Life of a professional speaker

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Today I bent down to help carry a box of books that my client had bought and ripped my pants through the whole groin area -we are talking a 30 cm hole at least…
Here is the worst part of the story: it was 15 minutes before my speech was scheduled to begin and at 10 am (= before shops open in Singapore). And venue was 20 minutes away from my home so could not send for new pants…). Luckily I had an extra pair of pants in my suitcase since I was flying to Shanghai later in the day…
Had I not had that I might have had to deliver my speech with my jacket over my bum… or while wearing a strangers pants, or made my clients move the speech by 20 minutes (all options doable but not perfect).
But now everything turned out fine.
I am telling you this story to show how the speaking business is really one of the least complicated or difficult businesses to be in (as long as you are not afraid to potentially making a fool of yourself in front of a few hundred people…)
A speaker friend of mine in Sweden recently posted how he by mistake put the antenna of the lapel sender in his own ear (!) while trying to take it off and it hit him so unfortunately that he had to go to the hospital to stop the bleeding…
Again, the work place hazards of this job is just ridiculously minimal.
Posting this as a reminder to everyone who is or think about becoming a keynote speaker that the job of being a speaker is not only a privilege and one hell of an inspirational job – but it’s also one of the least dangerous jobs I can think of. :-). Let’s appreciate that when we fly around the world and spread our message. Today I did it for a few hundred people at PayPal, now off to Shanghai (with a brand new suit in my bag) for another speech tomorrow

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If someone asked you if you could speak in Mumbai, India on Sunday, in Singapore on Monday and in Munich, Germany on Tuesday, would you accept?

What if I added that the speech in Mumbai would end 8.00 PM (!) and for the speech in Munich you would have to be at the conference ballroom at 7.15 AM (!) for the sound check.

Would you do it?

Could you do it?

Is it even possible to do it?

I just did.

After speaking from 7-8 PM in central Mumbai I jumped into a taxi for the 90 minute taxi ride to the brand new Mumbai Airport.

Boarded a plane for Singapore that left 23.50 PM and landed in Singapore at 6.30 AM Monday.

Went home to my kids and played with them for a couple of hours and then went to sleep from 10 AM to 3.30 PM to make sure I would not have any jetlag to slow me down.

Went to a Parent-Teacher meeting for my oldest daughter at 4.30 – 5 PM

Then off to venue for my evening speech.

Arrive at venue 5.30 for sound check (thank goodness for the lack of traffic jams in Singapore).

Did my speech 6 PM to 7 PM.

Jump into taxi and arrive at Changi Airport at 8 PM

Check in and board plane that leaves at 9.20 PM

Sleep in the comfort of the Qatar Business class seats.

Arrive in Doha around midnight and fly onwards to Munich (this time in their brand new business class seats that are the best I have ever had (apart from Singapore airlines business class seats which are the best by a mile…). Slept like a baby.

Land in Munich at 6.30 AM.

Driver picks me up and takes me to hotel.

Shower and change to speaking suit.

Go down to ballroom and do sound check at 7.15 AM Tuesday.

Then attended the morning sessions of the conference and got up on stage to deliver my speech at 11 AM, less than 40 hours after standing on stage in Mumbai.

The lesson here is that it is quite possible to do speeches in different parts of the world even if the dates are close to each other.

Just make sure you sleep, nap and rest as much as you possible can so that you are not tired when it’s time to stand on the stage.
And make sure that all the clients involved are aware of, and comfortable with, your travel schedule.

Hopefully this post will inspire you to take on more international speaking assignments without feeling that you will have to put in a lot of “extra days” in order to get them done.