Main points in this video:

  • The two conditions under which I believe it's a good idea to speak for free
  • How speaking naturally inspires awesome new clients to seek you out to hire you
  • The specific questions you want to ask yourself to decide if speaking for free is a good idea for a particular event

Adapted transcript of video:

Hi there. Michelle Barry Franco here.

Let's talk about speaking for free. Should you speak for free? I get asked this question often, and it's a legitimate question because it takes a lot of work to craft a really awesome talk, and I don't believe in off-the-shelf talks, so you're going to customize this talk like you would any other talk.

Should you really give away your time and energy of preparation, not to mention standing on that stage and serving in such a powerful way? My answer to that question is yes, I absolutely believe in speaking for free under two conditions.

#1 – The first condition is if you have a roomful of ideal audience members. Last year I did a free speaking event for a very small roomful of leaders. They were women leaders. It took about two to three hours of my time, traveling there for the actual event. Of course, I did prep for a couple of hours before, so those hours are adding up, right? But I walked away with multiple thousands of dollars in business from this small event, very small event, actually. I knew it was a great opportunity because they were my ideal clients, so I highly recommend, if you have an opportunity to stand in front of a whole roomful of your ideal clients, and serve them in a way that will inspire the right ones to come up to you afterward and say, “Hey, I love what you did for us there. Can I have more of that?” then you want to do that.

#2 – Second, the other circumstance under which I recommend that my clients speak for free is if it's on mission for you, if your heart is in it. Here are a couple of examples: For a long time I volunteered as a speaker for Court Appointed Special Advocates. I felt very strongly about this organization and wanted to serve them. In fact, I called them on the phone and said, “I really want to serve your organization. I'm a speaking coach. How can I help?” We figured out the best way for me to serve, so for about 2-3 years I would provide trainings for their organization, and I happily did it for free. I was on mission for me. I wanted to support the voices of those children who didn't have voices at those times, so that was an easy “yes” for me.

The second example that comes to mind is I just got an email from a teacher at our middle school. I have two daughters in middle school, and the teacher said, “Hey, we're going to do TED style talks, and I was thinking it would be awesome to have you come in and talk about how to be successful at a TED Talk.” Perfect, right? I'm a TEDx coach. I can go in to my own daughters' classrooms and help these kids learn how to share their voices in powerful ways. I love it that it's my kids' school. I love it that these kids are going to have these tools this early on so that they can continue to share their voices for good out in our world, beyond that room.

My clients speak for all different organizations that they care about, so yes, absolutely, speak for free if it's on mission for you or if you've got a roomful of your ideal audience members. Just make sure that you're asking yourself the right questions about, “Are these my ideal clients? Do they have the funds to pay me? Are they really struggling with the issue that I help them solve?” If you answer those as a resounding “yes”, then it's awesome. Go out there and speak for free when it feels right for you. It's a wonderful way to get your voice out there and to serve. See you next week.