Month: September 2015

Malmö, Sweden.


Question: What does a great speech do?
Answer: It moves the audience. It takes them from one state of mind to another. It gets them to change their opinion of something.

When you think about it, that is not a small feat.

It’s impressive when a speaker is able to get a group of people to let go of a belief that they have spent their lifetime building up, and in effect, the audience starts to see the world from a new perspective presented to them.

Imagine, this impact can be achieved by the use of words in only an hour or so.

Realising the power of one speech in changing the views of others can be intimidating for a speaker, but do not let that hold you back.

After all, if you go up on that stage without the conviction that you are going to get the audience to let go of their belief, and instead start accepting and embracing your message, then why bother going up at all?

Today, I decided to take that goal of moving the audience to the test.

In front of a few hundred Swedish CEOs that I spoke to today, I began my speech by asking them to write down what they thought a “truly global company” meant to them.

I, then, boldly – or foolishly – told them that I was now going to try to get them to change their minds about what they thought about this topic in the two hours that I had been allotted. And then I set off giving my speech.

At the end of my speech, the moderator came up on the stage and said: “Oh, so Fredrik, should we ask the audience if you were able to move their thoughts?”

More than 80% raised their hands.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous when she asked the question because it takes guts for a person to raise his or her hand to agree to have had their opinions on a topic changed by the words of someone else.

But when I saw the hands go up, I got surprisingly happy. The result was proof of the power of a speech. And I was extra happy that I was able to get them to change their mind about this specific topic which was about the value of thinking in a more global, human way.

Lesson: Mind you, a great speech can get people to change their minds. Aim to do that. Go for nothing less.


Above is a photo of me and the other speaker of the day, David Polfeldt, CEO of Massive Entertainment (a massively impressive computer game company that has worked on mega hits like: Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Far Cry 3 and Ground Control.) David did an equally impressive speech about the history of the 400-man strong studio that he runs.


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Lund, Sweden.


I had a bad day at work today.

I gave a speech to a hall packed with university students at Lund University in, well, Lund, Sweden.

They invited me to speak about my career as a global, keynote speaker. The title of the event was “From Student to World Expert”.

It was an honourable assignment and I was so happy to have been invited to speak especially since I am not an alumni of the university and yet, they still asked me to speak.

But I bombed. Failed. Screwed up. Basically did a crappy speech.


It’s so easy to answer in hindsight.

I spoke too much about myself, thought too much about what I wanted to say, and not enough about what the audience wanted to hear. And, to be honest, I had not drank nor eaten enough having flown in from Singapore that same day.

The last reason is just so unnecessary that I am embarrassed just thinking about it. Being dehydrated is such an unnecessary reason to give a bad speech. Lack of water can reduce your performance as much as 10% and I try to remember to eat and, more importantly, drink enough before my speech.

This time, I somehow forgot.

The first two reasons are so very typical of what makes a bad speech. And you would think that I would have learnt how to not fall into the trap of doing it after 20 years of speaking!

But that is the thing. I somehow still forgot.

But what pisses me off is that I did feel that I was going in the wrong direction but I did not pause to correct it.

Getting off to a bad start is forgivable, but to not stop, pause, re-think, and change your strategy is NOT.

What I should have done was to admit my mistake and say:

Holy crap! It looks like I am doing the classic mistake of talking about myself when you are really here to hear about how you can change your life. Sorry about that. Now, let me re-calibrate the rest of my speech and try to do it more from your perspective.

It might sound like a strategy that is too honest, too blunt, but I think it would have worked. Unfortunately, we will never know because I insisted on riding a failing train to the end.

So I failed. But then I am only a speaker.

What is the worst thing that happened?

A few students were not as inspired as they could have been.

It’s not like I am a pilot, or a brain surgeon, who, when they have a bad day (and we all do), risk risking the lives of others. That is something to think about when people who are going up to give a speech get all nervous about screwing up. Life goes on.

Lesson: If you feel that your speech is not going well, do not make the mistake of thinking “Oh, this is going bad.” Instead, think: “Oh, this is not working. Let’s try something else.


After the speech, a student came up and asked if there was any way of getting to hear more of my speeches. When she heard I was going to speak in Malmö the next day, she exclaimed that she was going to come with some friends to hear me speak again. Ok, so it was not a total disaster I guess, but I so know I could have done it better. 🙂

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Robert Bradford is an American professional speaker who flies around the world to speak. He just flew in after a speaking engagement in Malaysia and is soon flying off to Dubai for another.

But today, he is in Singapore for a speaking engagement, and I managed to meet up with him tonight for a few hours so we could speak about speaking.

Robert is the expert on “strategy” and has done more than 2,000 strategy sessions. He has also been invited to speak at many Speaker Associations, multiple times for the National Speakers Association (NSA), to share his experience on how to make it as a professional speaker. So it was, of course, very valuable to get some one-on-one time with him to learn.

We talked about a host of issues, but my post today will be about one thing he mentioned that I found very interesting: the need for a speaker to be unique.

Actually, “being unique” is a topic of one of Robert’s keynotes, so I guess it makes a lot of sense to listen to what a thought leader on “uniqueness” has to say about being unique as a speaker.

One thing he said was that many speakers are not working hard enough on becoming unique.

What you have to understand about the speaking business is that while there might be many opportunities to speak at conferences, it is actually quite tough to be the one speaker who gets selected.

Of all the people in the world, why should they pick you to speak?

Most speakers do not have a good answer to that question.

My answer for why I should be selected to speak at a global conference is that I have (with a very high likelihood) spoken in more countries and to more different kinds of audiences than the other speakers on a shortlist for a global conference.

And my unique experience of knowing how to speak to people from different cultures, countries and backgrounds is a big advantage when someone is trying to pick a speaker for a global conference.

If you were organising a global conference and you had three really good speakers on your shortlist where one had spoken in 3 countries, one in 13 countries, and one in more than 60 countries on 6 continents and 32 different countries for 2014 alone (and has written a book about global companies), who would you pick? 😉


Now, back to Robert.


Robert said that a speaker needs to nail two things to get selected:

Being Unique and Adding Value.


And you have to nail BOTH.


Now, here is the thing: It is not enough to be Unique.

No one will EVER select a speaker just because he or she is unique.

Yet, so many speakers spend way too much of their energy trying to make themselves different.

Speakers get selected because they add value to a conference.

But – and this is were it becomes interesting – you do NOT get selected to be the speaker if you are not ALSO unique.

There are just too many good speakers out there that clients could choose while still knowing that they would be adding value.

To be picked, you have to stand out. Be unique.

So how do you stand out?

Well, the best way to stand out is by being perceived as being unique in the value that you can deliver.

Get it?

Your ability to deliver value can make you unique.
But you are not unique just because you can deliver value.

Lesson: What is the unique value that you can deliver? And if you do not have a good answer to that question, what do you have to do in order to get it?


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