now browsing by tag
Joining the GoG
There’s a fantastic group on Facebook called mySpeakerBusiness (I am afraid you need to be logged into Facebook in order to see the content of this group). The members of this group provide speakers with the information they need to make their speaker business flourish. A great idea!
The group was founded by Monique Blokzyl who successfully runs the Business Launch Portal. Have a look at their website – it has valuable content, too. The Facebook group
mySpeakerBusiness has a member list that reads like the Who is Who of Public Speaking. You will find input from award winning speakers like John Zimmer, Olivia Schofield, Peter Zinn, Florian Mueck and Alexander Lang – only to name a few.
Anyway, I am proud to have been asked to join the Gang of Gurus (now you know what GoG stand for) and while I was thinking of what is worth of bothering my fellows with, a very specific idea crystalized from my spaghetti thoughts. And since Facebook is so volatile and fugitive I concluded that this is the perfect trigger for (finally) yet another post.
Nice to meet you
Hello fellow speakers!
I recently joined mySpBiz and would like to say “Hi!” to y’all. Monique asked me to introduce myself to the community – well, here I go.
Speaking is neither my main pursuit nor is a speaking business my main income. I am a management and executive consultant (mainly in the banking arena).
Although speaking is a considerable revenue stream for me I am equally convinced that earning money with speaking is hard earned money indeed. Especially when we take time into consideration. Not the time for the actual talk, but the time needed for preparation. I roughly estimate one hour of preparation for one minute of presentation. Given for example a keynote of 90 min length we roughly face two weeks of preparation. Even if you get a four figure fee for your talk the income per month is not paramount – especially when you take into account related costs caused by traveling and running the back office of your speaker business.
IMHO making a living as a consultant is much easier – even though it can be very tough (and rough) to parley with CEOs, executives, and decision makers.
And here is what I have learned from my consulting business which directly influences my speaking business: There are many rhetorical skills we need as speakers – that’s a no-brainer. I am not going to debate on which skill is the most important – be it authenticity (thumbs up!), the management of eye contact, body language (highly overestimated, if you ask me), visual aids, or whatever Toastmasters taught us – they are all important and you all master them very well. But there are two things of which I think are crucial to everyone’s speaking business and these are: Expertise and Experience.
I’ve met speakers who talk about leadership who have never led a team. I’ve seen speakers talking about management who have never managed a project. I’ve listened to speakers on business development whose business is to spam others on Twitter. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and burnt it already.
I need to be an experienced expert
(And you need to be one, too!)
The most successful speeches I’ve given (both financially and concerning audience feedback) always dealt with what I do day in, day out – although these are not the topics for which I am burning the brightest. However I brightly burn for triggering and delivering extraordinary ideas to ordinary people (like CEOs, executives, and decision makers).
Remember that when we talk to an organization we are talking to people. These people are dealing with a very specific set of challenges and problems and we need to deliver a valuable input which helps them solve their problems. They don’t give a sh#t about how many marathons I’ve run or how many mountains I have climbed. If I do not add to the pool of solutions they are looking for, then I’m off their minds before I’m off their stage.
Just my tuppence. Not necessarily yours. I know.
Nice to be part of the gang.
Based on experience – I wish you well,
More wisdom for smart people (in German):
Dr. Thomas Rose: Sünden auf meinem Planeten – Kein Reiseführer für Indien
Letters from Vietnam – Part 7
Or should it be: Lessons from Vietnam?
Travel teaches toleration
Somebody once said “Life is a book. And if you don’t travel you only read one page.”
This is wonderfully true.
Travelling is not about getting from point A to point B. It is about being on the way. It is about sucking the marrow out of life. It is about finding the balance between experiencing and learning as much as you possibly can and letting go. Travelling is not holiday. It’s a journey. And if you do it right it has many destinations.
Let me share some of my travel experiences that may seem as a flipside of a pleasant journey.
When I travel …
When I travel
- I get dirty.
- I get an upset tummy.
- I catch a cold.
- I get a sunburn.
- I get eaten by insects.
- I get ants in my pants.
- I get lost in the alleys.
- I get stalked by street hawkers.
- I fall for scams.
- I’m asked for my name a million times.
- I find hairs in the bathroom that don’t belong to me.
- My eyes hurt from the air pollution.
- And – as everybody else – I suffer from the three undeniable truths about travelling.
Am I looking for those experiences? Definitely NOT! I am not striving for such experiences, but I am tolerating them. Such experiences are ultimately the only way to make the most of my journeys. Only by tolerating a list of negatives I can create a list of positives, that btw. is much longer than the one above.
It’s an old cliche that we can’t have light without shadow, that there is no mountain high with out a valley low, and that we can’t enjoy a jungle without being carried away by tiny nasty creatures.
I feel a bit sorry for this cliche. It has been beaten up and misused by many motivational speakers. But still, there is an undeniable and deep truth in it:
You can’t have one without the other.
My personal favourite of this cliche is the following: It doesn’t matter what decisions you make, you will always have to pay a price. If you don’t want to pay, you’re not getting anything. So many people try to cheat their way through life. But I am convinced, in the end, it doesn’t work. Nothing is for free. And even if your decision is to spend the rest of your life on the sofa – you will have to pay the price.
I have a personal theory about the prices we have to pay in life. I strongly believe that the sum of the prices we have to pay in life is a constant. It is one given quantity that is pre-defined for each our lives.
There are two ways to pay your debts
One way is to make many payments during the course of life. The other way is to pay everything at once, usually at the end of your life. Which one do you prefer?
Let me shorty explain the difference between these two kinds of payments. The iterative payments I call toleration, the one payment in the end I call regret. Which one do you prefer?
If we opt for the first way of paying we make a lot of decisions and take bold action towards life. We take responsibility for what we do and what happens to us, we act accordingly, we pay the price (like learning a lesson, taking a course, overcoming fear, trying something new, …) and we move on. In other words we accept the flipsides of life as the currency to create a good one.
If we prefer the second way of payment, i.e. if we pay one big price at the end, then we were obviously too afraid to have made some keen decisions when we still had the time to do so. This is regret. You know that regret shows its ugly face to you when you ask yourself questions like: “I only wish I had…”
I don’t think that this is a state of life that we should ever experience. It’s the toughest and saddest thing of all to realise that time is running out and that it is now to late to get dirty.
So, once again: Which one do you prefer?
Application of the lesson learnt to your business
Don’t waste an opportunity.
Life is full of opportunities. If you waste an opportunity you are effectively wasting life.
Same with your business. There are hundreds of opportunities. They usually come disguised as problems. And this is exactly what you should looking for: Problems. Most of all look for problems of your clients. If they have a problem you can be the problem solver. Customers are willing to pay huge amounts of money for someone who takes care of their problems. If you are an employee then become a trouble-shooter and don’t be a trouble-maker.
When companies hire they have only one question in mind: “Is the candidate sitting in front of me solving my problems or adding to my problems?” All other questions circle around exactly this one. Assessment centres, questionnaires, interviews, evaluations, checking your profile on Facebook – the only question why hiring companies are doing this is to find out to which group you belong: Creator of problems or solver of problems.
Which one do you prefer?
And now go and find some trouble. Look out for problems. If you find a problem don’t complain but act on it. It is the ultimate way of living a better life and creating a better business. And if you are a good problem solver clients will be more than happy to come back to you over and over again (and hand you heaps of money).
If you want something do be done quickly give it to a busy man.