So just how did Femi break into the professional speaking circuit?
“I started off broke” Femi tells Speakers Inc. “Selling funeral policies on the streets of Braamfontein in Johannesburg … I had a moment of clarity and realized that something had to change. I asked myself – “Who do I need to become in order to achieve what I desire to achieve?” … I studied nights, got my second degree and became an investment consultant”
Femi started to write business articles for Business Day and Entrepreneur Magazine around the themes of ‘motivation’ and ‘high-performance’: “I began to get invitations to talk about some of these issues and that’s how my speaking career started”.
“Being a professional speaker and entrepreneur is living my dream; impacting people’s lives, adding value to businesses and enjoying it … nothing beats that. Nothing! (Except maybe being a dad …)”
So who inspired Femi to pursue his dream of speaking?
“My old man” Femi tells Speakers Inc. “I qualified with a Masters Degree and was an investment consultant in my past life … I, however, realized later that speaking was the one thing that I thoroughly enjoyed and that came naturally to me … it didn’t feel like work. My dad told me that I should live life on my own terms, without regret and to pursue that which captured my heart … so I pursued speaking and carved a niche by focusing on business issues such as leadership, innovation and high-performance culture … I haven’t looked back since …”
We also asked Femi what he likes most about professional speaking: “Honestly, it’s seeing the look in the audiences’ eyes when you lock in with them and you’re both in the zone for 45 minutes straight … they are completely on the journey with you – they learn, think, laugh (sometimes cry – really! This happened once!) … They leave challenged.
That’s a buzz … “
And what he dislikes about professional speaking: “Taking oneself too seriously. Instead, I believe that quality and value of my work should always speak for itself. The message is always far more profound and there’s a stronger emotional connection when the audience feel that it’s a human being just like them that’s speaking (and not a super human who’s never made mistakes) … It always leaves them with a ‘if he can do it, so can I’ feeling …”
Femi believes that success as a speaker really comes down to adding value to the client. “I put myself in the client’s shoes and ask: “how is what I am about to say, going to add value to the client? … Would I pay for what I am saying? … How will it positively impact the client’s business, their bottom-line and their culture? … I believe that unless I am truly adding value, I have no business standing before a client. Adding value requires knowledge and knowledge only comes from constant research and first-hand experience”.
Femi also believes that the magic formula for success is to “define the vision of your life … Know the price of that vision (never fool yourself) … be committed to paying that price (otherwise don’t bother) … Have a plan … Failure is not an option”
Femi’s keynotes include:
- Masters of the Universe: Building A High-Performance Culture in Organizations
- Lead From Within: Achieving Inspired Leadership
- Business Unusual: Creating a Culture of Innovation in Organizations
- Mission Impossible: Overcoming the Fear of Change
Other than running his own business and doing professional speaking, Femi is married family man with a toddler. He enjoys the History Channel and CNBC Africa and he is a “voracious reader”.
“Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear”
Article by Speakers Inc