Archive for the ‘Press Articles’ Category


June 29, 2010

How do you wake up in the morning? Depressed or happy? There are many reasons people don’t look forward to their day and many simple solutions to that problem. One, is to be thankful as you open your eyes, especially for the things we take for granted. It kinda puts things and life into perspective and makes you realise that we have many reasons to be happy. Here’s an sms I received from a friend on a conference recently which I thought really brings this point across well.

“The only time you appreciate what you have is when you loose it. Be grateful today for all the universe has given you; parents, health, wealth, peace, dignity, home servants, world comforts, beautiful healthy children and friends. You have been blessed with more, than most people in this world. Remember, what we have today, you can loose tomorrow. Never take for granted all the things in your life, and most of all, enjoy what you have every day.”

I thought this very interesting. Who is grateful for peace and dignity? These are things we all take for granted … but we shouldn’t. There are countries on this globe where those things don’t exist! What I found was powerful was the sentence, “What we have today, we can loose tomorrow.” I keep on talking in my Keynotes about the most precious asset we have in life – TIME! Don’t take your time on this earth for granted. Realise that NOW is the time to enjoy. Give thanks to those little things that brighten up your day, a smile shared with a stranger, a hug from your child, or even a joke shared amongst friends. Guess what? This keeps you humble and appreciative. Way to often we take everything for granted and live a life of expectations. If you look at 90% of the problems around you (including depression), it’s because of expectations.

Think about it. Why is anyone negative or depressed in life? It’s because things don’t turn out the way they expected. We live in a world where the majority of people are on the take. People are only nice to each other because they expect something in return. Whether it’s a possible business deal, a potential relationship, or a good residual commission. When things don’t happen as planned, then disappointment sets in and people become negative.

However, imagine that if you did what you did out of pure love. Here the term, ‘Unconditional Love’ suddenly has meaning. Do what you do in life, because it is your passion, and you love doing it. Only then will you do things without expectations. And only then does the Law of Attraction start working for you. Statistically, somewhere along the line some things are going to come back to you, and because you had no expectations, it’s a great surprise. Suddenly you smile, your day is made and you become a positive, happy individual.

When people ask me about my career, I always say that I have never worked a day in my life. Why? Because I love what I do. All I do is play! Hence I do it with passion and no expectation. That makes me spiritually wealthier than the majority of people that sit day in and day out in jobs they hate. The pessimists always say they have to work in order to pay their bills. I couldn’t agree more, but at least do something you enjoy! Only then will you do it with pride and passion. Think about it. The people you know that smile and have fun in their jobs, they make you feel good. In fact you like doing business with them. It’s highly likely that everyone else they deal with feels the same as you do. This snowballs and their client base increases because of the positive energy they give out. And the money starts coming on it’s own.

The choice lies with you. You have the choice to be positive or negative. Of course you also need to take responsibility for your own life and your decisions. Blaming society, parents, teachers, or the government, is the cowards way out. At the end of the day, the the choice lies with you. You need to stand up to yourself and take the responsibility for your own life. Remember, if you are not happy and want to change – then you need to change your behaviour. If you keep on doing what you have always done – nothing will change. It all starts with being thankful, having no expectations, and practicing unconditional love in everything you do.

Imagine if everyone in the world suddenly changed their attitude and practiced giving unconditionally. Doing things without expecting anything in return. Just in your social circle you would have hundreds of people giving to you. Don’t you think that would change your life and the lives of everyone around you?


Beng Authentic

June 29, 2010

What a month, from speaking in England, Holland and South Africa, I am pretty tired of flying! Towards the end of this month it’s back around the world again! And everyone thinks my lifestyle is so cool! I have lost count of how many people have asked me if they can carry my baggage, just to tag along!

Like anything in life, the first few times you fly, it is pretty cool. But after a while, especially getting caught in the BA strike at Heathrow … it becomes pretty annoying! Reality is, flying is definitely not what it used to be. So what’s my point? No matter what you do in life, there will also be something that becomes routine, and even annoying at times. But, if I am already in a job I hate, plus have these added annoyances – it would be a very depressing life! That is why it is so important that you do what you enjoy. That you chose a job that makes you want to get up in the morning. Therefore, when you do come across things that may irritate you, you tend to take them in your stride and still be thankful for the fact that you actually love your work.

Basically, it enables you to cope better with the things that you don’t enjoy as much. It’s also a mind set. You have two choices when things don’t quite go your way. Take it in your stride, or get annoyed. Either way, it takes the same effort. So why even bother going for the negative? Yes I dealt with strikes, delayed flights, and even pushy fellow passengers. But, I was either on my way to speak, or on my way home to my family – both were great reason to be happy. I made a choice to keep the right attitude and enjoy the moment. Imagine that you get annoyed with someone, or something to such a point that you that you really do get a heart attack. Is it really worth it? The reason I mention this is that for some or other reason I have noticed a lot of short tempers and aggression in public places during this month. It saddens me that so many people are so unhappy. It also makes me think of what I was taught by many people as a youngster. “Always count to ten before you react to anything.” There is so much truth in that. It takes a few seconds to count to ten, and by then the adrenalin levels have had some time to drop, and the situation doesn’t always lok so bad anymore.

We have also become so conditioned by the media as to what life is and is not about. I recently saw a new car advert where they actually associated the car with an inspired, balanced and happy life! Huh!? The sad thing is, people fall for this nonsense. The only person that can make you happy is yourself! You have to consciously make that decision and work at it.

I spoke at the Professional Speakers Association of Holland conference in Noordwijk last month, and what a tremendous time we had. A theme that came through strongly was, Being Authentic.

In today’s world we all try to keep up appearances and portray a certain image. Is that who you really are? Can you imagine a world where everyone is open and honest, and content with who they are as a person? Where people don’t constantly compare themselves to others and what they own or don’t own? Wouldn’t that be absolutely great? I cannot see why it can’t be a reality. It all starts with just one person … and that person is you!

Easier said than done! How do I become authentic? Actually, it’s not that difficult. Firstly, show others that you are human and ask in everything that you do, “Is it making a difference to that person?”

I always come back to the ‘4 way test’ of Rotary International for whom I have often spoken. From day one, their principles of service and fellowship struck a deep note in me.

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

No matter what religion, culture or background you come from. Don’t you agree that if we all just asked those 4 questions before doing anything – the world would be a better place?

So as a start to finding the real you, ask yourself, Am I being true to myself and everyone around me? Am I being fair to myself and others I meet in my daily activities? Am I looking for the good in everyone I meet and making the effort to foster friendships? Or do I sit back and expect others to make the first move?

Am I giving without expecting in return and trying to live in the moment. A gift is not necessarily always something materialistic, or a shoulder to cry on. It could be a simple genuine smile to a stranger opposite you in the train … but it could just change that person’s day.

More than often people ask me how I make time for my family. Often whenI describe my lifestyle, I can understand that people believe I am never at home. However, in reality, I have a rule that I will never be away from home for more than 4 nights in a month. Occasionally I may push it to a week, but that is very rare. Anything over that, my family comes with.

Balance is of utmost importance in maintaining a happy lifestyle. Family should always come first, especially if you have children. It saddens me how many parents miss their children growing up and then complain at how fast time flies. Work, hobbies, friends and sport all take priority over family. One day when they are older, they regret not having spent spent more time with them. Especially if tragedy strikes and a loved one is taken from you. Then everyone cries and constantly wishes they could just have had 5 minutes more. Reality check! Now is the time – not tomorrow!

The time is now! In everything I do, I involve my family. Everywhere we go, the girls come too. If friends invite me over and say that no children are allowed… guess what – I don’t go! They are not worth having as friends. If I do a sporting activity, or have a hobby, I share it with my family. When last have you played monopoly or chess with your kids? Today it’s all about psp’s, surfing the net and every conceivable activity which alienates us. Make an effort to focus on family unity and get to know your spouse and kids again. It does make for a more authentic you. You need people close to you to bring you back to ground level. On that note, I cannot strongly enough recommend “Cash Flow for Kids” by Robert Kiyosaki (The Rich Dad Poor Dad Author). The schooling system won’t teach your children about economics and money – this game does, and it’s more fun than Monopoly, plus the kids love it. Bonus – they learn real live financial skills.

That’s one thing I can say about my wife, with all my successes and TV celebrity status, if I ever got a big head, she brought me down to earth immediately. She loves and cares enough for me to show me the way when I falter. Does your spouse do that for you too? Even my daughters are like that. I will never forget on a Magic TV series a few years ago. I was stressing tremendously with all the politics and hierarchy issues from the national broadcaster. Eventually after surviving the unwanted stress, my youngest daughter walks into the studio and comments, “It so boring when you know how it works!” (She was referring to the tricks!) Well I never, I just sank down and hugged her. You see, I had been ignoring her due to the production stress – she couldn’t understand it. I mean, the tricks in her eyes were so easy. What was my problem. She didn’t see all the other surrounding nonsense. It made me realise that everything around me wasn’t worth getting annoyed about. The most important issue there, was my daughter.

If I look at all the times I have had to be steered back in the right direction, it’s always been my wife, or daughters. Would they have been able to do this if there wasn’t a close-nit family unit? I don’t think so! Appreciate and spend time with your family and people that care about you.

Lastly, be honest with yourself. There is a saying that goes something along the lines of, “If you constantly lie to others about yourself, don’t believe that it only fools them!”

Yes, the world is cut throat, we have to earn money to make ends meet and pay bills. But, how much of what we buy, is really necessary? Is cable TV, or a new car really a defining issue in your happiness? I have met countless people who followed their dreams after they retired. Suddenly they were making more money than ever before, and wished they had done so sooner. Remember, if you honestly follow your passion, your energy levels will be higher than those that don’t. The Law of Attraction will look after you … but only if you are truly honest with yourself and take that responsibility.

Stop blaming family, friends, your boss, the previous government, etc. Take the responsibility on yourself to become authentic, and make that conscious decision to live the life you deserve to lead.

We can find 1000 reasons not to do something, but we only need 1 reason to start something!

Speakers Newsletters

November 6, 2009

How often do you keep in touch with your clients?
Most speakers constantly update potential and current clients with regular marketing emails, some as often as once per week.

I don’t know about you, but I get very irritated with spam emails, to the point that I either delete it as it comes in, or send a rude email back complaining. This is the last thing I want clients to do with me!

So what’s the answer? A newsletter!
BUT! And this is a big BUT – not a marketing newsletter! But something that ‘gives back’ and showcases your expertise.

Do you receive newsletters in your mail box which you have not subscribed to, and find that they are basically self opinionated and self promotional product letters? I bet they annoy you.

Yes I hear you asking, “But how else will I get people to know about what I do?”

Get yourself a good autoresponder with an ‘Opt In’ subscription service. International spam laws are becoming stricter and you can have your email shut down by your service provider if there are spamming complaints. Using a reputable autorepsonder company, firstly enables you to add a ‘subscribe’ form on your website, plus proof that each person who has received your newsletter, actually asked for it. This covers you if someone complains.

You can see exactly how many people have received and opened your newsletter and what links have been clicked. Great for fine tuning the newsletter.

These autoresponders have great html templates you can use, plus spam indicators. Often mails are blocked because of certain words, links or pitures. Here you have a meter on the site which tells you exactly how high your newletter is rated on the spam filters. Hence you can adjust and re-design it so that everyone will get the newsletter.

The recipient automatically has an ‘unsubscribe’ option on the email, should they no longer wich to receive it.

Finally, you write one email, and the autoresponder company sends them all out for you – a huge saving on time.

Everyone I meet, or that attends my presentations, I send to my website where they complete the form and subscribe themselves. There are two reasons for this. If they are really interested in who I am and the free newsletter I offer, they will spend the 5 minutes to do this. Secondly, it gives them a chance to browse my website. With older clients, I actually ask them if I can add them to my newsletter. Always get permission first – and I make a note of this on my database.

The newsletter itself is your showcase. Constant self promotion is a no no! Share items of interest, tips and ideas freely, so that the recipient feels they are receiving great value from you for free! This will make them want to read it. Be clever! Be subtle! Make the person receiving your newsletter feel special and give them a reason to subscribe.

DO NOT send it out more than once a month.

At the bottom, or on the side you can add one or two links of new products(at special prices for subscribers only), but don’t overdo it. The recipient must feel that they are getting something for nothing and that you are not sending it out as a self promotion, but rather as a ‘give back’. E.g, instead of blatantly advertising your new ‘customer services’ talk, use a story where you mention a recent seminar you hosted on customer service, and someone shared this tip with you. Thus you have subtly planted the seed that you cover this topic. This is far less invasive and pushy.

I market my newsletter as a Free Inspirational Newsletter. Over the years the subscriber numbers have grown steadily, as people forward it to friends. Yes, there is always a ‘Subscribe’ link included. However, the most interesting point to me is that every month, I always receive at least two inquiries as a direct result of someone having read the newsletter. Why? I believe that if you give freely, the universe looks after you and gives back in tenfold.

In conclusion, let your newsletter be something clients want, and share with others. Give them that free extra added value. Soon people will want to subscribe out of their own. It’s when others promote you, that the marketing is most effetive – and this is exactly what the right newsletter can do for you!

Wolfgang Riebe

10 Rules to Happiness

July 21, 2009

With everything that is happening in today’s world, many of us need to take a step back and look at life from a different perspective. In essence we need to ‘change’ our way of thinking. Hence I would like to share 10 insights to bring about a magical change in your life.

1.You are in control of your destiny. Only you can make your dreams come true. If you have not achieved your dreams up until today, and are still following the same routine you have been doing for the last few years, guess what – nothing will change. You have to change, do things differently, re-invent yourself, take responsibility and do things in a new way. Become acutely aware of everything around you and take responsibility for your own actions.

2.It is imperative that you set time aside every day to meditate on your dreams, desires and goals. By meditate, I mean quiet time where you reflect on your own life. It does not have to be an hour per day. It can even be ten minutes only. But you do need to give yourself time to ‘re-energise’ and find your focus again.

3.Practice the Law of Giving. And by ‘giving’ I don’t necessarily mean materialistic things. Meeting someone and quietly sending this person a blessing of love and health – but doing it consciously. Smiling at someone you never speak to at work. Offering comfort to somebody that seems down. And most of all – doing this from an ‘unconditional love’ point of view. In other words, do it without expecting anything in return.

4.Do not be disappointed by setbacks. Remember, the most successful people on earth have failed more than anybody else. The only difference is that they never saw the failure as bad or negative. They saw it as a learned lesson and stepping stone. It is through determination and never giving up, that we achieve our dreams.

5.Don’t listen to people that put you down. If you believe in yourself, follow your heart and follow through. Do not hang out with negative people who try and break you down. Stick with the positive one who support you.

6.Respect is earned – remember that. Often you have to earn it by being hard. Never take the easy way out just to win a popularity contest. I much rather be respected than popular. No matter what you do in life, not everyone is going to like you. But, by doing what is right, rather than what is easy, even if someone doesn’t like you – they WILL respect you.

7.Get out of the rat race and stop being conditioned by what society and the media expect from you. Even if you manage to win the rat race, remember, you are still a rat! You will only find inner happiness and peace if you are honest within yourself and life the life you are meant to live. The only way you will find that answer is through blocking out all the ‘outside’ influences and spending quite time alone looking within yourself. Think about it, the media will always try control your thinking and make you want to buy the latest craze. Why, because they are controlled by the governments who want you to buy everything and have debt. Because, if you have debt you have to work and pay taxes. The government needs your taxes to function. If you had no debt, and were content with the simple things in life and not run after money all day long – you would be free.

8.Find your passion again. Do you wake up excited and happy about the new day? Or do you wake up moaning? Think about it, what makes us loose our zest for life ? Easy … expectation! We do something because we expect something in return. When things don’t go our way, we are completely disappointed and depressed. Practice unconditional love and do whatever you do because you really want to do it. It must be fun and make you feel good, without you wanting anything in return. Guest what, the laws of the universe are such that it will come back to you. However, because you had no expectations, it will just be so much greater when it does come back. Life is like a mirror – what you put in front of that mirror, is what reflects back on you. It’s as easy as that.

9.The most precious asset you have is your own body – so look after it. Eat right, exercise and stay fit. Once your health is gone, that’s it. Take care of your body.

10.Life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer you get to the end, the quicker it goes! So enjoy every moment of it. learn to live in the now. If you are depressed and negative, it is because you are living in the past. If you are stressed and anxious, it’s because you are living in the future. Think about this : NOTHING has ever happened in the past or the future. Anything that will happen in your life will happen NOW. You cannot do anything about, or change the past -it has happened, it is over. Yes your actions today can have an impact on your future. But right now you are living in the now. You do not know how long this ‘now’ will last. So why not make the most of it. By constantly living in the now, to the fullest, every yesterday WILL become a good memory and the future WILL be something you look forward to.


May 28, 2009

So …. you need to book a Keynote speaker for your upcoming conference.

Who do you book?   Will he/she meet our company expectations?  There are so many speakers around, where do you begin, they all sound great? Can you believe everything you read on a webpage ?

The choice is so difficult … and at the end of the day, if the speaker bombs out, YOU are to blame for making that decision.   Bit of a problem you have?

First of all you need to distinguish between the established pro’s and the “Fly by Night’s”, by asking yourself the following questions?

Be weary of speakers that bill themselves as the best or greatest in the industry!

In my mother’s eyes I will always be the best and greatest, but in someone else’s eyes I may be a total idiot! Think about this! Never judge a speaker about subjective information which anyone could have written.
Which car is the best in the world? Difficult to answer! However, if someone were to ask you, which cars would you consider to be amongst the best in the world? This is easier to answer as you could think of 3 to 4 straight away. Yes, you may feel that one car is better than another. But remember, it is your own subjective thought, Someone else may disagree with you totally. Hence when looking for a speaker, don’t just go on one review, look at his/her track record.

How long has the speaker been working professionally?
This does definitely not mean that an established speaker who has been working the circuit for 10 years, is better than a newcomer in the industry, but it gives you an indication of the track record of that person. Also, a ten year track record with two talks a month is nowhere as impressive as someone who has 4 to 5 appearances per week.

Does his/her work consist of only new clients, or does repeat business make up most of the schedule?
In the corporate world, keeping and maintaining a client and building a long-term business relationship is what distinguishes the winners from the losers. Great marketing material and gift of the gab can land you many contracts. But you will only be used once and never again if your service is not as advertised.  Motivational speakers can and do change people’s lives. There is a lot of responsibility attached to booking one. Hence the last thing you need is that bad information is passed onto your staff. You need to look for a speaker that has at least 70% of his/her work from referrals and re-bookings, including long term relationships with corporate clients as well as speaker bureaus. Repeat business indicates quality service.

Is he/she a gifted speaker talking about issues they have researched, heard or read about, or is the talk based on personal true life experiences?
Many people have the gift of the gab and can smooth talk any audience, and … they are good at it. However, SINCERITY is lacking and those delegates with insight pick this up quickly.
If you want a  speaker that comes across like an overactive popcorn machine, makes the delegates stand on their chairs, clap hands and basically creates mass hysteria … in a positive way ….. great! However, this type of inspiration may only last for a few days.

Individuals that have overcome fears, achieved success with all the odds against them, carried on where other have given up hope, lived a life of adventure, etc. are people with a passion for life and success. Hence when they talk to you about issues and principals that have worked for them, they talk about tried and tested issues they believe in. When this is shared with an audience in a sincere manner – this inspiration lasts a lifetime!

Reviews and references.
Are they current with dates and contact names so that they can be verified?
A very important factor to consider. There is a saying in this industry, “You are not only as good  as your last, but current job.”
Anyone can write anything on a webpage, and people are gullible. References must include contact names and very important, the date as well. You could be booking a speaker on ten year old references and photos! Admittedly, people don’t often send references, they simply book you back. However, a minimum of 2 to 3 references per month, backdated for at least five years,  indicate to you that the speaker is working regularly and that his/her standard is maintaining a certain level.

On the subject of reviews, do they reflect the overall personality and content of the speakers message, or are they merely statements such as, “Great, Different, Enjoyable, etc”
How often have you read newspaper reviews or listened to radio/TV advertising about a certain entertainer. It always follows the line of “One of the greatest acts in the country”, or “A leading authority in the industry”. What does this mean? … Nothing!   Anybody can be ‘one’ of the top, or a ‘leading’ authority. These are general terms used to spice up speaker’s portfolio. In the media it is used to sell! Think about it …. ‘He is great, sound nice’, but, ‘He is one of the greatest’ sounds better!
Yes, many reviews will include these terms. However, you want to see a mix of reviews which show you an inner side to the speaker. What they are like as a person!

How adaptable and versatile is the speaker. Can the talk be adapted to your company’s needs and requirements. Is the speaker flexible enough to offer you other services such as maybe chairing the day session for you, or being MC at you Gala awards dinner that evening.

After you have received your fist quote, is the speaker still very negotiable and unsure of his/her price  Or do they  immediately and professionally quote you a rate that indicates they know what they are talking about?

Why are you considering booking a speaker ?
If it is to fill a gap in your program and you are doing this as an after thought, with a restricted budget, rather ask one of your senior executives to talk on a topic of his/her choice!
If you are booking a professional speaker to make an impact on your company/change the way of thinking of your staff/increase productivity/or inspire from within – be prepared to invest in quality! Especially if the speaker is going to be one of the highlights of your event.