Not every speaker is paid. And speaking offers many benefits that aren’t financial. But if you dream of speaking professionally and having the ability to spend significant time and energy sharing your message, you’re going to need to be paid to speak. Today, we’re talking about 4 irrefutable laws about making money on stage.
Most speakers just starting out jump at any opportunity to speak. As they should. In the beginning, you’re focused on learning to speak effectively, refining your message, growing your expertise as a compelling communicator and establishing your speaker brand. But eventually, not being compensated appropriately to speak will limit your ability to make a difference with your message.
Speaker compensation is impacted by many factors. The category or industry the speaker works in. Is the client a not-for-profit? A corporation? A ministry? The level of experience and expertise of the speaker and the stage of development for her brand make a difference as well.
But regardless of those things, there are a number of ways to tip the financial scales in your favor. And when you’re paid to speak, you can speak more. When you speak more, you can have more impact. You can make a greater difference.
Let’s talk about how you can position yourself to be paid to speak and to maximize the financial opportunity.
Here are 4 laws to obey as you position yourself as a professional speaker who is paid (and paid well) to speak.
Law #1 – You must solve a problem.
Speakers are problem solvers. This is one of the first, most important things to understand about being paid to speak and framing what you have to offer so you can be paid to share it.
When you step up to speak in front of any audience, whether you’re telling your personal story, sharing a message or teaching the skill or expertise you’ve learned, you are there to solve a problem for your audience.
One of the foundational things you need to do as a speaker is get clear about the problem you solve. And who you solve it for.
Maybe you teach new moms how to train their babies to sleep through the night.
Or you share your story of addiction and path to healing to help others find their way out.
You help students apply for colleges more effectively to strengthen their odds at the college they want.
Maybe you speak to small business owners, helping them learn basic marketing to grow their business.
See the pattern? You have to get clear on the problem you solve and who you solve it for. And you have to get really good at communicating that to event planners and others who book speakers.
When you solve a problem, you provide value. And you’re paid for the value you provide.
When you speak, there’s no doubt you encourage, inspire, entertain, lead, teach and many more wonderful things. But all that is elements within the core of your message which solves a specific problem for a specific group of people.
Law #2 – You must come to serve.
I bet you can think of a time when you sat in a room a listened to a speaker who was clearly only there for him- or herself. It was clear in tone and in spirit that the speaker had a lot of really smart things to say and you’d be smart to listen up.
How did that make you feel? Were you engaged in the talk? Invested in listening to and learning from the speaker?
Now think about being in the room with a speaker who clearly has a heart to help and to serve. Who is clear on the problem she solves and the help she can provide to the people who need it. She’s passionate about her topic and about making a difference to the people she’s come to serve.
That kind of passionate energy is captivating. The posture of service is irresistible.
When everything you say and do as a speaker conveys your care for your audience and your desire to truly serve them in ways that matter, the natural response is gratitude. Audiences love to listen to speakers like that, and events love to have those speakers at their events. And are happy to pay them for the help they provide and the spirit they bring to their events.
Law #3 – You must be professional.
Speakers who want to be taken seriously, valued and compensated for the value they bring must present themselves in a professional way. If you don’t take yourself seriously as a speaker, why would anyone else?
What separates a professional speaker from everyone else?
Professional speakers are prepared. It always amazes me to hear of someone stepping up in front of a group to speak and “winging it”. First, it’s arrogant and disrespectful. If someone is giving their time and attention, the least we can do is take it seriously enough to prepare. And people who are comfortable flying by the seat of their pants are never more than mediocre no matter what self-evaluation may tell them. Communication masters are relentless at preparing.
Professional speakers present themselves professionally. There’s no need to bring out your prom dress or tux. But professional speakers take time with their appearance. They’re well dressed (whatever that looks like for the particular situation), well groomed and put together nicely in general. This isn’t about looking a certain way. But it is about presenting yourself as someone who is professional and trustworthy and cares enough to make sure their first impression is a good one.
Professional speakers handle their business. Being paid to speak is a job. And there are business requirements professional speakers take seriously and handle appropriately. Things like a separate bank account for your speaker business. Contracts for speaking engagements so everyone is clear on the details. Getting professional help from a lawyer or attorney when you need it so that your speaker business is set up correctly and runs professionally.
When you approach your speaking like it’s your job, like a professional, clearly taking it seriously, others will take it seriously, too. And they’ll expect to pay you for doing your job.
Law #4 – You must be yourself.
One of the biggest challenges I see when I’m talking to women who are dreaming of speaking but lacking the confidence to go for it is not believing what they have to share has value. Is worthy. Or that they’re worthy enough to be the one to share it.
It’s so easy to sit back quietly and assume that everything worthwhile has already been said. And by people more qualified than we are. But that’s total BS.
The fact is, there’s not another person in the world who can share what you can in the way that only you can. Only you can share what only you can share. And there are people right now waiting for that very thing.
To go from dreaming or dabbling to being paid to speak, you have to step into belief in yourself, in your message, its importance and its ability to change lives. Period. And you have to take that posture in every speaking opportunity. Being authentically yourself is the only want to connect authentically with other people.
When you are comfortable in your own skin and confident in the value you bring when you share your message, your confidence inspires others. They want to hear what you have to say and be led into the opportunity for growth and change you provide. That brings value and earns compensation in return.
Event planners love to book speakers who are professional problem solvers, confident in the difference their message makes and able to connect authentically as they engage and inspire toward real change. When you can do that, the world of professional speaking is yours for the taking. And more influence, impact and meaning than you can imagine is waiting on the other side!
If this post has been helpful, why not forward it to a friend? And if you are trying to work out your next steps for your speaking career, contact me here!
And if fear is standing in the way of you sharing your story or message, let’s do something about it! Click here to learn about my “Speak With Confidence” mini-course.
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