In this week’s podcast, I’m answering the question I get asked more than any other question as a speaking coach: How can I book more paid speaking gigs?
The fact is as speakers, even if you’ve spoken for some awesome events and been paid nicely, getting a steady stream of highly paid gigs can feel elusive.
What I’ve surmised over the years is that we don’t control exactly what our business does… we point it in a direction, we give it a solidly good shot, and then we sit back and watch as it does what it’s going to do. Inspiring right?
But I DO think that the “solidly good shot” is really where it’s at. That inspired action is what gets things in motion.
So I want to make this as simple as possible so that you can take easy action because I know you will be such a gift to these audiences you will grace with your expertise and stories.
In this week’s podcast, I’m going to share with you five simple things you can do right away to increase your chances of getting booked for a paid speaking gig.
Then all you have to do is DO even some of them and you’ll be so far ahead of where you were before we started this whole conversation and that much closer to a lovely check in exchange for your beautiful on-stage experience.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Why your message must be something that someone with money to spend believes is worth paying for if you want to get paid to speak
- How to show that you’ll be engaging and useful as a speaker
- The way to ask for testimonials that will showcase the ROI of your speaking everywhere you can
- How to have all the things in place that make event leaders feel excited to hire you to speak
- Where to find paid speaking gigs (the answer might surprise you!)
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ready to work with me one-on-one? I have one spot left this month. Check out the details here: https://thethoughtleadershipschool.com/speak
- Ashanti Branch’s organization: https://everforwardclub.org/ https://www.elizabethpottsweinstein.com/
- Head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for the show – if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know, I'll reply with a surprise for you!
- The Thought Leadership Community Facebook Group
- Ready to get started speaking? Get the Get Started Speaking Guide for free right here.
Full Episode Transcript:
So I get this text from my friend and client Marcia who says that she was hired for a $10,000 speaking Gig, a two hour event, and the person who hired her found her through a Google search and when I heard this, my whole mind expanded around what it really takes to get great paid speaking gigs. So I want to share with you a lot of the things that Marcia has in place that I know made it so much easier to say a resounding yes to her as a speaker for their event and let's get you in that position too.
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. My friends, I'm about to dive into this week's podcast all about how to book more paid gigs. The question I get asked more often than almost any other question, but first, I've got one more coaching spot open this month and I want it to be yours. If it's meant for you, head over to thethoughtleadershipschool.com/speak and that is with the word the, so thethoughtleadershipschool.com/speak to learn more and to get your application in. I'm waiting for you.
Okay, now on with the show. Hello my friends, my thought leadership friends. How is it going right now for you? Sometimes I imagine that if I pause for a moment after I ask that question that you'll answer and you'll just tell me about what's going on in your world.
As I spent some time before I record these podcasts, thinking about what I want to say, writing up notes and of course steeping myself and who you are and what you're experiencing and what you're most needing. And I always feel this really strong connection, so I wish we could have that conversation. Is that weird? Speaking of weird, you should see my office right now. I have 15 I don't know, maybe 20 of those large posted note papers all over my office like it is wallpapered with my writing and scribbling and I definitely don't have the best handwriting. But I facilitated a class yesterday for a clients mastermind and so I brought out all of these different post-it papers that I've created for online trainings and things cause I thought I might want to refer to some of them. But this is one of the cool things that happens in my work is after I work with a client who usually someone who is already an awesome speaker and, but they've just decided they want to work with me to get even better to see what they're really capable of.
If they put some real time, energy and effort into it. And at the end of our work together, as we get deep into it, they often say, Dang, I didn't know there was this much more that I could know about being a great speaker. You should come talk to my group, my mastermind, my at my next event. So this is the cool outcome and this amazing group that I got to speak with yesterday actually inspired today's podcast because so many of them had this question in one form or another, and that question is, how do I get more paid speaking gigs? Now, some of the people in this group already get paid to speak and many of them nicely, even in the five figure speaking fee realm. So many people I talk with have a big speaking dream though even if they've gotten some of these initial, you know, more exciting gigs and gotten paid to speak.
Some we imagine Bernay Brown, Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Yon, Lavonne Zandt, Glennon, Doyle Melton, Mel Robbins, these are all the the females power speakers that I love watching speak and that I know many of us see out there making a big difference. These amazing speakers light up our worlds and they show us that so much more as possible for us as audience members when we're in their audience, but also for those of us who are in speaking and thought leadership. The reality is that not everyone who dreams of this kind of this big speaking dream will create this kind of speaking career. I think you and I both know that, but here's the thing. We don't know who will and who won't, and there's no reason that it wouldn't be you and we don't even know if we should, right? I don't know this. I know this gets a little woo spiritual, but the truth is we don't really know what's supposed to happen in this life.
We just know what we want and we follow that desire and the cool thing is it is really our greatest guide tapping in to that desire in us, that place underneath all the thinking and all the, how the hell am I ever going to figure this out underneath there? We know, we know that there's a vision that we want to move toward, but even if you've spoken for some awesome events and been paid nicely, getting a steady stream of highly paid gigs can feel elusive so we can have this big dream. We can even see it possible for us. We can even have had some of those experiences, but it is really hard to get a real momentum around it and I wish I had the magic remedy. What I've surmised over the decades that I've been in this industry is that we don't control exactly what our business does.
What kind of speaking opportunities come our way, what kind of thought leadership we'll end up stepping into. I know that has absolutely been my experience. I'll think I'm heading in one direction and then some new, totally unexpected out of left field opportunity shows up and it touches that place in me that knows and I go, oh my gosh, that is such a hell yes, let's do this. It's happened to me recently so it's really fun, but what we do need to do wherever we are is we point in a direction and that direction is based on what we know right now, what that vision looks like, what that dream speaking career or business looks like, and we give it a solidly good shot. Then we sit back and watch as it does what it's going to do, and by sit back, by the way, I don't mean we sit back and stop working.
I just mean I don't know if we can hold all of this more lightly and enjoy the process as we work toward this big vision. It's really cool to see what shows up and where it takes us as we point toward this big vision. So I don't know, is that inspiring? Maybe you're having mixed feelings about it, but I do think that the solidly good shot us really pointing in that direction and going for it is really where it's at. That inspired action is what gets things in motion. As my friend and business partner, Angela Lauria says, you've got to know that you want to go to Canada to set yourself in the right direction. And I think she says this because she dreams of moving to Canada. So literally it is a, you know, it's a vision for her, but if you can just picture a map, right?
If you know that you're starting off wherever you're starting off, I'm in northern California. If I want to go from northern California to Canada, I'm gonna pull out a map and I'm gonna just take a look at you know, how to get there and I point myself in that direction, right? That's what we do. Then what happens on the way to Canada is actually kind of out of our control. If you travel a lot, you know this for sure because you get redirected, your flights get canceled, you end up staying in a hotel and actually meeting someone who gives you an opportunity that makes you want to stay two more days. I mean all kinds of cool stuff and interesting stuff and sometimes frustrating stuff happens. So all my law of attraction people or manifestation people that are like screeching on the brakes right now, shouting at their listening device.
I'm not saying that we don't create cool things in our lives and I'm definitely not saying that having a vision isn't worth it. I guess I'm more of the camp of this or something better and I'm just putting this out there right now as we talk about booking paid speaking gigs, because I've heard the vision's lots and lots of times and I feel like we really, many of us have actually a narrow idea of what a highly paid speaking business could look like. And you know how I feel about paid speaking and I mean how I feel about free speaking and that it can be a really powerful way to make a lot of money. And it has been my experience and I've seen it with clients all the time, but I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about the opportunities to get paid to speak.
There are paid speaking opportunities in all sizes and shapes and environments and I just want you to kind of hold lightly exactly how you think you're going to get there. And let's move forward on this whole get you some great paid speaking gigs along the way. Before we dive in, I want to send some love to a listener who wrote in a beautiful review on iTunes, Johnny [inaudible], who has the power of your voice podcast, so he has his own podcast wrote in a beautiful note. I'm not going to read the whole thing, but I'll read sort of a section of it that I think speaks well to what's working for him and what I hope you're enjoying too. He says, I love her latest episode on how to craft a talk that attracts awesome clients. I love that Michelle really breaks everything down and makes it easy to understand.
She's very authentic and very genuine. Thank you so much Johnny. I'm getting into public speaking now and it's something I avoided so much because of a stuttering issue I dealt with my whole life. Michelle gives excellent examples and shares great stories. He goes on to say cooler things and that he subscribed. I'm so happy to hear this, Johnny. I love knowing that this podcast is helping you get out there and sharing your story and your expertise and moving through any barriers that block you from making the difference that you feel so called to make. Thank you so much. If you enjoy this podcast, would you please head over to iTunes and share your thoughts like Johnny did? It is so, so helpful to me and to this podcast because when we have more reviews at rises up in the, in the ratings and then when people search, they're more likely to find it.
I'd be so grateful for you taking a bit of time to do that. Okay. That's our commercial break about the podcast for today. Let's get you some paid speaking gigs. Isn't it funny how our brain makes things super complicated when it gets scared? That's what it does about paid speaking gigs, so I want to make this as simple as possible so that you can take easy action because I know you'll be such a gift to these audiences. You'll grace with your expertise in your stories. I'm going to share with you five simple things you can do right away to increase your chances of getting booked for a paid speaking gig. If you do one of them one or two, you're going to get that much closer. It's that much easier for them to say yes to you, for them to see you as a perfect solution for their next event.
All you have to do is do them and you're so, so far ahead of where you were before we started this conversation and that much closer to a lovely check in exchange for your beautiful onstage experience. This is what I want for you. So we're going to start with number one and the list of five simple things that you can do to book more paid speaking gigs. Number one, your message must be something that someone with money to spend believes is worth paying for. So you need to craft your message and share your message in a way that they see that this is worth spending money on for their event. Let me give you an example. I help people who know that they're meant to change lives with their story and their expertise become a recognized thought leaders in their industry so that they can make the biggest difference possible with their message.
This is great for entrepreneurs, for life coaches, for wellness coaches, founders at many levels. And so that message, my message is a real natural fit for those kinds of events. But you know what? Corporate people don't get that message. I mean, I'm not saying they're not smart enough. I'm saying they don't have a visceral reaction that goes, oh my gosh, you can help me do that. Because that's not, they don't think of themselves as recognize or as thought leaders or as, as wanting to become recognized thought leaders and they aren't even thinking things like, I want to make a big difference with my message. That's just not the way it comes forth. Even though they do need presentation skills, they need communication coaching for sure. So when I say I help business leaders share their ideas with clarity and confidence, so they inspire their teams to greater action event organizers who work with these kinds of corporate audiences.
So if it's a big company and they're putting on their annual event and they're looking for speakers, that is the kind of fit. That's actually when I've been hired to speak at some of the bigger organizations. It's a message like that that resonates. So you need to think about where do you want to be speaking and then what message will resonate best for them. Where do you want to be speaking? Super important note here where they pay speakers and I'm going to talk a little bit more about where people pay. You know, what kinds of organizations or or events pay speakers in just a couple of minutes, but first off, what's your version of this shift in your messaging? How would you change it? Change your message so that a company or an association, there is some of the kinds of organizations that hire speakers so that a company who is doing their annual event or has their women's leadership group is meeting, you know, who meets quarterly and they need speakers each quarter and they will pay their speakers.
How do you need to shift your message so that it shows not just the people in that audience but the people who write the check that it's worth it to bring you in, that it will help them get more productivity, more sales, more engaged employees, that kind of thing. And if you're talking about an association, right, and Association, the Association of Dental hygienists for example, there's an association for everything by the way, everything and so, and they all have meetings and they need speakers, but they need them to meet certain needs to solve certain problems. Your message needs to reflect that you are a solution to the problems that those meeting organizers who write the checks believe their audience has and will make them want to come to their event. So I hope that's clear. There are layers to this, right? When you're getting paid to speak, often the person writing the check isn't exactly the audience that you're going to have in front of you.
They may, there's usually overlap, but they have a slightly different role potentially. So again, think about what's version of this shift in your messaging. This is so commonly missed. I have many, many clients that I work with are just people that I meet at workshops and conferences and places where I've spoken and they have a highly personal development kind of message. It's awesome, it's beautiful. And we see a lot of those in the self-help world for example, because we have Glennon Doyle Melton and and Bernay Brown and some of these speakers, Oprah. And the question you have to ask yourself is who is going to write you a check to share that message and why? Why would they be writing you a check to share that message? That's the question for you to ponder. So let me give you a couple of other examples. My client who is a branding consultant for entrepreneurs, shifts her language to, I help companies up level their brand image by refining the linkedin profiles of their top executives.
You see how she's a branding consultant for entrepreneurs a lot of the time, but when she wants to get paid to speak and increase her flow of paid speaking gigs and she knows that companies are more likely to actually write nice sized checks for speakers, she shifts said so that she's speaking to the company's desires, which is to uplevel their brand image. So you can bet the company knows why they're bringing her in and paying for her to speak at their event. When she's speaking at an entrepreneurial event, her message shifts back to one about doing work you love without compromise. Now sometimes those events are paid speaking gigs, but I'll tell you it's a lot less common and in my experience many times it is the, the main stage keynoter who is a well known name and one of the big draws. So one of the reasons they're being paid 30 40 $50,000 to do a keynote is because when people know that Bernay Brown is speaking at an event, I keep using her as an example, then they'll come just because she's there.
Right? So there's real value in having her associated with the event. Not to mention that she's a great speaker and they know she'll deliver and be a pro about it, which we're going to talk more about too. So this one I really is worth spending some time on and again, think about who do you want to pay you to speak? Here are examples. Here's where you're going to get paid to speak almost all the time. It's going to be companies, associations, private groups, nonprofits. So sometimes they're in a nonprofit forums, sometimes they're just private groups, like affinity groups, groups of people who get together kind of as a networking experience, but they bring, it might be just a shared interest experience, but they may not be an official nonprofit and they may pay speakers to come in to their monthly or quarterly meetings to speak.
Universities and other schools, high schools, middle schools, churches, and then the question. So those are the most likely kinds of organizations that will actually write you a check to speak. The second thing you want to ask yourself is why will they pay you? How will your keynote breakout workshop help them meet compelling goals they have? So in my case, companies have meetings all day long and most people aren't great at presenting. In fact, many people are boring and they don't know, they don't know best practices. And so this is a waste of time and resources in the business realm if their people don't know how to present their ideas in a way that's engaging and concise and compelling and moves people to Action. So it makes sense to pay me to come in and talk about that, inspire people to do that and then teach them how to do that through my trainings.
Associations for example, they gather every year and they need inspiration, right? All these people who are paying member dues and a big part of paying those membership dues is they come to this annual event, they pay extra to come to this event. The event planners and organizers want to show that this is going to be an awesome experience, that they want them to come next year too. So they need inspiration, they need practical guidance for members around issues that are very real and important to the members. They need entertainment to draw the audiences back so that they're like, oh, that was so fun last year. Let's go again. High schools bring in speakers to inspire students to be their best selves. Our middle school out here in the country, we've got like a hundred kids in our middle school. We brought in a branch who's such a great speaker to talk about the masks we all were and how we can create connection when we let those masks down and we paid a shanty.
We didn't pay him a zillion dollars, but it was a paid gig. So yes, you can get paid by schools from middle school, high school, you know, and then all the other examples I gave you associations, companies in the order I shared them is usually the rate of pay. But again, this varies. So I don't want you to get to, companies are likely to pay the most associations, maybe the next most though that varies a great deal. It has changed over time recently and then high schools and middle schools often less. But you know, don't let that stop you if that's where your message belongs, if that's who you're meant to serve. Focus on that. Okay, so that's the first thing. Making sure your message is crafted the right way for paid speaking. The second thing is you've got to prove ahead of time that you'll be engaging, useful and not inappropriate to that.
You're not going to say we are cheesy things from the stage or try to sell them something, tried to sell their audience something unexpectedly and this needs to be obvious to the event leader before they hire you because that's part of how they confidently bring you on for the event. Social proof is so powerful for this. So have testimonials on your speaker page. Of course you are going to have a speaker page if you want to be paid to speak and you want to book more paid speaking gigs. Your next move is to create a speaker page and I'll tell you some things you want to have on it right now. Testimonials to say how captivating you were as a speaker, images of you speaking, good images of you, you know in speaking motion. Those are hard to get. By the way, I've had a lot of photographers come into my speaking events and I've had some where almost all the pictures I had to throw away because I'm making some weird facial expression.
You need a good photographer who knows how to photograph speakers for it to work really great. And there are ones who do that. We use them in our group program and we have one who just takes amazing, amazing photos so it can totally be done, but you probably want to have a specific conversation with the photographer about that at your next event. Side Note. Okay, third. So first is testimonial, second images. Third video of you speaking is gold, especially really well edited and well produced video. This is just such a beautiful asset because remember, if you sit in this shoes and, and struggles of your event leader who's trying to find great speakers, there's so many unknowns in their job, right? Will the caterer's show up? Will the food be good? Um, how will these speakers be? Now they can use the same caterers every year so they can sort of decrease uncertainty in that domain, but they're probably not gonna use the same speakers every year.
They have to branch out, they have to, you know, go into higher risk realms. When you have a video of you speaking, they can see your style. They can get a sense of what you're like when you're speaking. So get yourself a video when you can. Now, if you don't have a video, as you listen to this, you're still going to create a speaker page. You hear me? Do not wait for video to create your speaker page. Just add video when you get it. Video and images are so valuable that we build these into our long speaker program. When we work with speakers, we create an event. We bring in an amazing videographer and an amazing photographer both who know how to capture speakers at their best, and then we create speaker reels for our speakers. Because I know we know that if you want to get great speaking gigs, paid gigs, and some of the other awesome gigs that aren't paid, but that allow you to really step into thought leadership, you're going to need these kinds of assets.
So if you don't have them at your next speaking event, just get them. And I'll talk more about that, that how you figure that in in just a minute. When you have these, it just makes saying yes to you so much easier and it feels so much more peaceful for them. For the event leaders. Isn't that what we're all looking for? A little more peace and confidence in our decisions and your event leaders are looking for that too. They are juggling so many things. Number three. Number three of the five things you're going to do, the five simple things you're going to do to book more speaking gigs. Show them you are a pro to work with so they don't have to worry about you on top of everything else. One of the things that surprises me when I talk to someone who says that they've been trying to get speaking gigs is how often you can't even tell by looking online that they speak.
So I've literally, I've had people you know approach me or mention it or, and I'll say like, oh, so you know, where can I learn more about your speaking? And they're like, oh, like it didn't occur to them. You want it to be obvious. It doesn't have to of course be the only thing you do and the only thing you post, you are a multifaceted person and you want them to see that. But absolutely there should be. If I go to your Facebook page, to your website and you want to get more paid speaking gigs, number one thing I should see speaking in your menu on your main page so that I can click in your main menu and go to a speaker page. If you don't have that, I assume speaking is not a priority for you. Even better is that some section higher up, at least highish up on your website with pictures of you speaking and a link to that speaker page so I can learn more about your speaking.
So that's your website. That's bare minimum. You want to speak your page and I'm going to talk more about what else to have on your speaker page when I go to your Facebook or your Instagram show, pictures of you speaking and different kinds of venues. Say things about that experience. Share a testimonial. You can totally share a testimonial in a way that's graceful. You can say, tears totally flooded my eyes when I got this note from someone from my audience yesterday. I'm so lucky I get to do this work. I mean say whatever's true for you, but that is a really graceful and honest way to share about the speaking work that you're doing. So if you don't have a lot of obvious pictures and all of that about you speaking, I definitely don't want you to feel bad about that. No shame. I have been guilty of this plenty.
I get so caught up in all the other work I do. I'm primarily a speaking coach, so most of what I'm doing is thinking about how I can help other speakers be out there. And so I don't showcase my speaking and have either, and it's definitely on my mind. So let's just get this resolved. Share some images. I will do this more to share some testimonials and you can just do this in a graceful way that feels really good and right to you. Have your speaker agreement ready. So showing them that you're a pro means you've got these systems in place. So have a speaker agreement ready. Find yourself a lawyer who understands speakers and the kinds of things that you need to have in a speaker agreement. My lawyer, Elizabeth pots, Weinstein, who I absolutely love. I call her EBW. I don't even know if she knows that.
Anyway, she's awesome and she understands she works with speakers and coaches and people who do this kind of so she knew all the questions to ask. What was really cool is when I did my first version of my speaker agreement, I learned so much about the things I needed to bring to the conversation going forward with paid speaking opportunities. So you know your lawyer should ask you things like, what kind of equipment do you want them to have on site for you? How do you want to handle travel? Do you want to fold it into the feed? Do you want to have a set fee? Do you want to just submit, submit your receipts so that they reimburse you? All these things that will end up, I promise being part of a negotiation conversation. So getting that agreement in place is also going to prepare you well for a rich and a thoughtful negotiation with your next opportunity.
And then have your rate sheet ready so that you aren't fumbling in your brain for numbers. So I'm not saying that you just fling out your rate. So when they say to you, s, what do you charge for a keynote? Or what do you charge for a breakout session? You want to ask their budget first. Always ask their budget first. I've had multiple clients who were all geared up and ready to, you know, boldly and courageously tell this potential speaking opportunity. You know, the person they were talking with that their fee was $5,500 or $7,000 and then when they learned that they should ask the budget first, and the person said, we allocate 10,000 to this, but you know, we've gone up as high as 11,000 if it's really needed. And they'd been like, Whoa, I'm so glad I didn't say my cute little $5,500 number.
So ask them their budget first and then go from there. You don't want this to sound like it's the first time you're having this conversation. Even if it is, again, remember you're trying to help them feel confident that you can handle this, that you can handle the audience, the message and this whole process because the, again remember from their side they are juggling so many things. You are a breath of fresh air. When you know how to handle all of these elements makes it so much easier and more exciting to bring you on to the event team. Just know that negotiation is a normal part of paid speaking for most of us. You're going to talk about things like whether they pay for coach class or they will do and you know an upgraded economy seat or business class or you know how to handle international travel and how many nights hotel.
You're going to have all of those conversations so come into it prepared and knowing what some of your boundaries are there. Maybe Bernay Brown doesn't have to negotiate anymore. Probably not. Some of the big name speakers probably do a lot less negotiating, but the rest of us are going to negotiate into some of the details. So here's some of the questions you want to ask yourself, especially if the fee that they're offering you is less than you were hoping for. First question, do you really want to go to this place where ever this event is being held? Right? Is it fun? Like I, I spoke at an event in Austin once and I had never, I hadn't been to Austin and I thought that sounded Super Fun to go check out Austin that made it, you know, the fee was slightly less. I would take a little bit less for that one.
I've had clients who've spoken, oh my gosh. And so many exotic places, Nigeria, Hawaii, just beautiful, wonderful places. So you know, you can travel to another wonderful place on someone else's travel dime and still get paid. And that can be really cool. Can you make us a vacation? Do you want to bring your best friend or your partner with you and really make the most of it? So ask yourself those questions. It's okay for the fee to be less if you just really want to go there. Second question to ask yourself, will they have a videographer and a photographer on site and if they will have the conversation about that videographer and photographer getting really good video and photos of you speaking, that is where thousands of dollars as I mentioned before, we do this in our speaking, in my speaking coaching program and it's really fun.
It's a very cool event. We get amazing video and photos for our speakers but it is thousands of dollars and it is thousands of dollars I should say and I'm happy to pay it because I know it is a way, way worth it for our speakers because that is how you show what you can do from the stage. It's such a beautiful way to showcase so it is worth thousands of dollars if they want to pay you a little bit less, but they can give you those kinds of assets really, really worth considering it. And then the third thing I'd say to ask yourself is, do you want to do this Gig? Like does your heart just want to do it? Is this a group you adore? Again, as I said earlier, is it a place you want to go? Is this kind of a, a message you want to test out?
You're going to hear a lot of messages out there from business coaches and speaking coaches that say, don't undervalue your work. Don't, you know, don't ever speak for free. And you know, I don't feel that way. If you listen to this podcast, you know that I think speaking for free can be amazing and make you way more money than paid speaking can in some circumstances done right? And you don't have to want to do that. But I'm saying don't let those messages tell you that your gut doesn't know what you want. If your internal compass is saying, but I really want to do this like it sounds fun or whatever. Awesome, great reason to do it. And then go with what feels right to you on the rate so you have your rate sheet ready. So that you know what your, you know where you're starting and then you have these other kinds of boundaries that you've thought about around how far down you'll go on the rates if needed.
So just think about that ahead of time so that that conversation is smooth and easy. And then finally to show them that you're a pro, you want to respond quickly to emails and concisely, like answer their questions. How many times have you gotten an email where the person answers one of the three questions that you asked? And then you have to wait like three days for them to reply to your, you know, reset and have those other questions. Read their emails thoroughly. I know you're super busy. This is just something that I hear from meeting organizers that speakers can be really frustrating and a lot of these domains can be disorganized, can be not as responsive as they want us to be. So just be the one that stands out, right? Your a pro, not just on that stage, but in this whole process. This is not only how they'll be excited to bring you onto their stage this time, but why they'll refer you to other event leaders and you know, event leaders talk to each other just like us speakers do and coaches do and entrepreneurs to founders do, right?
So you want to get the reputation as a person who really knows what you're doing and it just takes some thinking ahead of time. Number four of the five ways to book more paid speaking gigs, make it easy and enjoyable to hire, refer and engage you. Getting gigs works a lot. Like most things, referrals are magical. That's really like, it's such an easy part of the flow of the work that can come your way. Referrals, they're so cool because they decrease uncertainty and they increased confidence exponentially for the event leader, right? Think about it. Someone they trust says, oh my gosh, I saw this person speak. They were amazing. They're going to be perfect for your event. I may talk about leaping over, you know, 10 possible barriers to getting hired to speak. So be someone who is easy to refer and who refers others thoughtfully and generously.
So the speaking world again works a lot like many other arenas as I was just indicating, speakers refer other speakers. If you're speaking at conferences, especially that sometimes even inside of companies they need to mix it up right from year to year. So you may be the keynote or one of the main breakout sessions this year, but next year they want to bring in a new mix. So they're unlikely in many cases to hire you again next year even if you are awesome. But they are looking for great speakers and one of the best resources they have for other great speakers is you because now they trust you. You're in a trusted relationship. So tell them about another great speaker who you know who you think would be perfect for their conference next year. And then they're more likely to think of you again the year after or the year after that or refer you to someone else in their event.
Leader circles. You see how this works, right? So you just want to be someone who is known that it's easy to refer you, which means by the way, you also have the other assets in place. If I'm going to refer you to one of my clients, you know as a speaker, if I'm going to refer you to one of my clients who has hired me to speak, I want to know that when they go check out your speaker page, your website, you know your social media, that they'll be able to see how great you are. That's part of what makes me look good, right? It makes me look good. Like I, I know the good professional speakers, so make it easy by having all those assets in place. Have your engagement process in place for hiring you. This is a bit of a crossover from what I said earlier, but really what I'm talking about here is systems, so you're going to lay this all out ahead of time.
How do you bring on new clients as a paid speaker? An inquiry comes in, somebody asks about hiring you to speak. Ideally, that just naturally happens as you're out there. More and more. It does happen more often this way, so an inquiry comes in, a call gets scheduled maybe with you, maybe with someone on your team, ideally with you, so a call gets scheduled and then once it's confirmed, once there's a date that's confirmed and that it's available on your own calendar and that will work for you. Then you send an invoice and an agreement and you get the deposit. 50% maybe is not uncommon and sometimes speakers just say they want full pay ahead of time. That part, those are decisions that you can make, but once some payment has been made and agreement is signed, then you will hold the date. I recommend you don't hold dates, especially with four new clients that you haven't worked with before because it just removes the urgency around paying you and signing that agreement and you want those things in place so that you can hold that date and confidently say no to other potential speaking opportunities.
So you've got your system inquiry comes in, the call gets scheduled once the date is confirmed as available and invoice and agreement are sent and the invoices for 50% are full pay. Once it's paid, the data's held on your calendar and then you're going to have an engagement conversation of some kind with the leaders. And sometimes this doesn't happen for another month or two as they're getting closer to the event. But then you start asking the questions about this audience who you can speak to so you can learn more about them doing your research and preparing for an awesome talk. So that may or may not be your process. That's our process loosely. We're always adjusting it. But that may or may not be your process, but lay it out ahead of time so that when you have the conversation, you can tell them how this is going to work.
And again, they may say to you, here's how we do it. And if that's fine with you, then that might work. You could say, okay, that sounds good. But when you've laid it out ahead of time, you know things like, oh no, that's not gonna work for me. I don't hold this date until you give me a deposit and sign an agreement. For example, you'll know to say that because you've laid out the system ahead of time. So I'm always, as I said, we're always tweaking this. I'm working on this process myself around engaging the paid speaking events. So we'll be refining this together. You and me, you tell me what you learn and will do the same. Alright, number five in our list of five simple things you can do to book more paid speaking gigs, showcase the return on investment of your speaking everywhere that you can.
One of the main things the event leader wants to know is are you going to help our audience reach the outcomes that we've promised they will reach by coming to our event, right? So if this is a marketing event and some of the promises of this conference are you're going to learn, you know, all the latest information about funnels and you know, video marketing. And how to do Facebook ads. These may be some of the big promises that the conference has made. Well, they're bringing on speakers to deliver on a bunch of those promises and you are one of those speakers who is delivering on a specific one of those promises. Make sure that in your materials before they hire you, remember all of this is stuff that you're going to have in place that they can see that you are a hell yes for them, right?
So this means your testimonials should reflect the outcomes that your clients want. For example, you want a testimonial that says something like, she fired me up so much that I went home and totally reworked my sales page copy. I got two clients the very next day, or I walked into his session thinking I was going to have to quit my job because nothing seemed to be working between me and my boss. I left there with very clear ideas about how I can make that relationship better and stay in this job that I really love. So you see how these are very outcome focused testimonials. You need to ask for them that way. So the first one that I shared is actually at least a few days later, right? Because the person said, I got two clients the very next day. So at every speaking gig that you deliver, paid or free, whenever you can, you ask for testimonials and you might pass out a piece of paper, you might have a videographer there who you ask them to come over and maybe say a few words on video.
Those are really cool to have for future speaking events. But whatever way you do it, you want to get their words. But the way you ask the question matters. So you're going to want to say something like, what made you choose this session of all of the options and how did it help solve the problem that you were experiencing around, you know, whatever this topic is. And you're going to put that topic in. And so that would be one that you might actually have on site, right? And then if you're talking about how you can get testimonials later, this would happen because you have created some kind of nurturing connection, a way to send them an email after the event, so many times you've probably seen this done where there are, where you can have the audience text a certain number and put in words like, yes, please or send it or whatever and then it will automatically invite them to sign up for some kind of Freebie with their name and email address.
Well, if you do something like that, you will then be able to send them a note maybe a couple of days after the event and say it was so great spending the afternoon, day, morning, whatever with you. I hope you're enjoying whatever Freebie I gave you. I would love to hear how what I shared in this event is affecting your work or life. Again, depending on your topic, will you share with me what made you choose this particular session and specific changes you're seeing in your life so far or specific outcomes that you're already experiencing as a result of our time together at this event? Name of the event, something like that. You see, so you want to word the testimonial so they're prompted to give you actual outcomes. So there you have it. Five simple things you can do to book more paid speaking gigs, starting right away and you don't have to do all five of them and you don't have to do them at the depth that I've described.
Choose a couple of them. Take some action, you know, get a speaker page app at minimum. Put a few testimonials on there from any event ever. If you can remember what someone has said to you after an event, find a photo of you speaking at the parent teacher association or at that community event. It doesn't have to be on behalf of your business or of course at that great speaking Gig that you recently did. I can't tell you how many people I meet who actually have all these assets and they just haven't created the speaker page. Don't be that person. So go get it done. It's super simple. Use what you have now and make sure it's there. As you know, I'm a huge advocate for speaking for free under the right circumstances, and I've talked about that in a number of these podcasts, but when your talk is the end product, when it's needed to bring the outcomes on that day, in that moment, being paid is good and right.
I love paid speaking too, by the way. Paid speaking is awesome and it is a whole business model if you want it to be, you just have to show that you're a pro, that you're serious about it and make it easy for them to get super excited to have you on their event team. By the way, you can get paid to speak at an event and attract clients at that same event. So that's a whole separate talk. It happens for me, it happens for my clients regularly, so that too can happen if you have client work that you do, if you have something else to sell. But again, you don't have to, you can have books. Maybe. Maybe you just want to sell your books, not just, but you want to sell your books and you want to get more speaking gigs. Awesome. If you want to get paid to speak, you really can book paid speaking gigs when you set yourself up.
Right. My friend and client, Marsha Shan door, got a $10,000 Gig when the event leader found her via a Google search. Seriously Google search, but here's the thing, she has a great speaking page with so many of the elements in place that I've talked about here in this podcast. She's thought about how her message conserve for the event leaders, for people who are, who pay speakers and she made that really clear in her material so you can see that she speaks when you look at all aspects of her online, at her website, at her social media, you can see that she's a speaker. It's not the only thing she has there, but it is there and it doesn't hurt that she wrote up a shit hot proposal as she describes it when she was invited to submit a proposal to speak. But here's the thing, you two can write a shit hot proposal that is super exciting to the meeting organizer when you've done a lot of the things that we've talked about today because those all get you prepared to answer the questions that are going to be on that proposal form.
So you should do that too, just like Marcia did and you totally can. Let me take this moment to remind you that this is what I helped my clients do. You don't have to do this alone. You really don't. And we have one spot left in this moment, as I said earlier, so get your application and the thought leadership school.com forward slash speak. Here's what I want you to know, my friend. What you have to say matters. You know what model is right for you. You can get paid to speak, you can sell your books in huge quantities. If you've got those and you want to sell them, and this is the model you want to use. That big speaking dream is yours. It's yours for the for that. I was going to say yours for the taking, but it's certainly yours for the direction pointing.
Go there. You can make a whole living this way. We don't know exactly what it's gonna look like, but I can tell you from my experience with speakers who do this all kinds of ways. It can be a really fun way to live a life and make a living set yourself up, right? And this can be your whole new reality. You really were made for this, my friend. The sign is your deep desire to do this even when you aren't sure how you're going to do it in this moment, your sign has arrived. I can't wait to see you out there shining bright from all of your dream stages, basking in the glory of a lovely speakers fee check. Keep us posted on the adventure. Will you? I'd love to know. And when you rise into amazing stardom, don't forget us little stars over here. Come and share your lessons with us on the thought leadership school podcast. Will you all right until next week, my friend. I already can't wait. Thanks so much for being here with me on the thought leadership school podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance, 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 speaksoitmatters.com/freebook.
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