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In a recent post, I wrote how I counted one hour of water gymnastics as work, and I got a few questions about how that could be regarded as work. So let me explain one of my routines.

As a writer and speaker, you tend to spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, either researching, looking for inspiration, or writing down thoughts and ideas. Speaking is basically just repeating the very most interesting things you have learnt.

Sitting in front of a computer for hours is not a good thing for your body.

So I try to find ways to force myself to get my body to move.

And yes, it helps to be a father of two (soon three!) young kids who ignore the fact that you are an old man, and make you run around on all fours pretending to be a horse when they come back from school.

But my body needs more exercise than that.

So I have created an exercise routine that is perfect for me, that keeps my body working while my mind keeps thinking about work.

Almost every day that I am not travelling, I spend one hour in the pool doing water exercises while listening to a podcast. The podcast part is important, it makes the hour go by fast and also helps my mind wander in an organised manner.

I normally listen to podcasts that are from speeches so that I can:

a) Learn something interesting
b) Listen to how other speakers present

By listening to other speakers, I can also evaluate how I would have presented a similar story, or example, so it’s a good way to benchmark yourself against other great speakers.

So today, I listened to a one hour speech by Daniel Pink, the author of “A Whole New Mind”. Daniel used to be a speechwriter of Vice President Al Gore, and I always find it interesting to listen to what speechwriters have to say about speeches.

In this podcast, Daniel said:

“Being a speechwriter, I have a certain philosophy about speeches. I believe that every good speech, every where, every time, no matter what your audience is, no matter how big the crowd is, no matter where you are in the world, every good speech has 3 ingredients: brevity, levity, and repetition…”

And then he adds:

“… Let’s say that again: brevity, levity, and repetition.”

Touché!

After one hour in the pool, I get up fit and inspired to go and do some work of my own.

I understand that not everyone has a pool in their house. Before, I used to do it on a treadmill. You can also just get out and walk while listening to something that interests you in your iPhone.

The point is to move your body and your mind at the same time. I find that as the best way to prime yourself for a good day’s work.

Now, if I want to exercise to get my mind OFF work, of course, I would not do this. Then I would play squash, play with my kids or do something that distracts me from work.

The routine I have described above is what I do in the morning to move me into a good mood before going to work, and to help me contemplate on the bigger picture so that I do not start the day getting crushed by small details and urgent emails that scream for my attention.

Lesson: Find your morning routine that gets you off to a great start for work. For me, it is one hour in the pool listening to a podcast to learn how other speakers speak and how other thought leaders think.

P.S.

So what is my routine when I am traveling? I guess I will write another post about that one day.

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People who are not speakers are able to quickly see the amazing advantages of being a speaker: Get paid a lot of money to travel the world to spread a message that you are passionate about, which spreads to thousands and thousands of people by working a few hours per day.

But very often, there is a “BUT…” to the sentence that begins “Being a professional speaker seems amazing…”. And that sentence very often ends with “… but don’t you miss having colleagues?”

And it is true — being a professional speaker is different from many other jobs because you do spend a lot of time on your own.

I would say 90% of speakers work by themselves, or in a very small team with one assistant, who might not even live in the same town as the speaker by working virtually.

Actually, the  job of being a speaker is very social. Just the nature of the job means that you very often spend your days at conferences (and conference parties) mingling with a huge amount of people.

BUT, you might say, those are NOT your colleagues. You are just visiting their conference/party.

True again.

And I am not going to lie and say that by being a speaker, you have the same social interaction with colleagues as you have in “a normal” office job. You also do not get involved in the politics that comes with a normal office job. 😉

So yes, a speaker doesn’t have colleagues in the traditional sense. But we have colleagues.

Lets see how the dictionary looks at the word:

“colleague |ˈkɒliːg|
noun
a person with whom one works in a profession or business.”

The speaking professionals have been very good at building a community of “profession colleagues”, as in “colleagues in a profession” as compared to “in a company”. It might very well have come about out of the necessity of not having “normal” colleagues.

But regardless of the reason for why it is like that, I just have to say that I love it.

I regularly meet up with a whole host of professional speakers in informal meetings where we chat about work, life, and the universe just like you would with colleagues in the office.

Just in the last 2 weeks, I have had such meetings with 8 different professional speakers.

Last night, I had a meeting with Andrew Bryant, the thought leader on Self Leadership (he literally wrote the book on the subject).

We spent 3+ hours on the balcony of Andrew’s penthouse overlooking the Singapore skyline, and over a couple of beers, we discussed everything from Brazil, Outlook, speaking in India, and book writing. It’s a mix of private and business topics, serious and fun, as one does on an “after work” with colleagues.

The funny thing is that speakers meet up at all!

When you think about it, in a way it is a very cut-throat business:

A client is looking for one speaker for an event, selects a shortlist and then picks just one off that list. All the others on the list gets nothing since it is quite common for a client to just pick one speaker per day for a conference.

You would think that speakers then would be very wary about sharing their secrets and their knowledge, but it is the opposite.

After having a great time with one fellow “colleague”, I wanted to write this post in appreciation of all the speakers who have helped me by agreeing to meet with me. If you are a speaker and want to hook up with me for a beer, coffee, or lunch, drop me a line by clicking on the mail symbol below.

I would love to meet up.

That’s what colleagues are for.

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A couple of days ago, Friday to be exact, I wrote a blog post about the things I did during my off day as a speaker. Today’s post is an add-on to that post.

One of the people I wrote about meeting during my day off was Caspar Berry, a fellow speaker who is from the UK.

He said something that I found so very insightful that I decided to write a separate post about it.

Here is what he had to say about speakers spending time on developing their “social media selling”:

“The point of the whole ‘social media selling’ is that it is exponential – that is… you tell someone something and they tell a hundred people who tell a hundred people, etc.

But speakers who are obsessed with this are missing a very important thing: speaking is ITSELF exponential. That is, when you speak, you reach 100 or 1000 people – ALL of whom are probably potential buyers now or in the future as they’re promoted – and ALL of them know 100 or 1000 people who know 1000 people, etc.”

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

And just in line with my own thoughts about how a great speaker should spend more time studying how to be a great speaker, and spend less on selling.

Now, you might ask, “Is it not ironic that you are using social media to tell this story?”

But I am not writing these blog posts primarily to get more speaking gigs. If I wanted to use a blog to sell my speeches, I should be blogging about the themes of my speeches, not about speaking itself.

And who knows, I might also start blogging about the themes that I speak on. But then, it will be more because of how rewarding it is to write a little bit everyday about something that you are interested in.

I started this blog to force myself to write down my thoughts about speaking on a regular basis. I do that because I want to continue to think about how to develop myself as a speaker.

Today, I spent 30 minutes writing this blog about not spending time selling. I also spent about one hour replying and sending out emails. I spent 2.5 hours on a very nice lunch with a client going through their expectations for my speech next month. And one hour in the pool while listening to a podcast on the values of meditation. (Yes, I call that work.)

So 3.5 hours out of 5 that I worked today was around developing myself and my speeches. 1,5 hour was “work” not primarily dedicated to making me or my speeches better, including the 30 minutes it took to write this. I think that is a good balance to aim for, both in terms of hours worked in one day, and what the day was spent on.

Lesson: Do a great speech and the audience will do the viral marketing for you.

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