Martin was born in Exeter. He taught in a large comprehensive school in Sheffield for 14 years, before travelling worldwide delivering culture change programmes and establishing an ecommerce company. He now lives in Devon with his wife, where he does business consultancy work and writes.

“As far back as I can remember, I have always had a sense of responsibility that has expressed itself in all sorts of ways during my working life, from looking out for other people to stepping up to lead an activity.

When I was teaching, I ran a unit for children who were excluded from school, and quickly learnt that for most of them their biggest challenge was controlling their choices. I recall being acutely aware of how other people judged me, and I worked hard at adapting my approach to get the best results with these young people. As a first-class rugby referee, I loved being the arbiter and facilitating the outcome, especially under pressure. It was then that I began to focus on the behaviours within my control to achieve the right outcome. But it was when I started working as a professional presenter that I became acutely aware of the power of the language used when facilitating. During a presentation I would observe my audience, and listen to the voice in my head that was feeding back their reactions. I would become very conscious of my eye contact, my voice and my gestures, and make adjustments accordingly.

Like most people, I have had many flawed relationships and associations, but when I reflect on this, from both a professional and personal standpoint, I realise that the variety of people I have encountered, and the richness of different cultures, has allowed me to analyse my own behaviour. Behaviour breeds behaviour, and I am acutely sensitive to the signals that people give when I first meet them. We only have one chance to make a first impression, and it is only through having this awareness that we are able to manage our own behaviour effectively.

This book grew out of a sense of wishing I had come to these realisations when I was much younger, as I have been in many situations where I felt my behaviour was out of control. It is only when we begin to live at a conscious level that we realise the power of our behavioural choices. Therefore, it is my conviction that learning how to think consciously and pay attention to our behaviour should be part of the national curriculum, and not be left to chance or incidental learning.”

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