28 August 2020

Influencing business leaders through psychology and experience

Darren Fleming

Darren Fleming

Behavioural Scientist & Influence Expert, Darren Fleming Pty Ltd
Bachelor of Psychology

Darren Fleming admits his career has not been a conventional straight line. By the time he was 35-years-old, he’d had five separate careers and countless jobs. But after being blocked from any career move in his last employment role, Darren knew it was time to take a leap of faith and he tapped into his knack for people – and valuable learnings from his Bachelor of Psychology – and set up his own practice. He hasn’t looked back since.

Now Darren has made a name for himself as a behavioural scientist and spends his time travelling and meeting fascinating people, with his career taking him to boardrooms high above Singapore, to clients in far-flung places such as Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, Germany, the United States, and all over Australia.

As a speaker, author and trainer with his consulting company, Darren Fleming Pty Ltd, Darren identifies clever people and works with them on how they think, speak and behave – helping them to become better communicators and influence stakeholders and industry.

“When you can understand what drives people, what they are thinking and what they are likely to do, you become valuable to people who need to know how to do this,” Darren says. “Salespeople and corporate leaders are the people who want to know this. These are the people I work with.”

“When your experts and salespeople ask clients the right question – in the right way at the right time – the client sees the value they offer. The audience cares about themselves and not you. So, when you tell the audience what you want, they think, ‘I don’t care what you want, I care about what I want.’ When you frame your message through that lens everything changes.”

“Talk about your audience and they will start to listen. When you understand this, the world opens up and you see what is possible.”

Darren Fleming now shares his valuable insights at conferences and private consultations too
Darren Fleming now shares his valuable insights at conferences and private consultations too.

Darren credits his time among the peaceful open lawns and trees of UniSA’s Magill Campus studying psychology as giving him a solid grounding for understanding people; how they operate and an insight into what drives them.

However, it was his own meandering career path and trials in starting his own practice that cemented him with an innate empathy of the struggles professionals experience on a day to day basis, giving him a unique view of the cutthroat business world.

“The challenges I’ve experienced are the same as everybody else who has started a business,” he says.

“Everything from the imposter syndrome of ‘Am I good enough? Who will buy me?’, through to finding clients, and learning how to operate a practice without running myself into the ground. I had to find my unique view on the world and start to share that.”

“Then there were the logistical challenges of starting a new venture when I had small kids, no cash flow and was still working full time in paid employment. Then the Global Financial Crisis hit.”

“But you just keep going – what else can you do?”

Darren FlemingInfluence Course for Caterpillar
(Darren Fleming (far right in top, far left in bottom) and his participants taking part in his Influence Course for Caterpillar in Abidjan,
Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa.)

He says that now as we go through the pandemic, the same rules apply; lean into the discomfort and grow through the experience. He says, “It’s not how will COVID change us, but rather how will we change to grow though COVID.”

Six books and a copious number of loyal clients later, Darren is thankful for this resilience and steadfast frame of mind he developed coming away from that time. The valuable knowledge he gained, he still passes onto his high-flying clients from different industries and parts of the world.

"Two things stand out. The first is that the imposter syndrome is rife in every organisation. Even those that we look to as strong confident leaders suffer from the imposter syndrome at times. If they say they don’t – they’re lying. It’s part of the human condition. It’s a big area I address and show people how to navigate through.”

“The second thing is related to the first. The whole game of life is made up. Everything is made up and we convince ourselves that there is only one way to do something, or that someone else knows best. It’s not true – everything outside of the laws of physics and chemistry is just a make-believe story we tell ourselves.”

“Get out of your own way and be yourself. Many people try to be someone else when they speak and present. They forget who they are. This often makes them nervous and boring.”

He also has some sage advice for the average person who may not be heading up massive businesses to use his psychology expertise to improve personal and professional relationships and circumstances.

“It’s simple – think of others and what they may be going through today,” Darren says.

“Social media has amplified our narcissism and disconnected us from those around us. Put the phone away and turn your attention to the person next to you and listen without judgement or interruption. This simple act will do more to build relationships than any other thing I know.”

“It’s summed up in the mantra: ‘don’t turn your back, don’t cover your ears, don’t close your heart’.”

Keep up with Darren Fleming and his powerful tips and insights below:



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