Introduction: How to Become a Speaker – Tips from Grant Baldwin
Grant Baldwin’s webinar, “How to Get Booked (And Paid) to Speak Even If You Don’t Have an Existing Platform or You Hate Selling” delivered great content. If you want to learn how to become a speaker, Baldwin offers some great tips in the webinar. I love to listen to webinars that give you solid information, because you not only learn from them, but if you are smart, and want to succeed in life, you can apply the information as well. Becoming a speaker is not something on my mind right now, because there are lots of other things that I’d like to do first, but if an opportunity presents itself, I wouldn’t turn it down. So it made sense for me to invest the 75 minutes to get the tips from Baldwin.
Misconceptions about Getting Speaking Gigs to Become a Speaker
- Have to be well-known.
- Have to have a pre-existing platform.
- Have to be “salesy.”
- Have to have overcome something tragic.
In the webinar, Grant Baldwin debunked the four misconceptions mentioned above, which frequently prevent people from becoming a speaker.
UPDATE: First Published in December 2015
3 Foundational Questions to Ask Before You Become a Speaker
- Why do I want to speak? With everything in life, you have to have a compelling purpose for doing things, if you expect to stick with it. Some of the reasons why people decide to become a speaker, include – money, credibility, grow an audience, travel and promote products. You reason may be very different from those. And something worth thinking about if you want to become a speaker, is that if you want to help others, then you have to be passionate about the topic that you are going to speak about.
- Who do you want to speak to? You have to know your target audience. If you try to speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one. Is that what you want to do?
- What do you want to speak about? Yes, you may be knowledgeable about a lot of topics, but do you really want to talk about all of them? Choose two or three topics that you feel confident about, and if you have only one topic, there is nothing wrong with that.
How to Discover What to Speak About
- Experience/knowledge and what people often ask you about make very good topics.
- What you are passionate about.
- Things that give you joy.
You may be asking now, “What if I’m not an expert on any topic?” Baldwin says that you don’t have to be an expert, but you have to know slightly more about the subject than someone else. When he said this, I was reminded of Og Madino’s Greatest Secret in the World, which is “The greatest secret in the world is that you only have to be a small, measurable amount better than mediocrity… and you’ve got it made.” Most people operate at the level of mediocrity, so you have to be a little bit better than that.
Grant Baldwin emphasized that you can start booking speaking gigs without an existing brand, bestselling book, social media following, or name recognition online, but you must have a demo video and a website.
These days, your website is your calling card, so you need one. Technology is so advanced that literally anyone can create a website in minutes, and it doesn’t have to cost you. You can simply create a website using WordPress.com when you are starting out.
6 Elements to Include on Your Website
- Pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words, so have candid shots of you giving a speech.
- Recommendations: This is social proof, but how can you get recommendations when you are starting out. Speak for free, do a fantastic job, then request a recommendation.
- Biography: People do business with those they know, like and trust. Even though your bio is about you, write it in such a way to demonstrate how you are the answer to what your target audience needs or wants to hear.
- Topic: Create a menu of two or three things you can talk about.
- Contact information: People have to know how to book you. Include your contact information on every page of your website – not just on the Contact Page.
- Videos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demo video of you giving a speech is worth a lot more. Include videos of you speaking. The most important part of your speaker website is the demo video because people want to feel confident that you can deliver as a speaker. Show them and not tell them what you are capable of. The video should give people a sense of who you are.
Tips for Creating a Demo Video
- Keep it short, just enough to whet their appetite.
- Think of your video like a book trailer.
- It should show you speaking.
- Include your website URL and contact information.
How to Make a Video Without a Footage
- If you are starting out, more than likely, you do not have any video footage. If this is the case, speak at an event for free and make sure that it’s video recorded.
- Speak to an empty room and have it recorded, with the focus on you and not where the audience would be. Use a ballroom, auditorium or conference room – the kind of room you would use when speaking to an audience.
- Work with what you have and improve as you go along. Don’t wait until you have the perfect demo video.
- Borrow the equipment if you have to, to make your demo video. It doesn’t have to be expensive to get one done.
Important Tips to Become a Speaker
- Have your demo video and website in place before you start to market yourself as a speaker.
- If you build it, they will not come – this is not the Field of Dreams. You have to market yourself.
- Build relationships, focus on the relationship, and not on the speaking gig.
- Talk to clients who have used speakers in the past.
- Start your search for speaking engagements by approaching conferences and associations.
- Use Google to find speaking opportunities. If your area of specialty is pottery, search for pottery events, or pottery conferences, or pottery associations. When you discover appropriate leads, find the decision-maker, then go from there.
- Send an initial email that’s short. Think of the encounter as a first date, generate a dialogue, then build a bridge. You’re not booking a gig, but building a relationship.
- Keep track of the emails you send regarding speaking gigs.
- Some topics are easier to sell than others.
- The more unique your presentation, the easier it is to get booked.
- You get paid more if you are the keynote speaker.
- When you are just starting out, it’s possible to get paid between $1,000 and $2,500.
- You can often make more money selling books, coaching programs, consulting and so on, than for speaking engagements, so have products and services to sell after you speak.
- The best marketing tool is word of mouth.
Finding Other Speaking Opportunities
- Online search.
- Speaker referral.
- Client referral.
- Live presentation.
- Repeat business.
- Media and press release
Are you an aspiring speaker? Which of the tips is the most helpful to you?