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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Red shoes and a gift for schmooze

By Dorothea Helms
Special to The Toronto Sun

It was nearly 10 years ago when I picked off a piece of lint from my tailored navy business suit in preparation for interviewing one of the richest men in the GTA. To my shock, the photographer walked in wearing bright red shoes. As the interview progressed, I became as interested in the gangly British character taking the photos as I was in the conservative interviewee.
Best-selling author and public speaker Nicholas Boothman is in demand by top companies worldwide for his expertise in networking and first impressions.

Nicholas Boothman conducted the photo shoot with a relaxed magic that coaxed the desired poses from our subject. He showed instant rapport with the businessman, who did exactly what he was asked to. I was fascinated. I still am.

Today, Boothman is a world-renowned author and keynote speaker on the topics of first impressions and the architecture of enthusiasm. He's doing what comes naturally, and he makes his living helping others to do the same.

And he still wears red shoes.

In the mid-1990s, after being asked over and over about his ability to "connect" with people, he left a successful 25-year career as an international fashion photographer to explore the art and science of rapport.

He took time to study a psychology known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP--first with Richard Bandler in New York and London, and then with John Grinder. He obtained his Master Practitioner certification, which has broadened his scope of influence.

Published in 2000 by the prestigious US company Workman, his first book, How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, was a runaway bestseller. More than 200,000 copies live on bookshelves in North America, and in total, more than 500,000 copies in 15 languages are helping people develop instant rapport in 42 countries around the world.

Boothman is currently on a North American tour promoting his second book published by Workman, How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less. He is in demand by corporations all over the world, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Recently he presented to 75 Chief Financial Officers from across Canada, spoke to an audience of 6,000 in Calgary on the same stage with Dr. Phil, and is about to address 7,000 in Toronto with Jack Welsh.

He has also done training videos on how to connect with customers in 90 seconds or less for MPC Films in Seattle. Plus, book number three for Workman (How to Make Someone Love You Forever) is well underway.

Writing and speaking are the vehicles through which he does his bit to help make the world go 'round.

"I make complicated concepts sound easy and memorable," he says. "To become successful, it's important to figure out your God-given talent -- we all have one, and distill it to its essence so you can express it in one simple phrase. That's one of the major points in my book on connecting in business.

From this phrase, you create your 10-second commercial that will open the door for connecting.

"All those years when I was a photographer, my real purpose was knocking me on the head saying 'let me out.' If you feel like there has to be more to life, that's may be what's happening to you."

A New York Times columnist referred to Boothman as "Dale Carnegie for a rushed era," and Lara Spencer of Good Morning America calls his first book her "bible." According to Boothman, "I wrote the books to help people get to the point where I am."

Does his life sound like your dream? "If you want to start or change to a career in public speaking," Nicholas says, "first figure out what you care about and how it can help the world. When you find the right thing, you'll be unstoppable. Be generous with yourself. Start speaking to small groups and develop an excellent and focused talk on your topic. Then write a book, and make sure it has a rocking good title!"

The successful author is as generous as he is charismatic. Boothman will go into high schools or to organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters and speak to job-seeking teens for free, because he says, "We don't teach people skills to our kids." To find out more, visit the "Educator" page on his Web site (

He urges those thinking of following in his career path to "... be willing to process feedback. My books were helped along by editors who have taught me a lot about writing. Remember that from concept to hitting the shelves, a book is often a five-year process. Start now. Find your passion and go with it."

(Dorothea Helms ( connects people and ideas.)

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