Annie Vernon

Annie Vernon is a two-time World Champion, Olympic silver medallist rower & award winning author.
FEE : £1k – £3k+

TOPICS:

Annie Vernon is a two-time World Champion and Olympic silver medallist rower.

She is an award-winning author, having written Mind Games: Determination, Doubt and Lucky Socks. An Insider’s Guide to the Psychology of Elite Athletes, winner of the Outstanding Sports Writing Award at the British Sport Book Awards 2020.

In Mind Games, Annie drew on the latest academic research in sport psychology, her own lived experience, plus the experiences of 70+ athletes, psychologists and coaches who contributed to the book including Chrissie Wellington, Stuart Lancaster, Katherine Grainger and Brian Moore. Covering topics such as confidence, motivation, competitiveness and teamwork, Annie is able to show how mindset is like any other muscle in the body: malleable, adaptable and eminently trainable. She wanted the book to pull back the curtain on the psychology of human performance and show how the elite have trained their brains in exactly the same way as they have trained their body.

Annie believes that learning happens best when applied to real-life scenarios, so her speeches are always heavily grounded in the client’s reality and the challenges they are facing. She aims to have two or three key takeaways that each delegate can immediately start applying in their day-to-day work.

Book Annie Vernon

Featured Topics Include:

1
Confidence in practice:

Confidence is seen as the critical ingredient of success, but is sometimes seen as elusive and 'you've either got it or you haven't'. I can show, using examples from elite sport, that confidence is something that all of us can define, source, develop and make robust; in both ourselves and colleagues. Sportspeople have gone through a process of understanding their unique 'confidence personality', and being familiar with what the foundations of their confidence are. It therefore becomes robust, repeatable, and predictable under pressure.

2
How teams succeed:

Teams succeed through achieving consistency in their culture: their values, behaviours and attitudes. Teams can be of varying size and include people in operations, strategy and in customer-facing roles; in sport, teams also have people in a variety of roles. Success comes from having complete clarity and consistency of approach and outcome, and also by developing a growth mindset: prioritising long-term processes over short-term outcomes. Sport psychology tells us an expert team is better than a team of experts (but you still need the experts in the room to start with!). My rowing career included one notable moment of failure, in Beijing 2008, and I will explain why it was a failure of teamwork rather than performance that meant we came away with silver rather than gold.

3
Communication:

It’s easy to communicate effectively when there’s no pressure. When there’s a deadline approaching or the firm has posted poor results, positive communication might be the first to go. When researching Mind Games, I interviewed top sports coaches including the coaches of Anthony Joshua, Adam Peaty, Jessica Ennis-Hill and England Rugby; I will share their practices which are based on the belief that consistency in communication is key. Stuart Lancaster, former England Rugby coach, described good communication as being about taking the right tools, from the right toolbox, at the right time.

4
Building relationships:

Under pressure, relationships can be stressed. The biggest takeaway from Mind Games is that every athlete takes a different approach to mindset, has different motivators and stressors, strengths and approach. Self-awareness, and awareness of others, is how we build long-term relationships. I will share how athletes develop their self-awareness and maintain clear communication under pressure. Sport psychology is moving towards a strengths-based approach, where instead of trying to ‘fix’ weaknesses, we are focussed on building on our strengths.

5
Collaboration:

Collaboration and internal competition can both be positive, as long as they are underpinned by the right language and right culture. Competition doesn’t mean you are obsessed with beating everyone else; collaboration doesn’t mean you are all friends. Competition should mean the whole team is striving for better; and collaboration should mean you can still challenge each other. Competition and collaboration bring out the best in us, but there are good and bad versions of both and I can draw on examples of both types from my own career.

6
How elite sportspeople train their thought processes:

success in sport comes from evolution not revolution, and a heightened self-awareness. It's based on making small but significant long-term adjustments to thinking and practices, and finding new ways to think, strategise, communicate, review and remain resilient - in exactly the same way that physical skills are honed through trial and error, staying resilient and planning effectively for the next steps. The techniques and tools that lead to success in elite sport apply equally in the workplace.

1
Confidence in practice:

Confidence is seen as the critical ingredient of success, but is sometimes seen as elusive and 'you've either got it or you haven't'. I can show, using examples from elite sport, that confidence is something that all of us can define, source, develop and make robust; in both ourselves and colleagues. Sportspeople have gone through a process of understanding their unique 'confidence personality', and being familiar with what the foundations of their confidence are. It therefore becomes robust, repeatable, and predictable under pressure.

2
How teams succeed:

Teams succeed through achieving consistency in their culture: their values, behaviours and attitudes. Teams can be of varying size and include people in operations, strategy and in customer-facing roles; in sport, teams also have people in a variety of roles. Success comes from having complete clarity and consistency of approach and outcome, and also by developing a growth mindset: prioritising long-term processes over short-term outcomes. Sport psychology tells us an expert team is better than a team of experts (but you still need the experts in the room to start with!). My rowing career included one notable moment of failure, in Beijing 2008, and I will explain why it was a failure of teamwork rather than performance that meant we came away with silver rather than gold.

3
Communication:

It’s easy to communicate effectively when there’s no pressure. When there’s a deadline approaching or the firm has posted poor results, positive communication might be the first to go. When researching Mind Games, I interviewed top sports coaches including the coaches of Anthony Joshua, Adam Peaty, Jessica Ennis-Hill and England Rugby; I will share their practices which are based on the belief that consistency in communication is key. Stuart Lancaster, former England Rugby coach, described good communication as being about taking the right tools, from the right toolbox, at the right time.

4
Building relationships:

Under pressure, relationships can be stressed. The biggest takeaway from Mind Games is that every athlete takes a different approach to mindset, has different motivators and stressors, strengths and approach. Self-awareness, and awareness of others, is how we build long-term relationships. I will share how athletes develop their self-awareness and maintain clear communication under pressure. Sport psychology is moving towards a strengths-based approach, where instead of trying to ‘fix’ weaknesses, we are focussed on building on our strengths.

5
Collaboration:

Collaboration and internal competition can both be positive, as long as they are underpinned by the right language and right culture. Competition doesn’t mean you are obsessed with beating everyone else; collaboration doesn’t mean you are all friends. Competition should mean the whole team is striving for better; and collaboration should mean you can still challenge each other. Competition and collaboration bring out the best in us, but there are good and bad versions of both and I can draw on examples of both types from my own career.

6
How elite sportspeople train their thought processes:

success in sport comes from evolution not revolution, and a heightened self-awareness. It's based on making small but significant long-term adjustments to thinking and practices, and finding new ways to think, strategise, communicate, review and remain resilient - in exactly the same way that physical skills are honed through trial and error, staying resilient and planning effectively for the next steps. The techniques and tools that lead to success in elite sport apply equally in the workplace.

Individual-Speakers-Quote

A wonderful session … absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for everything you have done for our team. It really has been so insightful and so worthwhile.

Associate Professor, UK University

Individual-Speakers-Quote

No slides needed, just a great story of how you achieved so much in the world of rowing. What stood out is how you can then tie this into business and give people an insight into what determination and dedication really is.

MD, Office Solutions Provider

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