The business of speaking

Four different events this week have made me feel that the people who book speakers are now getting serious about moving keynote speeches online.

When the Coronavirus hit the world a lifetime ago (well, ok, two months ago or so, but you know what I mean) speakers started to see their bookings being cancelled as conferences got shut down. The professional speaking world got ready for some lean times. The longer the crisis goes on the more obvious it becomes that the time for large gatherings of groups of people is still far off.

That is the bad news. (Especially for the MICE industry.)

The good news is that it seems that clients have drastically shifted their views on virtual keynotes

And before you start filling the comment field with comments like “This is nothing new: I have been doing webinars for X weeks/months/years” please read the whole post. 😉

Some clients have booked virtual speakers for ages. And some clients were faster than others to shift to virtual conferences/speeches. (Fun fact: I became a professional speaker in 1995 and played around with streaming video content in 1998 (Yes, 22 years ago! We were actually the representative of Vxtreme, one of the world’s first video streaming software (we are talking streaming video on modems here (!)…)

So, yes, “video content streamed on the Internet” is nothing new, but what IS new, is how clients are much more actively looking into how virtual speeches can help solve their problems of inspiring their people.

After being a keynote speaker for 25 years, is that the sentiment of the clients has changed from virtual keynotes being something fringe and not very interesting to now being the go-to solution.

Most likely that comes from a mix of:

– Embracing reality (the in-real-life conference they had planned just is not going to happen for a while)

– Higher acceptance of Zoom, WebEx etc as tools that actually can be used for keynote delivery

Virtual keynotes going mainstream is a game-changer. And I feel this week is the week that “booking speakers for virtual keynotes” went from “once in a blue moon” to “a normal way to book a speaker”.

This week I have gotten one request per day for a (paid) virtual keynote speech. And here is the key insight: I did NOT push or promote virtual speeches to any of these clients. The demand came from them. That’s why this week is remarkable, I think. Suddenly many more of the clients are ready.

Speakers should be aware of that I think. (And no, that does not mean that I think traditional keynotes are dead. When we are allowed to meet in big groups again there will be a huge demand to catch up with other humans in real life and I am guessing record numbers of attendees for many conferences. And that might happen quicker than we think – or it might take longer than we think.)

The good news is that “virtual keynotes” just went from “fringe” to “normal”.

This week is the week that that change happened.

As a speaker are you ready for what that means?

(I would love to hear if you are seeing the same change happening. Let me know in the comments.)


In April 2015, I launched as a vehicle to share – for free – my knowledge around all the aspects of professional speaking.

Since then the site has grown to over 270 blog posts, and the community has expanded more than 22,000 people on Facebook alone.

Thank you for your support!

I love the process of sitting down every week to share with you what I have learnt about the amazing world of speaking.

To get to spread your message to the world is a gift more valuable and rewarding than almost anything else.

Today though, to celebrate the birthday of, I have a quick question for you. I would love to hear:

What do you like about Professional Speaking?

What would you love to learn next?

What would you like to get more of? What would you like less of?

Let me know by hitting “reply” on this email.

It would be the best gift I could think of receiving.


Fredrik Haren

p.s. what can I help with next?

What are some topics or areas related to professional speaking – whether it be delivering a great keynote speech, booking more gigs or finding your inner theme – that you’d like me to write about next?


Last night I released a video that I have worked on for months.

I had 2 cameramen following me around the world to capture my work as a global keynote speaker.
(They went with me to 4 countries during a total of 10 days.)

All in all I used clips from my trips around from over 10 countries: From North Korea to The Maldives.

You can watch the video here:

I am sharing this video with you as an example of how a “Speaker showreel” does not have to look like a “speaker showreel”.
Yes, I am showing some clips of me on the stage for a few seconds at the end of the video, but the vibe of the video is not about me as a professional speaker – it is about me as “The Creativity Explorer”.

I think people are much more interested in a topic – than in a speaker. So instead I created a “trailer” for “The Creativity Explorer”.

I hope it will work as an inspiration for how you could create your own video

ps. Keep developing every aspect of your professional speaking career. Work on all aspects of your business – including the videos! – so that you are ready when the market comes back.

Here is the link to the video again: