Life of a professional speaker

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Would you add an additional 10+ hours to a one way business trip that is already more than 24 hours long?

Most speakers would not.
I just did.

On Friday I spoke in Peoria, Illinois, USA. I live in Singapore. That means that the FASTEST route was 24 hours (each way).

But I did not buy that ticket, nor did I buy the tickets that where 25, 26 and 27 hours.

Because they where very expensive.

Instead I bought a ticket with China Eastern that was Singapore-Shanghai-Chichago (and then a separate ticket on United: Chichago-Peoria.)

It made the total door-to-door trip take 36 hours. One way. (I then spent 36 hours in Peoria a- including a one our speech – and then flew back again.)

So why on earth would I add another 10 hours to an already very long trip?

To save the client money.

The ticket I found was just 1/3 of the other tickets. That means I saves thousands of dollars for the client.

So why should I spend 10 more hours on the road, without getting any more money, only to save the client some money.

Because it did not really take away anything from me, and it showed care for the client.

Instead of taking the morning flight from Singapore I took the midnight flight the night before. And instead of coming home at late in the evening (after the family had gone to sleep) I will arrive at 5.30 in the morning the next day. So I did not miss any family time. But I saved a lot of money for the client. And in a way my trip became more comfortable, as I had some long layovers where I could stretch my legs and get in my 10,000 steps per day that I aim for.

Of course it helps that I find traveling to be a joy. It’s when I can read the books I never have time to read, watch the on-line learning courses I am to distracted to watch at home, or write the texts that I need isolation to get done. (And write blog posts like this one (I am writing this somewhere over Russia.)

I am not saying we as speakers should always take the longer route – we should not! – I am saying that if finding a much cheaper ticket means a longer flight for you – but it doesn’t bother you – then be flexible enough to do that.

I guess the overall message here is: To be successful as a global keynote speaker be flexible and have the client’s best in mind and you will find that you your success comes to you much easier.

(And the client did come up to me after the speech and said: “We look forward to having you come back to us soon again.” Was the fact that I flew a much longer route to save them some money part of that decision? Of course not, that client didn’t even know that as I did not tell her. But I know one thing: it would not be held against me if/when they do find out.

So be flexible. And client minded.

(ps. To be clear: It is very important after a long trip to not arrive tired to the speech. But 24 hours of travel or 36 hours of travel is no difference, you will be tired when you arrive, but not more tired after 36. So of course I made sure to arrive at around 8 PM local time the night before so I could eat dinner on local time and go to sleep at 9 PM to have a long, relaxing and well deserved beauty sleep in a bed next to the convention centre. so that I would wake up at 7 AM and be on local time.)

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Being a professional speaker is a rewarding job in so many ways. We get to spread our message and we get to see the world. We get an applause when we are done, and sometimes even a standing ovation. (I got two last week alone.) Most people do amazing work and never get a standing ovation in their life, or even an applause. Or even a heartfelt thank you.

Sometimes I think we take this great job perk of getting positive affirmation for granted.

We should not.

We should treasure it for the great gift it is.

A couple a days ago I gave a speech in India at the first ever Professional Speakers Summit. I got to speak about speaking to 150 people.

An hour after my speech a man came up to me and handed me a hand-written letter that he had written and that he wanted me to have.

The fact that it was hand-written and hand-delivered made the message so much stronger.

It made me very happy.

And it reminded me of why I do what I do. About why I am a professional speaker. And about the power of a well delivered speech.

As a speaker, never forget the power to touch people’s life that comes with this profession.

And aim to do just that every time you deliver a speech.




Here is the letter:

“We haven’t spoken, and we haven’t met but I already feel CONNECTED with you. How beautiful is that? That is the power of thought that resonate. We have these resonating moments when we read an intense book or an important movie. I had that resonating moment when listening/watching to you speak today. On the stage I saw a humble and energetic human being sincerely seeding thoughts of value and goodness to his audience. I saw an open heart in sync with the mind, sharing life impeccably with the universe.

That you for the time and mind you shared with us Fredrik it means a lot. As a fellow human being  and a writer striving to make this world more beautiful and interesting and impactful  I felt the need to reach out and let you know that you are an amazing soul on an inspiring journey. This moment of resonance matters. This is important. This is beautiful. This is creativity.

Glad it happened, and happy to share!

With smiles, ”


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