Life of a professional speaker

Almost all of the 264 episodes of Professional Speaking is about HOW to become a global, keynote speaker, but some are about the business of speaking and a few – very few – are about the LIFE of a global, professional keynote speaker. This is one of those rare posts.

I think it makes sense to once in a while share what my life as a global, keynote speaker looks like to show what you could have  if you follow the free tips that I share here.

So in 2019 I did 54 speeches in 24 countries on 5 continents. Here they are, including one thing I learnt by doing that speech/workshop. I share that one thing to emphasise that while speaking is what we get paid to do, and where we get all the attention, LEARNING is what we shall never forget to do. Because learning new things is what gives us the new speaking assignments.

So here we go: One Year in the life of a global, keynote speaker:

1) Swiss Investment Manager Circle Event for SwizzQuant in Zermatt. Swizerland
Learning about the international banking industry from the head of the Swiss Central bank.

2) One day open workshop on Business Creativity for Singapore Management University, Singapore
Learning about creativity in the shipping industry and the ropes (!) industry

3) The Outlook India conference for Outlook Magazine, Mumbai, India.
Learning about the helicopter industry in India and about negotiation tips from negotiations expert and Wharton professor Stuart Diamond.

4) The EO (Entrepreneurs Organisation) chapter of Coimbatore, India.
Learning about Indian entrepreneurship from Indian Entrepreneurs

5) The UK Litigation & Regulatory Conference for DLA Piper, London, UK
Learning about the legal aspects of Brexit from British lawyers

6) Hydro Extrusion Europe Management Conference, Porto, Portugal.
Learning about the latest trends in Aluminium from one of the largest aluminium companies in the world

7) BAM Singapore — Management conference for employees of in Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand.
Learning about Thai management styles and the value of culture from a company with an amazing culture.

8) BAM Bangkok – Management conference for employees of in Singapore. Singapore
Learning about customer service from a customer service obsessed company.

9) Management conference for Hydro Extrusion Hoogezand B.V., Almeo, Holland
Learning about green aluminium from one of the greenest aluminium factories in the world.

10) OSF Leadership Forum, Peoria, USA
Learning about innovative health care from a hospital ranked as one of the most innovative in the world

11) LocWorld Asia Conference, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
Learning about the latest trends in translations and localisations from one of the largest industry conferences in the world

12) Keynote speaker at the first ever HR-Convention in the Maldives, Male, Maldives.
Learning about how the Maldives uses creativity to create the ultimate customer experience.

13) High potential leaders from across the world of Amazon Web Services meeting in Singapore.
Learning about how AWS uses leadership development to stay innovative.

14) CFO’s of Deloitte across Asia meeting in Hong Kong.
Learning about how CFO’s at Deloitte look at the financial future of the world.

15) International conference for CFO’s for Electrolux from across Asia and Africa meeting on Singapore.
Learning how an international company builds best practises within finance

16) Client event for Monitor ERP for their clients across Asia, Penang, Malaysia.
Learning how ERP companies are innovating to change traditional industries

17) LVMH Internal leadership conference together with SMU, Singapore
Learning how innovation is used to push the luxury industry

18) Speech for the The Boys’ Brigade of Singapore’s annual conference
Learning how young Singaporean men look at the future.

19) Customer event for FCM Travel Solutions’ customers across Asia. Singapore
Learning about the latest trends in the corporate travel market

20) Speaking at the Malaysia Speakers Association Annual Conference, KL, Malaysia
Learning about the history of professional speaking in Malaysia

21) Closing keynote at the ACCA conference in Singapore
Learning how the accounting industry is going agile.

22) AVIXA Asia Conference in Bangkok, Thailand
Learning about the latest trends in Audio Visual equipment.

23) Speaker at InnoTown, Ålesund, Norway
Learning about how to build an eco friendly luxury yacht

24) Speaking to all employees at power utility company Eidsiva, in Lillehammer, Norway
Learning about how to take a traditional industry into the future

25) Speaking at the convention of the European Professional Speakers’ Convention, Paris, France.
Learning about automating a speaking business

26) Asia conference for Havas, Bangkok, Thailand.
Learning about creative agencies across Asia.

27) The global banking conference for Deloitte, Rome, Italy.
Learning about how some of the leading bankers of the world look at the fintech revolution.

28) European conference for FINAT, the international trade association for the labels and adjacent packaging industries, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Learning how the label’s industry is becoming more eco friendly

29) Innovation workshop for business leaders in Kiev, Ukraine.
Learning about how people in Ukraine look at creativity

30) Global client event for Avaloq, Zurich, Swizerland
Learning from a financial IT company how IT will transform finance

31) Internal employee event for Avaloq, Zurich, Swizerland
Learning how an IT company keeps its staff motivated to innovate.

32) The European printing conference Dscoop, Barcelona, Spain
Learning how the printing industry is innovative to stay profitable

33) Global conference for employees at Metronic, Berlin, Germany
Learning how medical companies are innovating the future

34) Creativity workshop for HCLI for global top managers of Hitachi, Singapore
Learning how a massive company like Hitachi keeps innovating in so many ways.

35) Speech at conference for business leaders and government officials in Pyongyang, North Korea
Learning about North Korea in North Korea.

36) Speech for to communications leaders of IndoFood, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Learning about the dynamic food industry of Indonesia.

37) Speech for business leaders in Port Louis, Mauritius
Learning about how Mauritius is making sure it keeps transforming

38) 1200 agents of AXA South East Asia meeting in Macau, China
Learning about how AXA inspires it sales people.

39) Executive Education program for Singapore Management University, Singapore
Learning about how innovation can be used to save lives.

40) Open Creativity Workshop for Singapore Management University, Singapore
Learning about how restaurants and movie companies in Singapore innovate

41) PCMA Europe, The conference for conference organisers across Europe, Barcelona, Spain.
Learning how the conference industry in Europe is stepping up to be leaders in sustainability

42) Deloitte China, meeting in Tokyo, Japan.
Learning how a professional services company does marketing

43) + 44) High Potential Conference for DBS, Singapore.
Learning how the best bank in the world trains its best managers.

45) Executive Education program for Singapore Management University, Singapore
Learning about how financial companies look at innovation

46) Keynote speaker at Leadership Energy Summit, KL, Malaysia.
Learning about innovation from the world champion of squash

47) PCMA Asia The conference for conference organisers across Asia, Macau, China
Learning how the casino industry is coming up with new products.

48) Keynote speech for the world conference of World Vision, Manila, Philippines.
Learning how World Vision is coming up with new ideas to save the most vulnerable people in the world

49) Keynote speech for 1700 people attending ASFA (Superannuation conference) in Melbourne, Australia
Learning how Australia become leading in the pension industry.

50) Creativity workshop for HCLI for global top managers of Hitachi, Singapore
Learning about how heavy industries innovate

51) World conference of IAPA in Singapore
Learning how professional services companies look for new ideas.

52) Reliance Digital customer event, Mumbai, India
Learning how the consumer market in India is just exploding.

53) Johnson & Johnson Medical China management conference, Shanghai, China.
Learning how an American medical company is creating innovation centers in China

54) Top management of all the TATA companies, Mumbai, India.
Learning what the leaders of one of the most respected company group in the world is going to focus on for next year.


Now follow Professional Speaking in 2020 to learn how you can build a global speaking career too.


When I was a little kid my father (who was a professional musician) would bring up me on stage to sing a few songs with him. It taught me do dare, stage presence and it gave me the “stage bug”.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing my own kids (4, 6 and 8) sing infront of 40 professional speakers at the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore’s Christmas Party. (I love how the 4 year old is hesitant to join but then slowly gets closer and closer to the other performers.)

I recently also had a conversation with a man who just retired after a long career in banking and now was ready to start a new career while in his 60s.

Personally I became a professional speaker at the age of 27 and have been doing it now for 25 years. Considering how rewarding and fulfilling I find the job I plan to continue to do professional speaking until I die. (The good thing with the speaking profession that it is one of few jobs where old age will not make it harder for you to build a career – people can keep doing it until they die.)

So to answer the question in the headline: It is never too early and it is never too late.

#publicspeaking #speaker #inspiration #keynotespeaker #professionalspeaking #APSS


In this post I want to write about one of the biggest perks of being a professional speaker: That you get to meet so many inspirational and motivational speakers!

Last week I had the privilege to share the stage with some of the world’s heavyweights in inspiration as I was one of the speakers at a big event for AXA in Macau with more than 1000 MDRT-agents from around Asia meeting to celebrate their success.

Some of the other speakers at this event where:

Achmat Hassiem (Sharkboy)

A South African swimmer who was injured in an attack by a great white shark. The lower portion of his leg was subsequently amputated, because of the manner in which he sustained his disability Hassiem is nicknamed “Sharkboy”.

Hassiem began swimming at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa following his accident and was selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London.

Jia Jiang

Author of the book “Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection”. His TED-talk is one of the most watched TED-talks ever.

Eric Feng

Eric was awarded “JCI 10 Most Outstanding Young Person of Singapore”, and he is a bundle of positive energy.

and Ramona Pascual

Ramona Pascual is Hong Kong’s first professional mixed martial arts fighter signed to a regional promotion, Road Fighting Championship. She is also the first female ever to headline a fight event and compete for a mixed martial arts championship title in Hong Kong

Finally I got to meet with Jason McAteer, former Liverpool player and now part of “Liverpool Legends”.

My son is a football fanatic and my daughter loves martial art so to be able to show a photo with daddy with a real-life Premier League player to my son and an interview with a real-life fighter woman for my girl made me “daddy of the day”. And of course they all where blown away by finding out that their daddy got to do a video together with a man who had his leg bitten off by a shark and lived to tell the tale.

I usually do not use the word “inspirational speaker” to describe myself – but in this post I will – because I am a speaker who inspired my children today by sharing the inspirational messages that I learnt from the other speakers speaking at the same conference.

When I was a young child my father – who was a musician – would bring me and my brother with him to his gigs so we got to meet with other musicians and see what his life was all about. Today I am doing the same for my children.

If you have children, do invite them into your world as a speaker to let them experience the benefits that comes from being able to share the stage – and the green room! – with so many other inspiring people.

At the age of my children I can not bring them around the world to my speaking gigs very often – but I can bring the speaking gigs back to the kids so I make sure I record short messages to my children from the inspiring people that I meet. And I can get messages back to them from the inspiring people that I interview on my travels.

Just in the last few months my kids have gotten short video messages, notes of encouragement or expert advice from:

A glass artist encouraging my kids not to give up
A photographer teaching my kids how to think about pictures
A designer sending inspiration to my children to keep drawing
A chef inspiring my kids to cook
A sculptor sending positive messages to my kids
and many, many more.

And at this event in Macau:
A shark-survivor encouraging my kids to believe in themselves
A female fighter pushing my girls to keep dreaming
and a footballer sending inspiration to my football fanatic son.

Seeing their father meeting with these world experts in different fields and having these experts send personal messages to my kids makes my children feel that worldclass mastery is within reach. That masters of a craft are not “stars far away” – but real people that they are connected to.

That I think is true inspiration.
Being able to give that to my children is one of the most valuable perks of being a professional speaker.