Open Dawes Training's founder, Chris Dawes, came second in a national Commentator of the Year award and we look at how his skills cross the disciplines.
Being voted the second best motorsports commentator in the UK in a popular poll hasn’t gone to the head of our MD Chris Dawes. In fact Chris - who's passion gave birth to Open Dawes Training, where we offer CPD accredited public speaking and presentation training - is amazed at the achievement.
It’s still business as usual for Chris, who is a regular commentator at race tracks throughout the UK, overseas, and online and has become an official voice of Wiltshire’s Castle Combe Circuit. He was among ten finalists for Commentator of the Year in annual awards run by Motorsport Media, which broadcasts Motorsport Radio, and he came a close second.
“I am still totally blown away by being runner up, because I ended up coming ahead of some of my absolute commentating heroes,” says Chris. “In fact, I can’t get over the fact that someone nominated me let alone that I received enough nominations to appear in the final ten. It’s been a very humbling experience, to receive recognition for doing a job that I truly love.”
Chris brings many of the skills honed in the commentary box to his presentation and public speaking training. These skills were also built up during his years as an IT solutions consultant, where he quickly had to learn how to make a dry subject like IT engaging for the audience, leaving them fired up and ready to buy (or sell when presenting to resellers of their B2B software).
“I think my style in the commentary box translates to my business as a trainer. I have fun in the commentary box, I am a motorsports enthusiast, and I am able to communicate this to the crowd. I talk about what I can see, what is happening, give them a context and paint a picture so I bring it all to life. It’s entertainment as well as sport, so I help the crowd enjoy it and feel part of it.”
Part of Chris’s talent is to make each person feel like he is talking directly to them – especially relevant for public speaking and presentation training, and can be applied as equally to talking in meetings as to a seminar.
Chris also addresses coping with nerves – and he still gets very nervous, whether he is talking to a room full of people or a crowd of 40,000 plus, but uses this to his advantage. He helps bring out the best in his clients – he’s not changing them into performers, he’s helping them be the very best version of themselves.
“I use an analogy of learning to drive: when you start you are subconsciously incompetent, because you don’t know what you don’t know. Then you become consciously incompetent, because you know what you should be doing to parallel park but can’t quite manage it. The next stage is being consciously competent, where you pass your test but you are still thinking ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’. The final stage, that I strive to get my clients to, is being subconsciously competent, where you really learn to drive and you do so naturally and well. At this point, you are able to be you and let your personality come out when talking with or in front of others.”
“Open Dawes Training was founded and named as Open Dawes because I have no doubt that overcoming my fears and improving my skills of speaking/presenting in front of others, and improving my communications skills, opened up the doors for me to be doing what I do now. This gave birth to the passion to help others open doors of their own too.”
If you would like to find out more about Open Dawes Training – we offer groups or one-to-one, at your place of work or at our Swindon training centre – why not get in touch.
You can also subscribe to receive a tips/advice email once per month to keep you up to date with the useful bog articles on our website.
Enter your name and email address to receive an email once a month with our top tips, advice, and latest articles. Your details will not be used for anything else.