Tag: The business of speaking

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The idea that speakers are competing for a few speaking assignments and that there are only a few speaking jobs that speakers compete for is just crazy.

Today I am speaking for 600 lawyers from all over the world who have gathered for a conference in London. They flew people in from 71 cities in 51 countries and there were just 3 external speakers at the event.

At first glance it might look like it would be very, very, very difficult to get a job like that since there are tens of thousands of speakers in the world and this company obviously did not care where the speaker flew in from (since they flew me in from Singapore), and thus all those speakers were competing for these three speaking slots.

But this mindset of scarcity is wrong.

Yes, there are a lot of speakers in the world and yes, only one or two speakers get to speak at most conferences – BUT – and that is a huge “but” – there are tens of thousands of conferences around the world every month looking for speakers whom they can pay to come and speak.

A few weeks ago I listened to Niels Brabandt, an international speaker, who put things into perspective. Niels was commissioned by a pharmaceutical company to study how that company worked with speakers.

In this survey they discovered that this company alone used 42 000 (!) speakers every year for all their conferences around the world. And they paid for every single one of those speakers.

Let me say that again: ONE company paid for speakers 42 000 (!) times in ONE year.

Now imagine how many big, global companies there are in the world. And how many government organisations, and small and medium size companies, and events and conference organisers, etc etc all looking for speakers.

Every time I hear someone say that there are not so many speaking opportunities around I ask them to go down to any big convention centre, or any big conference hotel and look at the agenda for the day to see what conferences are going on right at that very moment. Then go back tomorrow and see who is there. And next week again. And so on …

There is an abundance of speaking opportunities all over the world and if you just realise that and stop having a “scarcity mindset” you will realise that the only thing you need to do is to go out and network, build relationships, talk to people and get them to know about you and your amazing speech.

The reason you are not getting enough speaking assignments is not because there are so few opportunities to speak, nor is it because there are too many other speakers competing with you – it’s because the people booking speakers do not know about you. (Or, if they do know about you, but don’t book you, you should consider improving your speech since there obviously might be a reason for why they don’t book you – and that reason is most likely that your speech is not good enough…)

Speakers complaining about the difficulty of getting speaking gigs reminds me of how shy boys will complain that there are not enough girls out there to get a date … Trust me, there are an abundance of girls out there, you just need to go out there and start talking to them.

And as a speaker you need to get out there and start connecting with the tens of thousands of people around the world who book speakers.

If one company alone is booking 42 000 speakers a year there must be million and millions of paid speaking opportunities in the world every year. Go get your fair share of them.

(Picture from my speech in London just before 600 lawyers from around the world entered the ballroom, but this picture with empty chairs is here to symbolise all the ballrooms around the world that right now is in need of speakers.)

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“How do you go from being a speaker speaking in your home country to becoming a global speaker?”

That is one of the most common questions I get as a global speaker myself. The people asking are often very professional and successful authors.

I got that questions today again when I was speaking at an event in Pune, India where we were meeting to create Professional Speakers Association of India (See

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProfessionalSpeakersAssociationIndia/  if you want to learn more about this.)

The person asking was Mitesh Khatri, an expert on leadership and the law of attraction.

When I heard the question I gave a reply that, at first, might seem a bit provocative. I said: “The biggest mistake is to think in the way that makes you even ask that question.”

By that I meant that to be an international or global speaker the most important thing for a speaker to do is to stop thinking that speaking in another country is different. It’s not. At least not even close to as different than what people think.

Since I was in India I asked Mitesh Khatri a follow up question: “Do you think “How do I get to speak in the south of India? Of course you don’t.”

And then I added: “So why do you say: “How do I get to speak in Sri Lanka?” (Which is just a bit more south of the south of India.)

I could see how something clicked in Mitesh Khatri’s head.

And that is exactly what I wanted to happen.

If you think “speaking internationally” is vastly different from “speaking nationally” and that there are huge changes you need to do in order to break the speaking-outside-your-home-country-barrier then that fear is in itself will stop you from making it happen.


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This plog post is about setting new goals. About upgrading your goals and how that sets you alive.

The text is about this goal I just set. The message is about you upgrading yours.

Two of the strongest passions in my life are speaking and travelling.

One of my strongest beliefs is that we have start to thinking more in the context of humanity. (I call that “humanityism”)

Passion and believes is what move us forward, what gives us energy and meaning.

If we set goals that are based on taking us to the next level of where our passion and believes are leading up we will feel we live more.

In my late teens I would travel to far away places, like Hawaii, South Korea and Thailand and the love of seeing the world was born.
22 years ago I became a professional speaker and found a profession that I feel I was made to practise.
12 years ago I moved from Sweden to China and begun to seriously speak internationally.
10 years ago I become a global speaker and the last years I have been speaking in 20-35 countries per year.

Lately that has been my life. And I love it.

One year ago I added a project that I call “The Human Island” to my life. It’s a project where I am going to visit 100 islands in 25 countries in 100 months or less. It has no commercial purpose or anything like that. It’s just something I created to add a layer of depth to my life. (Islands are another passion of mine.)

Two weeks ago I realised that it was time to raise the bar a little bit more again.

I decided that I want to have spoken in 100 countries when I am 50 years old.

Today I am 48 years old and I have been invited to speak in 64 countries.

Why this new goal?

Partly there is a logical reason: I know that I got a more global – a more human – mindset when I went from having spoken in 50 countries compared to how I saw the world when I had spoken in 5. So I am guessing – and hoping – that I will get an even higher sense of understanding of humanity as a whole if I travel to more than 50% of all the worlds countries.

Partly its psychological: 100 is a round and symbolic number.

But the main reason is unexplainable. (I think all the best reasons for why you want to do anything are unexplainable)  I can not fully explain to anyone else why I feel that I “have to” reach the goal of speaking in 100 countries when I am 50. As for myself I do not need an explanation.

Today I have 36 countries left before I reach 100.

I sat down and picked out the 36 countries I really would like to add to the 64 I already have under my belt.
These 36 countries (for various reasons) are:

Brunei Darussalam
Costa Rica
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
Dominican Republic
Equatorial Guinea
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea

This list doesn’t mean I have to add these 36 countries to make it 100 – but by making this selection I am making my goal clearer. I can go out and try to get speaking engagements in these countries.

I have done a selection.
The lion has selected its pray.

And here is the funny thing:

Just by making this decision I feel happier, more energised, more focused and more “on purpose”.

The powerful feeling I got from just up-grading my goals (not reaching them, not even getting a single country closer to achieving them yet) – just by writing down this up-graded goal of mine around traveling the world to speak – made me write this blog post.

What are your passions?
What are your values?
What are your goals?
Now how could you up-grade those goals to take them – and your life – to the next level?