Here’s how to handle a problem most speakers face

You’re a speaker. You’re going to give the morning keynote speech at 9:00 AM at a top conference with an audience of 1,000. You’re pumped. As part of the invitation to speak, you’ve been asked to attend a dinner the night before, in order to meet the audience, mingle with them, and – by the way – say a few words. How do you respond? It’s hard not to accept, but what… Read More

The Public Speaker’s To-Do List for 2015

Happy New Year. Is this the year you break out as a speaker, at a level that matches your ambition? How high do you want to fly? Do you want to excel at the keynote level, in hot demand at $40K per speech, all over the world? Or do you want to have constant invitations to give your free speech about better mousetraps, building great connections and potential clients everywhere? Or do… Read More

Speakers Need to Think About Their Branding

Susan Fiske, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, studies the psychology of branding, consumers, and the motivation to buy from one company over another. She’s worked out how we pick friends, and companies – both the ones we decide to like and the ones we decide to hate. Her book, The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies, written with marketing expert Chris Malone, is a… Read More

A Few Things I’ve Learned About the Speaking Business

It may be presumptuous of me to reflect on nearly 30 years in the speaking business and offer a few tips I’ve learned along the way. But I’m doing it anyway, and let me start by inviting you to add your insights, disagree with mine, or simply say yes. That way the lessons won’t just be one person’s thoughts but a magnificent edifice of ideas built by many minds. Here goes. 1…. Read More

How Much Should A Speaker Charge?

How much should you charge to give a speech? The question is complicated by a number of factors including perception, the market, your expertise, the audience, and your celebrity appeal. I’m going to approach the subject from the point of view of a speaker trying to gauge the marketplace and price to get bookings. Be advised from the start that the market is highly fractured and variable and your experience may vary. The… Read More

The Happy Speaker

The professional speaking life takes a tough constitution. First of all, of course, it means travel, on today’s terms – which are not pleasant. Unless you’re going first class all the way, and even then, travel is stressful. You have to manage your health, and your time away from home, and your diet, and your exercise, and, well, everything else. It’s all tougher out of a suitcase. Then, there’s the adrenaline cycle…. Read More

How to Fail as a Professional Public Speaker – the Seven Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Speakers

I work with professional speakers, people aspiring to become professional speakers, speakers on the way up, and all the variants in between.  There are as many stories about their roads to success as there are individuals.  And yes, of course, the road to success goes through the swamp of failure and frustration before it gets to those sunlit uplands of glory that Winston Churchill spoke of in a slightly different context. But… Read More

How to Get Hired as a Speaker in 2014

Most speakers who market their services are going about it in the wrong way.  Start from the idea that the fee-paying world is overloaded with information, marketing claims, ideas, cute kitten videos, and a thousand demands on everyone’s time from family, friends, co-workers and people asking for money for good causes. The easiest path for someone looking to hire a speaker is to hire one that is already certified safe, clever, and… Read More

Have you checked in with Google Images recently?

You spend a lot of time and energy carefully crafting your public words, but how much thought do you give to your public images? Have you run a Google Image search on your name or company lately? You might be surprised at what shows up. How are you visually presenting yourself to the world? Do your online images symbolize and evoke your brand message? Do they portray your personality and ethics? Are… Read More

You Have to Focus

I wrote in an earlier post about the importance of making choices to a successful public career.  More bad news:  once you choose, you have to focus.  Specifically, in three essential ways. First, you have to focus on creating speaking opportunities.  But not in the way that you think.  Because professional speakers have the opportunity to earn large sums of money, there’s a huge amount of competition.  Lots of people have noticed… Read More