How to become better as a speaker

There are 3 kind of conferences a speaker can speak at:

Industry conferences
Internal events
Client events
Today let’s talk about Client events.

Remember:

a) You are talking to strangers

When you speak to an audience where not everyone knows everyone you have to pay more attention to build rapport with the group and within the group.

b) They are there as guests – treat them like guests

A client event is a gift. Clients are there to feel special. That means you need to have a more positive message, have to be more entertaining and have a less “teaching approach” than when you speak at an internal conference.

c) They are there for a purpose and that purpose is not you.

Remember companies invite clients to sell something. That means that clients will very much appreciate if you incorporate some of the sales pitch into your speech. It looks so credible if the external speaker – in a believable way – pushes the clients products to the audience. And they love that. Or, if you can not do that, help by expressing what an amazing company the company is. Anything to help sell the client to his client.

Remember: Your speech is there to sell the client.

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This very first post of Professional Speaking for 2020 will have me focus on my own speaking year of 2019, and what you can learn about your own speaking year of 2020.

In 2019 I was invited to speak in 24 countries on 5 continents. From top Swiss bankers meeting in a private hotel in the Swiss alps (my first speech of 2019) to all the top leaders of the TATA companies in India (my last speech of the year). From speaking to business people in North Korea to an HR conference in the Maldives and so many more amazing speaking opportunities.

I envisioned a global speaking year 2019. And it happened.

In 2020 envision a year of learning more about human creativity on a both deeper and broader level.

I am telling you this for three reasons:

a) To exemplify that when I share on how to build a global speaking career on ProfessionalSpeaking.com I am actually “walking the talk” – ie you really do get to learn from a speaker who actually speaks globally. (In total I have spoken in 69 countries over a 20+ year speaking career.)

b) To remind you that what we envision will happen.

What do you envision for your professional speaking career for 2020? What are you going to do to make it happen?

c) To remember that as important vision boards are for the future, “hindsight boards” (ie stopping to evaluate your year in a visual way to remind you of all the things you have done is equally important. It builds confidence, appreciation and helps you see who you are.

So do not just do a vision board for 2020. Make a “hindsight board” for 2019 too.

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A tale of feeling like a failing speaker.

A while back I did a speech that I personally did not rank as one of my best ones.
It was for a big crowd (more than 1000 people in the audience) and for a conference that books some of the best speakers in the world.

I was so happy to have been booked at this prestigious and well organised event – but after the speech I called my wife and told her: “I fucked it up.”

A few days ago I got the evaluation that the speaker had sent to the speaker bureau. It read:

“Fredrik was amazing. He was well prepared and his presentation style was outstanding. A true professional. One of the best speakers I have dealt with.”
So did I screw up the speech or did I nail it?

The answer is both.

As a professional speaker we have to think like a gymnast: Only a perfect 10 is acceptable. We have to aim for that. If people do not say: “This was the best speech I have heard in my life” you still have work to do.

But at the same time we need to be able to make peace with the fact that even when you do not deliver that perfect speech, it can still have been acceptable.

Someone at a speaker bureau once said: “The best speakers are the speakers with a highest level of low level.” In other words: The speakers who have the ability to deliver quality content every time, even when they do not feel that they nailed it.

My lesson from this speech is that we constantly need to analyse every single aspect of our speeches to figure out what can be improved on every single delivery. But that we – at the same time – need to do that without beating ourselves up to the degree that we start to question our ability to do what we do.

Great feedback does not mean you could not have been much, much better.
Aiming at becoming better does not mean you are terrible.

So look yourself in the mirror after every speech and honestly ask yourself: What worked? What could I have done better? How can this speech make me a better speaker for the rest of my life?
Then get back up on that horse/stage and try to be even better next time.

ps. I hope 2019 was a great year for your professional speaking career. Follow ProfessionalSpeaking.com in 2020 for more free, professional advise on professional speaker by a professional speaker with 20+ years experience of speaking more than 2000 times in 70 different counties.

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