result, tailoring engaging methods to maximise audience engagement, team dynamics, participation and enjoyment.

Neil’s approach is high energy and is as relevant to those who need training as to those who may need reminding of skills and techniques that may have slipped in the hurly burly of just doing the job.

I have had so much positive feedback about the session but particularly about how right Neil was for us and that it was exactly what the studio needed – focus on them, working together, thinking about the brand.”

Managing Partner, Fitch

 

“Neil’s training leaves a long lasting legacy. Two things strike me,
several months on:

The first was how well Neil understood our
organisation, our people and our challenges. So even the most reticent staff
responded positively and felt he was their friend.

Secondly, the impact of ‘Yes, And’ lives on.
Even last week, one of our team remarked that ‘we look for solutions, not
problems’. She referred to the exercise led by Neil where we were not allowed
to say ‘yes … but’, only ‘yes … and’.”

Anne Evans

Chief Executive,
HTI(Heads, Teachers, Industry)

 

“Neil takes executives to a space that is fun, challenging and for them completely new.

The most powerful insights come from participating rather than observing, and the improvisational method
and the techniques embedded in it have universal application, if people’s minds are open to the stretch.

Neil’s personality and gifts make that transition one which executives are willing and motivated to make.”

Nigel Nicholson,
Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School

 

“I thought it was pretty much perfect, and that you made us feel welcome, relaxed but challenged.

Thank you very much for everything on Friday. Your effort throughout the day made it a great experience
- both fun and very instructive for all of us.The positive feedback has continued this morning.

Thank you also for the way in which you seemed able to identify the key challenges for us so well. One of the
most pleasing things for me was that my colleague, who has to watch 6 or so of these presentations a day, and cops the feedback from the audience, spent so much of the day nodding at what you were saying and doing. What you say about presentations is spot on – and there are certainly some more confident individuals around here this morning. Thanks again.”

Morgan Stanley

 

“Your contribution was brilliant and the feedback from delegates I spoke
to said that it had really struck a chord with them. Thanks again for making
the sessions both thought-provoking and fun.

“It was lovely meeting you Neil and the delegates thoroughly enjoyed
your performance – I don’t think I have ever heard them laugh so much at one of
these events – it was a refreshing change!”

“Feedback from the Conference has been superb for your afternoon
improvisation session. There have been lots of calls for more interactive and
innovative strands next year so you’ve clearly made an impression on
them.”

NHS Confederation Conference

 

“Neil’s session on communication really demonstrated how little we
focus on this important area and what some of the consequences could be when we
fail to communicate well. Participants left the session smiling, desperate to
try out their new skills and with an entirely positive attitude to
communication that still prevails over a year later”.

Senior Leader, UK National Health Service

 

“Through an exciting session of fun tasks Neil skilfully enabled teams to think differently or ‘outside the
box’. This has resulted in a number of great new ideas about some of the health
challenges we are currently facing.”

Head of Innovation Practice Institute for Innovation & Improvement, UK National
Health Service

 

“Neil’s disarmingly charming approach masks a razor
sharp wit and intellect – of course, the very essence of the Improv
professional – as he leads, teases, coaches and cajoles his teams through the
real life learnings that are oh-so cleverly disguised as theatre.

The spark of originality is all that separates the individual from the crowd. And so begins the journey into the
alternative corporate world of Neil Mullarkey.

It is a place both challenging, in the way in which company ‘machines’ are
stretched beyond their natural comfort zones, yet also strangely re-assuring in
that, inevitably, we cope with and really enjoy the experience.

Yes and, at last on a ‘training course’, there is no Death by PowerPoint! You
will not be disappointed – enjoy!”

Sales & Marketing Director, UK Atomic Energy Authority

 

“Neil’s use of improvisation (both theory and practice) made for one of the
most inspiring and provocative sessions on creativity that I have ever
experienced. He took a class of 108 Cambridge MBA’s – hard-nosed, rational and
highly sceptical about their individual ability to create – and transformed
them.”

Richard Hytner, Deputy Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide

 

“I wanted to send my thanks for a truly great
session… the feedback from the field force has been exceptional and they can
be a tough audience to please!”

Brand Manager, Astra Zeneca

Sales Workshop Participants’ Feedback:

“I will never sell the same way to a customer again!”

“The course releases inhibitions, gives a greater understanding of what you do and how to
change.”

“The exercises bring you out of your comfort zone and make you willing to
try new ideas and approaches.”

“A brilliant course – very stimulating!”

“I just wanted to thank you for providing such a good training course. It is so good to have a
different perspective and an unusual delivery on the training we receive. I
took a great deal away from the course and am looking forward to making some
personal changes. Thanks again!”

“I have already started to put some of the principles into practice. I have had a few slightly uncomfortable calls
where I have broken the old habits but have also made significant progress with
some key customers.”

 

 

“Great session, thank you. It really did achieve exactly what we wanted – broke down barriers, helped bring everyone
together for the rest of the away day and importantly people took something very
positive out of the training which will really help us all. You were spot on.”

Ogilvy Advertising