Top 20 Countries Where I Want to Travel for Paid Speaking Engagements

I just finished reading the book: Keynote Mastery by Patrick Schwerdtfeger and was inspired to create a list of my top 20 destinations for paid speaking engagements. Patrick has a Google map on his website with geo-markers on cities where he has spoken before. It’s a brilliant way of showcasing instant credibility. If you have travelled to that many places (over 50 for Patrick) to speak, you must be doing something right.

Let’s get to it. In no particular order, these are cities where I will have paid speaking engagement in the years to come:

  1. Seattle in Washington, USA
  2. New York City in New York, USA
  3. Chicago in Illinois, USA
  4. Washington DC, USA
  5. Montreal, Canada
  6. Toronto, Canada
  7. Dallas, Texas, USA
  8. Miami, Florida, USA
  9. Salvador, Brazil
  10. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  11. Dubai, UAE
  12. Barcelona, Spain
  13. Rome, Italy
  14. London, UK
  15. Tokyo, Japan
  16. Hong Kong, China
  17. Helsinki, Finland
  18. Manchester, UK
  19. Dublin, Ireland
  20. Mumbai in India

The list started with 20, but I was inspired to add 5 more when composing the list.

  1. Paris in France
  2. Cape Town in South Africa
  3. Lagos in Nigeria
  4. Nairobi in Kenya
  5. Yaounde, Cameroon

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Let me get to work so I get to meet you one day in one of those cities and countries.

Lessons From the 365 Days of Public Speaking Project

It’s a wrap for the 365 Days of Public Speaking Project. 136 YouTube videos later, I can say that it has been a great experience. The original idea was to produce content daily on a subject I love, public speaking. When I started the year my ambition was to create one 2 to 5 minutes video and publish on under the channel I had created for the purpose. The channel is accessible here:

The project was not successfully completed. I stopped recording after the 136th video. There are many reasons why I stopped, and reflecting about the experience allowed me to draw the following three lessons:

  • A Half Baked Cake is Better Than No Cake

When you are hungry enough, a half baked cake tastes as good as a fully baked cake. It would have been great to finish with the 365 videos, but I am happy I hit 136 videos. That is about 37% of the goal and it is much better than 25%. In other words, if you don’t hit a goal you had set for yourself but have been able to achieve it partially, you can be proud of yourself for taking a good swing at it.

  • Developed Daily Discipline is an Invaluable Skill

One of the reasons why I did not go through to the 365 envisioned videos is because I did not have enough discipline. I guess when I did not see traffic coming to the videos, my interest and zeal for the project declined. That should not have happened. I should have been disciplined to keep going. Discipline is doing what must be done even when one does not want or feel like doing it. I was not disciplined enough to carry the project through to completion. In other words, be disciplined enough to do what you have to do, even when you don’t want or feel like doing it.

  • No Effort is Ever Wasted

I have realized that effort I have put into creating each of the videos was beneficial to me. I was either reviewing concepts I already knew, or was learning new concepts for the purpose of explaining them to my online audience. If no one ever watches the videos, I can say that each one of them was an educational experience for me. In other words, there is a learning (or teaching) experience in every activity you undertake.

If you would like to see the list of all the videos, head on to the YouTube channel here:

If you have a YouTube channel, share the link in the comments section below and I will definitely check it out and subscribe.

7 Action Steps to Grow Your Speaking Business in 2015

public speaking business

2015 is just around the corner. By this time of the year, most corporations have already set their budgets for the new year and scheduled their meetings, conferences and events. One of my passions is speaking and I have been progressively learning how to get rewarded financially for sharing valuable information and knowledge to audiences, as a professional speaker.

If you are involved in the speaking business or want to get involved but need some guidance, you will get from this article seven action steps you can take to start or make your business grow next year.

  • Review or Revamp Your Personal Brand

Seth Godin defined branding best as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” You already have a personal brand. To keep it simple, your action step here is to take a 3 x 5 card and write down 3 keywords that you want to be associated with you when clients and prospects refer to you.

There is no right or wrong here. Brands that sell are brands that are authentic and stay true to themselves. Take any professional speaker you know or have heard of. Chances are the 3 keywords you will mention when speaking about them would be very close to how they intentionally decided to be perceived.


Action Step 1: Write your 3 personal brand keywords, and remain aware of them when you interact with clients and prospects.

  • Schedule and Host Your Own Seminars and Workshops

Staying ahead of your game requires attending training programs in the form of seminars and workshops, among other things. Like Brendon Buchard explains, speaking is only one aspect of a speaking business. My friend Michael Brandt of has a meetup group and as part of his Social Media Marketing business, he host regular seminars and workshops during which he offers valuable information to attendees. He has generated a lot of business for himself through hosting his own workshops.

You can host your own seminars or workshops at local libraries or schools at virtually no cost to you. Plus, you get to promote your event at those venue where you will host your programs.


Action Step 2: Set dates for at least two of your own seminars or workshops to be hosted next year. You can even decide to make it a conference and invite other speakers to draw from their networks.

  • Attend 2 Paid Seminars or Workshops

You can attend as many free workshops or seminars as you can, but usually when you pay for them you get more value out of the experience. Attend one in your subject of expertise, and one in the area of speaker training or seminar hosting for speakers. There are lots of professional speakers who host their own speaker training workshops. For example: Big Money Speaker Bootcamp, Hell Yeah! Star, Sean Stevenson 10k Speaker Training.

In addition to providing you with great value, programs you pay to attend usually give you VIP treatment and golden networking opportunities. If possible for your annual budget, why not even consider attending a TED conference.


Action Step 3: Search for and signup for two paid seminars or workshops in 2014.

  • Create a Social Media Strategy

Oxford Dictionaries define strategy as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” Facebook as the leading social media networking site has 1.4 billion users worldwide. It is one of the cheapest forms of outreach available on the Internet, when used properly. As you work on growing your speaking business in 2015, you cannot afford to ignore social media sites.

However, you do not have to have a presence on ALL social media sites, just focus on two or three depending on your subject of expertise. I recommend to people to choose Facebook and Twitter, and focus all efforts there. Also have a blog with your own domain name. You can get a free blog setup and ready for your posts in a few minutes at With a few dozen dollars a year, you get your own domain name and a no ads. Typepad (used by Seth Godin mentioned above) is also a good option for creating a blog.

Your social media strategy must include the following 3 elements? What two or three platforms will you focus? What type of content will you publish and at what frequency? Ultimately, social media can help you position yourself as an expert and grow a fan and followers base. Two questions you must ask yourself before publishing on social media are these: 1) How is this post relevant to my audience? 2) Is this post valuable to my audience?


Action Step 4: Create a weekly calendar for your social media strategy execution. 

  • Create New Signature Speeches

Speakers usually tend to speak on a lot of different subjects within their area of expertise. As you grow as a speaker and refine your skills and message, you want to create a new signature speeches. A signature speech is between 20 minutes to 90 minutes long and is usually very focused and rehearsed. Your new signature speeches should ideally focus on processes, so that you can find ways to make them relevant and customized for different industries or groups.

For example, if you are positioned as an expert on Relationships, you can have a signature speech that addresses: “Dealing with Difficult People.” The process that it takes to successfully deal with difficult people might be the same process leaders can use to incite people to change, thus you might be able to develop a new signature speech that addresses: “Leading Those Who Don’t Want to Follow.”


Action Step 5: Look at the signatures speeches you already have and use them to create a few more signature speeches.

  • Create a Content Creation Strategy

Gary Vaynerchuck of Vaynerchuk Media says in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook that “Content is king and context is god.” Throughout 2015, how many books, eBooks, audio CD, Video CD with your original content or curated content will you produce. If you don’t have an audience and you don’t know what you can do to create one that you eventually market and sell to, start by focusing on creating quality content.

William Lee was able to start and is building a successful speaking business based on his first book which he completed in only 4 months. You can read a transcript of my interview with William Lee here:

If you only write 200 words every day, in 60 days you will end up with 12,000 words of content you can package into any form, and distribute to your audience. If you face a lot of resistance when it is time to create content, I recommend the book: “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.


Action Step 6: Commit to a daily or weekly content creation activity. You might decide to go with audio (podcasts), video (youtube), or text (blogging.) Map it out on a calendar.

  • Get a New Website or Revamp Your Existing Website

There is no valid reason for someone not to have a basic website today. If you don’t have a website because you either don’t have money or time to invest in one, get a free web page here: and customize it with your own picture and information about you and your area of expertise. You can get 250 free business cards from with your website address. If you already have a website, get feedback on it from other speakers to make sure it is serving your interests more than otherwise. A bad looking website can turn away prospective buyers from you.

Your website should 1) Be at the center of your content creation strategy, 2) Provide you with email capture forms to build your list of followers. 3) Serve as the center of your content distribution hub.


Action Step 7: Contact a media agency and find out what it takes to get yourself a good or improved website. Then give yourself a deadline to make it happen.

What other action steps can you add to the list from your personal experience?

Top 5 Free Webinar Services For Speakers

One aspect of my speaking business for next year involves conducting monthly webinars on various topics. As part of my research for a solid and affordable webinar platform, I am listing below the top 5 services that made the best impression on me. webinars

AnyMeeting offers a full-featured web conferencing product designed and priced for small business, including a completely free ad-supported option. The setup is easy and creating an account was painless. If you need not to pay for your webinars and don’t mind your webinar participants being exposed to ads you have no control over, AnyMeeting might be the way to go for you.

FreeConferenceCall offers screen sharing with up to 25 attendees at no cost. It is more a conference calling service than a webinar service, but I tested their screen sharing feature and it worked really well. The neat thing is that your participants don’t need a computer to listen to you. You will have to rely less on visuals. However, for those participants with computer access, there is no software download. They can simply access your broadcast through their any modern browser.

BigMarker is the most solid solution I have experienced. It gives you up to 100 free participants and there are no ads. The only downside to BigMarker is that it only supports Chrome for now. However, they are working on supporting other browsers soon. BigMarker is the platform I will personally use.

MeetingBurner is a fast and simple online meeting platform that gives you 10 participants for free. MeetingBurner is the service which integrates best with Social Media sites. It has options to create Facebook webinar page, audio conferencing on phone and computer, automated email reminders, and more. The major con for MeetingBurner is that its free option does not allow you to record the webinar. Bummer! If you don’t care about recording or can setup alternative ways of recording video and audio output on your computer, MeetingBurner might be for you.

FreeScreenSharing is a service of the same company offering This is a webinar service that is 100% free and the best in terms of customization options. The only cons I found with this service is 1) the missing option to record the webinar and 2) having to install a executable before running the host program. Otherwise, this is the way to go for starters.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive list of Webinar or Call Conferencing solutions for small businesses, see the following link:

What other tools do you have experience with or would you like to recommend?


Stop Using These Five Expressions When You Speak

Have you ever listened to yourself talk and discovered you overuse certain expressions that don’t really help in getting your message across? I sure have. Today I want to share five expressions we must stop using when we speak if we are to make our communication more effective. Speaking-man-and-woman

One of the keys to learning any new language is to master the most common words used by native speakers. English being my second language I regularly find myself in situations where my accent is totally different from the native English speakers’ accents. Having to do quite a few public speaking, I have learned to accept my accent as an asset rather than a liability. Even though I am not trying to change my accent, more and more you will catch me using some expressions that we should all drop from our vocabulary.

With that said, the popular expression “When in Rome do what Romans do” is valid and I live by it as much as I can. That includes picking up good habits of the country hosting you, as well as not so good habits. Listening to myself speak and consciously resisting negative influences to the way I communicate verbally, I have identified the five most common expressions we must avoid using when we speak. These expressions are part of the daily vocabulary used by Americans in professional and informal settings. Learning to speak without the following expressions will make you a better communicator.

Here are the expressions:

  • It’s like

Examples are: It’s like he does not care about what I feel. It’s like you just want to make money out of this. It’s like nobody cares about how I feel. Instead, replace “It’s like” with “Apparently” or “It gives the impression”. True, it takes more time but in the long term you will feel better when you speak like that and you get complement on how well you use the language.

  • You guys

How about the gals, are they included? Popular examples are: How are you guys doing today? You guys having fun yet? I will see you guys tomorrow. You guys are amazing. Instead, replace “you guys” with “you.” The meaning is the same and it makes you sound less casual. Regardless of whether you are speaking with friends at the beach or with colleagues in the office, you will sound more refined when you drop “guys” and simply use “you.”

  • You know

No I don’t. Very popular examples: You know what I mean? You shouldn’t be doing this you know. You know I like it when you do things for me. Instead, replace “you know” with nothing. Just don’t say it. Unless it is part of a (sometimes rhetorical) question. Example: You know I do this because I care much for you, don’t you? If “you know” serves you as a pause filler, drop it.

  • I think

Any sentence or statement that starts with I think indicates uncertainty. You would probably not believe someone who thinks at the speed he or she speaks. It is expected that we think before we speak. The opposite is almost always guaranteed to cause (sometimes irreparable) damage. Think of two police officers (even one is enough) with their guns drawn on a civilian. If someone shouts “I think he has a gun,” what will most likely happen thereafter will not be pretty.

  • Whatever

This is often a problem when you use it by itself in response to a question or a statement. To be honest, the reason why I have this on the list is because I could not think of anything else as I was writing. Then I said out loud: whatever! Chances are if you took time to read through to this item, it means you are an educated reader who seldom uses that expression in his or her verbal communication. Is that true?

If you found the list useful, what other expression do you suggest or recommend people keep out of their vocabulary and oral communication?