Interview with Famous Speaker Michael Wigge on keynote speaking Around the Globe
-Michael, where do you appear on stage – as one of my favorite motivational speakers – besides speaking in the US?
Wigge: First of all, the US is my country of residency. I am residing in Denver, CO, and I often go skiing in places like Salt Lake City, because I just love the West of the United States with its laid back atmosphere, its incredible scenery, and its unique opportunities for motivational speakers – regardless if famous or not famous. The United States are a corporate meeting hub with corporations from all over the world, offering so many opportunities for speakers, it’s incredible. I often speak in Las Vegas for conventions, because Las Vegas, Nevada offers so much entertainment that a couple of days for conferences, and workshops feel like a unique vacation. That’s why Las Vegas has so many speaking opportunities. Corporations love to combine their training with some entertainment for their employees. My latest motivational speaker video on YouTube was recorded at a Las Vegas convention. Feel free to have a look at the motivational speaker video on top of this site or, as mentioned, on YouTube. I always have lots of fun before and after keynote speaking in this magic place.
–But where do you speak? Worldwide?
My gigs are booked worldwide, and I feel so blessed to have developed these opportunities that enable me to regularly deliver a speech in the US, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. These countries make about 80% of my motivational keynote speaking bookings. I am a German national, and a US permanent resident which enables me to handle several North American and European markets at the same time, and speak on stage in English and German.
The Germans often book me to deliver a speech or a workshop because I have published four books and seven adventure docu-series on national television there over a period of more than 10 years. Some people might consider me in Germany as a famous motivational speaker with television video content known by many people. But I don’t really like to use the term famous motivational speaker. I’ve sometimes been entitled famous motivational speaker here in the US because of my video and book presentations on The Tonight Show, on The Today Show, on PBS, and publications in the LA Times and USA Today.
-That sounds interesting. But how do the European markets differ from the US motivational speaker scene?
There are several aspects of difference.
I would consider speaking in Las Vegas, for instance, as a kind of hometown feel, conferences often even have this vacation atmosphere because staff and managers are often very excited to be here and finally have a bit of time off from work. For example, speaking in Germany is different location wise. Usually, corporate conferences are rarely connected to an entertainment aspect like in Las Vegas. They are often set up in major conference centers in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, or Berlin. Staff might go for drinks in the evening, but corporations don’t usually like to promote entertainment opportunities during conference days, because they tend to believe that to much entertainment may be an obstacle for some to achieve their goals during a conference.
Switzerland with its natural beauty of the Alps offers this beautiful surrounding with its high class five star hotels. It’s obviously one of my favorite places deliver my speeches and workshops. Working there as a motivational speaker often rather feels like being in a luxury vacation. I just really enjoy those opportunities so much. One of my television travel shows is entitled “Switzerland for Free”, and it was running on Swiss national television as an eight-part video series. This luckily gives me credits to be considered a famous motivational speaker with video content over there, and I love every gig in that beautiful country. Interestingly, meeting planners in Zurich and other Swiss cities regularly ask me if I know Tony Robbins, because I live the States, and work in the same field. They all have watched his videos before, and love to know more about him.
-I love the Tony Robbins question in Switzerland! Any other differences over there?
These markets I mentioned differ in what kind of keynote topics they require. Here in the US, I usually get booking requests for leadership, sales, or motivation keynotes. Germany is all big on my change management keynotes. Pretty interesting to look at the reasons why German companies have such a higher demand for change keynotes than US companies do.
The US culture seems to be pretty good in embracing change due to a high flexibility in the American society to move around the country, to accept short term work contracts, and to live in a country which can historically be entitled as THE immigration country. This seems to have led US companies to be good in terms of embracing change. Usually, leaders and managers don’t need that much powerful feedback on this matter here in the US.
The German culture therefore has its stronger aspects rather in preciseness, reliability, and structure. Good for Corporate Germany to have a high quality in their production processes. But the other side of the coin seems to be that they tend to have difficulties with their change management. I know many employees and managers in German companies that are having a hard time to change a certain process over and over again. I often think back to the United States, a country of constant change. To stay on top of the world economy industry, this country can never really sleep, and probably it doesn’t want to.
-How do speaking fees differ for a speaker with famous video content on YouTube in all these countries?
Speaking fees are such a discrete topic that it’s something hard to speak about, because it feels like sharing a secret. But I love to talk about it to help other famous or not famous motivational speakers to get encouraged to speak in their home base but also all over the world.
The US and Switzerland are usually the best paid countries for inspiring speeches. A quality gig often gets $10,000. Famous celebrity speakers usually get way more, but there is also a huge part of the speaker scene that deals with $1,000-3,000. It all depends on quality of your motivational video, your fame, your topics, and on the current demand. These fees are obviously not just paid for an hour on stage, but for a very intense process that requires everyone to become a motivational speaker on stage.
Germany keeps most of its famous motivators on stage financially between $3,000 and 5,000. Even my appearances on PBS, the Today Show, the Tonight Show, all my docu-series on German national television, and my pretty successful books wouldn’t make me speak for more than $10,000. Some colleagues of mine in Germany earn up to $10,000 but there seems to be a cultural limit of what is appropriate to companies to invest in speakers, similar to what I mentioned earlier on in terms of location. It doesn’t seem to be appropriate for German companies to hold their company meetings in an entertainment location. Canada seems to pay their motivational keynote speakers similar fees than Germany does. I hope these information suit you well.