Ego in speaker land

When I enter the theatre's dressing room, there is a tray of S. Pellegrino for Joep, a collection of 0% beers and a tray of M&Ms. Just the blue ones, that is. They had taken the somewhat innocuous joke literally in the mission statement after all. The performance was followed by a standing ovation from the 800 people in attendance. Me happy, audience happy, the client paying with a huge smile the 3,000.00 they were billed. Quite a nice profession that speaking.

When I get home, Kim pushes a poopy nappy into my hands from Anna, our youngest. Puck one of the twins crawls squawking on my lap; Fien had taken away her toy. Even before I have entered the living room, where there has been a slight Chernobyl of children's toys, I am summoned to put the children to bed. ...And the ego of international speaker and best-selling author Niek van den Adel, who has just been given a standing ovation, praised to the skies by 800 people, given blue M&Ms and with the dose of adrenaline still racing through his body, is reduced to 0%. Kim also calls it the 'Keep Niek with both feet on the ground' Foundation. And it is needed, by the way.


For those who know my; a little ego is not foreign to me. Indeed, neither are all my colleagues. Getting daily emails and letters about how much people love it when I tell my message. Pats on the back, tears, loud laughter, everything about what I exhibit on that stage; it does something to my self-image. And that's what we mean by ego, a false image about your real self. I am a speaker, but also a dad, both are Niek. Sometimes with applause, sometimes with a fuss. From Latin, ego literally means; me. But Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung agreed that life is about "getting to know your self better and better" and so you also embrace your shadow (your awkward traits).

But before we treat ego as something negative, let's see how you can use it as a speaker. And if you really have too much of it, I have some advice for you: Get married and have children. In any case, it is hard work not to start believing that the story you tell on stage is always 100% you.


You show the audience part of yourself, part of your content and part of your emotions. After all, it is not interesting to always tell people that I pooped in the toilet in the morning, argued with the butcher because it was an ounce too much and the scales were wrong about 5 kg (in my opinion). For this A, you don't have the time but B, this is not always part of the message you want to convey to your audience. At home, they do see that Niek. Incidentally, this is also why my children don't stand applauding at the door every day when dad comes home

You can use that ego on stage. Charisma braugt distance, say the Germans. A little mystery, distance, being different or claiming a truth also creates attraction. Just look at the average BN'er. Ask yourself carefully though, am I actually seeing the human being, or am I seeing what television or the magazines show us?

" People sometimes ask me, how can you stay so positive with so much pain? I then always ask how they can still without pain. "

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So the applause you get, the praise, the own dressing room, the radio and TV interviews, they are about a part of who I am. So if I continue to realise that and (recognise) that, then I can be incredibly proud of what I can do. Speaking is a profession. But then I am just as proud as the road builder, the hairdresser or the nurse. Only they don't get applause all week (the latter has been getting applause recently). For there is nothing more irritating than speakers who get carried away, think they have all the wisdom or become haughty. Tip of the day: surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who dare to put you in your place, who, in my case, see the total Niek and not the speaker Niek. This is healthy for your audience, for your clients and especially for yourself.

keynote speaker Niek van den Adel


Niek van den Adel In addition to being an (inter)national keynote speaker, he is also the author and initiator of Speakers Club. Niek's talks cover topics such as resilience, customer focus, leadership, inspiration and care - topics he has dealt with a lot himself and can talk about with appropriate passion, humour and emotion. He knows how to touch and make his audience aware of essential issues and can quickly connect through his positive and humorous approach. His extensive experience and tireless perseverance make him a valuable, driven coach and a witty sparring partner.

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