“Who would pay to listen to you, Sridhar?”

“What is the speaking career you mentioned in your FB post?”  Prasna* came straight to  the point.

“There are many professional speakers today, and I would like to be one of them.”

“Who is a professional speaker?”  liftarn mike

“Someone who is like a professional singer, an actor, a writer – they get paid for their work,           like other professionals.”

“Why would any one pay you to speak?”

“Trust you to ask the most uncomfortable question Prasna.”

“Thanks for the compliment; answer my question.”

“They will pay me to speak, because I share my point of view…”

“Why should they care what your point of view is?”

“Because it is often different from the standard predictable point of view”

“So what, Sridhar?”

“Why do you always have to push me to a corner, Prasna?”

“So what, Sridhar?”

“Because people are tired of cliches, jargon & management speak which no one understands.  I  have always hated sitting in the audience, when some one was spouting stuff which no one understood nor cared about. I know what it means to suffer as an audience.”


“So, I speak in a manner people can relate to. I don’t speak to an audience. I speak to people.   Tell them stories.  I talk about my mistakes.  I share jokes. I take trouble to make it worthwhile  for them to listen to me. I don’t rehash my old stuff. I work hard to be useful, relevant. What else do you want to know?”

“Don’t get irritated. Just answer my questions. When was the last time you spoke in public?”     “

“Two weeks ago to a group of 50 people in the IT business. Same day I spoke to another group   of 60 people from the pharmaceutical  business.”

“What do you know about the IT business? The pharmaceuticals business?”

“Just basic things that every one knows.”

“Why did they call you then? You are not an expert in their business.”

“They called me because they wanted me to help them get out of habitual ways of thinking.  Most companies are on an ‘auto-pilot thinking mode’ and desperately need help in being able to think differently. At the same time they did not want theories of creativity, imagination and innovation. They wanted some down-to-earth, practical tips.”

“What do you know about helping people think differently?”

“That is my expertise. That is what I do for a living. Simplifying, clarifying and making the thinking process enjoyable yet rigorous.”

“How do you this?”

“Through workshops, training programmes etc.”

“How many workshops have you conducted in the last 12 years? “

“About 400. Why do you ask?”

“So you will speak about what you are good at.”


“What will be your topics like?”

“Here are a few:

How to get out  of  Auto-pilot thinking . Asking questions that open doors. Attacking confusion . The art of listening 100% . How to define success differently .Dare to be different . Why you should never retire . There is nothing called retirement . If you dream, dream big . A little madness helps How to ask for help . How to deal with idea killers”

“So, who will pay to listen to you?”

“You think nobody would?”

“I ask the questions, remember?”

“Companies feeling stuck and losing ground. Companies with ambitious growth aspirations.  Companies who are challenging the big brands. Companies who want to seize opportunities, unearth potential and crack challenges.”

“Where will you speak?”

“Annual conferences, summits, strategy conclaves, board of director meetings, CEO summits        R&D meets and so on.”

“What happens to your other work? Will you stop those workshops and training programs?”

“Not really. These speaking assignments might lead to those opportunities too.”

“How will people know that you want to do this?”

“I will pass the word around to clients, associates, friends. I have friends who are often approached  by various associations and companies, looking for good speakers. I will seek  their help too.”

“This does not seem like an aggressive marketing plan to me.”

“You are right. That is not my style Prasna and you know it.”

“Good luck. And stop getting impatient with sharp questions.”

“Yes, Sir”


*Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears every time I start writing something. He is  almost always there when I am writing my blog. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple,  clear terms. You might find that he is most of the times asking questions that you want to. Therefore he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock. I call him my Uninvited Coach


Photo courtesy Liftarn under Creative Commons License.







Any Thoughts?

Please fill fields marked*. I will not publish your e-mail id anywhere.

7 Responses to ““Who would pay to listen to you, Sridhar?””

  1. Charu says:

    Very nicely written.

  2. Really nice article Sridhar. It flows well. It opens the doors of the life. Thanks.

  3. Mahesh says:


  4. sanjeev kotnala says:

    well I must say thats a good way to answer most of the questions people may want to ask- but being polite may not. So did Prasna did not ask- how ill you want your success to be measured or how will you know what to charge.
    best of luck

  5. Devendra says:

    True..Teachers sometimes come disguised & wise students do spot & honour them.

  6. Uday Kagal says:

    Nicely written, and all the best!


Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Message

Quiz Time

Type the characters from the image