You are booked for a speech in Bangkok on a Wednesday that will end at 12.00 noon (Thailand time).
You have another booking in Stockholm, Sweden, that begins at 3 pm (Sweden time) on Friday.
Now a client calls you and asks if you can speak on the island of Hainan, in Southern China on Thursday morning.
What would you say?
Some speakers would say: “Sorry, but I am already booked in two countries on two continents in three days, so it is not possible.”
Some speakers would say: “It looks tight, but let me check the flights.” (And when they realise that the flight they would have to take is a flight from Bangkok to Shenzhen and then onwards to Hainan leaves Bangkok at 2.05 pm they would say, “It’s too tight.”
And then there are the global speakers. 🙂
I replied: “I would love to!”
I then booked the 2.05 pm flight (and also a back-up ticket for a flight leaving 3.25 pm but not arriving in Hainan until 1.25 pm (which would not be ideal since it would mean too little sleep, but it would work as a back-up would I miss the 2.05 flight.)
12.05 I leave the conference room to jump into a waiting car that got me to the airport at 12.55 pm.
Arrive in Hainan 11 pm. Arrive at hotel at 11.50 pm.
Gave speech in Hainan 9-10 am on Thursday. Hanged around on the beach all day. Boarded a plane from Hainan to Hong Kong at 20.2o pm. Had a 1,5 hour lay-over in Hong Kong and then flew to Stockholm (via Helsinki) to arrive in Sweden at 8 am. In hotel at 9 am. Early check-in to get 3 hours of sleep in a bed. Shower, breakfast and at conference at 1 pm to listen to the other speakers. 3 pm speak in Sweden.
Three speeches, in three countries, on two continents (including 6 flights and 7 airports) in around 60 hours.
I even got to experience a sand-castle building competition on the beach.
If you want to be a global speaker you have to be ready to make travel arrangements like this.
The life of a global speaker is the opposite of a “normal” job.
A normal job has 40 hours of work per week and 8 hours of commuting.
A global speaker has 5 hours of work per week, and 40 hours of commuting…