Author: Fredrik Haren

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Today I spent 7 hours coaching other speakers and helping them hammer out a great theme for their speech.


Well, partly because I love to help other speakers become better.

But also because I find myself becoming better as a speaker by understanding how other speakers think around our profession.

By listening and talking about speaking with other speakers I get to reflect on my profession without focusing on myself – which is very refreshing and valuable, especially in a job where so much attention is on yourself as a person.

Just a quick observation as I close this day down.



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The last few weeks I have learnt something fundamental about the need to work with people who are not like you.
Over the weekend I had the privilege and honor to conduct the Keynote Academy – a two day seminar on everything around what it means to be a keynote speaker. I did it together with Ron Kaufman, one of the world’s best keynote speakers and the person I respect most in the speaking community
There is no speaker I rather do a Keynote Academy with than Ron Kaufman.
We are both passionate about speaking, dedicated to learning about the craft and about the topics we speak on, committed to help other speakers become better and very focused on always becoming better as speakers.
But Ron and I are VERY different.
There are probably not two speakers more different, both on and off the stage.
We are so different that we created a concept where we thought the keynote academy as “Mr Fire” and “Mr Ice”.
I was Mr Fire, full of ideas, inspiration and improvisation.
Ron was Mr Ice, cool, strategic, determined.
Ron is like a glacier pushing forward to get what it wants.
I am like a wild fire, blowing all over without direction but with powerful energy.
As we worked for weeks to put together the Keynote Academy we learnt to take advantage of each others skills, perspectives and strengths – pushing our own ideas while being open to let the other persons idea win.
The feedback from the sold out event was beyond fantastic with multiple people saying it was the best money they had ever paid for personal development as a speaker.
There was a very special magic created when Ice met Fire and 60+ people in the room all worked together to learn from each other.
The experience that creating and delivering the APSS Keynote Academy together with Ron Kaufman gave me has made me a better speaker – but also a slightly better person.
Working with someone who is so totally different from myself – but who still shares the same overall vision of making the speaking community better, showed me the power that comes with working with people who are different from yourself.
The last time I felt like this was more than 25 years ago when I won the Swedish Championship in American Football. (American Football is a sport made up of people who have VERY different skills, strengths, and even physical characteristics – but they all share the same vision and goal.)
As a speaker it is easy to just work on your own. (It is a solitary job after all).
And if we do get together with other speakers it is easy to look for speakers who are “similar to yourself”
But if there is anything that the process of creating and delivering the Keynote Academy for APSS together with Ron Kaufman over the last few months has thought me it would be the importance of reaching out to learn from and work with speakers (or others) who are very different from yourself.
Because, as I wrote in the headline, “Opposites Impact”.
Who it the person who is the least like you, but still is very much like you? Who shares your core, but is so totally different?
Who is your “paternal twin”?
Reach out to him/her and see what happens if you do a project together.
It might not work at all – or it will be magical.
Ron, I will cherish this experience for ever. Thank you.
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Today I had the pleasure of hosting an event for APSS in my home where Mia Liljeberg from Sweden held a presentation about the need for speakers to use images in their speech.

In her speech she showed the picture above and asked: “Who is this model taken from?”

Everyone said: “Simon Sinek!”

Mia continued: “Correct. Now who can remembers the stories that Simon tells in his speech?”

No-one could answer!

Mia had just made a very strong point.

As she summarised it: “Stories make people listen. The visuals make people remember.”

Simon Sinek was able to create a visual that people remember (and now charges 125,000 USD per speech …)

Thanks to Mia’s session today I was reminded about the need for you as a speaker to craft your speech so that the audience can draw your key message on a napkin to explain it to a person who did not attend your session.

When you do your next speech think about: What do I want my audience to share on a napkin?