Author: Fredrik Haren

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A couple a days ago I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia (PSAN). It made me very proud.

Not because I think I am in any way famous. (I know am not).

But because I believe I was inducted because the members of PSAN wanted to acknowledge my passion for spreading knowledge around how to speak professionally.

As professional speakers we must remember that we get selected because of our passion and knowledge about the topic we speak on, and how we deliver that message – not because of who we are or how famous we are.

Of course for “celebrity speakers” – speakers selected because they are famous – that is not true. Celebrity speakers can be terrible on stage and lack a strong message and they only get selected because “they are famous”, but celebrity speakers is not the norm.

For most professional speakers the truth is that we do not get selected because we are famous, but because we are known for being good by the people who book speeches, or the people who know those people.

There is a big difference between “being famous” (which means “known about by many people”) and being “known about by the right people”.

As a professional speaker for 22 years who have been invited to speak in 67 countries I have never really bothered about being “known by many people”. I off course try to spread my message to as many people as I can, but I do not spend a lot of time, energy or effort trying to make myself a “house hold name”.

But I do want the people who are part of the speaking community (event organisers, fellow speakers, people who book speakers) to know who I am an respect what I do and how I do it.

And perhaps that is why I became proud when a group of professional speakers in a country like Namibia decide to induct me into their Hall of Fame. Or how I felt happy when the world’s professional speakers associations last month decided to give the “International Ambassadors Award” to me.

As a professional we do not need to be know by “many people”. We do not need “fame”.

We just need to be known by the right people, for the right reasons.

When it comes to speakers we need to be known for the love for our topics, dedication to the craft, commitment to becoming better as speakers and an interest to always want to learn new things etc.

The right people need to feel our passion.

So do not go for “fame”. Go for “flame”.

 

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As a professional speaker I am passionate about what people who book speakers think makes a great speaker.

That is why – at the Asia Professional Speakers Convention 11-12 May  that I am chair of this year – we have a panel of three buyers of speaker services sharing about just that. Check out www.AsiaProfessionalSpeakersConvention.com if you are interested.

And that is why I yesterday I asked the question to Mike Doughty. Mike Doughty is today a speaker and the founder of Get Business Fit. We had a conversation today about speaking as two speakers sharing peer-to-peer, but I also took the chance to ask him about his views from “the other side”.

Mike used to run an event company that would book some of the best speakers in the world. Over the years he booked over 100 speakers – and paid more than 2 million dollars in speaker fees.

I asked him: “What makes a great speaker great?”

His answer?

“The ability to articulate a different perspective in a way that is engaging.”

 

Sometimes a short, precise sentence is the only thing you need to be reminded of what is important.

As a speaker is your message different?

Are you giving a new perspective?

Are you articulating this message in the best way?

And do you do it in a way that is engaging?

If you answer “yes” to all these four questions you are on your way to becoming a great speaker, now work on getting even better at all four. If your answer – honestly! – is “no” or “a bit” or “perhaps” or “I think so” etc, then put all your effort on fixing that one thing that is missing.

Personally I think the one thing I need to work most on is “articulate”. As a non-native English speaker speaking almost exclusively in English I constantly struggle to use a more nuanced vocabulary in my speeches. What is the thing you need to work more on?

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