Standing in front of a room full of people sharing your best insights and inspiration to help them live their best life feels amazing. It's the juice and fire of being a great speaker.
The cool thing is, when done right, this opportunity to serve can also be the greatest way to fund your mission and your business.
You've got to know how to craft your talk in the right way to make this happen. It's an art itself.
There IS a way to craft a client-magnet talk that ethically and naturally calls forth amazing people who can't wait to pay you to help them get where they want to be in their lives and work.
Today, we talk about how to craft a talk that attracts awesome clients. Knowing this can be a game-changer in your business growth – and your impact in the world. I can't wait for you to listen!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- The value of creating a talk that is both inspirational and client-attracting.
- Why speaking for free, under the right circumstances, is a GREAT idea.
- Four strategies to keep in mind when creating a talk that is attractive to potential clients.
- What it means to connect with an audience in a natural and authentic way, inspiring the right people to excitedly reach out to work with you further, without being icky or salesy.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- National Speakers Association Conference
- Erik Weihenmayer
- Beyond Applause
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- The Thought Leadership Community Facebook Group
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Full Episode Transcript:
One of my favorite things about working so closely with my clients on their talks is that I get to debrief with them after they go deliver that talk that they worked so hard on. And I get to hear not just the excitement and satisfaction of having delivered really at a level that they often have never delivered before. But I get to hear all the outcomes that are realized when they crafted a talk that was really designed to attract ideal clients without being icky or salesy or weird. Like my client very recently who delivered her first $5,000 paid gig and then came home with invitations to speak at two more events and multiple new client connections that were in full motion. I'm not just saying people who said, you know, I want to work with you, but people who are like, let's get started. And this story is so common when they have spent the time to craft the right kind of talk to magnetize those ideal clients. And I want you to have at least some, as much as I can give you of what you need to do to create that same experience for yourself. So let's dive in.
Welcome to The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco and I'm thrilled that you're here.
Hello. My thought leadership friends, what is happening, man, I love being here with you. I just got back from the National Speakers Association conference. It was my first time going to this conference. It was in Denver, Colorado at a brand new facility, beautiful facility. It was amazing and even more amazing was the energy. The people man. Surrounding yourself with speakers is awesome. Generally by and large, they are lovely, engaging, big smiles, generous spirits. It was just really cool to be soaked in that kind of a atmosphere and the keynote addresses at this event were of course off the hook. We opened up with Eric, y and Meyer. I hope I'm saying that right. Eric went blind when he was in high school and of course it was a deep, you know, dark night of the soul for him as he had to adjust to this whole new way of living life.
And he was feeling like his whole life was getting smaller and smaller. I mean literally as his vision did so did his sense of his life. And then he saw something on the news. He saw media coverage about Terry Fox, who was a Canadian athlete. He met humanitarian and a cancer research activist. Terry had one of his legs amputated because of cancer and then he decided to go on an east to west coast across Canada, run to raise money and awareness for cancer research and it just the right time Eric saw this media coverage and felt that little spark of hope, of possibility and instead of thinking about how much smaller his life had to be and how little he was going to be able to do, you know, that he loved to do out in the outdoors. He started to think what might be possible if I didn't believe that I had all of these barriers built in and his talk was just so inspiring.
He was the first blind man to make it to the top of Mount Everest, I believe in the Tuck. He also said that he and his team of 19 people were the largest group of people to make it to the top of Everest at the same time, so some world records were broken on that day. I left that main stage room on that first day. Seeing how totally made up so many of my own boundaries are. It was super inspiring and I love that kind of inspiring talk. I know there were people in that room also who will seek out Eric to speak at their event because at this huge national speakers association meeting, there are many people in that room who run smaller and some of them even bigger events all across the world and because he created his talk in a way that would call their name would say, hey, look what I can do for your audience too.
I know that there are a number of people who reached out to Eric so that he could speak at their events. But that's not all Eric does. He is a professional speaker, but he also runs an organization called no barriers, and he works with veterans as students and educators and corporate leadership to help everyone tap that no barriers mindset so that they can realize whatever their dreams are, regardless of their quote unquote limitations. So not only was Eric getting paid for this event, but he was also very naturally calling the names of people who want to inspire their audiences. They're rooms full of people to break through all the barriers that might be getting in their way. And he was calling in others who might want to become part of one of these events that they put on where they actually help people experience this sense of no barriers.
So he was such a great example of crafting a talk that was in and of itself inspiring just for the people in the room, but also a highly client attractive talk. Really all of the main stage events were full of captivating storytelling. And remarkable speaking. The breakout sessions were really good too. For the most part, they varied little bit more, but I've got a lot of useful information to apply in my business right away, but here's the thing. There are at least three people that I contacted immediately after I was in the room listening to their talk. They offer something that would help make my business better and I've scheduled sessions with them while we were there and that's because they built their talk the right way throughout the two days that I was there. I think it's a five day conference, but I just stayed for two of the days.
I noticed this undercurrent of conversation around paid speaking versus free speaking. Of course, this comes up with my clients all the time. People ask me at events, at workshops, my clients are asking me should I not speak for free? They're hearing from other speaking coaches and business coaches and mindset coaches and they're saying things like, free speaking, devalues your experience. Don't speak for free because then no one's ever going to pay you the big dollars to speak, and it drives me crazy. This drives me crazy because without the right context, not only is this advice confusing, it's actually detrimental to the power of speaking to help you grow a thriving business. So it is true that if your primary goal is to sell, speaking as an end product to just be a professional speaker. And I don't mean just like that's too simple or it's not a big deal.
It is. It's a beautiful business model. If that's what you want to build, it's really good to think about is that what you want to do? Professional speakers who make a really good living at it generally do a lot of travel, which can be really fun and create an awesome lifestyle if that's what you want to do. If you love to go to different places and enjoy staying in lovely hotels on someone else's dollar, you know there are a lot of great things about choosing that life, but I also think it gets glorified and it's sort of like paid speaking as the holy grail. And I really, really disagree with that. And what I advise my clients to do and what I recommend you do, is really think about what lifestyle do I want to create? What kind of business do I want to run?
Like when I wake up in the morning, what do I want my day to be about? And this is not charged for me. Meaning if you're like, yeah I want to get on another airplane and you know, hop over to the next city or country where I can share my message, awesome, then beautiful, build that kind of business. But that is not the only way. And that is not even the best way, in my opinion, to make the biggest difference in the world with your message and build a thriving business. So just to round out that paid speaking model cause I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about that. I will tell you I get paid to speak. Sometimes my clients get paid to speak. I definitely know a bit about that world but it is not, and I know I've said this before on the podcast, that's not what my clients primarily want to do, but because I am in this world and I do see how it works, you should know that.
Yes, if that's the end product, then you do want to think really long and thoughtfully about whether you're going to do a free speaking gig. You would do it for reasons like it's a cause that you care about and you want to give your time and energy to that cause to grow its impact in the world. That's a great reason to speak for free. Another great reason to speak for free when professional speaking is your end product is because you want to because you get to, these are your gifts. You get to do what you want with them, but outside of that, I would keep the speaking for free quote unquote to things like doing a podcast, maybe a teaser at an event or an interview here and there where you don't have to do a ton of prep and it's not about you giving them the whole show of building that talk that has an arc and a powerful opening.
You know, that's a lot of work. It's beautiful work and the outcome is amazing, but you probably don't want to go to all that work if your end product is paid speaking. However, if you're building a business that serves clients beyond that speaking room where you actually have services, ways that you create an even bigger impact, really help create transformation for your clients. I cannot imagine why you wouldn't joyfully speak for free. Let's just do the math. Let's say you book a small Gig in your town, so we're just going to keep this nice and reasonable. You book a small Gig in your town that draws 20 people and let's say most of them are your ideal clients. That's a large percentage, by the way, you know that's how you want to choose these events because they're full of your ideal clients. So maybe you're a business coach and this event is a women's entrepreneurial group, or maybe you're a wellness coach for moms and you're heading to a local mom's group meeting.
You're speaking for free. That's what these kinds of events are going to be primarily. Sometimes you'll get a tiny stipend, but the vast majority of the time it's just going to be an opportunity to share your expertise and naturally attract clients so you craft and inspiring, useful and compelling talk that is designed for client attraction and you deliver it with heart and soul. So 20 people in that room are moved by your talk. Let's just be conservative and say that seven of them are so inspired that they want to book a call with you. There's a good chance it would be more, but of course it depends on how well this audience reflects your ideal clients. Right? And of course how well you've that talk, but we're going to assume you've done that because I'm going to give you some tips on how to do that.
And then let's say there are another four to six people who are thinking about it, but they need more time and they don't look at right away. So you've got seven, seven people who now know how brilliant you are, who see how much you know they've gotten a taste, a powerful taste of not just how much you get them, because when you craft the right talk, that's what you tell them. The first third of your talk is about, I see you, I get you. I understand this struggle. I want you to know that you don't have to stay in that struggle anymore, that there is a way out. That's what the first part of this kind of client attraction talk is really about. Now, most people get this wrong. Most people think to themselves, okay, I'm going to have a room full of people. I want to be really useful.
I want to definitely sound like I know what I'm talking about. What do I want to say? It's totally innocent because it makes sense. It comes from the heart. You're like, how can I give them as much information as possible so that they can solve this problem? The problem is they're in this lovely room. Maybe they just got a bunch of free treats. They're among other people who are like them and they're not feeling the pain as real of a way as they are when they're back at home by themselves and you're not there to tell them you can help. So there is a way to design this talk that you're moving these people pretty far along the, I want to do this, I want to change my circumstance path. So now you've got seven people who are pretty far down that path, who want to just talk with you about what it means to work with you.
Basically. Tell me, how else do you create this kind of connection with that many people at once. I know that I'm making up these numbers, but they are totally reasonable in my experience over the last 11 to 12 years in business. Here's the thing. There is no more powerful way to impact a whole room full of people. Then authentic, engaging, activating, public speaking. There is a caveat here though, and I mentioned it earlier and maybe you're already thinking this. I know because it's one of the main reasons people reach out to me about speaking, coaching. What happens when you do all that work? You prep that talk, you think about that audience, you create those slides, you create the handouts, you buy little buttons or pens or notepads and have your logo put on them, and then you go to the event and you convert no clients.
Oh, that is so frustrating. And here's what I'm gonna tell you. I have been there. I've been there multiple times and yeah, I've been speaking for 20 years. But that's because for the first 10 years or so, I actually even a little more than that, I didn't know to craft a graceful, powerful client attracting talk. The amazing news is I figured that out and it's easy to solve. You need to craft a talk that naturally and gracefully attracts your ideal clients. Like my client Chris who gets new speaking gigs and new professional branding and linkedin clients every time she speaks. Like my client Megan, who will tell you she gets new high level clients every single time she speaks. Actually most of my clients will tell you this like the time I oversold a new program by delivering one in person workshop at my local coworking space.
So let's talk more about that caveat. You have to know how to craft the kind of talk that naturally magnetizes awesome clients and there's a good chance that that's not the way you're crafting it now. So let me help you with that. First, you need intimacy, real deep connection with your ideal audience member. And remember your ideal audience member is really your ideal client, right? Because the ideal person to have on your audience as someone who wants to work with you, who wants the transformation that you help make happen. Just like I said last week when I was talking about the Tedx or Ted talk episode, deep connection with your audience will lead you to say and do things in your talk that you can't even imagine. Now because it takes you to a different place in you. You'll ask them questions that go deeper than you thought you'd go.
You'll share personal stories that resonate on a much more visceral level. You'll share solutions that will totally light up their worlds, but you can't get to those places without spending some rich time really exploring who they are, what they're struggling with, what's difficult, what's getting in the way of them moving through that struggle and getting to the other side of transformation. From that place of deep connection, you'll bring so much content that is so much richer and really more powerful for that audience. The second thing you need to do is plant a whole lot of blossom seeds in your talk. Then add the sunshine of beautiful, inspiring stories of hope. So these stories that you're going to share, these outcomes that you have seen happen with your own clients and in the world of your expertise. They're not intended to blow smoke or minimize the work required.
That's unethical. So I don't believe in saying all of this is possible for you without really being honest about there being remarkable work involved. I mean I'm assuming there is, right. Transformation usually does require that. So you don't want to sugar coat this, but you do want to tell those stories of inspiration of clients that you met at place where these audience members are currently residing with. They're soaking in clients that you met in that circumstance and you helped walk them through to the other side of that transformation to getting what they want to building that thriving business to really feeling healthy and well and vibrant again after our period of dark, heavy, foggy thinking, super high stress, whatever it is you help people do. Sometimes we don't even know how much we've built walls around what's possible for us. And that's true for the people in your audience and these stories.
They're a wall dissolver and you are their hope for having a partner, for having a way to move through this where they feel so much less alone. And then the magic mix of content. So as you're, you're planting a whole lot of blossom seeds in your talk, adding the sunshine of beautiful, inspiring stories of hope and within this content that has these seeds of stories, of inspiration, of showing them what's possible for them, no matter how dark and hard it is for them right now, you also want to have some of what I call the magic mix of content so that you keep your credibility in check. This means, yes, you're going to have stories. That's really where you're gonna make the heart connection, but have some research in there. Bring in some of that left brain data, stuff that balances out all of the emotion and that fullness is such a compelling foundation for setting up your credibility to help serve them.
Third, give them something concrete that moves the needle for them toward their solution. This might be an overview of the process that you take clients through a roadmap. Something that you know helps guide the way from the difficult place that they're probably in to the other side of transformation. They can take this and run with it or they can get more support from you, but either way you have served them in a really concrete way. You can set them up with a powerful first step and that's the concrete thing that you're giving them, that you're walking them through and then maybe give them an overview of the rest of the path so that they can use that to move forward from there. And you know that you're serving everyone in that room, whether they sign on to work with you further or not, but others can see what the path forward will look like with you.
Very inspiring and exciting for the right people who are ready. Every time I do a talk that has the path to thought leadership at the heart of it, which is a lot of the speaking that I do, the path to thought leadership is what's inside my book beyond applies. That's you get great speaking gigs, you step onto the path to thought leadership and then you establish yourself as a leader. So every time I talk about that concept, share that simple three part model, which is you may know, take a stand for something that matters. Commit to serve through that stand, which includes how you assess where you are within yourself around being the person who can deliver a powerful talk and powerful leadership. And then also crafting a powerful talk. So that's commit to serve through that stand. And then the third part of the path to thought leadership is go where they gather and serve.
And it's really super practical. It's about where are your ideal audience members already gathering? How can you go there and start serving them? Now when I just lay out that simple path for people, they feel inspired. They can see, even though they know that there are many parts to each of those five stepping stones on the path to thought leadership, it feels doable when they can see it that way. And you may know this already, but you know you can get beyond applause. My Book for free. So you can see the path to thought leadership. It's at speaks. So it matters.com forward slash. Freebook so that's the third is giving them something concrete that moves the needle for them toward their solution. Here's the thing, you can't give them everything and you don't actually want to pretend that you are because if you're doing an hour talk or even a three hour workshop, while it can be super powerful and really give them a guide to get started, you want them to know that there is more support that they can get and you're going to do this in a really straight forward way.
You're going to say, I want to show you what the path looks like. We're going to go deep on this first step if you choose to go that route because I know that it will set you on this path in a powerful way and then I'm going to give you a guide if you want to work on this over time on your own. I also want you to know you don't have to do this alone and this is exactly what I do with clients. So you can say something like that and then move on. The fourth thing you want to do is make it easy for them to connect with you to work together. It's so funny how commonly we forget to do this and it can be done simply. I saw this done really well at the National Speakers Association meeting. The people that I listened to and loved listening to and set up a 15 minute session with is Jessica Rhodes.
She helps set people up with podcast interviews. Jessica did a whole breakout session on, I think it was called, you know, how to get podcasting interviews or something like that and I set up a talk with her afterward. I'm super inspired and am very likely to begin working with her and it's really because she made it really easy for me to first learn from her. Then she said, hey, I'll talk with you while we're at this event. Just you know, go to my calendar and set up a 15 minute session and I did it. It was really easy to do right on my phone in the session. Tell them you work with clients and that you'd love to talk about working with them. Just be sure you check in with the rules, the guidelines for this event, different meeting organizers or leaders of events have different requirements around how much you're allowed to promote yourself or share about the work that you do.
So you want to check in on that. Remember you are, you're seeding this talk, you're planting those little seeds so they can blossom into great inspiration. You're planting seeds, stories of inspiration for this audience so they can see what's possible for them too. So as long as you're telling those stories in the right way, they are client stories. You were there helping the client get to the other side of transformation, then you're letting them know you work with clients. If you don't work with clients, you don't want to tell those kinds of stories. And I can tell you this because I've had times where I have not been working with clients and I've had times where I am working with clients. Maybe I'm sold out and I don't want to book anymore sessions for a while. Then you want it, you want to ease up on the way you share those stories and you probably even want to put in there, I don't work one on one with clients anymore.
Now I work with clients in a group program, which by the way is really powerful and I wish I'd done that a long time ago. So that's one way you could say it. That's how I would say it now so you can help them know how you work with clients to, without getting too deep in the weeds about that, just bring it up if you can in a natural way, inspire them to have a conversation with you to explore the possibilities. You might even create an incentive for stopping by your booth or your table could be that you have a demo of the product that you're offering. Could be that you're giving away little notebooks or you know, some other fun thing that you can show inside your session and let them know if they swing by, maybe you'll give them a copy of your book.
I do that at events. I love it. There's nothing I love more than handing my book to someone who I know really need that and will love it. So if you want to attract clients when you speak, you've got to craft the kind of talk that inspires that outcome. It's that simple. The cool thing is now you know how to do it. If this was helpful to you, it's just a teeny bit of what we talk about when we work together. So if you'd like help crafting your thought leadership, client attracting talk, I'd love to help you serve in a much bigger way through speaking so you can go to speak. So it matters.com forward slash apply and let's set up a conversation. You know, I love being here with you so much, right? I love knowing that this 30 ish minutes that you spend with me each week can dramatically impact in a positive way the difference that you're making in the world. It's an honor to be a small part of your amazing work. Because here's the thing, my friend, you were made for this. You know how I know that, because you know now get out there and call forth those you are meant to serve so you can help them live their best lives possible. I am over here cheering you on as always. I will see you next week.
Thanks so much for being here with me on The Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance on how to become a recognized leader in your industry, you can download a free copy of my book. Beyond applause, make a meaningful difference through transformational speaking at speaksoimatters.com/freebook.
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