Month: February 2016

This post is about getting the fundamentals right.

Today I met with Michael Podolinsky CSP and Global Speaking Fellow. Mike is one of the most experiences professional speakers that I have had the privilege to get to know. He has been speaking, full time and professionally for almost four decades. Has lived on two continents (USA and now Asia), been invited to speak in 45 countries and has delivered thousands and thousands of speeches, trainings and workshops to virtually all kinds of audiences in most industries.

He is one of the most experiences speakers you can meet.

He is also a very nice guy.

For three hours today we met because he asked me to give him feedback on some of the key aspects of his speaking business.

One thing we talked about was the importance of getting the fundamentals right in what you do.

All industries have trends, hype and things that go in and out of fashion. New technologies, new ideas and new concepts come in and change, transform or disrupt industries. But beneath all those “waves” of rapid, turbulent change is always a stronger, more consistent – a more fundamental if you want – force.

To find, understand and focus on the fundamentals of our business is crucial for success. Especially if we want to keep at it for a longer time.

The fundamentals is different from the basics.

“Basics” mean: “the essential facts of a subject or skill.”

“Fundamental” means “a central or primary rule on which something is based.”

The basics is what we learn in the beginning.

The fundamentals are what keeps us successful in the long run.

The basics of chess is to understand how the pieces move.

The fundamentals of chess is to understand the strategy of the game.

The basics of speaking is to learn how to write and present a good speech.

The fundamentals of speaking is to understand what makes a good speech a good speech.

I would say that the number one fundamental for speaking is: It is never about you – it’s about the message.

When you get that right, when you always remember that, then you will be a great speaker for a long time.

When you forget it, it doesn’t matter how “good” your speech is crafted, it will not work anyway.

In a world obsessed with the latest trend, the latest technology and the newest way of doing something it is important to never forget the deeper forces that make successful people successful: their ability to stay true to the fundamentals.



Tonight I had the privilege to meet up with Andrew Vine, founder and CEO The Insight Bureau. I was honoured to receive one of the very first copies of his new book: “Honestly Speaking”.

There are thousands of books about professional speaking written by speakers, some are great, some are good and many are bad. But there are very, very few books written about professional speaking written from the other side – from the perspective of how to HIRE a professional speaker. Thankfully, now finally there is. In Honestly Speaking Andrew Vine shares his extensive expertise from placing thousands and thousands of some of the best speakers in the world . Andrew Vine is one of the world’s most experiences speaker representatives and he has helped countless companies and conference organisers get the right speaker for their events. In this book he now shares his experience on how to – and how not to – book a speaker. Getting the right speaker for the event can be the difference between a great conference or a terrible one and considering the amount of money that goes into organising a big conference it is mind-blowing how little professional work some companies put into getting the right speaker.

This book is essential for anyone who work with booking speakers and organising conferences. And it should also be compulsory reading for anyone who is, or wants to be, a professional speaker. You should really not be allowed to handle a big or important conference that includes booking speakers without first reading this book.

To find out more about the book go to: Amazon.


(Vadoo Island, The Maldives)

For the last two months I have done almost no speaking.

Instead I have been on paternity leave. (Look at my other blog – to find out more.)

So my days have been full of trips to the zoo, trips to the playgrounds – and as of right now, a trip to The Maldives with my youngest daughter and my wife.

It has been bonding galore.

The perfect thing with being a professional speaker is that you can take periods off like this.

The job market for keynote speakers are seasonal. Almost all big corporate conferences take place during a few months in the autumn (September to November) and a few months in the spring (basically March to June).

(It is easy to understand why: If you organise a big conference with hundreds of people you do not want to put in during a time when there is a big risk that many of the delegates that you want to attend are gone on vacation.)

So even if I can do 100 speeches in 30+ countries in a year I normally have a couple of months off during the summer and more or less one months of (at least) around Christmas.)

When I work I work like crazy.

When I travel I travel like crazy.

But when I do not, I rest, play with my kids and relax – to make sure I do not go crazy.

People who are just getting into the industry of speaking tend to get stressed out when they do not have any bookings for weeks in the summer (or in December).

That is the wrong response.

A speaker should get stressed out when he or she is not booked solid during the “speaking season”.

During the low-times you hibernate so that you can be full of energy when the active season kicks-in.

Or at least that is how I look at the business of global professional speaking.



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