Month: February 2020

I am a strong believer of writing speeches that works on people from all over the world. The reason for this is, as a global speaker, I speak all over the world (I spoke in 24 countries last year alone). But also because many speaking assignments for professional speakers will be for international/global audiences (meaning people in the audience will be from many different countries).

 

For both these scenarios (speaking globally, and speaking for international groups) you need to have a speech that is universally human – a speech that goes to the core of humanity.

I recently delivered a new speech (a speech I had never delivered before) and I knew the audience would be diverse (from 14 different countries from 4 continents).
So how did I know that the speech would land?

 

I tested it on 4 people from 4 different countries. An American, a Frenchman, an Indian, and a Filipino.

 

And when I say “tested” it I mean I ran through the whole speech – one-on-one with a member of the audience to get their feedback BEFORE I went.

 

To get feedback before your speech – let’s call that “forwardfeed” – is crucial so that when you do go up on stage many of the “wrinkles” that you could find in your speech yourself get wrinkled out.

The funny thing is that all the different people who gave me input on what to change gave DIFFERENT input. That is the beauty of testing out a speech on people that are not only different from yourself, but also different from each other. The more different the better.
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So this just happened at the Professional Speakers Summit in Delhi. A women came up to me, Angelina, and introduced herself as a professional speaker from Russia who wanted to speak more internationally. In order to make that happen she had signed up to work with an English teacher back in Russia. That teacher had recommended that Angelina would watch MY (!) speeches online in order to learn to speak English in a way that was easy for her to learn and at the same time easy for the audience to understand.

The teacher could have picked from thousands of native English speaking speakers to learn from – but she picked me. A non-native English speaker!

I hope this story can inspire other non-native English speaking speakers by showing that sometimes the non-native speakers can be perceived as speaking “better” English than the natives. 🙂

Thrilled to know that I have played a small part in helping this Russian speaker reach her dreams of speaking more globally.

Because the world needs to hear from more non-native English speakers! We need the different perspective! We need other stories! Other messages!

 

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Due to the Corona virus outbreak many conferences in Asia have been cancelled or moved in the last few days. It is understandable. Companies and event organisers care about the health of their delegates and many people prefer “safe over sorry”.

So what does that mean for speakers? Missed speaking gigs? For sure.

In the last week I have personally had three keynote speeches in Asia cancelled (or more specifically moved) on very short notice (speeches that where supposed to happen this month but that will not happen later in 2020.)

So what does this mean for speakers and what should speakers do?

I have been a professional speaker for 25 years. I have seen the ups and down of the speaking industry. The dot-com bust (when I spoke about the Internet…), the global financial crises, moving to China in 2005 when there was a very underdeveloped speaking market there and so on.

In bad times companies tend to reduce conferences and the booking of speakers. So should we as speakers now suddenly change our strategy?

I say: No.

My advise is to no not let temporary financial movements change your long term strategy.

If you got into speaking as a way to build a business, then, sure, think as a business person. But if you got into speaking to spread a message (which I think is the right reason to become a speaker) then focus on spreading that message.

So you get some free time because a few clients cancelled? Great, more time to, for example. write that book you want to write.

After 25 years of spreading my message it is my strong conviction that as long as a speaker continues to be true to his/her inner voice and keep developing content that the speaker thinks the world needs to hear – then the world will listen. And the world will be willing to pay to listen.

So will we as speakers have more time now to spread our message in other ways, by getting time to write that book, by finding more time to do those interviews, to record those videos and write those web articles? Well, great!

We are speakers to spread our message. So let’s spread it in the way that we can. And when the world is ready to book conferences, and pay for speakers again then we are more ready than ever to get up on that stage and do just that.

Do not chase the money. chase the message.

Play the long game.

So does that mean you should just ignore making money, not adapt to changing circumstances, and not business develop as a speaker? Of course not.

But it does mean that, I think, you should not let that be your guiding star. In a storm it becomes more important than ever to remember where you are going and why. Do not forget that just because the wind is picking up.

Do not let a virus knock you off course. Instead use these new opportunities to develop even better ways to spread your message to the world. When life gives you Corona, turn it into CoronRitas!

ps. At the moment the conferences being cancelled are mostly in China/South East Asia. In the rest of the world nothing has really changed, at least not yet. Unless the Corona outbreak goes into a true global pandemic other parts of the world should be fine/safe. As a global speaker I am now just spending more time following up with clients and potential leads in other parts of the world. Yet another reason to have a global mindset as a speaker. (Picture of me and Andrew Vine of The Insight Bureau planning strategies for speaking more in Europe next few months over a couple of CoronRitas…)

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