Skip to content

Need a (keynote) speaker for your next event?

Book Marko for your keynote (Demo Reel)

Bitesize Snapshot Marko van Gaans

Book Marko van Gaans for a workshop or keynote speech
| Upcoming workshop/event: 2-Day Business Toolkit Workshop, 21-22 July 2023 in Vientiane, Laos | ⤿ Learn more ⤾ |

Keynote & Workshop Booking

An effective keynote or workshop should act as a catalyst for change, and that happens to be something I’m genuinely passionate about. Whether you’re looking for a dynamic keynote speaker for your event (be it small or large), a facilitator for corporate workshops  or just a creative mind to lead a small (even one-on-one) executive strategy session, I can guarantee you that my philosophical perspective and entrepreneurial mindset will inspire (positive) disruptive thinking and business transformation within your organization.

My keynotes typically run for 30-90 minutes whereas my workshops might take anywhere from a morning or afternoon to two days or even longer.  However, every event is unique so please let me know where and when your event is taking place and what your budget and objectives are. I can easily customise a programme to complement your organization’s time frame, message and strategic objectives.

How to get started?

It’s easy, just reach out to my Engagement Manager, Jennifer Kwok, via; or simply complete the Availability Form to the right.

Jennifer will get right back to you and schedule an initial call and/or meeting to discuss your plans and objectives. To assist you, she will also provide you with a short questionnaire so you can prepare for the meeting ahead of time.

Next I will lead you through a pre-event research process, designed to pinpoint the most relevant issues impacting your event and the strategies with the best chance of delivering meaningful change. Once this research is complete, Jennifer will submit for your approval a thought-provoking custom-made proposal for your event.

An Eye-opening Ride-along
Marko Is An Enchanting Raconteur
Marko Is Very Decisive
Marko Is Very Professional, All Tech And Media Savvy
Marko Is One Of The Most Creative Speakers In The Industry
Marko Is Full Of Entrepreneurial Street Smarts
Marko Is Very Well Organized And A Breeze To Work With
A Pinch Of Humour And A Drop Of Personal Annacdotes
A Talk With Some Well Transmitted Philosophical Concepts
Marko Helped Me Become A Better Entrepreneur
Marko Is An Effective Communicator
Marko Provides Insight Through Forward Thinking
Connects To His Audience On A Deep Level
Finally Some Real Applicable Takeaways
Marko Knows How To Engage Attendees Effectively
Focused On The Topic And Clear Delivery Of Concepts
Marko Is Well Prepared And A Friend To His Audience
Marko Is Knowlageble, Clear And Gives Good Examples
A Lot Of Good Discussions Throughout The Training
Marko Is A Very Good Listener
Marko Is Good At Introducing Concepts
Marko Is A Great Story Teller
Book Marko Today

“Take it from me, book Marko …  TODAY! “

Esmaralda Coloane
Book Marko for your keynote (Demo Reel)

Check Availabilty

    When and where will your event take place?


    Nothing Looks the Same Anymore

    “Nothing looks the same anymore … “


    What others are saying ...

    Previous attendees came from

    Chapter & Verse

    Everything you need to know to book me (as a speaker) for your event.

    In order to smooth out the event budgeting process, Jennifer will provide you with a quote inclusive of all travel and accommodation costs. You will only be invoiced for that one all-inclusive amount and will not have to worry about unexpected travel expenses.

    Please refer to my pricing FAQ page to learn more about my standard fee structure for regional (China, Taiwan and ASEAN member states) and international events.

    Should you feel these fees are above your means, please get in tough. If include your budget in the message, you might be surprised at the options available, even if your budget is below my standard fee structure.

    Believe it or not, I want to fit within your budget. In fact, I want the budget to be the easy part. The larger consideration should be the fit between myself and your strategic event objectives, not the amount of cash changing hands.

    My base is either Vientiane, Laos or Singapore and in Asia everything is negotiable, so fees may vary significantly depending on:

    • The precise event date and location;
    • Size and composition of the audience;
    • The likelihood of spin-off business;
    • Consulting opportunities;
    • Bulk book sales.

    Regardless of your budget, if you think I would be a good fit for your event, please contact Jennifer with the details.

    Keep in mind that fee flexibility is often counter-intuitive. For example, most people believe that a short lead time reduces flexibility, but the opposite is often true. If your event is just two or three weeks away, and if I actually have the dates available on my calendar, I will be very flexible to secure the opportunity. But if your event is still four or five months out, there are fewer reasons to justify a discount.

    The point is: contact me either way! There are many considerations and each event is different. My #1 priority is to spread my message and point of view to help you; I will look at all possible options to put something together. To be honest, I’ve ended up at many events that seemed unlikely at first.

    In order to secure a particular event date, I request a signed contract and a 50% deposit of the negotiated fee. Particularly for international events, I will not initiate my travels before a deposit and the signed contract have been received. I have a standard contract that I can provide you with but I’m also happy to use a format of your preference.

    Pay in Cash?

    In some parts of the world, it is common to pay in cash, and that’s certainly fine with me! But please let me know if this is your intention. I will prepare a cash receipt ahead of time and provide it when payment is made (generally upon arrival).

    Because of a tight schedule, my trips are often too complicated (with multiple destinations) to easily book efficient cost-effective flight tickets; a simple return ticket is a very rare event for me.

    For this reason,  I’ve opted for an all inclusive structure and prefer to book my flights myself, in consultation with you of course. This will save us both a lot of time and frustration!

    Although Dîan, my travel planner, will take care of organizing my flights, accommodation and other applicable costs, she will do so in consultation with you. Therefore I feel it will be useful to share my preferences with you so you can help her book the best facilities available.

    Accommodation Preferences:

    I would prefer a room in the same hotel as the event. If the event is not in the hotel, accommodations should be within a 15-minute walk of the event venue.

    For overseas events, I have a two-night minimum at the event destination: one night before my speaking/workshop session and one after. This is to allow me to adjust to time-zone changes and get some rest before addressing your audience.

    Although basically any room with a decent bed will do, I would really prefer it if my room:

     has Wi-Fi access;

    is located away from elevators, toilets and vending machines;

     has appropriate air conditioning and/or heating;

    has an ensuite bathroom with a warm shower.

    Ground transportation expectations:

    I would expect you to provide a private car, taxi or shuttle upon airport arrival with drop-off at my hotel lobby and return me to the airport upon the end of my contract time onsite.

    If your event venue is not taking place in the hotel, I would need a private car, taxi or shuttle from my hotel lobby to event venue lobby.

    Meal preferences

    As a healthy aficionado of all culinary traditions, I don’t have any specific dietary preferences or needs for my meals, but fresh local food would definitely be preferred.

    In principle, I will be available to sit down with you and/or your guests for lunch or dinner at your event or take part in a panel discussion before or after my keynote/workshop. However, this will only be possible if it doesn’t clash with my travel arrangements or other engagements, so please mention your request early in the booking process.

    That’s a great question, what is a target audience? Imagine a fashionable coffee bar with highly trained baristas? Does their target audience consist only of hipsters between 25 and 35, with  a beard, an above-average income, and living in a centre penthouse with a dog named Caesar? OR is their target audience anyone who likes great coffee, no matter their income, location and lifestyle?

    I believe my talks or workshops are suitable for anyone who appreciates great management and leadership, regardless of income or job title.

    For practical purposes, however, it makes sense to understand what kinds of jobs are affected by better management practices. Traditional organizations are often particularly interested to learn in which parts of the organization my creative practices can be meaningful. That’s why I have put possible target audiences in the following broad groups:

    • C-Suite Executives, VPs & Directors
    • Functional Managers & Project Managers
    • Creative & Knowledge Workers
    • Human Resources Staff
    • Start-ups & Entrepreneurs
    • Non-specific Conference Visitors

    Everyone member of these groups will find my overall message useful. But not every keynote/workshop will be interesting for every group.  This won’t be an issue if you provide sufficient information about your expected audience early in the booking process. I can easily customise my talks and workshops to complement your organization’s message and strategic objectives.

    The same goes for attire. Different events have different audiences with different expected dress codes. Believing he should always be dressed a notch above the best-dressed person in the audience, I normally wear a suit and tie to my corporate events.

    However, for some audiences, like the younger Millennial or Gen-Z generations, formal clothing might detract from the message. Please let me know what would be most appropriate for your audience and I will happily adjust my outfit.

    Some clips ...

    Marko van Gaans - Video demo -1
    Trying Not to Try
    Marko van Gaans - Video demo -2
    How Creative is your thinking

    Once You've Made Your Booking

    The details you need to make your event an astounding success.

    Speaker Bio

    Like you, ontological leadership expert, philosopher and teacher Marko van Gaans has always wondered about the definition of the word leadership. Is it a noun or a verb? Is it about charisma and decisive action? Pinstripe suits and power ties? Is it just meant for the happy few, or is there a whole different narrative?

    Having spent eight years as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Royal Netherlands Army, been an educator for over two decades and, most importantly, with almost half a century of in-the-trenches life experience, Marko’s views are radically different. He appreciates, and shares with his audience, that leadership really is a state of being and not about the title or position. Leadership is for everyone, every day; it’s how we should live our lives.

    A quixotic polemicist by nature, Marko is renowned for his practical, street-savvy presentation style. Through a fusion of real-life stories and engaging conversational techniques, he connects with his audience at an intimate, intense and individual level.

    Presently, Marko serves as Philosopher-in-Residence, Executive Coach, Staff Trainer and Workshop Facilitator at the Wu-Wei XP, a Singapore-based boutique consultancy firm which focuses on helping managers and entrepreneurs to stop being busy doing nothing through executive coaching, in-house staff training. and public workshops.

    Prior to this current position, Marko, a philosopher and human geographer by education and passion, trained senior NATO officers in computer simulated war games, middle and senior managers throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the “Art” of staff motivation and taught, among many others, government officials in Laos.

    Bio/Media Photos

        Marko van Gaans Philosopher-in-Residence      Marko van Gaans Philosopher-in-Residence

    (Keynote) Introduction Script

    With us here today to talk about ways to more effortlessly lead our businesses into today’s Creative Economy is Marko van Gaans. Marko is a Philosopher-in-Residence, Executive Coach and Workshop Facilitator at Wu-Wei XP, a Singapore-based boutique consultancy firm.

    A philosopher and human geographer by education and passion, Marko has trained senior NATO officers in computer simulated war games and taught, among many others, government officials in Laos.

    Marko is a frequent keynote speaker before all types of businesses and civic groups and brings to us a great depth of leadership experience.

    Without further ado, here to help you discover a natural flow to lead your C-suite toward success in the Creative Economy is … Marko van Gaans.

    To get the most out of your event, I have put together this list of requirements and suggestions. I ask that the staff responsible for the event actively confirm that they’ll make these things happen.

    I need a projector and screen for my presentation, but have my own computer and my own adapters, so a standard VGA or HDMI cable works just fine. My presentations do not run on any other computer but mine.

    Sound out (3.5mm) is required. AC power should be within two metres of the computer.

    For any group over 30 people, I need a microphone. Please be sure that you’ve tested it on all areas of the stage for volume and for feedback.

    If I am to use a microphone, I need it to be a wireless Lavalier microphone. To be specific, a clip-on tie microphone — not an earpiece — with a belt pack. I’m not able to do a good job with a wired microphone, a handheld microphone or a podium microphone.

    If you have a large audience, you should have at least two screens. One of the screens should have just the slides from my computer and the other should project my image. It is NOT acceptable to switch back and forth on one screen. The alternative is no slides.

    My laptop is controlled by a remote control that I brings with me. The laptop must be set up within sight and no more than five metres of the most distant point where I will be standing. It usually works best to have it on a cocktail table so it can also work as a confidence monitor.

    Alas, I can’t present my laptop to you the night before for setup and safekeeping, nor can I surrender it you the day of the event. It stays in my possession — all my work is there. However, I’m more than willing to work with your team on a tech/sound check, preferably thirty minutes before I go on stage.

    My slides are composed in a 16:9 aspect ratio but they can be reformatted to the more traditional 4:3 ratio if so required. However, as the design of his slides is a matter of personal pride, I won’t use any provided PowerPoint templates or add your logos, banners or footers to my slides. Instead, I will be happy to add your personalised introduction or end slide to the deck.

    The presentation’s slide deck is only available for the public to download, or for publishing as notes or a handout if this has specifically been agreed to before the event. In addition, you don’t have the ability to record and then resell or distribute my talks or workshops without my written permission (which I, more often than not, am glad to give).

    Feel free to take as many flash photos as you’d like before my talk, but please, no flash during the presentation.

    If you’d like to interact with me before the event, email is more effective than a call. I can be reached at

    I am more than happy to provide my PowerPoint slides (formatted 16:9) in advance of your event but there are a few things you should keep in mind before making this request.

    First, I do dozens of events each year and often only have a week or two to focus on any given presentation. As such, I make significant adjustments to the slide deck right up until the last minute. While last minute adjustments will be avoided if necessary, those adjustments often make material improvements to the presentation. I will meet all deadlines but request the opportunity to submit updated versions closer to the event date.

    Second, my slides are highly visual and rarely have more than three or four words on them. Looking at the slides without my verbal narration will not provide much indication of my salient points or underlying message. My goal is to create a documentary-style experience for my audiences, relying on the visual slides to add perspective and depth to my comments.

    Third, because of the visual nature of my slides and the number of them in each presentation, my PowerPoint files are generally 20 or 30 MB in size. Files of that size can’t be emailed because most platforms have a 10 MB limit on attachments. Instead, I will “share” a folder on Google Drive so you can download the file directly. Please let me know when you have successfully downloaded the file.

    Finally, it’s not easy to use event-specific templates for picture-based slides. Although exceptions are possible, in principle I won’t use any event-specific PowerPoint templates or add your logos, banners or footers to his slides. Instead, I will be happy to add your personalized introduction or end slide to my deck which is often sufficient to maintain the branding congruence for your event.

    People tend to react very Pavlovian when they walk into a room. On entry they’ll look around, ask themselves “What does this remind me of?” and adjust their behaviour accordingly. You can use this Pavlovian reaction to your advantage by setting up your room slightly different from the other nine out of ten and raise the audience’s energy levels before the actual talk commences.  To tell the best story with your chairs, some tips:

    The #1 tip:  This is a simple one, make the room too small rather than too big. Rooms with a lot of empty chairs deplete the energy levels of the audience. If, on the other hand, there’s standing room only for late arrivals or extra chairs have to be brought in, energy levels will rise substantially.

    Speaker visibility: To make sure the audience can see the speaker and the projection screen simultaneously, place the stage (if at all possible of course) along the narrow wall of the room (in a 25x10m room this would be the 10m side). Making the room narrow and long is far better than wide, because if the audience ends up just staring at the screen, avoiding the speaker, they’ll feel less engaged.

    Seating arrangement: Minimize straight-row seating. Set chairs in a semi-circle or a wide herringbone (V-shape) to give the audience the best view of the speaker. With straight-row seating, audience members can only see the people next to them and the backs of heads of those in front of them. A semi-circle or herringbone setup enables viewing between persons.

    Aisles: Most people prefer to sit on the aisle, don’t they? So don’t do rows of 40 or 50 chairs with no aisle. Have lots of them, every ten chairs or so, but avoid centre aisles. The centre of the room is the best viewing position for a talk and thus should not be wasted on an aisle. Ailes also make it faster for the audience to get in and to out, and so avoid the drainage of energy after the talk.

    Lighting: Set up your lights so that it is dark in the audience and light on stage. This creates the most energetic atmosphere and directs the audience’s full attention to the speaker.

    Laptop tables: Place a small cocktail table for the speaker’s laptop within line of sight and no more than five metres from the most distant point where the speaker will be standing. This will assure smooth control of the laptop by the speaker and allow it to function as a confidence monitor. Also have more than one VGA cable available. There’s nothing worse than having speakers stumbling around, draining the audience’s energy levels, while swapping laptops.

    Keynote in Nairobi - Kenya
    Keynote in Dubai
    Keynote in Taipei - Taiwan
    Keynote in Singapore
    Back To Top