Lessons from

the world of a

global keynote


The future of online events is (almost) here, and it will blow us away, and perhaps just change meetings forever. (Professional Speaking. Episode 282)


Could meetings go truly virtual and what would that mean for speakers? To find out I checked out some of the current technologies available.

As in-person conferences have been canceled around the globe recently we have instead been gathering on Zoom to “see” each other. But Zoom is "so early 2020”, and you can only get so excited about seeing a bunch of thumbnail video windows.

Let’s instead look at what is around the corner - or in some cases AT the corner - for how we could meet virtually.

(I will link to all the companies mentioned in the comments, because of LinkedIn's STUPID habit of limiting the spread of posts with links in them.)


Teooh has combined the virtual world with simplicity.

As a user you still have to download an app, but then the user experience is simple. You get to create your avatar to look like (or not look like) yourself and then you are let into a 3D rendered conference room where you can sit at a...

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The good news about professional speaking in these Corona crisis. (Professional Speaking. Episode 280.)

April 30, 2020 By Fredrik Haren

Four different events this week have made me feel that the people who book speakers are now getting serious about moving keynote speeches online.

When the Coronavirus hit the world a lifetime ago (well, ok, two months ago or so, but you know what I mean) speakers started to see their bookings being cancelled as conferences got shut down. The professional speaking world got ready for some lean times. The longer the crisis goes on the more obvious it becomes that the time for large gatherings of groups of people is still far off.

That is the bad news. (Especially for the MICE industry.)

The good news is that it seems that clients have drastically shifted their views on virtual keynotes

And before you start filling the comment field with comments like “This is nothing new: I have been doing webinars for X weeks/months/years” please read the whole post. ;) 

Some clients have booked virtual speakers for ages. And some clients were faster...

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Happy Birthday from Professional Speaking (Professional Speaking 279)


In April 2015, I launched Professional as a vehicle to share – for free – my knowledge around all the aspects of professional speaking.

Since then the site has grown to over 270 blog posts, and the community has expanded more than 22,000 people on Facebook alone.

Thank you for your support!

I love the process of sitting down every week to share with you what I have learnt about the amazing world of speaking.

To get to spread your message to the world is a gift more valuable and rewarding than almost anything else.

Today though, to celebrate the birthday of, I have a quick question for you. I would love to hear:

What do you like about Professional Speaking?

What would you love to learn next?

What would you like to get more of? What would you like less of?

Let me know by commenting on this post. 

It would be the best gift I could think of receiving.


Fredrik Haren

p.s. what can I...

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How to create a video that sells you as a speaker – without selling you as a speaker. (Professional Speaking. Episode 275.)



Last night I released a video that I have worked on for months.

I had 2 cameramen following me around the world to capture my work as a global keynote speaker.
(They went with me to 4 countries during a total of 10 days.)

All in all I used clips from my trips around from over 10 countries: From North Korea to The Maldives.

You can watch the video here:

I am sharing this video with you as an example of how a “Speaker showreel” does not have to look like a “speaker showreel”.
Yes, I am showing some clips of me on the stage for a few seconds at the end of the video, but the vibe of the video is not about me as a professional speaker – it is about me as “The Creativity Explorer”.

I think people are much more interested in a topic – than in a speaker. So instead I created a “trailer” for “The Creativity Explorer”.

I hope it will work as an...

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When the speaking life gives you Corona – make CoronRitas. (Professional Speaking. Episode 268)

February 5, 2020 By Fredrik Haren

Due to the Corona virus outbreak many conferences in Asia have been cancelled or moved in the last few days. It is understandable. Companies and event organisers care about the health of their delegates and many people prefer “safe over sorry”.

So what does that mean for speakers? Missed speaking gigs? For sure.

In the last week I have personally had three keynote speeches in Asia cancelled (or more specifically moved) on very short notice (speeches that where supposed to happen this month but that will not happen later in 2020.)

So what does this mean for speakers and what should speakers do?

I have been a professional speaker for 25 years. I have seen the ups and down of the speaking industry. The dot-com bust (when I spoke about the Internet…), the global financial crises, moving to China in 2005 when there was a very underdeveloped speaking market there and so on.

In bad times companies tend to reduce conferences and the...

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Why being connected to a university can make sense for a professional speaker. (Episode 251)

October 7, 2019 By Fredrik Haren

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...

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The business of speaking The Future of Keynote Speaking (Professional Speaking: Episode 250)

September 30, 2019 By Fredrik Haren

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...
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My Take on Drastically Increasing Your Following as a Speaker (Professional Speaking: Episode 248)

September 16, 2019 By Fredrik Haren

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 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...

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Why Professional Speakers constantly need to be working on their brand. (ProfessionalSpeaking. Episode 240.)


Great brands are great brands because they constantly tweak, adjust and adjust what they are, because the company, and the world around it has changed.

Tweaking your brand is not a sign of being wrong before, or not knowing what you stand for. It IS a sign of knowing who you are right now.

And that is true for speakers too.

I just went through a brand adjustment and it came from the most unlikely of places: My 8-year old son.

In school he was asked: “What does your dad do?” and he wanted to reply: “My dad is a creativity expert” but it came out as “My dad is a creativity EXPLORER”.

A creativity explorer! When I heard that story, I realised that that is exactly what I am.

My Inner Theme is still “Humanity to the Power of Ideas”, my focus right now is still on my upcoming book “The World of Creativity” and at I still blog about speaking, but my BRAND is that...

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Creative Social Responsibility (CSR for professional speakers). (Professional Speaking. Episode 236.)


I do not normally share the CSR-projects of my business. But in this post I will do an exception and share some of my recent CSR-activities in the last month.

First of all: I call it “creative social responsibility”, well, because I speak on creativity and want to remind myself to do creative projects that help.

In the last few weeks we have done these projects (sample):

  • Environment. (Tree planting, Bintan)

A few weeks ago I took my family to Bintan, Indonesia to help plant mangrove trees off the coast of Bintan to help restore the local marine environment.

  • Pro-bono speeches (Boys’ Brigade.)

This Saturday I volunteered to speak for the Boy’s Brigade in Singapore. As a global speaker I find it important to get involved with the causes that are dear to the local community where I live. I was happy to be one of two speakers and to share the stage with the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Vivian Balakrishnan).

  • ...
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