Tag: Life of a professional speaker

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How are you supporting the ones that come after you?

When I became a professional speaker at the tender age of 27 I really did not have any mentors. The idea of going to other speaker’s to ask for advice didn’t really occur to me.

I tried once and approached one of Sweden’s most successful speakers at the time to ask some questions, but he brushed me off, not interested in helping “a kid” like me.

That brush-off I will always remember.

Maybe that is why I feel a need to help up and coming speakers, and why I feel it’s right to share so much about how I look at building a speaking career.

Helping other speakers is something I have done from the start, and after I got involved in speaker associations I have intensified that work.

One of the people I helped recently was a women who on her spare time was practising kick-boxing. She had taken to kick-boxing late in her life but managed to go from novice to black-belt in six years.

She explained to me that you get the different belts (white all the way to black) because you become better and better in doing harder and harder sequences, ie you get better and better at learning how to kick-box.

But you do not become a “Master” until you start teaching OTHERS to get black belts.

The masters are the ones that teach.
The masters are the ones who share their knowledge.

To be a master it’s just not enough to be good at what you do – you also need to help guide the next generation.

And as I have the ambition to be a master at professional speaking I have dedicated to help others.

I am a mentor in APSS and have also outside of that mentor program mentored 100+ speakers around the world.

I am on the EXCO (executive committee of APSS (www.AsiaSpeakers.org)

And in a few weeks (11-12 May 2018) the Asia Professional Speakers Convention (www.AsiaProfessionalSpeakersConvention.com) will take place in Singapore. 30+ speakers will share their best advice to 200 speakers from all over the world, and I am the convention chair.

As convention chair for this years convention I have introduced a “Next Generation of Speakers-ticket” where we offer the two day convention at just 50 SGD per person (90% rebate from the adult price). The ticket is open for youth and students 17-25 years old. The idea is to offer a VERY subsidised convention fee to help a group of young people learn what it means to be a professional speaker. (If you know someone who would be interested in going email admin@asiaspeakers.org to sign up.)

Helping the next generation, to me, also means to inspire really young kids, even if that is just taking a day off to be in my daughter’s school during “book week” to come and explain to the kids what it means to be an author (which I did last week and where the picture is from.)

All the examples above are things I that I do to inspire more young people to become speakers/authors/thought leaders.

The funny things is that the more I do these projects, the more rewarding I find them. In one way, I feel them to be some of the most valuable and meaningful work that I do.

I do not care if you just started your speaking career or if you – like me – have been speaking for decades, there will always be a person with less experience than you. Someone who is looking to learn from you. Today my message in this post is: reach out to one of those people and help them.

Share your knowledge.
Teach someone less experienced.
Be a master.

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A couple a days ago I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia (PSAN). It made me very proud.

Not because I think I am in any way famous. (I know am not).

But because I believe I was inducted because the members of PSAN wanted to acknowledge my passion for spreading knowledge around how to speak professionally.

As professional speakers we must remember that we get selected because of our passion and knowledge about the topic we speak on, and how we deliver that message – not because of who we are or how famous we are.

Of course for “celebrity speakers” – speakers selected because they are famous – that is not true. Celebrity speakers can be terrible on stage and lack a strong message and they only get selected because “they are famous”, but celebrity speakers is not the norm.

For most professional speakers the truth is that we do not get selected because we are famous, but because we are known for being good by the people who book speeches, or the people who know those people.

There is a big difference between “being famous” (which means “known about by many people”) and being “known about by the right people”.

As a professional speaker for 22 years who have been invited to speak in 67 countries I have never really bothered about being “known by many people”. I off course try to spread my message to as many people as I can, but I do not spend a lot of time, energy or effort trying to make myself a “house hold name”.

But I do want the people who are part of the speaking community (event organisers, fellow speakers, people who book speakers) to know who I am an respect what I do and how I do it.

And perhaps that is why I became proud when a group of professional speakers in a country like Namibia decide to induct me into their Hall of Fame. Or how I felt happy when the world’s professional speakers associations last month decided to give the “International Ambassadors Award” to me.

As a professional we do not need to be know by “many people”. We do not need “fame”.

We just need to be known by the right people, for the right reasons.

When it comes to speakers we need to be known for the love for our topics, dedication to the craft, commitment to becoming better as speakers and an interest to always want to learn new things etc.

The right people need to feel our passion.

So do not go for “fame”. Go for “flame”.

 

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Once in a while I post a “speaker war story” to get an idea of the world of being a global speaker. Then I go back to writing posts about how to become one.

So this war story took place in Dublin.

I was in a journey from Quebec (where my last speech was) and Gothenburg (where my next speech would be) and to get from Quebec to Gothenburg had turned out to be a bit more challenging that it looked on a map. I started in Quebec and flew Quebec-Montreal-Dublin-Stockholm-Gothenburg, a 17+ hour journey that would have me arrive the night before my speech in Gothenburg.

The problems started at my flight from Montreal to Dublin where the flight was almost 1 hour delayed because they were “waiting for a few connecting passengers” (The fact that a plane full of passengers who were on time might miss THEIR connecting flights in Dublin did not seem to cross the airlines mind.)

My flight was scheduled to land in Dublin at 10.05 AM, but being 1 hour delayed we landed at 11 AM.

My flight FROM Dublin to Stockholm was at 11.50…

50 minutes from “wheels on the ground” to “gate closed” might seem like a lot of time to catch a connecting flight, until you remember that I had to:

1) Pass passport control and customs in Ireland

2) Could not use “connecting flights gate” as I did not have a boarding pass for the next leg of my flight so I had:

a) to exit into the arrival terminal and

b) walk to the departures terminal

3) Check-in and get boarding pass.

4) Then had to go through security

5) and go through immigration (or as it should be called “emigration”…)

Oh, and 6) This is Dublin airport – one of those airports where they have stupidly decided to build the gates AWAY from the entrance to put in a series of what seems like 100’s of shops and restaurants so that it takes 5+ minutes after security just to run to the first gate.)

And to do all of that in less than 30 minutes before they close the gate.

Of course I made it.

So how? Here are som tips:

a) When exiting a plane walk briskly to pass the others who were on the plane to get first in passport control (queuing is what makes you miss flights)

b) Ask for help to save time.. Stop any airport employee to check if you can boarding cards inside the terminal or have to go outside.

c) Walk – do not run! – through customs and when you approach passport control (it’s seems to be a “thing” for people working there to mess with people who are in a hurry)

d) When you come to check-in: SMILE (a confident smile with a hint of begging), to get the check-in attendant to go the extra mile and call the gate and ask them to re-open it…

(Oh, and explain that you have no bags to check-in (to make her think you understand you are a frequent flier who knows it is possible to get you on that flight even if it is closed already.

Oh #2: Always pick a woman and always pick the woman who looks the happiest/friendliest. That will increase the chances of them helping you.

e) When she give you the boarding pass and says “Run!”, smile at her and say: “Thank you so much!”

f) At security, scan the different lines for which will be the fastest (and if possible look for security personal who are there to let “late passengers” cut infront of the line, if you are really late. (I did not do that this time, no need…)

g) When you come up to the security check, do NOT look stressed or annoyed about how long it takes, and take out belt, shoes, iPhone and computer etc (i.e. everything and then some so they do not get annoyed at you and decide to “randomly” select you.

And there you have it. How to make it to a flight that DEPARTS 50 minutes after you LAND.

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