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How to Land Speaking Gigs: What Most Successful Speakers Won’t Tell You


How to Land Speaking Gigs: What Most Successful Speakers Won’t Tell You

by | Jun 6, 2019 | Marketing

If you do a search on “how to land speaking gigs,” it is safe to say you will be bombarded with an endless list of results, 2.8 million to be exact, from experts that all say just about the same thing. Create a website, craft a signature talk, practice a lot, get a speaker reel, become an expert, produce endless amounts of content… and wait for the magic to happen. Of course, you follow this advice and quickly realize you aren’t getting the results promised. So, you try again. You do a new search on “how to land PAID speaking gigs,” because, you figure, paid was the missing magic keyword. After a few rounds you eventually become the embodiment of a very overused quote about insanity. Searching the same topic over and over again, hoping for a different article, video, book, seminar, online group or course that will give you the magic answer on how to land speaking gigs.

What They Aren't Telling You

With thousands of articles, books, courses, programs, masterminds on landing speaking gigs and the average person spending up to $25,000, or more, to find that secret of being the next Tony Robbins, Brene Brown or Lisa Nichols, very few pros will tell you the REAL secret to getting on stage. These coaches, mentors and influencers won't spill the tea because they know it is easier to profit on hope rather than work.

All speakers want the finished product, the stage. Not the years, the drama, the head down, the failing, the crafting, the retooling, the investing… but this is what it takes to get on the stage. THE WORK. The work is grabbing onto an unshakable work ethic, being faithfully consistent to a mundanely repetitive system and mastering the skill of closing a deal.

Adopting a Solid Work Ethic

There are many ways to view the idea of work ethic from those like Eric Chester, Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader's Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce, lamenting that we have lost our motivation to work globally to those with a more dogmatic approach to success such as Andy Swan, “Go to sleep with a plan…wake up with a purpose.” However, Wikipedia has a great summary of the factors that make up a good work ethic:

  1. Goal-oriented actions
  2. Prioritized focus
  3. Being available and reliable
  4. Conscientiousness
  5. Creating a rewarding routine/system
  6. Embracing positivism

Yes to ALL of this!

What most speakers, or those that sell speaking programs, fail to mention is that the path they took to become a thought leader, go-to industry expert or sought after keynote speaker, not only included putting in the work, but they had to lay down a solid work ethic that more than likely took years to piece together. So, the next time you see your favorite speaker on stage and you assume that all it took was a speaker reel, a nice website, giving themselves a catchy title and practicing a talk over and over again… think again!

Being Faithfully Consistent

Speakers do take the time to share articles and posts about landing speaking gigs, but very few mention that their success was rooted in being consistent. Scratch that. They are faithfully consistent… to some of the of most non-sexy, mundane and repetitive work.

Getting on stage is the exciting end goal of being faithfully committed to being focused. The work to get on stage consists of finding stages, reaching out to organizations that have never heard of you, convincing people to take a chance on you so that you can build a resume to grow bigger. Most days this looks like sending hundreds of emails, making numerous phone calls and crafting an endless amount of pitches to find that one person that will say YES.

Is this boring? Yes.

Is it mundane? Yes.

Is it boring? Yes. ( Had to repeat this again, because it is so true.)

To do this day-in and day-out for years takes an extreme amount of focus and having a single focused goal. This faithfulness to consistency comes with bringing an A game no matter… even if there are only 5 people in the audience.

For speakers who have made a name for themselves, it takes years of being consistent to a routine. If building a speaker career is in your plans, but you only have a few hours a month, look at the path of the ones you admire and understand their over night success may have been 15 years in the making.

How to Close a Deal

If you want the real secret to getting on stage, getting paid thousands of dollars and being the go to person in any industry, you will need to master the art of closing a deal. Again, this is something those who get on stage regularly gloss over. This single skill is what separates speakers who get booked often and those who grace stages occasionally. Also, this is where most speakers make the biggest mistake. They assume that because they have reached a level of success with getting on a few stages, or making money in their companies, they can hire an agent, virtual assistant, or public relations person to close deals for them.

Here is the deal. When you are still unknown, or have not built up a recognizable reputation it is in your best interest to be in charge of closing your own deals. The years of yes', no’s and making rookie mistakes are what makes professional speakers great. They know how to position themselves, craft a message specifically for an audience and negotiate to get exactly what they want. Next time, read in between the lines of what experts are telling you because this is where, and how, you land speaking gigs, not with having a perfect template for a contract.

Your Next Move to Getting on Stage

In the end, if you want to get on more stages, you will need to incorporate a solid work ethic, being faithfully consistent to repetitive tasks and learning everything you can on closing deals (i.e. selling). Once you know where to truly  focus your priorities, you will be well on your way to landing on more stages. The next time you see your favorite speaker, or you decide to search for “how to land speaking gigs,” just know that the magic is in what is not being said. Know that they have put in years of work, dedication and commitment to make it to the main stage.