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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