Tony Eades: An Exemplary Keynote Speaker

Tony Eades
Tony Eades

In any given profession, there are extremely few people who view their job role as a responsibility rather than a task. People like these serve as models of passion and success for others. Within the industry of keynote speaking, Tony Eades, Chief Strategy Officer and CEO (APAC) of Salted Stone, is one such celebrated figure driven by his talent and passion, nurturing the responsibility of fostering constructive change.

Tony’s unique thought process and approach have made him one of Australia’s well-known keynote speakers. He likes to incorporate humor into his speech whenever possible, but he perceives the ideal timing depending on the crowd and their responses. Such attention to detail and subtle adoption of advanced techniques give him a competitive edge.

A Call of Purpose

Tony always had a knack for presenting and speaking. From an early age, he found ways to speak through various channels. For instance, in the 1970s, Tony had built a routine to host a fictional radio show through wireless, even if no one was listening. But for little Tony, in his head, it felt like he was talking to the entire world.

Eventually, he started working at a broadcast radio and at Myer, a department chain store in Australia. There, he worked as an in-store announcer by day and club DJ by night. As he embarked on a career in marketing, setting up the first of his five agencies, Tony began hosting workshops and presenting at small business events.

One of those organisations was the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, where he served as a chairman for three years. The role had Tony delivering a speech to members at two monthly events, breakfast meetings and After Fives, which helped him hone his speaking skills and learn how to engage an audience.

However, the significant shift in Tony’s speaking occurred when his wife introduced him to an organisation in Sydney called ‘Professional Speakers Australia’ that gathered once a month. This national organisation helped Tony to take his speaking to new heights as he learned from other members and CSPs (Certified Speaking Professionals). Tony was so drawn to PSA that he joined the Board and was elected National President in 2020.

A Gist to Reimagining the Industry

Tony’s mission is to help business owners, as well as sales and marketing professionals, demystify the digital landscape. Tony is passionate about promoting his vision and approach of ‘strategy first, technology next.’ Through his keynotes and workshops, he aims to teach the art of using strategy to solve problems and look for opportunities for growth.

Tony says, “Innovation starts with two simple yet powerful words: ‘What if…?’ These are the same two words that people have used for thousands of years to explore new and exciting opportunities.” He continues, “We’ve asked questions like: What if… we could travel at the speed of sound – and we did. What if… we could one day go to the moon? Been there, done that! What if… travelling into space could one day become a tourist attraction? Well, we’re getting closer every day, with the first civilian astronauts already completing their first mission.”

Tony believes that asking the right questions is always the first step towards creating the best answers and outcomes.

He also believes that everyone has a story to tell and that each of us has a business within of us. His first book, “How to Start a Business in Two Weeks,” was published in 2023. He is also working on a televised TV series titled “Business Rescue.”

Overcoming Challenges with Tenacity

As a business re-thinker, Tony’s content has to be up-to-date and relevant. He understands the need to constantly introduce new technologies or business trends, like AI, in his approach. This means he had to customize his keynote with the latest content as well as tailor it to the audience.

Amidst incorporating all the unique techniques, Tony underlines the importance of having a backup plan. Recently, he encountered an unsuitable situation while delivering a keynote speech. Even after a successful rehearsal, Tony found himself still on stage when the opening song he had planned to play fell silent. This hindered his presentation for the next few slides, as it was tied to the song.

Tony believes in honesty, and hence, he started his intro by acknowledging the situation to his audience and simultaneously asking the AV to start from the beginning. This time, it worked with slight auditory issues, but Tony had saved the day with his presence of mind.

Recalling the moment, Tony says, “Often, technology will let you down, so I’ve found having a backup (notes of your presentation, etc.) can really help if you need to go analog.”

Feathers in the Cap

Following becoming a member of Professional Speakers Australia, Tony sought and was granted his CSP, or Certified Speaking Professional, an international credential. When he got this award at the PSA’s National Convention in 2019, it marked a turning point in his speaking career.

He has also won numerous business accolades that mark his eminence and expertise, including Telstra Business Awards, HubSpot Agency Partner of the Year, and Business Chamber of the Year.

An Encouraging Mind

Tony is a glass-half-full kind of guy. He always looks for the upside in any situation, and in the event that something doesn’t work out, he picks himself up, moves on, and keeps his eyes on the future. Every time he gives a keynote speech, he likes to charge the stage with enthusiasm in the hopes that his message will be heard and inspire others to take action.

“It is too easy in the world we live in today to find and focus on the negatives. Look for the positives in yourself, in others, and in our world to pull you up and help you strive for greatness,” Tony shares.

He also emphasizes the need for communication in all spheres of life, including the personal and professional. For the 32 years that Tony and his wife have been married, communication has been an integral part of their relationship. Professionally, he believes that everyone must learn the art of clear communication since there is nothing more satisfying than exiting the stage after facing nerves and feeling empowered and pleased to have just engaged an audience and shared a unique message with them.

Leaving Indelible Mark Behind

As a keynote speaker, Tony aims to connect the audience with the relevancy of his message by influencing the way they think about a problem or circumstance. Instead of stagnant thinking, he believes that creative thinking is the key to addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. Innovation begins with strategic rethinking, and he quotes M Williamson by saying, “Our greatest power to change the world… is to rethink it.”

When Tony examines his audience’s faces and notices some taking notes or others photographing his slides, he knows his message has been conveyed effectively. To him, success is assessed when he hears about how his session inspired action. Merely teaching an audience is not enough; Tony is inspired to motivate and persuade an audience to make positive changes.

Making Every Second Count

Tony joined Saxtons Speakers Bureau towards the end of last year, and he expects that the new management will lead to an increase in speaking engagements for him all year long.

He has previously spoken in Australia, Singapore, North America, and Canada, and he hopes to expand his reach to more countries, with the eventual goal of speaking in his home country of the United Kingdom.

Tony has also worked with coaches like Troy and Zara, who supported him in developing his current keynote and joining a peer organization such as Toast Masters or Professional Speakers Australia.

As he concludes, Tony offers his advice to the upcoming speakers, “Believe in yourself and the unique value of your message – people really want to, and need to, hear your story. Just get started, and before you know it, you’ll be invited to speak and share your message with others so you, too, can make an impact in the world. As Steve Jobs said in one of my favourite quotes: ‘We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”

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