How to Get Paid to Speak Publicly--Experts Tell Their Secrets!

Get Paid to Speak Publicly-Tips from the Experts

By January 9, 2017Tips & Tricks

People are out there speaking publicly. They get paid to speak & it’s aiding their careers massively.  We may as well learn from their successes & failures, right? How do public speakers get started? How do they catapult their speaking careers? 

Following are the stories of 3 well-known & sought after public speakers: Laurie Ruettimann, David JP Fisher & Jay Baer.

Laurie Ruettimann

Laurie Ruettimann is a Forbes top 100 blogger & international public speaker. She’s a former Human Resources leader turned influential speaker, writer and entrepreneur. She owns a consultancy that offers a wide array of services to HR departments and technology companies.

Laurie Ruettimann had made herself quite popular with her blog. She spoke her mind & people listened. From her I’m still learning to say what I want to say & not be afraid!

Ita:  How did you get started in the speaking business?

Laurie:  Years ago, my blog was very popular. I was asked to appear in real life and speak on panels and share my opinion. I developed a reputation for saying what was on my mind. Finally, a conference organizer encouraged me to consider public speaking for a living. That’s when I began submitting proposals for keynote speeches.

Say 'yes' to every speaking opportunity. Go on local radio. Speak to community groups. Talk to high schoolers. Do… Click To Tweet

Ita:  What are the first steps our readers need to take to get involved in paid speaking

Laurie:  There are so many talented speakers and very few paid opportunities. You need three years of non-paid speaking to consider charging money for your talk. Say yes to every speaking opportunity. Go on local radio. Speak to community groups. Talk to high schoolers. Do whatever it takes to perfect your craft.

Make Yourself Famous

Ita: Can you give us some tips for attracting attention from national and global meeting planners?

Laurie:  Great speakers are great thinkers and writers. You must have a blog, or at the very least, have an online presence on LinkedIn or Medium where you’re sharing ideas on a regular basis. I would also encourage you to read and share the best articles from your industry. Be a positive force for change, and people will notice your good work.

Be Prepared

Ita:  What were some of your biggest mistakes that our readers can learn from?

Laurie:  My worst speeches happen when I’m not prepared. When I try to wing it, the speech falls apart. I don’t necessarily memorize what I’m going to say, but I never show up and rely on the slides to guide me.

Ita:  What are your best success stories?

Laurie:  I once delivered a keynote and an audience member said, “You remind me of Seth Godin.” I thought that was pretty special. 🙂 

Get Paid to Speak Publicly

Ita:  Once you start your speaking career, when do you start charging a fee?

Laurie:  Keynotes are always paid. Concurrent sessions are not. If you’re keynoting to a room with more than a few people, you should ask for something even if it’s just an honorarium.

Be a positive force for change, & people will notice your good work. -Laurie Ruettimann Click To Tweet

Ita:  Is it necessary to have a published book to be a successful speaker?

Laurie:  Plenty of speakers don’t have books. An e-book is a nice compromise.

Ita:  Should you ever speak for free?

Laurie:  Speak for free if you can afford it, but remember that you’ll never get a second chance to ask for cash.

David JP Fisher

Next we talk with best-selling author  David JP Fisher from Rockstar Consulting. He is the author of six best-selling books in the Networking in the 21st Century series.

 

Getting Started with Public Speaking

Ita:  How did you get started in the speaking business?

David:  It was a natural progression from my previous career.  I had run a sales company and worked as a sales manager for Brinks Security so I spent thousands of hours in front of groups running trainings and meetings.  When I started my professional development company, RockStar Consulting, it made sense to include speaking as one of the ways I was helping people

Don’t be afraid to keep telling people what you do & who your perfect clients are. -David JP… Click To Tweet

Ita:  If I’m a newbie what are the first steps I need to take to get involved in paid speaking

David:  Start speaking!  There’s nothing that can replace actually speaking.  You’ll find out if you actually do like it and if it’s something you want to put time into.  It looks glamorous from the outside, but there’s a lot of work involved.  Get involved in a local Toastmasters group if you can, and start looking for places where you can get stage time, even if it’s speaking for small groups at your company or at your local Chamber of Commerce.  And then start thinking about what you are going to talk about and developing some expertise in that area.

Oh, yeah – and start watching a lot of stand up comedians.  They are master speakers and it more fun to watch their material while you are also picking apart what they do and why they do it.

Public Speaking Gets You Noticed

Ita:  Can you give us some tips for attracting attention from national and global meeting planners?

David:  Put yourself out there.  There’s no trick to this, and if someone tells you there is, they’re trying to sell you a training program.  Reach out to your network and ask for introductions into their organizations.  Think of the groups that you are involved in and start talking to the people running your events.  Networking doesn’t seem super-sexy, and it takes time, but it works.  Remember that every gig you are trying to get is on the radar of lots of other speakers.

Start watching a lot of stand up comedians. They are master speakers.-David JP Fisher Click To Tweet

Ita:  What were some of your biggest mistakes that our readers can learn from?

David:  I never made any mistakes…no really… 😉  Because there are none. Pick your niche and become an expert in that. If you try to do too many things, it’s hard for your audience (and your buyers) to really understand how you help.  Since the world is so full of information, don’t just assume that people are going to remember you without you repeating yourself a lot.  Don’t be afraid to keep telling people over and over what you do and who your perfect clients are.

What Makes Public Speaking Worth it?

Ita:  What are your best success stories?

David:  It was nice being asked to speak at an annual conference for a company…that was held at a 4-star all-inclusive resort in Puerta Vallarta.  That was fun.

Even better, though, are the emails that you get a day, a week, a month after a gig when someone shares that an insight or idea you gave them made a difference in their life.  I had a young woman come up to me after a message I delivered to a room of salespeople on goal-setting.  She looked me in the eye and said, “I didn’t get it until today.  You just changed my life.”  I won’t lie, that feels good.  Makes all the work worth it.

Tap into Your Inner Rock Star

Ita:  What else would you like to share that might be helpful to our readers?

David:  I played in a band for a long time, and I compare speaking to that experience.  Speaking professionally is fantastic, and I’m glad that it’s the career I chose, but it takes a lot of work.  For every 45 minute keynote you deliver there are hours and hour and hours of effort. From message development to writing to marketing to selling to doing the books, you have to be committed to putting that time in.  There’s a lot happening behind the scenes – make sure you are ready to jump in if you want to be successful

 

Jay Baer

Last but not least 🙂 we speak with Jay Baer. Jay Baer is the world’s most sought after inspirational marketing and customer service keynote speaker and a New York Times best-selling author of five books.

Ita:  How did you start speaking?

Jay:  In high school I was named “most likely to be a game show host” and was the emcee of all the pep assemblies and such. So I’ve never been afraid of the microphone! I did some local speaking in the late 90s, and a conference here or there. And then when I started to focus more on social media, I began getting paid to speak, leading up to the launch of my first book, The Now Revolution, in 2011.

First Steps to Getting Paid to Speak

Ita:  How do I start speaking from scratch?

Jay:  Figure out precisely what you can offer that will improve the lives and/or business of the audience. If you don’t know why your ideas matter, you have no shot at a paid speaking career.

Ita:  Can you give us some tips for attracting attention from national and global meeting planners?

Jay:  Not really, because I still don’t know how! The way it works for me is that I just do the best job I possibly can every time I hit the stage. The nice thing is that there are future clients in every audience. One of the great truisms in the business is that “the more you speak, the more you speak.”

Figure out precisely what you can offer that will improve the lives of the audience.-JayBaer Click To Tweet

Ita:  What were some of your biggest mistakes that our readers can learn from?

Jay:  Like most, I started off as a breakout speaker and then moved to keynotes. That process took longer than it needed to because I made the typical mistake of including way too much content in my keynotes. My good friend Scott Stratten got me over the hump. He told me to delete 50% of my material. I was aghast initially, but he was absolutely correct.

Public Speaking Massively Improves Your Career

Ita:  What are your best success stories?

Jay:  Every single speech is a success story. Doing this for a living is the greatest job in the world that a marginally athletic, not particularly handsome, tone-deaf person could have!

Get Paid to Speak

Ita:  Once you start your speaking career, when do you start charging a fee?

Jay:  My first paying gigs were around 2009. I’d only been speaking for a few months at that point.

Ita:  Is it necessary to have a published book to be a successful speaker?

Jay:  Not at all. Lots of great speakers don’t have books. But, if you’re a “content speaker” as I am, or you focus on business improvement topics like I do, it helps. And it also helps codify and clarify your message.

Speak about a couple of topics, not 12. When you have too many topics people question your… Click To Tweet

Ita:  Should you ever speak for free?

Jay:  Of course! When you’re first starting, you have to speak for free. And now, I still do six or seven free events every year. Events that I believe in and support, local events, NSA chapters, etc.

What’s the Deal with Speaker’s Bureaus?

Ita:  Do you have to work with speaker’s bureaus to get booked? If so, how and when should you begin contacting them?

Jay:  No. About 15% of my business is through bureaus, and it used to be even less. Bureaus have contacts you’ll likely never have, and they are almost uniformly great to work with, so they can be very, very useful. But you don’t have to work with them. And when you’re just starting out, they probably won’t have opportunities for you, because the money doesn’t work on both sides. In terms of contacting bureaus proactively, I’m not a huge fan of that approach. They get bombarded all the time, and I question how effective it is to cold contact a bureau. When you’re ready, they’ll find you because their clients will start asking for you by name. That’s how it worked for me, at least.

Ita:  Do you have any other advice for us?

Jay:  Speak about a couple of topics, not 12. When you have too many topics people question your authority. And spend the time and money on a good website. It matters!

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I’d love to hear from you! Would you like to get paid to speak? Are you speaking publicly? Do you have any success stories you’d like to share?

 

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • i thought this was a very interesting and insightful post. I am curious about when Laurie mentioned that if you speak for free once, don’t expect to ever get paid to speak for them in the future. If you are starting out, and haven’t built a name for yourself and time goes by where you are growing and building yourself a speaker, why should I not expect to be paid? I am currently giving some free photo sessions to people but that doesn’t mean if they come back to me in the future, they should expect to get freebies. what do you think? does this only apply to speaking publicly?

  • I also found David JP Fisher’s interview to be very inspiring and encouraging. I loved the part about watching stand up comedians. I watch them all the time. I’ve even thought about taking a stand up comedy class. I don’t know if I have it in me though….

    maybe one day 🙂

  • Juliana Vasconcelos says:

    The interviews are enriching and are leading to a successful career. I believe that the dissemination of all events should be massive and reach the target audience.

  • Vania Mendez says:

    The examples mentioned are constructive and help in the insights in assembling more concrete strategies and guide the meeting of the goals of the speaker. The interviews inform us that it is possible to get paid, but we must be aware of our strategies.

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