Tag: Life of a professional speaker

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“You just work one hour and then you are done?! Boy you are lucky!”

People who hear I make a living being a professional speaker are often amazed by how we speakers can have as a job to speak for 60 minutes.

And it is true, the job of being a professional speaker is in many way a blessed profession.

And yes, we do have a lot of time off.

But that “one hour of speaking” is often surrounded by a lot of other things.

Let me give you a run-down of the last 40 hours.

Monday

03:45  AM – Wake up and row from my island to the main land

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04.00 AM – Jump into taxi to airport.

04:45 AM – Taxi gets a flat tire and I have to get another taxi

05:00 AM – Check in at airport in Stockholm

06:15 AM – Plane leaves Stockholm for Munich.

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08:00 AM – Being picked up my event company at Munich Airport

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09:00 AM – Arrive at the BMW test driving site (where I am speaking on Tuesday)

09:00 – 10:00 AM – Get to know client and venue

11 – 12 AM – Do a test run of my full speech for the client and the crew

12 AM – Jump into a borrowed car to drive back to airport in Munich.

1 PM – Check in for flight to Warsaw.

1 PM – 2 PM – have lunch

2.40 PM – Board flight from Munich to Warsaw.

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5 PM Land in Warsaw (plane a bit delayed)

5.30 PM – Arrive by hotel car at Intercontinental in Warsaw.

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5:30 – 6 PM – Shower and check in to hotel room

6 PM – Go down to event space and install computer and talk to client.

6.30 – Event starts (I listen to the other speakers)

7 PM – 8 PM – SPEAK FOR ONE HOUR FOR DLA PIPER GLOBAL HR SUMMIT.

8 – 9 PM – Join client for dinner

9.30 – Go to sleep.

TUESDAY

4 AM – wake up and take quick shower

4:15 AM – Taxi picks me up for airport

5 AM – Arrive in Warsaw airport and check in

5:30 AM – have breakfast at airport

6 AM – Board plane from Warsaw back to Munich.

8 AM – Land in Munich

8:30 – 9 AM – Drive to BMW text drive site

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9 – 10 AM Check in with client

10 – 12 AM Event starts (I listen to BMW internal speakers)

12 AM – 1 PM have lunch and do last minute sound check

1 PM – 2 PM SPEAK FOR 50 MINUTES AT THE BMW CLIENT CONVENTION

2 PM – 3 PM – Listen to the other speakers and give some feedback to client.

3 PM – drive back to hotel in Munich

4 PM – check in, take shower.

Rest of evening is free time.

So in 36 hours I spoke for clients for a total of 2 hours. But it’s not like I was not keeping busy…

Now I should be checking emails, etc, but instead I decided to write this blog.

I hope it shows an “behind the scenes summary” of what the life of a global professional speaker is really like: A bit of speaking, a bit more working with and learning from clients – but most of all: a lot of traveling.

Sweden-Germany-Poland-Germany in less than 30 hours… (And if you think this schedule sounds a bit too tights, be informed that the client in Poland was aware of the tight connection (and would be flexible with my starting time for my speech had I been more delayed), and for the speech in Germany I had a “back up flight” had my first flight been cancelled, so all good.)

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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.