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Used right the word “resolution” is powerful.

But I think most people use it wrong.

The word “resolution” means: “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”

But many people seem to look at a a New Year Resolution more like a dream, almost a wish, something we hope will happen.

“I am going to loose 10 kg (I hope…)”
“I am going to (try to quite smoking, (again)…”
And so on.

But a resolution is not a vision to hope for – it’s a firm decision to do something.

And some also seem to think that a resolution limits our options because it somehow would hinder us from changing our mind in the future as some new opportunities might arise, or the world might change.

But to not take a decision, to always be standing in a crossroads keeping our “options open”, and being “flexible” means that we never start to walk down any path.
And that means we never get anywhere.

And to be clear, making a firm decision does NOT mean that you can not re-evaluate your decision later on. To me it just means that you make a decision that you really, strongly believe in.

There comes a time when we need to make a firm decision, choose a road and walk down it.

And when we do we usually feel much better.

You see the word “resolution comes from the Latin “resolvere” which means to “loosen” and to “release”.

If your New Year Resolution doesn’t make you feel a sense of “release”, is not making you excited, inspired and feel like a stone has been lifted from your shoulders then I think it is safe to say that your resolution was the wrong one.

My resolution as a professional speaker in 2017 is to dive deep into the world of online marketing.

I have made a firm decision to study it, learn it, understand – and, yes: master it.

Not because I feel that it is “trending”.
Not because everyone else seems to be doing it already.
Not even because I think that I need it for my business (If you follow this blog you know that I believe that as a speaker the only marketing you need is to make such great speech that at least two people come up to you after the speech and ask to book you for their conference…)

And not because it is a topic I am speaking on or thinking of speaking in (it is not)

No, but because I fell in love with Internet Marketing more than 20 years ago.

Internet Marketing was the first thing I was an expert on, the first thing I really knew as a professional – and the first thing I spoke on.

I wrote my first book – called “Internet and Marketing” way back in 1995 (Time flies!!) and because almost no-one in 1995 knew anything about the Internet I became, at the age of 27-years, an “expert”, which led to invitations to speak at conferences. And so my career as a professional speaker was born.

Over the years I got interested in other things and my love and interest for online marketing subsided, for some reason.

This year I have decided to revive that old love of mine.

And in deciding to do so I feel inspired, excited and full of energy.

Will it make me better as a speaker? I doubt it.

Will it help my speaking business? Probably.

But I am doing it because I want to do something outside my focus on my speaking and the topics I speak on that would add some inspiration to my day.

I guess you can say I have gone back to one of my old hobbies. 😉

When I see the new year fireworks I see a symbol of the power of firm decisions: Someone made a firm decision to light the fuse of that small fire-rocket and the result is a beautiful, sparkling artwork in the sky.

What is your firm decision that you have taken for this year that will make you better as a speaker, better as a business person, better as a person – or just generally something that will inspire you more each day?

What fireworks are you setting of inside your mind this year?

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In the speaker industry there seems to always be a big focus on making it BIG by going to the USA.

That is were the BIG conferences are, where the BIG audiences are, where the big money in speaking is.

And yes, that is true. The US is the place to be for being a speaker right now.

But if you are playing the long game, then Asia is the place to focus on as a speaker.

Asia has 60% of the worlds population.

Asia’s share of global GDP is already around 40% (USA’s share is well below 20%…)

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And Asia is where the growth is happening.

Yet, very, very few professional speakers have chosen to focus on Asia.

And yes, it is true that the speaking and conference market in Asia has not been as developed as other industries, but it is quickly changing.

I moved to Asia more than 10 years ago, after having had 10 years of success as a speaker in Sweden/Scandinavia. I moved because I saw potential in the Asian speaking market.

When I arrived there were very few Asian Conferences since the people in the different Asian countries could not speak good enough English which meant there were really no reasons to have a conference since the delegates could not speak to each other. (I remember a conference I did in China in 2007 for a client who had invited their Asian clients where they had 20 (!) translators translating the sessions into different Asian languages.)

But the quality of english in Asia has drastically improved.

And now more and more Asian conferences are taking place with people flying in from all over Asia.

And these conferences are growing and growing every year.

I can see it on the size of the audiences – and on the size of the projector screens…

When arrived in Asia ten year ago you would be happy if you got a well lit screen. Over the years the quality of the screens (and everything else around the organisation of a conference) has improved and now I have seen some of the most professionally put together conference I have ever seen happen in Asia.

The conference I spoke at today is a perfect example of this trend. Today I was the (only) keynote speaker at the EY Asia/Pacific Tax Symposium.
968 delegates from 363 companies and 36 countries attended the conference at the gigantic Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
EY has organised this event for ten years, and this year was the largest so far.

And the computer screens were just gigantic!

I measured it and got it to be a total of 22 meter wide (and about 4-6 meters high). All high definition computer screens (not projectors).

If the quality of the conferences, the number of delegates, the budget for organising these conferences in Asia is increasing every year than where will the Asia speaking industry be in five years time? In then years time? It is just going to be huge.

And what speakers outside Asia do not understand is that Asian audiences do NOT want someone who just flew in from Europe or America to tell his (or hers) western examples and western stories!

They want someone who understands, knows and connects with Asia – and with the rest of the world. They want speakers who have a GLOBAL mindset (not a western – or an Asian – mindset.)

As a global speaker who comes from the West, has lived in Asia for over ten years – and who spoke in 24 different countries on 4 continents in just in the last 12 month alone, I have built an Asia based, global speaking business not around what the speaking world looks like today – but what it will look like tomorrow.

And many of my assignments this year have been Asian conferences or global conferences held in Asia (or Global conferences held elsewhere where they wanted a speaker who had knowledge of both east and west.)

As a matter of fact in 2016 I did 24 different global or international conferences like that. around the world.

I am amazed that not more speakers have built their long term strategy around where the growth of the business world – and speaking industry – is most likely to happen.

The focus of commerce, business and power is shifting to the East. So is the speaking industry.

If you want to be a global speaker you have to understand, know – and speak in – Asia.

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Many people tend to think that to be a great speaker you have to be an extrovert. And yes, some of the characteristics of extroverts are great if you want to be a speaker; like the tendency

– to love attention and to get energy from big crowds of people
– to network before and after a speech
– to love to speak with/to other people
and so on.

Some of the best speakers in the world are extroverts.

But some of the best speakers are also introverts.

The fact is that introverts are in many ways better suited to be speakers. Here are some reasons:

– Introverts only speak when they have something to say. 😉
As a keynote speaker you usually have 1 hour – or less – to get your message a cross. That means that you have quite a limited time frame to play with. As an introvert you will be more careful with the words that you use and thus might be better suited to write a speech that is concise and to the point.

– The speaking is the cherry on the cake – the bulk of the job is research – and research is lonely work.
With a few exceptions you need to have done your research to be able to be a good speaker. Having a book is a great way to get credibility as a speaker, but writing a book is, for the most part, a very lonely process. You sit, by yourself, in front of the laptop and write, write and write. All of that writing and researching is generally better suited for a person who is comfortable on his (or her) own.

I have spent 1000’s and 1000’s of hours reading, researching and writing the material that becomes my speeches. The fact that I like sitting by myself with my computer on some deserted beach, or on my island, is a plus.

– Introverts like to observe their surroundings

The job of a professional speaker is often that of a messenger, of informing an audience of something that they need to know. For a job like that it helps to have a personality which likes to observe.

I remember when I once attended a Tony Robbins training. There were 1000’s of people jumping up and down and totally getting drawn into the message that was being communicated on stage by Tony. I was in the far right hand corner observing the audience (I was there to see how Tony Robbins worked with a group.). I suddenly looked around where I was standing and all around me where perhaps 10 other professional speakers, all standing in the far, right hand corner so that they too could observe the audience…

So see what is happening in a room it sometimes helps to not be the center of attention.
The same is true for trying to understand what is happening in the world.

– The job of a professional speaker is 90% travel.
If you speak internationally or globally the job is actually more of “professional traveler” than “professional speaker”.

I am writing this at the airport of Kochi, in Kerala, India. I left 8 PM Monday and will be back home 8 AM Wednesday. That is 36 hours.
Out of those 36 hours I will speak 1,5 hour. Network with the client for 1.5 hours (inclusive of lunch). That means 3 out of 36 hours are “social”.

The rest is all “lonely work”.
– Time on flights: 10 hours.
– Time in taxis: 5 hours
– Time in airports 5 hours
– Sleeping at resort: 7 hours.
– emailing and writing at resort: 4
– Sitting in the back of the conference checking out the crowd: 2 hours.
= 33 hours (out of 36 hours) is “alone time”.
If you are not an introvert that might kill you.
If you are an introvert, you like it. It gives you – me – time to think, reflect and write.

– You have no colleagues.
Almost all speakers work for themselves. They might have an assistant, not uncommonly a virtual one, but the whole concept of “colleagues” is usually lost on a speaker.(The reason why speaker associations are so popular with speakers is that it’s a way to actually get some kind of “collegial feeling” in a profession that is mostly run by solopreneurs.) That means that people who “need” colleagues might not like the workday of a professional speaker.

Again, I am not saying that extroverts are not great speakers.

I am saying that to make professional speaking your profession (especially being a global speaker which involves a lot traveling by yourself) it might actually help if you are an introvert.

Take it from an introvert who has been speaking professionally for 20+ years: if you are an introvert and want to be a speaker: go for it.

(Picture from me working by myself for a few hours in a hammock at the resort in Kochi,  after delivering my speech, while waiting for my driver to arrive.)