Last week, I reached the Summit…The Global Speakers Summit that is in Vancouver, British Columbia where professional speakers from around the world gathered to be inspired by amazing keynote speakers. The education program was full of opportunities to learn from International speakers in workshops, as well as planned breakout sessions led by key speaking leaders. Too often as speakers, we are busy inspiring, leading and training others that it was good to recharge and reconnect with my “tribe.”
Community. One of the things I love is the heartwarming outreach of members of this community. Even though we may only see each other once a year or longer, it is great to reconnect and rejuvenate our spirits by sharing our respective experiences. One of my long-time partners in the speaking business is Jolene Jang out of Seattle. We only get to see each other in person at these speaking conventions, and we immediately bonded since we are some of the few Asian American women who speak professionally in North America. She also has been instrumental in the shaping of my business image with her help in the design of my business cards and the flash badge that I often wear at events. She has helped to distinguish me from the crowd, and I am always amazed at her seemingly limitless energy when we attend these conferences. I am grateful the speaking business introduced us and that we get a chance to see each other through these convenings.
Professional Speakers. Through Toastmasters International, I have also met several friends who are also professional speakers who were also at the summit. Special recognition goes to Margaret Page who was an incredible host by showing me two fantastic restaurants in the area (Cordero’s and Shanghai River), Bob Hooey who was a great emcee at the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Foundation event, and Monique Blokzyl who is based in Germany and helps entrepreneurs with her business launch portal. At the conference, Monique had cut herself pretty badly and as a friend, I did not want her to be in the hospital alone. That’s the great thing about this network, we look after each other. I hated to see her finger get stitched up, but I knew that my presence to comfort her (which was all I could do) meant quite a bit for our friendship. I am truly blessed that Toastmasters brought all of us together. I know because of that experience, we will have a shared bond not only through Toastmasters and the Global Speakers Federation, but of our shared experience at the hospital. It was my honor to help her, and all I asked her to do was to “pay it forward” as someday someone will need her help.
Inspiring Leaders. I saw again several key leaders in the speaking field who have encouraged and inspired me by their leadership. Special recognition goes to Alan Stevens, the Media Coach, who recently published a book called “The Exceptional Speaker.” I met Alan in Montreal back in 2010, and over the years, he has always been gracious and encouraging, meeting me when I would visit in London. We would share respective stories about our speaking careers, and I will never forget an encouraging conversation we had in Montreal. When I had mentioned that “I don’t consider myself a keynote speaker but rather a workshop speaker.” He told me to stop belittling myself and to realize that I have a unique message to share with the world, and that I am a keynote speaker. That seed had flourished, and I’m happy to report that in the last two years, I’ve been called upon to be a keynote speaker. I was especially honored when I was asked to be the morning kickoff keynote speaker at the Salem College 2nd Annual Women in Business Conference in Winston-Salem, NC. It was great to thank Alan personally for having confidence in my abilities. Leadership sometimes can be subtle but extremely powerful and profound!
I met new colleagues and future friends from around the world, sometimes embarassing myself with the lack of knowledge of other languages. I was inspired by the International speakers who presented in English when that is not their native tongue. It gives me a whole new respect for what International speakers do with these challenges and how I can become a better speaker when speaking with audiences around the world.
Here are some of the groups/individuals that I had a chance to witness their greatness!
The Passing Zone (US) – all I can say is “WOW!” Jon Wee and Owen Morse are beyond amazing as jugglers and entertainers extraordinaire. Not only are they amazing at their craft of juggling, their banter and good humor makes them memorable and inspiring that they can juggle AND deliver a great message to us all.
Gary Bailey (South Africa) – I had not intended to attend this breakout session, but my boyfriend, Joe, is a huge Manchester United fan. Gary Bailey, the former world class goalkeeper has turned his experience and crafted a message for his keynote speaking regarding how we can better manage pressure. In addition to enjoying his content, he indulged the audience with photo ops, and in my case two special autographs for Joe and his friend, Nadim. I’m now thinking I need to learn more about football and the Manchester United team. This experience has opened another new personal experience in addition to the professional one.
Fredrik Haren (Sweden) – It’s always great to get the perspective of speakers who are truly global speakers. The experiences he shared with the enrichment that comes from learning from other countries was outstanding. I was especially impressed that the focus of his speech was not on the mechanics of getting a website, marketing, or product sales but rather the art of speaking and crafting a message that resonates with an International audience. In essence, in order for you to be invited as a keynote speaker Internationally, you need to “kill it” on stage and have a message that other businesses want to hear. It was refreshing to hear from him afterward in a private conversation that you can build a business Internationally without a large investment by “breaking into a market”. I’ve heard several International speakers talk about having to fly to other countries on unpaid gigs just to build the contacts. Fredrik reassured me that I must be good onstage…if I am excellent onstage and am willing to begin slowly in order to build a speech that has excellent content and delivery where people are begging you to come to their respective countries in order to deliver that speech. His irreverant humor was fantastic, and many of us thoroughly enjoyed his focus of what it takes to speak Internationally without all the ancillary items of products, etc. It was refreshing compared to much of what we hear on a regular basis.
Ian Percy (Canada/US) Ian Percy’s message on the last day of the conference just reinforced the plans that have already been in the works for 1000 Cranes. In his speech, Ian told the hard truth about the speaking business. That we are the product and once we leave this earth, how will our legacy continue? He reinforced the need for us to focus on building businesses rather than a speaking career. His business now runs the gamut of not only the speaking business but also of bioscience work with agricultural crops, with specially charged crystals for use with drinks and other businesses that complement each other. It’s a portfolio with several company lines of business that will help him create residual income and an asset that can be sold to another company at a later date. It was a wake-up call message when he mentioned some of the greatest speakers, Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino and others may fade away over time now that they have passed. We as speakers need to create a lasting business that will outlive our individual names.
1000 Cranes is already in the works to develop a new market with children’s products based on the 1000 Cranes brand name. It is a new endeavor that we anticipate will expand the business into a new area. We are also waiting for official word of a new trademark that we have on file with the US Patent and Trademark Office which we will reveal in a future blog posting. We are close to announcing that, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to regular readers of the…
In order to be successful as a speaker, you need to articulate your message well and build your network, and build your brand and your business so that it is sustainable. In this global economy, it’s important to leverage all of the assets that are at your disposal, and some of this includes your global network of friends. Business building requires thinking outside of yourself and developing a business model that can carry on long after you are gone.
- How do you build your global network?
- What message are you delivering to your customers and how are you building your business, not just your speaking career?
- How do you plan to move into 2014 with a refreshed way of doing business with your customers? Whether this is entering into a new market or expanding an existing one, all businesses need to adapt to change.
I look forward to your comments!