Month: March 2017

“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  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.



If someone asked you if you could speak in Mumbai, India on Sunday, in Singapore on Monday and in Munich, Germany on Tuesday, would you accept?

What if I added that the speech in Mumbai would end 8.00 PM (!) and for the speech in Munich you would have to be at the conference ballroom at 7.15 AM (!) for the sound check.

Would you do it?

Could you do it?

Is it even possible to do it?

I just did.

After speaking from 7-8 PM in central Mumbai I jumped into a taxi for the 90 minute taxi ride to the brand new Mumbai Airport.

Boarded a plane for Singapore that left 23.50 PM and landed in Singapore at 6.30 AM Monday.

Went home to my kids and played with them for a couple of hours and then went to sleep from 10 AM to 3.30 PM to make sure I would not have any jetlag to slow me down.

Went to a Parent-Teacher meeting for my oldest daughter at 4.30 – 5 PM

Then off to venue for my evening speech.

Arrive at venue 5.30 for sound check (thank goodness for the lack of traffic jams in Singapore).

Did my speech 6 PM to 7 PM.

Jump into taxi and arrive at Changi Airport at 8 PM

Check in and board plane that leaves at 9.20 PM

Sleep in the comfort of the Qatar Business class seats.

Arrive in Doha around midnight and fly onwards to Munich (this time in their brand new business class seats that are the best I have ever had (apart from Singapore airlines business class seats which are the best by a mile…). Slept like a baby.

Land in Munich at 6.30 AM.

Driver picks me up and takes me to hotel.

Shower and change to speaking suit.

Go down to ballroom and do sound check at 7.15 AM Tuesday.

Then attended the morning sessions of the conference and got up on stage to deliver my speech at 11 AM, less than 40 hours after standing on stage in Mumbai.

The lesson here is that it is quite possible to do speeches in different parts of the world even if the dates are close to each other.

Just make sure you sleep, nap and rest as much as you possible can so that you are not tired when it’s time to stand on the stage.
And make sure that all the clients involved are aware of, and comfortable with, your travel schedule.

Hopefully this post will inspire you to take on more international speaking assignments without feeling that you will have to put in a lot of “extra days” in order to get them done.



If you are a keynote speaker that (often) means you have a speech that you do over and over again: a master piece that you have perfected yet constantly improve by trying new things, tossing out old stuff that is not working any more and infusing new material.

A consistent story that changes.

Today I had a speaker-review with Rob Lilwall, an keynote speaker based in Hong Kong, and one of my favourite speakers because of his extremely high likability factor as a speaker – and as a person, Rob is just an all around great guy and speaker. (The combination of great speaker and great person is not always consistent…)

Rob had asked me to do a speaker-review on his speech and I had flown to Hong Kong to do just that.

A speaker-review means that one speaker invites another speaker to sit in the back of the room and write down ideas on how to make a speech better.

It’s a sign of a great speaker that he (or she) invites an other speaker to digest and improve the speech.

In this blog post I will not share all the things that we went through in the “post-speech-evaluation” but instead I will focus on one specific thing that I realised when listening to Rob speak: the need to personalise the beginning of a speech.

I call this “dedicating the speech to the audience”.

Imagine your speech as a book. (Many speakers (including me and Rob) give speeches based on our books.)

Every copy of a book is the same. That’s ok, the author has a message and it is multiplied in books so that many people get the message communicated to them. It’s the same with a speech: it is ok if a speech is more or less the same over and over again. As a speaker you have a message and you perfect it to a performance that you feel works very well.

But now think of an author who gives away a copy to a specific reader, what does the author do? Right, the author signs the book!

A few lines of personal message to this specific reader. Then the rest of the book is the same. It makes a huge difference to that reader.

Now transfer this observation to a speech.

In the context of a speech it means that you do a short, specific introduction to the specific audience that you are speaking to. A “audience dedication” so that the audience feels that “this speech is for me.”

It could be as easy as a short reference to the company’s products and how you use them. A mention of a few words in the brief that really connected with you. A mention of something that has happened earlier in the conference (to show you have been around to hear other speakers speak and share the experience of the day with the audience.)

Then you dive into your keynote speech.

The next time you go up to give your keynote speech, ask yourself: “How can I dedicate this speech to this specific audience?”

I can almost promise you will get the same warm, personal and grateful respons from the group as you would if you signed a book to someone.

(And that is the cool thing with doing speaker-reviews: you go there to help another speaker and end up also helping yourself become a better speaker. Win-win. Well worth flying to Hong Kong for. Picture from us sitting on a ferry while doing the speaker-review – great way to do it 😉


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