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Mission Makers Podcast | London | UK


EP 005 / 11.11.2020


On this week’s episode of Mission Makers, we sat down with a public speaking coach to hundreds of TED speakers,and the curator of TEDx Luxembourg City, Dirk Daenen, to discuss his insights on empathetic communication, what he looks for in a TED speaker and the key traits of powerful public speaking. As a lecturer in communication and negotiation to thousands of students around the world, and a communications expert for several Fortune 500 companies, Dirk’s balanced approach between academia and business is profound.


When listening to Dirk Daenen you can’t help but be left in awe by the way he talks. His calm manner and the apparent ease with which he communicates feels almost, otherworldly, like it was a talent he was born with. This composed demeanour is however as a result of much contemplation driven from a nomadic upbringing between Brazil and Belgium. Dirk has spent his entire life learning about what it takes to be an effective communicator and has perfected the techniques needed to connect with individuals in a meaningful way. 


It is this dedication for the art communication that has seen Dirk rise to the top of his field. Incidentally a few months before our interview with Dirk, he was appointed the Dean of the British Chamber Academy for Belgium and the EU. Dirk has a clear philosophy when it comes to new facing challenges, “I bite off more than I can chew and figure out how to chew later,” he says. 


One of the fascinating topics we covered in our interview is when we discuss Dirk’s upbringing. We learn that Dirk spent much of his childhood moving between several continents. In fact, during his formative years he was able to call Brazil, Germany, the UK, France, USA and Belgium, home. You get the impression when talking to Dirk that much of his passion for communication stemmed from his early experiences trying to connect with a number of cultures and a diverse range of people. 


Away from his professional life Dirk occupies his time coordinating TEDx Luxembourg City. As the curator for one of the worlds most beloved public speaking conferences, Dirk helps speakers refine their speeches to ensure that they capture the audience’s attention, and he sums it up well when he says “we don't look for speakers, we look for ideas.”


The full conversation with Dirk can be found on the video below and on the Mission Makers podcast on Spotify and Apple. 


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Lessons To Fuel Your Mission

  • Everything is a perception and that forms our reality

  • When it comes to communication, less can often be more 

  • Challenge forces us to search for new centres of gravity

  • Be prepared to walk away if your bottom line isn’t being met

  • If you speak with true intent, people will listen


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