In August 2010 Mark Bowden was profiled by Tina Rogers for the inspirational online magazine Tempo Toronto. Here is an edited except from this revealing interview…
Mark Bowden knows how to win trust, before uttering a single word. A natural people person, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch him work, so rapid are the changes he instills in his clients’ non-verbal communication.
Mark is an expert in business presentation training and in persuasive, influential verbal and nonverbal language and communication structures that make prime ministers of G8 powers and CEOs of Fortune 50 companies able to stand out and win trust. A little about Mark’s credentials: he received his university degree in performance in the UK and studied the gesture control methods of Jacques Lecoq’s Laboratory of Movement in Paris. He worked with some of the world’s most groundbreaking theatre companies, and has trained internationally recognized actors and directors. He has worked with leading practitioners of movement psychology and built upon the influence techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson.
The Truth Plane
Mark is the creator of TruthPlane, his own training model for communicating to an audience. His techniques are used worldwide by top executives and political leaders who want to gain an advantage beyond words when they speak. He is considered one of the world’s expert performance coaches, and he is a highly sought-after trainer in business communication at universities including McGill and Toronto’s Schulich business school at York University.
How fortunate Toronto is to have British-born Mark in our midst, since he married a Canadian and settled downtown five years ago, where he and his wife are raising two young children. Even though he travels globally spreading his message, he’s staying in Toronto.
Mark reckons that others would describe him as a ‘blagger’. For those not familiar with the term this means a persuasive smooth talker. “There’s a huge element of blagging and storytelling in what I do,” says Mark. “I’m pretty open about that because it’s a real skill, and is what we do naturally anyway.”
On meeting Mark, you experience a warm, open, upbeat and friendly character, without artifice. Someone you instantly trust. Smooth talker – not so much; comfortable with his deep expertise, for sure.
Many are familiar with trying to ‘read’ the body language of others to guess what they are thinking. On the flip side, Mark works with what he describes as embodied cognition. There is an evolutionary and biochemical science behind it, which Mark started studying over two decades ago, in his teens, and his latest book, Winning Body Language: Control the Conversation, Command Attention, and Convey the Right Message without Saying a Word, (top seller in its Amazon category) does the topic justice.
We had time for a brief chat to get a sense of who is Mark Bowden.
What would qualify as a career highlight for you?
I have the privilege of working with people who are very powerful and important. However, for me, the real highlights are working with those who manage to reach their full potential in speaking, where before they had been held back by some barrier. That’s great. I had one client, extremely senior in the healthcare sector who was competing for a position and was up against someone of lesser ability. After some coaching with me, his future boss told him he had never heard such an eloquent speaker. That’s the kind of feedback that makes it all special for me. I do know that people can achieve this, and how simple it can be, but they may be challenged through no fault of their own. I can help.
What drives you?
I am obsessed with being good at what I do. I always want to be the best, and I find it hard to do things I’m not good at.
What I love about what I do is the change that I see in the people I work with. I am totally fascinated by it – passionate, even fanatical. Look… human beings are not designed to stand up and talk in front of hundreds or thousands of people. If you can get someone comfortable in front of large groups and able to win trust, they become leaders. In the end, it is work for me, but I love the change that it can have on people – it’s all about potential.
What’s your next project?
I’m still travelling globally, and working with G8 leaders and CEOs. I’m also working on a new book with an award-winning British writer for TV, Shaun Prendergast. Due to be published in 2011, its working title is “Seven Stories That Sell”. Briefly, there are a finite number of human dilemmas – losing the things you love, for example – and this book is about solutions to dilemmas, aimed at business, sales, marketing and leadership.