Michael Virardi is a keynote speaker who speaks to the heart and souls of his global audiences. He spoke to Saskia Constantinou about his passion for inspiring people and organisations.
How did your ‘inspirational speaking’ come about?
In 2002, I attended a seminar in North Carolina by Jeffrey Gitomer, arguably the best sales consultant in the world. After the seminar, I approached him to ask him about something that had been spinning in my mind from the start: what did I need to do in order to become as successful as him in the same profession? I shall never forget his answer for two reasons: because he really did tell me the “secret of success” and because I was surprised as soon as I heard what he had to say. He told me that in order to become so successful I needed to study the subject I chose to specialise in for 2 hours every day, taking a break at weekends, and when I had done that, to contact him again in ten years’ time!
Retrospectively, I’ve come to the conclusion that Gitomer was absolutely right which I’ve proved in my professional career. I studied for 7-8 consecutive years and didn’t have a single client for my seminars or motivational speaking. Or rather, I had not managed at that point, to persuade anyone to believe in me and trust me. I listened to Gitomer, turned his words into action and, at the same time, I was patient until an opportunity came along and I seized it, always keeping in mind the saying “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
Today, I’m in the happy position of holding dozens of seminars and lectures every year – both in Cyprus and abroad, and have succeeded in multiplying both my knowledge and income.
Are you still involved in your family business of Virardi ?
My passion is training, developing and coaching people. My aim is to help these same people reach their goals, as my business card slogan states! My ‘secret love’ will always be the family business though and where I’m still involved as a Director.
What do you consider to be your three most successful habits?
Working out (especially in the morning): In the early morning hours, crucial hormones (i.e., testosterone) that help to build muscle mass are elevated in the body. So, by exercising the, one takes advantage of these naturally circulating hormones as they peak. It also keeps you energised during the day. I also swim throughout the year, which is also super exercise.
Reading: Gitomer’s advice was not only crucial in helping me build a career, but was also beneficial in developing my critical thinking. Life is way too short to learn only from your mistakes and your successes. Reading and absorbing autobiographies and other similar material has helped me achieve my goals.
Having a Mentor: As the African proverb states, “If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far go with others!” Having a Mentor (and in my case it is more than one, with their ages range from 24 to 74!) has helped tremendously in my personal and professional life.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
I read the Success magazine, spend quality time with my loved ones especially my wife, Christine, and my 3 ½ year old son Rolando. I also avoid watching the evening news (80% of it is negative news).
What does success mean to you and what do you believe are the necessary attributes needed to be successful?
Success means so many things to so many different people. When I was young, success meant becoming a millionaire. Today, success is making a comfortable living, doing work I am passionate about. It also means having enough time to spend with my loved ones. Now that I am a father and husband, success is also about ‘security.’ The fact that I have opted to be self-employed, and that I managed to take my craft and brand word-wide, helps me fend off any local financial crises. So, I have that sense of ‘security.’ As long as I keep growing and moving out of my comfort-zone, I believe success will ‘accompany’ me, and everywhere I choose to practise my craft.
How different are the reactions of people around the world? Are we basically all the same?
The answer to this question is very much and not very much! If you get an audience to laugh with a certain joke, you are more than 80% to 90% guaranteed that you will get a different audience – in another country – to laugh at the same joke provided it does not involve religion or something offensive to a certain civilisation. Having said that, there are also differences one of which I experienced very recently when I addressed the Management and 250 people from Ericsson in Tallinn, Estonia. Estonians, as I was told, are shy to ask questions following a speech. So, the Management of Ericsson designed an application where participants ‘flooded’ me with interesting questions which I had the pleasure to answer there and then. Another example is my experiences in Switzerland where I lecture at two Universities. Unlike some other cultures, Swiss lecturers and administrative staff will take me to one side and ask me various questions, to help them enhance their craft, improve their skills, etc. However, these people might have more experience than me and they certainly hold more degrees under their belt than I do!
Tell us about your best-selling books…
I’ve written two best-selling books and both appear on Amazon. They are titled “Positive Impact!” and “Crisis? Let’s Beat it!”. The first one is on customer care and the second one on the five pillars of self-development.
Success is often linked to wealth – what are your thoughts?
Your bank balance might reflect a certain kind of success and might probably be a clear indication that you are doing a job very well done (if it is done in a legal way!). Other than that, there are so many variables that determine success in my books (i.e. being good father for my son and a good son to my father, etc.)
Michael Virardi graduated from Richmond University (UK) in 1995, where he studied Business Administration with an emphasis in Psychology and continued with a Masters in International Business from the University of Westminster (UK) in 1996. He is currently one of the youngest inspirational speakers not only in Cyprus, but also in the USA, UK, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Spain, Jordan and Estonia.
Michael is also a visiting lecturer at the University College London and the University of Lausanne.