The LAST WORD: Chris Dawes, founder, Open Dawes Training

May 24, 2018

Swindon Business News regularly gives a prominent member of the area’s business community the last word on its weekly e-bulletin. This week Chris Dawes of Open Dawes Training, which specialises in public speaking, presentation, communications skills and media training, answers our 10 questions. 

What was the LAST:

Film you watched? Dunkirk. I had heard that it was really clever at how it tells the same story from multiple perspectives, was very moving and makes us feel the emotions of something we thought we knew enough about. And I have to say it was incredible! I finished with a mix of ‘WOW!’, and that I could have gone through my life without seeing it and staying blissfully ignorant to how harrowing it was for so many people. 

Book you read? I struggle to find much time to read but I try to also listen to audio books. I am reading and listening to Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. It is great to get confirmation that the reason I started Open Dawes Training, going from someone paralysed by fear at presenting at university to now getting paid to travel the world to talk on microphones and camera, while watching and talking about my favourite sport and in front of huge audiences.

Music you bought/downloaded? It was either tranquil music to relax/meditate to in order to clear the mind of too much information, pressure and performance-related adrenaline. Or, conversely, R&B or dance music (back to my roots!) to pump myself up before media commitments.

Concert or play you went to? I don’t tend to go to music concerts, but prefer stand-up and I recently watched Jason Manford. Very funny and likeable guy! And it was great as it was in Plymouth, which is where I went to university and graduated from in 2000. A bit different to when we were enjoying ourselves down there – or is that I am a little different to when we were enjoying ourselves down there?

Sporting event you attended? As a motorsports commentator I attend sports events every weekend. That has included Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park and Castle Combe circuits so far. I have had the pleasure of covering everything from Superkarts (karts that go 160mph…) to GT & LMP3 cars, Euro Nascars, historic Formula 1 and LMP1 cars, and trucks. It certainly never gets boring! But it does mean that I don’t tend to be able to get to any other sporting events.

Holiday you went on? I promised my wife and daughter that this year we will fly off to warmer climates for a holiday because last year I got away with two weeks in the motorhome in Cheshire and Norfolk taking in motor racing circuits (Oulton Park and Snetterton) for me to work at on the weekends.

Restaurant you ate in? We tried out Tiffins Indian buffet restaurant in Swindon for our wedding anniversary, because I LOVE Indian food, so what’s not to love when you can have such a variety and as much of it as you want?

Thing that annoyed you? The fact that fuel prices seem to be increasing daily at the moment! I daren’t say anymore on that for now or I won’t stop…

Thing that made you laugh out loud? My commentary style is to enjoy it and treat it as entertainment, so I laugh out loud with those around me every weekend on the microphone, and I love it.  Other than that, Impractical Jokers is hilarious and reminds me of my university days.

Piece of good advice you were given? I have the privilege of mingling with and working with many people of differing levels of fame and I found it very hard not to get star struck in the early days! But my dad was with me one weekend and reminded me that they need me interviewing them as much as I need them and from that point on I treated myself as an equal and amazingly it made the interaction with them so much better. 

Having graduated from Plymouth University in 2000 with a BSc degree in Business and IT, Chris Dawes started a career in sales and marketing, becoming a shareholder in a B2B software company for 13 years. However, a few years before that he got the chance to commentate at Castle Combe Circuit, which then exploded to commentating all over the world, presenting on TV and radio, hosting events (business, sporting, and lifestyle, etc), doing voiceover work and so he left to start up his own companies – Chris Dawes Comms for media work and Open Dawes Training to help others with public speaking. Chris grew up in Yate, just outside Bristol, but has lived in North Swindon for seven years. He used to be a national level swimmer until he found beer at university.



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