Tag: Global speaker

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Today 15 000 people met for a huge Canon Event in Paris.

Canon’s clients from all over Europe, Middle East and Africa had flown in for this two-day event that only happens once every five years.

All the clients from Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa had their own “event within the event” which begun with a passionate keynote speech by the amazingly dynamic and active 80-year old (!) Chairman of Canon Fujio Mitarain. 80 years old!

During the whole day there was only two external speakers:

One was Gary Knight – an award winning war-photographer who is starting a CSR project for Canon in East Africa.

 

The other one was me.

 

That Canon invites Gary Knight makes total sense since he has a connection to Canon, is an awarded photographer and is running this CSR project.

But I have zero connections to Canon.
I do not even live in the region.

So one way to look at it would be to say that Canon could have selected any professional speaker in the world to close their conference, yet they selected me.

For that I am, of course, very happy.

It was one of those conferences that has it all: big audience, people from all over the world, big, global company as a client, in a nice place (Paris) and with an interesting industry (digital imagining is ready to explode and Canon is at the heart of it and I saw some really, really cool technologies that they are ready to launch soon.)

So I must have been very lucky to get this speech, right, considering how many speakers from around the world who probably would have loved to do this assignment.

Yes, I think i was lucky.

But actually, and this is the point with this post, it is EASIER to get a big, global speaking gig than a small, local one.

That might sound counter-intuitive but let me explain.

If you look at yourself as a “local speaker” (say a “Singaporean Speaker”) who only speak in Singapore you might think that there is less of competition because you are “only” competing with the other local Singaporean speakers.

But that is not true.

Because someone who is booking a speaker in Singapore might very well decide to fly a speaking in from somewhere else.

Now, if you instead look at yourself as a “global speaker” then yes, it is true that you compete with “all the other speakers” BUT you also have a much larger pool of potential speeches that you might get.

The completion has increased by going global, but so has the supply of potential speeches you could get.

Insight: There must be tens of thousands of conferences in the world on any given day that is looking for a speaker. By considering all of them your potential market your market has become virtually infinite.

Have the mindset of abundance and think global, instead of having a mindset of scarcity where you narrow your potential business opportunities.

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(Dhaka, Istanbul and Paris)

Yesterday I had breakfast in Bangladesh, lunch in Turkey and dinner in France.
Such is the life of a global speaker.

Different meals in different countries is not the reason I travel.
The insights you get from seeing the small pieces of the big picture that is our world is.

Like Yesterday.

How the immigration guy at Dhaka International Airport smiled after stamping my passport and asked: “What is your impression of this country??”
Or how the man who checked my immigration form asked for “a tip”. (I smiled and said: “A tip for what?”)

Or when I came to Istanbul and got a hole in my heart when I saw the young women working at the check-in counter who just could not conceal her sorrow. She was crying unstoppable while trying to hide behind the computer. (My guess(it is just a guess) is that she just found out that someone she knew had died in the largest terrorist attack on Turkish soil that just happened. It made the event so real for me.)

Or the African man ahead of me at the luggage-carrousel who asked another African man if he could borrow his mobile phone to call back to his family and say that he had arrived in Europe.

People ask me why I travel so much.
For me the answer is easy: Because the more you travel the more you start looking at humanity as one.
And when you do, then everything changes.

The case of asking for a bribery goes from being a “Bangladeshi government problem” to being a question of “how can we stop corruption?”
The case of the crying woman goes from being “a victim of a Turkish terrorist attack” to “Why are humans blowing each other up?”
The case of the of the man calling home goes from being only a story about a happy man, to being a story of “How can we open up our borders more to create more joyful stories like that?”

Human problems, Human possibilities. Human stories.

I am convinced that starting to look at the world in that way has made me a better speaker. And dare I say so, also a better human.

Question: As a speaker are you talking about yourself as an “American Speaker”, a “Singaporean Speaker”, a “Swedish Speaker”? Or are you defining yourself as “a Speaker”.

I changed my description of myself from “a Swedish Speaker” to “a Speaker” about ten years ago. Roughly the same time that I started speaking globally. It has for ever changed the way I look at myself, my speaking, my topics that I speak on – and the world. It is one of the best changed I have ever done to myself.

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I have met many speakers who are very successful locally (i.e. in the country they live in), but who would like to become global speakers (i.e. be invited to speak all over the world).

They sometimes ask me how I managed to become a global speaker. There are many answers to that question, but the most important answer is mindset.

By that, I mean that you have to have the mindset of wanting to become a global speaker, and also the mindset of thinking like a global speaker.

And to do that, you need a global mindset. (Granted, not all speakers want to be global speakers, this post is for those speakers who do.)

You have to stop defining yourself as an “American Speaker” or a “German Speaker”, and instead look at yourself as just “a speaker”. (I have given two talks on the subject of becoming a global speaker that you can watch HERE if you want to find out more.)

In today’s post, I want to share an example of what it means to have a global mindset, and I will exemplify it with how I work with suppliers.

Today, I have not been traveling. I have been working from my home office in Singapore, but it has still been a very international day.

Just today, I have sent separate emails to people in: Ukraine, the Philippines, Sweden, Croatia, Australia, Switzerland, China, Malaysia, Dubai, Hong Kong and South Africa.(And received emails from more countries than that.)

Now, you could argue that this is because I already have a very global speaking business, and that is of course true. But thinking with a global perspective is something I do very actively. Like with how I work with some of my suppliers. I live in Singapore and could arguably find suppliers for everything I need right here in Singapore. But instead, I have opted for having suppliers based all around the world.

Here are some examples of some of the suppliers I am using right now:

My assistant lives in the Philippines
My 3D-designer lives in Australia
My iPhone developer lives in Pakistan
My Android developer lives in Holland
My book designer lives in Sweden
My corporate identity designer lives in France
My IT-support guys live in India
My WordPress consultant lives in Ukraine
My accountants live in Singapore
My printers are in Sweden, Bulgaria, the USA and Singapore.
I work with speaker agencies all over the world.

And so on.

So what is the advantage of this? Well, you get perspectives from many parts of the world – which makes you look at your speaking business with a broader perspective.

I also get news, insights, and information from my contacts (like hearing of the start-up culture for IT companies in Pakistan, or about how people in Ukraine look at the increasing tension between Russia and Europe and so on) which gives me a better understanding of what is happening in the world. And an understanding of what is happening in the world is something that people who book global speakers expect those speakers to have.

But it is more important than that.

By working with people from all over the world, you change both your perspective of the world, and also the perspective of where you live.

In a sense, getting a global mindset is transformational in a similar way to when Copernicus got us to understand that the sun doesn’t orbit around the earth. In both instances, we, as humans, realise that the world doesn’t evolve around us. And that is a both liberating and humbling insight.

If you are not as global as a speaker as you would like to be, ask yourself this question: Could it be because your speaking business is built too much around a very tight circle around where you live?

Is there a bigger chance that you would be speaking globally if you started to do business from a global perspective?

I think the answer is pretty obvious. Or it could of course be just a big coincidence that I have built my speaking business with a global mindset in mind – and that I, at the same time, am one of the world’s most globally booked speakers.