Everyone associates Saatchi & Saatchi with Mrs Thatcher and the Conservative Party, but in fact Garland Compton, in the days before it became Saatchis, pitched and won the business in the run-up to one or other of the previous 1974 elections. Both were effectively won by Labour, so it’s not surprising that there’s no residual memory.
But I recall the pitch. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. The great and good of the party, led by the terrifying Lord Carrington, were lined up in front of me, waiting for my words of wisdom. I hyperventilated, scarcely able to get a word out.
How on earth did we win the work? I've no idea.
Afterwards, I told one or two people what had happened to me and got consistent advice, best summed up as: ‘You’d probably be better off not doing presentations. Stick to what you’re good at, whatever that is.’
Of course, that made me determined to get better at presenting – and at dealing with my nerves in such scary situations.