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Today I did not follow the brief that client had given me. The purpose of this post is to explain why sometimes that is the right thing to do.

The conference I spoke at today was a conference for top Assets Managers from Swizerland. The conference organisers had picket a hotel in Riffelalp, 2222 meter above sea-level and with a wonderful view of the Matterhorn, as their venue. It was stunning.

I got this booking because one of the organisers heard me speak at another conference in Singapore a few months ago.

In the briefing call he told me to “Do the exact same speech as I heard in Singapore, it was perfect.”

(That is not an uncommon brief. A client has heard something, loved it, and now want more people to hear the same message.)

So I prepared the same speech, but then today I attended the conference and heard the other speakers and realised that the focus on the conference was much more focused on China than I had originally understood. (I was a dinner speaker, and many speakers would perhaps have chosen to arrive at say 5 PM to be ready for the dinner at 7, but I arrived at 8 AM to attend the whole conference. Not because I am especially interested in Swiss asset management (even if it turned out to be a very interesting conference), but specifically so that I could pick up more about the conference and the delegates during the day.)

At the end of the day I realised that I had another speech that would fit much better for the dinner than the one that the client had heard me deliver. The client of course did not know about that speech, so when he said “Do the exact same speech as I heard in Singapore, it was perfect.” it was the logical thing for him to say.

But I (!) knew I had an even better speech for the group.

So I deleted my original powerpoint and put together a new one based on the new information that I had gathered during the day.

I of course checked with the client between the end of the conference and the beginning of the dinner to make sure that this new angle that I had selected was something that he would approve of. It was.

After the speech he came up to me and expressed in an excited voice: “This speech was perfect!”

It turns out that the speech the client thad thought was “perfect” could actually be beaten by an “even more perfect” speech.

So do not be afraid to throw the brief into the trash if it turns out that you can deliver an even better speech than the original brief asked you to deliver.

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If you want to have a comfortable and successful career as a global keynote speaker, where should you live?

The answer, if you ask me, is: Singapore.

And thus Singapore is the city I choose to settle down in when I made a conscious decision to become a global keynote speaker. Now I speak in 20-30 countries on 4-5 continents per year.

When I decided to pick a local base for my global speaking business I was very detailed. I knew I wanted to live in Asia (see #5  future ready) and I then lived for at least 2 weeks in 10 different Asian cities to really evaluate them from the perspective of which city would be the best place to live when building a global speaking career.

Here are the reasons I have come up with for why Singapore won as the best base for a global speaker:

Reason #1: The number of direct flights all over the world.

I am writing this from San Francisco International airport where I am waiting to board a plane.

I flew straight to San Francisco from Singapore.

Later this week I am speaking in Switzerland and I will then fly straight back to Singapore.

I can reach Australia, Asia, Europe and both the East and West coast of North America with direct flights from Singapore.

Yes Turkey (Istanbul), Doha and Dubai could be great places too due to the great global connections from those airports. But the speaking opportunities in (!) Istanbul, Doha and Dubai is not as great as they are in Singapore.

Reason #2: Best Airport in the world.

Singapore Changi Airport has been voted “Best Airport in the World” so many times that other airports should be ashamed. It just is such a great airport.

– I am often HOME less than 30 minutes after my plane landed.

– It’s one of the most automated airports in the world.

– It’s build to be stressless (just the fact that security is next to the gate (!) and not next to immigration is such a “de-stresser”.

– Most importantly: It virtually never closes and very, very seldom there are delays.

The airports works and it woks in a wonderful way.

(If you ask me the way an airport works is more important from a flying experience than the airlines)


Reason #3: Best Airline in the world.

Singapore Airlines is the gold standard in flying. The service is the best if you ask me and the business class seats are a dream. Best way to fly.

Reason #4: Quality of life

The amount of government service you get for your tax dollar in Singapore is the best in the world if you ask me. Of course there is always things that can be better, but over all Singapore is an amazing country to live in. (I have worked in 67 countries so I have had a chance to compare many countries…)

Reason #5: Future ready.

Asia is not the biggest market for speakers today. But Asia will be. 60% of the world population lives in Asia and Asia is where the world center of gravity is moving to. To be based in Asia is to be closer to the future.

Reason #6: The most global place on Earth.

Singapore is such a global place. 50% of the people in Singapore who work are from outside Singapore. It’s a mix of cultures (Chinese, Indian, Malay, Western etc) and cultural differences are celebrated.

If you want to have a global mindset it really helps to live in a global city and if you ask me Singapore is the most global city in the world.

So there you have it: If you are a professional speaker, a motivational speaker, an inspirational speaker or any other kind of speaker and you want to speak globally then Singapore is the place to be based. It’s your base on Earth.

At least it is for me.

And it works.

Want some proof? When I moved to Singapore I had spoken in 10 or so countries. Now, 10 years later, I have been invited to speak in 67 countries. And I can honestly say that moving to Singapore played a big part in making that happen.