Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 19.52.12

“Speaker Feedback” normally refers to something annoying: a “looped signal” in a audio speaker creating a irritating noise. But for me as a professional speaker “Speaker Feedback” refers to something beautiful: The process of fellow speakers helping to make each other’s speeches better by giving professional feedback.

On Tuesday I spoke at the first ever HR convention in the Maldives. A number of my speaking buddies from APSS (www.AsiaSpeakers.org) also spoke at the same convention. After the convention some of us had booked a holiday stay at the stunning LUX resort and we spent a few moments during that stay to sit down and discuss how our respective speeches could have been improved.

As a matter of fact I spent a total of – at least – three hours giving and receiving feedback on the speeches that we delivered at the convention. That means we spent more time giving feedback on the speeches than they took to deliver!

Now, I am the first to admit that not all speaker feedback session happen in a tropical paradise, but this one did.

And as nice as this paradise island was it is not the setting that is the main point with speaker feedback – it is that fact that you take the time to sit down with fellow speakers who spoke at the same conference that you spoke at so give feedback on how you all can improve.

I am amazed how seldom speakers take the time to do this. Because I know for a fact that you can get some extremely valuable feedback doing this.

So the next time you give a speech at a convention where there are more than just you speaking, make sure you take the time to listen to the other speakers and that you set aside time to give feedback to each other on how you all could have improved on your delivery, content, audience interaction and so on.

Share
Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 11.56.39

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.)

Share
Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 22.28.06

I am by no means a social media expert but today I want to share about how a random LinkedIn post got more than 440,000 views, more than 4500 likes and 100+ shares and 100+ comments, and what my insight on that post is.

A few weeks ago I landed in Portugal and took a snapshot of a policeman helping people get the right taxi.

You can read the post here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6494340652027998208

It was a blurry photo, a few lines of text and I posted it without an after thought. And it went viral.

So why?

a) I think it triggered a sense of pride amongst the Portuguese.

b) The post is genuine in the appreciation of someone doing a job in a creative way.

c) It is not about the author, but about someone else.

d) It’s not written to be “viral”.

In other words: It was genuine.

I could have tried to do a flashy post, with hashtags and tried to write it in a way that would make people want to share it, and most likely nothing would have happened. (I know, since I have done posts like that where I thought I did “everything right” just to see the posts get no traction at all 😉

Now let me be clear: I am terrible at understanding how social media works, but I think the lesson about this post going viral can be useful for speakers too. People today want genuine, authentic real -life examples. Both on social media and in speeches.

Sure, the slick, polished, “perfect” speech with amazing graphics and videos and rehearsed stage performance can still work, but the genuine, authentic – human – speech is even more powerful.

Aim for that.

(And no, this post is not written to go viral, or to be seen as an example of what I am speaking about. It is just one of my weekly posts on ProfessionalSpeaking.com where I share my insights on the many aspects of building a professional speaking career.

And no, the viral post did not lead to booked speaking engagements, but it did lead to the policeman in question contacting me on Facebook as people where telling him about the post (!) and he gave me some more example of creative Portuguese police work that I am thinking of using in my upcoming book “The World of Creativity”. 😉

Share