I have met many professional speakers who say that the best thing to do on a day when you do not have any speaking engagement is to focus all your energy on marketing, promotion and selling so you can get more bookings.

I do not believe in that.

My philosophy is that if you have a day off, you should NOT try to sell yourself, you should focus on trying to become better as a speaker!

The rationale behind this is that IF you are constantly working on becoming better as a speaker, you WILL get more bookings. Nothing gives you more bookings than someone coming up to you after you just delivered a great speech to ask if they can book you.

I recently attended a conference of professional speakers where all the other speakers wanted to discuss how to “sell, market and promote” themselves.

I was the only speaker who wanted us to spend the day talking about how we could become better as speakers!

The others said things like “We are all great speakers already”.

I was shocked!

I am of the strong opinion that you can always become better. I try to spend as much time as possible to constantly study things that make me better as a speaker.


What a day looks like when I don’t have a speaking engagement

No, I don’t focus on selling or promoting.


Aug 21st, Friday 

1. Lunch with Insead Business School Lecturers

I met with two lecturers at Insead Business School — Serguei Netessine and Manuel Sosa. We all share a deep interest in innovation, but from different backgrounds.

Serguei is the author of the book “The Risk Driven Business Model”, and Manuel is interested in the intersection between design and engineering.

We spent a long lunch in their new Executive Education Building discussing book writing, speaking, global travel and the world of executive education.


2) Meeting with the Winner of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking

I met with Manoj Vasudevan (see our picture above) who, just days ago, won 2nd runner up in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking!

Manoj has watched virtually every toastmasters speech of previous world championships to learn what makes a speech a winner.

We talked about what makes a great speech a great speech and about the value of sharing your knowledge of speaking with others.

I hope to do a longer interview with Manoj to post on this blog soon, but we ran out of time talking about so many other things that the interview had to be scheduled at a later date.


3) Exciting meeting with Founder

I was also able to book a meeting with Reinier Evers, the founder of, where we got to talk about speaking, global mindset, and also about interesting, future business ideas.


4) Dinner with awesome guys from The Insight Bureau

In the evening, I had dinner with Caspar Berry and Andrew Vine of The Insight Bureau. Caspar is a speaker who talks about risk.

Over dinner, we had a long discussion that took us through such different topics as UK politics, bombings in Thailand, casinos and of course, a lot of discussion about professional speaking.


It was a day full of inspiration, insights and knowledge-sharing, but as I hope you can see, it had very little to do about selling, promoting or marketing. But a lot of talk about speaking and inspiration.

Lesson: A great speaker doesn’t need to sell himself/herself). So if you are not getting enough speeches, do not spend time trying to sell your speech. Spend your time trying to make your speeches better.

Remember: You are a speaker. So focus on becoming the best speaker you can possibly be. You are NOT a salesperson. And if you think that is what you are, then stop being a speaker, change careers, and become a sales person instead. 🙂


The funny thing is that I might very well get some speaking businesses from one, or some, of the meetings I had today. But the point is that it was not the purpose or focus of any of these meetings.


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