Although highly regarded as a writer and broadcaster, John McCarthy is inevitably known as the man who survived one of the most gruelling of experiences – John was kidnapped in the Lebanon and held hostage for an unbelievable 1,934 days. John has a unique and inspirational story about courage, survival and self-discovery, and he tells it with eloquence and wit. It is not unknown for John to have a standing ovation at an event! To view John’s own website, please click on the below: www.johnmccarthytalks.co.uk
John McCarthy speaks on the following topics:
John McCarthy’s life as a hard-working journalist was radically changed when he was dramatically kidnapped in Beirut. A hostage for five years in the Lebanon, family and friends fought to keep his plight in the public eye.
John McCarthy needed supreme levels of self-motivation and strength of character to survive squalid captivity, as he never knew from one day to the next if he would live or die. Justifiably, John McCarthy CBE is a popular speaker whether it is for a business, motivational or an after dinner event, and he works hard to tailor his talks to fit the occasion.
Clients praise his natural style in public speaking and value the lessons he has to give on the art of negotiation, for example, or on dealing effectively with bullying. John’s story is inspirational not only because he survived but also because he is able to describe the cruelty he suffered, as his captors tried to break his spirit, with such extraordinary dignity and humour. One of our top speakers and highly recommended.
John in the press:
“Having heard John McCarthy speak before and seen the audience engagement, we were keen to arrange for him to speak to our wider community. We received positive feedback from our audience who found him to be both thought provoking, engaging and friendly. Our interviewees couldn’t believe how much time he had awarded them and this made them feel important.” Stamford Endowed Schools
“John was brilliant! He was professional and extremely informative and injected humour at certain points. He came across as an endearing person and spoke with great passion, he covered all the salient points of his imprisonment and his relaxed delivery was spot on for our audience. The Q and A which followed his talk was expertly handled. It was a wonderful evening, the audience was enthralled. You could have heard a pin drop throughout his talk. The number of questions which his talk prompted was evidence as to how John was received. Also thank you to John for kindly staying behind to talk to people.” Blessed Mary Church
“John was incredible – what a fascinating man! I loved every min – will be sure to recommend him internally.” Global General Counsel Forum
“John is a softly spoken and eloquent speaker and his style and delivery was excellent. Interestingly, discussing such harsh events in this way made them somehow more poignant. John recounted his story and made relevant links to school and preparing for the Sixth Form. He had an excellent impact on the audience and many pupils have been to see me to discuss.” Head of Sixth Form
“John linked his experience as a pupil at Haileybury with his experience as a hostage and pointed out what aspects of his education here helped to sustain him in the Lebanon. He provided a nice mix of formality and informality and was both confident and engaging. Of those people whom I spoke to after the event, everyone thought he was an engaging speaker and pitched his talk right for the mix of age groups in the Hall.” Haileybury School
“John has a wonderful style and everyone was utterly charmed by him from his first words. He did his talk without the need for a presentation, a very engaging speaker. He had the (very full) audience hanging on his every word. The room (of about 100 people – our most attendees ever) was silent, other than the odd gasp of horror, and the bursts of laughter (of which I had not expected as many!) The audience could have listened to John him for hours -the talk went so quickly, but John was very generous with his time and hung about afterwards chatting to those that stayed to ask him questions individually.” Macfarlanes Solicitors
“John McCarthy is such a nice man, he engaged with everyone he spoke to and the audience from the start.. His presentation was simply brilliant – motivational, interesting and humorous. The feedback from the audience was excellent; I would personally like to thank John for joining in with our event.” Association President, Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in GB&I
“I was part of the audience when you spoke to the Linklaters staff about your amazing story…I just wanted to say that I was not only inspired and deeply touched by your story but I felt you portrayed it excellently and it was totally humbling for me to listen to. I was gutted I couldn’t meet up with you after the event, as I didn’t want to add to the crowd for you, but it would have been a real privilege to have shaken your hand. For me you will always remain a true inspiration to me and I know thousands and thousands of others.” Linklaters
“John’s speech was outstanding. He was relaxed, confident and extremely personable, he held the attention of the audience (120) brilliantly. He included a couple of light hearted moments in what was otherwise a hard hitting and emotional story. His approach was both captivating and refreshing, he also linked our generally very ordered military lives, knowing what is coming weeks in advance, to his experience of just not knowing what was around the corner hour by hour for over 5 years. With such a powerful story and life changing experience to tell, John was ‘pushing against an open door’. The applause at the end was tantamount to the success of the evening – I was half expecting the audience to start shouting for an ‘encore’!” Commander Royal Navy
“I was fortunate enough to attend your fascinating talk with Rod Nordland at the Stratford Literary Festival last night and wanted to thank you for your honest and insightful account of your remarkable experience and for reminding us all about the amazing strength of the human spirit and resilience even in the most horrendous experiences.” Stratford Literary Festival attendee
“â��'�Fantastic impact – we have received such great feedback on the speech from the audience who were both moved & inspired by John’s story. “Best guest speaker ever” is the feedback we have received from many delegates!” Intercontinental Hotels Group
“I just wanted to send you an email as I was at your speech today at the IHG Workshop in Wembley. It was the best key note speech I have ever seen! You are truly inspirational and I cannot believe what you went through. I remember seeing the footage of your release on TV but still had no idea what you had been through. You must be truly proud of where you have come since. Anyway just wanted to say thank you for such an emotional and inspirational speech! How you can take a room of 200 people from hearing a pin fall to laughter is truly amazing.” Intercontinental Hotel Group
“Outstanding – a wonderful orator – consummate professional. We would welcome a return visit. Guests adored him – standing room only for all 3 talks + Q & A“ Cunard
“An incredible speaker who engaged a packed theatre for both talks and used no notes or power point presentation. The guests were totally in awe of him and his open and candid account of being held hostage for over 5 years. Excellent.“ Cunard
“We all thoroughly enjoyed listening to your story. Your approach was so warm, friendly and unassuming that at times we thought you were just talking to us. Thank you again for sharing your experiences with us, it was greatly appreciated.” Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers
John is a truly enjoyable and inspirational speaker and someone I guarantee you will remember for a long time. His experiences simply put your own concerns into perspective and show you how you can overcome most demands. How can a looming deadline or difficult project or customer compare to John overcoming extreme adversity during his years in captivity. John gives an amazing insight into how he faced up to and overcame enormous challenges. He speaks about coping with fear, beatings and being chained up in horrible conditions with a mixture of candour, humility and also great humour. One moment you are appalled by his terrifying experiences the next you are laughing at his vital and deep friendship with Brian Keenan, or his attempt to fight his fellow hostages corner with his captors. He said a sense of humour gave him strength and helped him survive the worst of times – and that certainly showed. A very rewarding hour and a genuine pleasure to listen to John speak.
’John McCarthy has been far and away the best speaker that we have invited to our conferences and got the most positive feedback (almost 100pc) On its own, his story is incredibly powerful and told in a very engaging way, our audience was rapt. But from an organiser's point of view it was the efforts he made to understand the background, audience and purpose of the whole event and use this context to make his presentation relevant; drawing links in the way he did to the event theme and setting as a whole packed an even greater punch. In my experience there are few speakers willing or able to do this and I would highly recommend John.’’
Your story speaks for itself in that it is an incredible feat of endurance and self determination, but your style of delivery was witty and very entertaining. The way you related your experiences and thoughts was amusing despite the subject matter and gave us an insight into how we should all react when confronted with adversity.
Chairman Institute of Directors
You inspired everyone to seek and use their inner strength and so succeed no matter what life sends them
Chairman Institute of Sales & Management
It was truly a privilege to be able to listen to, and ask questions of, a man who had not only survived such a horrendous ordeal, but has done so with his humanity, humour and self-worth intact.
His presence and presentation were inspiring the clients loved him and feedback has been superb it was an absolute pleasure to work with him his flexibility and patience with all the questions and requests for book signings (including my own) was wonderful.
I truly hope we get the opportunity to work with John again and I cannot recommend him highly enough as a speaker his story, his survival and his humour a winning combination.
I just want to convey my sincere thanks to you for presenting at our Tourism and Hospitality Executive Programme this week. It was an honour and an absolute pleasure to meet you and to have you involved in our event. I particularly noticed that during your hour long talk hardly anyone moved and you could have heard a pin drop, you certainly captivated our audience. The feedback from the event has been absolutely fantastic with many people telling us it was the best event so far. One delegate commented “John McCarthy is the most inspirational speaker I have ever heard, very moving, honest and uplifting” and I wholeheartedly agree.
Tourism & Skills Network
“I felt he brought a presence to the room in a unique way. Not the domineering kind but someone who has been ‘somewhere’ that most people cannot begin to imagine. This brings the audience to being a group of equals (in comparison to John’s experience and capabilities in overcoming adversity) whilst John delivers his story. Not many presenters can achieve this. John also had the ability to link our ‘agenda’ into his delivery which made the event appear more interesting and memorable to the Logica attendees. A genuine pleasure listening to John and being able to experience how we could all build on his strength of character and understand how to develop a mind that can analyse and conquer those sent to demean and destroy..”
“The inclusion of John McCarthy was an inspirational choice”.
“Listening to John McCarthy was a real pleasure, what a great story teller he is”.
“John McCarthy was one of the best speakers that I have heard for a long-time. He is very articulate and eloquent in his delivery”. Logica
Brilliantly – he was the perfect end to the day’s events and many have commented on his being the highlight of the event. Thank you so much to you both.
I am writing to say a very heartfelt thank you for your fantastic speech last week at our dinner. You really were brilliant and I know that everybody felt you spoke very movingly about your experiences and furthermore your speech was highly relevant to our charity and interesting to our sponsors. All the directors were absolutely delighted and I am convinced your words made a real difference to the donating element of the dinner.
Charity dinner, June 2012
John McCarthy's libretto tells a thousand news stories:
Please complete the following form to enquire about booking John McCarthy.