Month: October 2018

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The fear of public speaking is one of the biggest fears people have. (It is right up there with dying in a terrorist attack and being beaten by a snake.)

As speakers we should be VERY happy for that. It means that 99% of people would rather die than do what we do.

I guess it is the same for people working with snakes – they are very happy that so many people hate snakes that the competition for working with snakes is quite small…

The fear of speaking most likely is not really a fear of speaking, it’s a fear of making a fool out of yourself and a fear of people thinking you are wrong.

As someone who has done professional speaking for 20 years I really do not understand the first reason. In today’s world where cameras are everywhere the chance of a video of you becoming viral on YouTube for all the wrong reasons is everywhere. Making a fool out of yourself is no longer limited to screwing up on stage, but might as well come from screwing up in an elevator, a warehouse, a side walk or a beach while being caught on camera and spread to the world.

So in a way the risk of looking like a fool for a huge group of people have been democratised… 😉

Now the fear of people thinking you are wrong is a more interesting issue.

The way to solve that is by:

a) Being prepared.
b) Saying things you believe

Or perhaps that should come in the other order:

a) Saying things you believe
b) Being prepared.

Tonight I attended the monthly meeting of Asia Professional Speakers Singapore, where I am the current President. The theme of the meeting was “FEAR” and we had three great speakers speaking on the topic of fear for speakers.

In this post I want to highlight a quote from one of the speakers, Adrienne Gibson, who said: “What makes great speakers great is that they tell their own story.”

When a speaker speaks from a place of authenticity he or she can get away with almost any message.

And if he or she then prepares well, meaning studies not only the topic but also the audience and how to best communicate to that audience then there really is very little to be afraid of as a speaker.

So lets aim at A) telling your truth B) in a way that is the exact way the audience need to hear it.

Now focus on figuring out those two things and you have nothing to fear as a speaker. And in the process you have written a very powerful speech.

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I get that question sometimes: “So, you are a professional speaker? Your profession is just to go up and speak?”

For simplicity I often just reply: “Yes”.

But as a professional speaker who do between 50-100 speeches per year, who speak in 20-35 countries per year, who have written and published 10 books and delivered 2000+ speeches in 65+ countries over 20 years I sat down and did a quick little list of what I actually do.

Work scope of a Global Keynote Speaker:

Done by me:

SELL:

Sell speeches
Identify potential leads
Follow up on hot leads
Keep in contact with important clients
Organise CRM system and enter all contacts
Connect with clients and leads on social media

BOOKINGS:
Research clients
Do briefing calls
Write speech
Create powerpoint

BOOKS:
Do book research
Organise interviews
Write book
Edit book
Contact book designers
Contact printers, negotiate and order books
Identify and contact publishers
Find distribution for books

Sell books
Order shipments of books
Invoice books

SPEAKING:
Book travel (research and buy tickets, hotels etc)
Organise travel
Do the travel…

Do sound checks
Meet with clients
Attend conferences before and after speech

Deliver the speech

Collect contact info of people who come up before or after speech and connect with them after speech

SCR:

SCR Projects (Like Ideasisland.com)
Pro-bono work (organise and deliver)
Help and mentor other speakers

MARKETING:

Write blog posts
Post blog posts
Build community for blogs
Respond to social media posts from fans

Create videos, (shot and edit and post)
Social media post writing and posting

Facebook advertising campaigns
Facebook advertising evaluation

Do media interviews

Put together marketing collateral
Collect quotes, evaluations from clients etc

Collect mailing list and send out newsletter (and write them)

DEVELOPMENT:
Watch and learn from other speakers
Evaluate delivered speeches
Research and write new speeches
Read and Interview people for speech content
Write down good stories for speeches

FINANCE & ADMIN
Invoice
Follow up on payments
File receipts and other admin
Rely to emails
Manage calendar/book meetings etc
OUTSORCED
(Which means project managed by me:)

Visual Identity
Web hosting
Accounting
Financial reporting
Web development

OTHER
Business Development
IT support (install apss, do back ups, cloud services, domain buying etc etc)
Other projects (www.Innertheme.com, speaker coaching etc)

 

Some of these things of course take many, many hours per week. Some of the things take very little time. I am sure I forgot a whole lot of things.

So yes, as a speaker you “just go up on stage and speak”. But on the other hand you do quite a fair bit more.

I hope this quick summary can be of value for someone thinking of getting building a global speaking career.

ps. Oh, and I should add that for the last 4 years I have been on paternity leave for 4+ months per year while still speaking in 20-25 countries per year. And for most of my 20+ year speaking career I have had 0 staff working for me.

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Today’s post is about the need to empty your brain between speeches to be able to be inspired by new content and to be able to inspire new audiences on multiple occasions during one day.
Today I was introduced as “a Modern day Tintin – someone who travels the world to learn new things.”

I really liked that introduction, and in many ways it is true. As a global keynote speaker I get to travel the world and learn a lot of interesting things.

And today was another such day:

1) I was the opening keynote speaker at a client event for one customer. I spoke between 9-10.

2) Then I jumped into a taxi and arrived 15 minutes later at another event where I was the keynote speaker before lunch (11-12.30)

4) I then did 2 90 minute workshops for the same client (14-15.30 and 16-17.30)

5) before I jumped into a taxi to get to a University in Singapore where a professor had asked me to be part of an evening class from 6:30 – 9:30.

And it was at this event that the professor, Ferdinand de Bakker, introduced me to his students as “a modern day Tintin who travels around the world to learn new things.”

So today I learnt about mobility solutions, about trends in accounting, and about PR and investor relations (in the University course).

But by doing 2 keynote speeches, 2 workshops and 1 class for students during one day you have to have a technique to keep your inspiration.

Now to be clear: As a global speaker it is less common that I do multiple speeches on the same day as it is not geographically possible, but for the instances – like today – when it happens, I would like to share with you the technique I use to keep my inspirational level high: I call it “empty your mind”.

By “emptying your mind” I mean: Find a quite room at the NEW location where you are going to speak and sit and meditate for at least 10-15 minutes.

Think of nothing.

Just let your body and mind and soul land in this new location.

Let the emptiness of thought and silence of the room wipe away any adrenaline or “high” that you have from just giving the previous speech.

Let your brain feel like the day is staring over as a clean sheet of paper.

If you can not find a quiet room, then go and find a restroom/toilet.

It’s not about finding the most relaxing of enviroments, it’s about finding a place where you can be:
– by yourself
– alone
– undisturbed
– quiet

Then go out and do your normal “warm up” that you do before a speech.

On this Friday I did the “empty your brain” routine 4 times in one day. It helped me keep the energy up all day.

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