Tag: The business of speaking

The last few weeks I have delivered a couple of workshops for SMU Academy (the adult education arm of Singapore Management University.)

As a “pure” keynote speaker i focus almost exclusively on keynote speeches and do seldom do workshops, but for SMU I make an exception.

In this post I will explain way:

Please note that I am not teaching the university students, but as part of the ADULT program for executives and working professionals.

The reason I focus on those programs is that the participants are all working professionals which means they all come from real jobs in real industries.

By doing the SMU Academy workshops I get do meet managers from many different companies which:

a) gives me potential leads for follow up business from these companies (broad lead generation)
b) gives me the ability to in one day learn about ways many different companies are working with creativity and innovation (rapid collection of examples)
c) gives me an understanding about what companies are interested in learning more about (rapid market research)

As a person who wants to focus on being a keynote speaker I do not sell or market workshops. But for SMU I make an exception for the reasons mentioned above.

Lesson: If you can get access to an executive education program in a university of good reputation it can be great for your speaking career – and your brand – to deliver a workshop to the corporate clients that attend those programs. That is tip of the day from Professional Speaking.


Key insights about keynote speaking in the future straight from the source. Interview by Fredrik Haren with Michelle Crowley, Chief Innovation & Growth Officer at PCMA, an organisation for strategic event management.

a) Events are moving a way from “Speaker after speaker all day for hours” to events where the audience is much more involved.
b) That does not mean that the keynote is dead. Instead it means that it puts more pressure on the keynote to give inspiration and provoke new thoughts into the audience be
c) So the speakers who need to worry are the speakers who used to speak as “one of many speakers during the day” – those speaker slots are going away. Not completely of course but there will be less of them.
d) The keynote speaker slots will not go away – they will become more important – thus becoming more valuable. So for GREAT keynote speakers this trend is very positive. For bad – or regular -keynote speakers this is worrying; and for “normal/regular speakers” who are used to speak “sometime during the day” it is a threat as those speaking slots might be reduced.
e) Higher pressure to be able to engage the audience.
f) So in summary: Event organisers are cutting away the “fat” (extra speakers not really needed) and producing events that are more lean. Make sure you still make the cut. Aim to develop a killer keynote so that you are still able to get those few – but now even more important – opening and/or closing keynotes.
ps. I have now done 250 (!) episodes of Professional Speaking. Let me know on  fredrik@fredrikharen.com what you appreciate my weekly sharing and what you want more/less of.




I have decided to build an online community with 100,000 followers (step 1) and then (step 2) 1,000,000 followers. Today I am not even close to that, but join me as I figure out how to do it.

On 1 September I started a new financial year and as part of that process I sat down and decided what I would focus on for the next twelve months. One of the things I decided on was to drastically increase my presence on the Internet and to increase the quality and quantity of content I share online.

My main focus as a speaker is “Business Creativity and Change” but I have (for various reasons) not focused on sharing my content on these topics online. (I have actually been much better at posting regular content on ProfessionalSpeaking.com than on the topic of creativity.

I used to blog on creativity every single from around 2000 to 2005 (yes, I was early) but then I moved to China and told myself I could not blog in Chinese or English. It took a while to convince myself that I was wrong…

Since last year I blog (video or text) almost every week on my blog “The World of Creativity” (www.theworldofcreativity.com) and I have now committed myself to try to post one post there every singe week. (You can see this weeks post here: https://youtu.be/lKteMlgsaUE)

And with that commitment also comes a commitment to try to reach a bigger audience.

I now just passed 20 000 followers on the Facebook page for The World of Creativity (fb.me/TheWorldofCreativityWithFredrikHaren) and the page is now growing with about 1000 people per day since I made a conscious decision to grow my reach on 1 September.

My goal is to reach 100,000 (and then 1,000,000 people) with my creative content every week. Will I succeed? Who knows, and it will not be easy. Actually it is a crazy, big goal.

But I am determined to try.

So why should a speaker try to reach a big audience online?

For me the answer is:

1) By committing to share at least one blog post/video per week on my topic I am forcing myself to collect and package content.
2) By spreading my insights to a bigger audience a speaker gets more RTI (Return on Time Invested) on the time I spend on doing research.
3) It is becoming more and more important for a speaker’s brand to have a big presence online. It used to be that a best selling book gave you credibility as a speaker. Today an online video with channel might build your brand more than a best selling book.

So as a speaker how much time are you spending:

1) collecting and packaging content on the theme you speak on?
2) making sure your content gets spread to a wider audience than just the people you speak on from the stage?
3) building your brand online?

If you want to follow how I grow my list from 20 000 to 100,000 and then 1,000,000 followers join the Facebook group of ProfessionalSpeaking.com (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProfessionalSpeakingDotComByFredrikHarenMembers/). There if of course no promise at all that I will be able to reach my goal, but regardless if I do or not, I am sure there will be valuable lessons on what to do – or what not to do… 😉