Nick Looby: Write What You are Passionate About

Nick has been delighting audiences for over a decade with his impactful humour, focused observation, and his power to inspire action. With his potent and unique approach to communication, Nick will not only alter the way you think but, more importantly, transform the way you act. Nick is extremely proud to be among the TED family, speaking at a TEDx event in 2015 was a fun-filled milestone, as was his first, game-changing book written to shake up the communication industry. His latest book is already causing a stir and the zombie slaying movement has begun.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a business owner, communication specialist and modern zombie slayer. I help teams and organizations communicate more successfully than they ever thought possible.

I am a speaker, a trainer and writer. Everything I do have a communication focus. I am obsessed with helping others enhance how they communicate so they can be more successful; at work, at home and beyond. This is becoming more and more challenging for all teams as we rapidly drown in an ocean of communication noise.

I’m a father of two, and it makes me exceptionally proud that both my kids are following their dreams. They are both creative but in opposite ways – quite fascinating. I live in Essex, love to run and dance and read amazing books designed to thrill and inspire.

Do you see yourself more as a professional speaker or a professional writer?

Most definitely a professional speaker. I find sitting down to write incredibly difficult. The focus required to isolate myself mentally to commit large numbers of words to a page is extremely demanding. My thoughts and ideas flow more readily when I am on stage and working with an audience.

Part of my writing strategy is to pace around my kitchen, articulating my ideas out loud before committing them to page. They always tend to sound better spoken than written too.

I admire all those who have the discipline to write regularly and not lose their way. Writing my latest book probably took twice as long as it should.

Recently you wrote a book with the name of Modern Zombies, what is it about?

Modern Zombies is an exploration of how our communication has evolved and what we are throwing away if we allow our technology free rein over all of our interactions.

The rise of technology, on the one hand, is phenomenal; such power and limitless possibility and incredibly useful for replacing the low value communication exchanges we all have on a daily basis.

The problem arises when we allow the technology to replace those interactions that are crying out for some human qualities; such as empathy, rapport and resonance, which are a must if we are serious about getting through to our audience.

We are losing what it means to be human and we are turning even our high value interactions into communication transactions. We are becoming modern zombies and it cannot end well. Already we are seeing a huge increase in loneliness and depression in younger generations and most of the working population are growing ever weary of their email overwhelm. We are all suffering from the most modern of viruses and Modern Zombies offers up a series of cures.

Why did you choose such a name for your book?

I’m a huge zombie fan. All of our family are. (My daughter has a YA zombie novel called ZA published).

The metaphor of the zombie hugely resonates with what I see happening in the world of communication. We hunger for our technology brains and seem not to notice what is going on around us. Our humanity is seeping away as we allow our technology to infiltrate our most precious and, often intimate relationships.

The zombie is a metaphor that is easily grasped and fits perfectly with the hugely desensitized modern communicator. The more you look, the more you will see. We are all infected.

What was the hardest part of writing Modern Zombies?

The most difficult part was sticking to the plan. As most business authors, who continue to practice their craft would testify, it’s hard not to keep adding, refining and polishing our ideas.

The content of my talks from stage and my workshops reflected my thinking around the Modern Zombies theme and audiences of all types were incredibly keen to add to the debate. It was hard not to keep on expanding and adding to the original text.

My editor did an amazing job of reigning me in and keeping me focused. Without her I would probably still be writing it!

Where can we buy or see Modern Zombies?

Modern Zombies is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle version. An Audio-Book version is planned for the New Year.

My most recent TEDx Talk exploring the ideas behind Modern Zombies can be found on YouTube.

What is the role of Feet on the Ground in your life?

Feet on the Ground Training Ltd is my training company and was always designed to be the antidote to the plethora of courses you attend, participate in and leave with a hefty manual to gather dust on your office shelf, but does not change you or your actions.

Our courses make a difference to your world. You change, your actions change and great things result. Practical, powerful and instantly adoptable strategies, techniques and skills that can be used before you even leave the room. Results so good they can be guaranteed.

Feet on the Ground is also the name of our Events business (Feet on the Ground Events) which, similarly, has a down to earth approach about providing all of the skills, technology and experience to ensure your event is an ideal communication vehicle for you and your business.

What are you reading right now?

I tend to have a number of books on the go at any one time.

I have just finished ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini – such a fascinating book exploring the main factors that influence us on a daily basis and make us extremely susceptible to those who use these strategies to profit from our very human reactions.

I am also reading ‘The Mezzanine’ by Nicholson Baker – an amazing and extremely strange book filled with internal reflections and based during a single lunch break from the office.

My next read will be ‘Legend’ by Marie Lu – a YA novel which is based on a retelling of Les Miserables – not quite sure what I am in for.

What does literary success look like to you?

I want my book/s to spark debate, to begin interesting but tough conversations. To guide and suggest solutions to fundamental communication problems.

If they provide answers that work for the reader I would consider that success. They are designed to change your life along the way too. I look forward to seeing a stranger on the Tube engrossed in one of my books – that would be truly satisfying.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read my reviews. I feel there is a lot to be learnt from the educated opinion of others. I’m constantly learning. I would rather a bad review (however painful) than a series of mediocre feedback. If you love it or hate it, that is great, chances are it is sparking a debate, positive or negative. If it has not left an impression then I have not done a good enough job, one way or the other.

If you are prepared to push and ask the difficult questions then there are bound to be those who react against you. Writing and speaking on stage are not for the easily offended.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you are passionate about. Don’t over think it or stress that it isn’t perfect, just put the words down and commit yourself. Be courageous and share your ideas. Be you and revel in your story.

I advise those taking to the stage to speak at events to do the same. Have courage and be authentically you.

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Joyful Jerboa
Content creator and community advocate at Write!. When Joyful Jerboa isn’t stuck to a computer screen, she spends time hiking, learning French, and doing everything possible to make this world a better place.
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