Month: April 2016

(Bali, Indonesia.)

One of the most common questions I get as a global speaker is: “Do you customise your speech a lot?”

The question is often asked in a way where the person asking thinks that I am going to say that I do change a lot depending on WHERE in the world I speak.

But I do not.

I consistently argue for why I think a speakers speech should be so “human” that it works in most places in the world with no or very small changes.

By making the speech “human” you are more sure to get people from all over the world connecting to your message.

But having said that, what I do do is to change my speech to fit the specific audience I am speaking to.

There are few things event organisers hate more than speakers who come in and do their “Stump speech” without a feeling for the group they are speaking too. Speakers who are tone deaf to what this particular audience want or needs to hear.

Take the speech I did for Sony Pictures Television sales reps on conference in Bali.


In my speech I must have referenced the TV-industry at least 20 different times, using things familiar to a TV industry expert to illustrate my message.

After the speech my client came up and, in a very happy voice, said: “Thank you sooo much. This was just what we wanted. I specifically liked how you connected your message to our industry.”

You could probably have taken 50 minutes out my speech and have me deliver it at a shipping conference, a tourism conference or a conference for IT-administrators (my message is about human creativity and our inabilities as humans to change fast enough.) But those 10 minutes or so where I spoke about the TV industry specifically is what made the full one hour speech feel relevant, insightful and interesting for the Sony Pictures Television sales representatives.

Lesson: Those small changes that take your “great speech” and turns it into a “great message” for the specific audience that you are speaking to is what makes all the difference.


Now time to switch from “speech” to “beach” and close down my laptop and walk the few meters down to the very, very long sandy beach at the resort and get some well deserved rest after working a full hour. The life of a global keynote speaker is tough… 😉


(Cairo, Egypt)

Speakers might just have the easiest job in the world: Work for one hour, have someone organise and fix everything around the conference (from conference room, to inviting delegates, to audio and visual technology, etc etc). All we have to do is show up and speak.

Compare that to the event organiser who is in charge of one million things. One million things that can go wrong I should add.

Today I was the keynote speaker at the “IATA Aeropolitical Forum” in Cairo and got to see first hand how event organisers work hard to make a conference happen.

When I arrived at 8 am in the morning and stepped up on the stage to get a “feel” for the stage I see two men sleeping (!) behind the stage.

Turns out it is the AV-guys who had worked non-stop until 6.30 in the morning to get the screens to function properly. Now they were taking a nap for 90 minutes before being in charge of the technology during the one-day-conference…

Conference delegates hardly ever notice all the chaos that goes on behind the scenes (in the case of today it was literally “Behind the scene”…)

Event organisers hardly ever get the appreciation they deserve for all the (very stressful) job that they do.

The least thing we could do for them is to make their job as easy as possible with regards to our small role in making the conference a success.

So it was with great joy that todays event organiser went up to me today and said: “I have never worked with a speaker who is so easy to work with than you.”

Thank you! One of the best feedbacks an event organiser can give a speaker if you ask me.

Lesson: Be easy to work with. That is the least you can do to help the people who are doing the heavy lifting of making a conference happen. We might be promoted as the “star” of the conference, that does NOT mean we should behave like “pop stars” and demand all kinds of crazy stuff like they have a tendency to do. (click here for 13 11 Bizarre Celebrity Backstage Demands And Concert Riders.)


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