I just became a professional member of APSS - Asia Professional Speakers Singapore. You might wonder why I became a member of that association while I'm based in Belgium (Europe). And I'm already a member of the Professional Speakers Association Holland which gives me immediately 'access' to the global network (like getting discounts on international events). So is this extra membership a good way to get rid of my money? A mistake? A signal that I might move to Asia?
I am a global speaker
The answer is no. At least for question 1 and 2. In a few years, I see myself doing more and more business in Asia and I might consider of staying a few months per year in that part of the world. The main reason why I joined the APSS is that I am an international speaker with global ambitions. In the previous years, I've invested a lot of time and money in participating in 3 European speaking conferences; travelled 3 times to the other side of the world to be part of the Professional Speakers Australia network; joined the Asia convention already 4 times and presented last year at the Global Speaking Conference. National Speakers in US, watch out because I'll be there next year.
There's absolutely nothing wrong to focus on the local market. But I know many local speakers who would love to get some more international assignments but they have never left their home country. This is of course not very beneficial in becoming an international speaker. I have already spoken in 23 different countries. I am a CSP - Certified Speaking Professional (and hope to be accepted very soon as one of the global speaking fellows - a small group of CSP's who have worked all over the globe). But I didn't just get those things. I have invested a lot of time, energy and money in the last 5 years by researching, visiting, connecting with potential clients in all those countries. And those efforts are slowly turning into business opportunities (slow but steady). But you have to get out and be at the places where you want to do business.
The most international oriented speakers network
But why did I choose for an extra speaking membership with APSS? I've already been to quite a lot of speaking networks but the one in Singapore has been the most international one. Most local speaking networks have once a year an international conference but in my experience, 90% of the participants are from that country - which totally makes sense and there's nothing wrong with that. But I've a feeling that APSS has a more global mindset towards speaking. This is quite logical because Singapore is very small and for that reason it's the Asia network. And on their last international conference, they had participants from 26 different countries. 50% of the speakers at the convention where from Singapore while the other half came from other countries. I'm quite sure that the Conference Chair (and this year's APSS President by the way) Fredrik Haren has something to do with this global mindset. Fredrik is the most global(minded) speaker that I know - he spoke already in 65 countries over 6 continents.
Asia is also a very interesting growing market for the speaking business (and they have just started yet). Singapore is a great hub to other countries in Asia. Being a member of the association (and also showing up on their website) is a clear signal that I'm ready to rock & speak in the Asian market.
As a member, you'll also get the opportunity to react to some of the speaking requests that arrive at the APSS office. Always nice.
And I want to contribute to this great speakers community. I'll be travelling several times to Asia in the coming years and would be great to support & learn from my speaking colleagues.
PS: The global speaking summit is also very international oriented but their big event is only organised every 3 or 4 years.
Some very concrete 'advantages' of investing in international networks:
+ Great networks of professional speaking colleagues all over the world
+ I have now some good friends in different parts of the world. During my last holiday to Sweden, I've visited and stayed at the home of speaking friends Fredrik Haren & David JP Phillips which was absolutely great.
+ On my previous trip to Hong Kong, I've spend a whole day with speaking friend Rob Lilwall to observe each other speaking movies & share feedback to improve our talks.
+ You can/should only recommend professionals who's work you've experienced first hand. The international conferences are a great opportunity to see you colleagues on stage. And you should apply of course to get on that stage.
+ Thanks to speaking colleagues all over the world, I got in touch with 3 local speakingbureaus (in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia).
+ I'm following a great 'Boost your marketing & sales' program at this moment - an Australian initiative from the PSAustralia but because I was in Australia at the moment they launched that new program. They have adapted the timing of the online seminars to make sure that I could attend them in Belgium.
+ I'm expanding my 'comfort zone' by consciously looking for opportunities to step out of that zone. Visiting countries all over the world is a great way to experiment with this.
Explore the world
I hope that I could trigger or inspire some professional speakers with international ambitions to get out there and do the work. Visit international speaking events, make new friends and start your international career. Feel free to ask some questions in the comments.