Lessons from

the world of a

global keynote


How I almost died giving a virtual speech last week (Professional Speaking. Episode 281.)

 May 13, 2020 BY FREDRIK HAREN

Before we get to this weeks episode I have a big announcement: The first learning course: "Master The Keynote" is here!

Are you serious about becoming better as a keynote speaker?

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Inside this 5+ hour program, I dissect one of my keynotes so that you can see exactly what goes into creating a world-class keynote that inspires your audience and gets you re-booked again and again.

You'll get more than 150+ learning points on how, why and what I do to create a great keynote speech.

It is a unique course where you really get “inside the head” of a keynote speaker to learn the small details and nuances that you need to know.

If you're ready to reach your full potential as a speaker...

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Find out what kind of speaker you are at the core. (Professional Speaking Episode 277)

April 1, 2020 By Fredrik Haren

Magic Johnson once said: “When you face a crisis, you know who your true friends are.” I would like to re-write the quote to say: “When you face a crisis, you get to know who your true self is.”

Let me explain.

The global professional speaker market was one of the first industries to be hit by the Corona crisis. Travel bans and restrictions for large gatherings of people did not help. Conferences have been canceled left, right and center and the whole MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) is now one of the most hit industries that have come to more or less a complete stop. The professional speaking industry is at the center of this.

For 20+ years speaking at big conferences has been my, and many of my peers, main source of income (supplemented by a much smaller percentage of book sales). So when speaking bookings went down to zero, what did speakers do?

The answer is that they did different things!


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Speakers: Keep singing! (Professional Speaking. Episode 276.)


Birds sing in the forest. But put them in a cage and some of them still sing. Be that bird.

As speakers, we are used to be on the big stages, in front of 1000’s of people. So that is not happening at the moment. And to be frank: It will not happen for quite a while.

But do not let that stop you from spreading your message. If you are not sharing your message now, you were never a messenger – you were “just” a speaker.

When the market comes back, we will get booked again – especially the messengers.

Personally I have been creating, sharing and collecting more content in the last month than in any other month in my 20+ year speaking career. I suggest you do too if you are serious about professional speaking. 

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Right strategy. Almost. A speaker war story. (Professional Speaking. Episode 274)


I think this will be a valuable lesson because we learn the most from stories where not everything goes perfect.

As a global speaker, I started to pivot and move my focus from Asia to Europe 6 weeks ago as I saw how conferences in Asia started to get canceled.

On short notice I was able to secure 5 speaking slots in Sweden for one week in March.

I was supposed to fly to Sweden tomorrow to deliver those talks next week.

Yesterday and today they all choose to postpone their events to later in the year, due to big Covid-19 outbreaks in Sweden this week…

My observation was right – almost.
My understanding was right – almost.
My execution was right – almost.

And if the outbreak in Sweden would have stated just a few days later I would now have been on my way home to Asia again after delivering 5 speeches in Sweden.

Instead, I have 5 more postponed events to add to the list of already postponed events.

Sometimes you can get it...

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As a speaker: Be the Canary in the coal mine. (Professional Speaking. Episode 273)


As professional speakers we need to be ahead of the audience. We need to see further, think deeper, draw better conclusions than them.

We are called “thought leaders” for a reason. We are supposed to be leading the thinking.

That means we, amongst other things, need to practise our ability to see what is happening before it happens.

Here are a couple of examples of how I have done this previously in my speaking career exemplified with the biggest changes in my 25 years as a speaker:

1) The beginning: The Internet.

In 1993 I saw The Internet and in 1995 I published my first book – in Swedish – called “Internet and Marketing” as I had come to realise that this “Internet thing” was going to become a big thing.

I started speaking about The Internet before most people in Sweden even knew what it was.

2) The pivot: The rise of the creative Asia.

In 2005 I moved to China because I wanted to be part of when Asia...

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A Rallying Call for Non-native English Speakers to Speak More in English (Professional Speaking: Episode 269)

February 6, 2020 By Fredrik Haren

So this just happened at the Professional Speakers Summit in Delhi. A women came up to me, Angelina, and introduced herself as a professional speaker from Russia who wanted to speak more internationally. In order to make that happen she had signed up to work with an English teacher back in Russia. That teacher had recommended that Angelina would watch MY (!) speeches online in order to learn to speak English in a way that was easy for her to learn and at the same time easy for the audience to understand.

The teacher could have picked from thousands of native English speaking speakers to learn from – but she picked me. A non-native English speaker!

I hope this story can inspire other non-native English speaking speakers by showing that sometimes the non-native speakers can be perceived as speaking “better” English than the natives.

Thrilled to know that I have played a small part in helping this Russian speaker reach her dreams of...

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Professional Speaking is really about professional learning. (Professional Speaking 264)

January 6, 2020 By Fredrik Haren

Almost all of the 264 episodes of Professional Speaking is about HOW to become a global, keynote speaker, but some are about the business of speaking and a few – very few – are about the LIFE of a global, professional keynote speaker. This is one of those rare posts.

I think it makes sense to once in a while share what my life as a global, keynote speaker looks like to show what you could have  if you follow the free tips that I share here.

So in 2019 I did 54 speeches in 24 countries on 5 continents. Here they are, including one thing I learnt by doing that speech/workshop. I share that one thing to emphasise that while speaking is what we get paid to do, and where we get all the attention, LEARNING is what we shall never forget to do. Because learning new things is what gives us the new speaking assignments.

So here we go: One Year in the life of a global, keynote speaker:

1) Swiss Investment Manager Circle Event for SwizzQuant in...

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What is the best age to start a speaking career? (Professional Speaking. Episode 259.)

December 7, 2019 By Fredrik Haren

When I was a little kid my father (who was a professional musician) would bring up me on stage to sing a few songs with him. It taught me do dare, stage presence and it gave me the “stage bug”.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing my own kids (4, 6 and 8) sing infront of 40 professional speakers at the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore’s Christmas Party. (I love how the 4 year old is hesitant to join but then slowly gets closer and closer to the other performers.)

I recently also had a conversation with a man who just retired after a long career in banking and now was ready to start a new career while in his 60s.

Personally I became a professional speaker at the age of 27 and have been doing it now for 25 years. Considering how rewarding and fulfilling I find the job I plan to continue to do professional speaking until I die. (The good thing with the speaking profession that it is one of few jobs where old age will not make...

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“Take Your Work to Kids-day”as an Inspirational Speaker (Professional Speaking: Episode 247)


In this post I want to write about one of the biggest perks of being a professional speaker: That you get to meet so many inspirational and motivational speakers!

Last week I had the privilege to share the stage with some of the world’s heavyweights in inspiration as I was one of the speakers at a big event for AXA in Macau with more than 1000 MDRT-agents from around Asia meeting to celebrate their success.

Some of the other speakers at this event where:

Achmat Hassiem (Sharkboy)

A South African swimmer who was injured in an attack by a great white shark. The lower portion of his leg was subsequently amputated, because of the manner in which he sustained his disability Hassiem is nicknamed “Sharkboy”.

Hassiem began swimming at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa following his accident and was selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London.

Jia Jiang

Author of the book “Rejection...

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Stepping into your uncomfortable zone.


Today I want to talk about why we sometimes – on purpose – need to do things we do not like to do

About a year ago I stepped into the role of President of a non-profit member association for professional speakers (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore.

I did it because being part of a speaker association like APSS has given me a lot of value as a professional speaker, and I felt it was time to give back.

But anyone who knows me knows that:

– I do not like to lead people while being in an official role.

– I do not like to do any admin or finance tasks, especially not with other people’s money.

– I do not like bylaws, constitutions, minutes, and other formalia associated with, for example, not-for-profit organisations

– I do not like to be in the spotlight (Which might sound weird for a person making a living as a speaker, but when I give a speech I see it as me being there to deliver a...

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