My Way: 'At interviews, I always watch how someone walks in'

Richard Denny is a motivational speaker and business guru who has written six books on selling. He is chair of the Richard Denny Group, a business consultancy

What did you want to be, as a child?

A farmer. My father was a parish priest and had friends with a farm; I loved to help with the haymaking.

What did you realistically think you'd end up doing?

I totally believed I would be a farmer. I left school with one O-level and went to work on a farm. Then I went to agricultural college to do a National Certificate.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely. At 21, I was managing a farm. But five years later, I was struggling and looking around for some extra money. I was married with three children and the farming life was difficult. I discovered that other farmers had problems selling very large eggs, which often had double-yolks, so I took some to Harrods and got a huge order, which was funny, as I didn't actually have any chickens myself. I was running a dairy farm!

What happened next?

I branched out, opened a shop in Tunbridge Wells, got stuck into selling detergents and made my first million. I moved to the Middle East where I built up a business selling steel, cement and lamb. The Middle East was just taking off and I had a partner, a member of the wonderful Bin Laden family. I returned to Britain and began to import watches.

I also went to America and discovered the positive approach to life. There is something about the American brain that says, "it can be done". In the UK, we have a fear of failure.

Do you consider yourself successful?

In some ways, yes. I could have been a more successful businessman, but I am a successful parent.

What's the best decision you have made?

Never again to listen to a bank manager. In the Seventies I took a bank manager's advice and lost a lot of money. He told me to sell a property and it was a terrible mistake. What I should have done was borrow more.

What are your interview tips?

I always watch how someone walks in. If they're slouching and walking slowly, they are not the person for me; if they're walking with energy and a purpose, that's what I want.

How do you walk?

I have no idea - although I do tend to walk in front of other people!

And your CV tips?

Up to 30 per cent of any CV will be absolute rubbish. I want brevity and a clear career path.

What motivates you?

The future excites me. And the success of people who've read my books.

Who are your heroes?

Ernest Shackleton, because all his crew survived. Margaret Thatcher, because she did a lot of good for the UK. And Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest motivational speakers.

How do I get to be where you are?

Never chase money. Decide on the lifestyle you want, and have something tangible as your goal, whether house, car or boat. See what you can do to make other people successful and you will succeed. That's my personal guarantee.

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