Be a Sponge: Do You Think You Are the Only One? | Darren LaCroix

Be a Sponge: Do You Think You Are the Only One?

By Darren LaCroix | Master Public Speaking

Ever have crazy thoughts? I do. Ever have rational thoughts? I do. Ever think, “If I just _____, then life would be amazing.” Yeah, me too.  I can’t tell you the number of emerging presenters, who love speaking, say to me, “If I could just have someone book me, I’d speak anywhere and everywhere!” Then they say, “I’d even give them a huge percentage. I just want to speak!” Do you think you are the only one who thinks that way? This article may sting a bit.

I get it. I really do. I thought that way back in the 1990’s. I still feel that way today, but it’s not reality. That is not how the speaking world works. Almost every speaker I know “wishes” that. We love the speaking part and can’t stand the marketing part. My friend, Ed Tate says, “It’s a business first. You get to speak second. If you get the order wrong, you don’t get to speak at all.” 

Now, to be clear, you can speak at Toastmasters and many civic organizations. You can even speak at a TEDx event. Here is what you need to do first, contact the people holding the meetings and offer your speaking services. They need to be aware you are an option. Your value increases when your message matches their theme. You can up the likelihood they choose you when you can write a brief description explaining your premise and how it will help people. You’ll even more likely be chosen when other people, who have seen you present this topic, rave about you. 

Um, that is marketing. Think of it this way, you are running a TEDx event and you have to choose the best presenters to make your event amazing. Who would you choose? Well, you’d start with presenters you’d know. You can’t choose someone you aren’t aware of! Second, you’d look at applications that were submitted. You’d probably have a lot to sift through. So, unless the description is compelling and you think it is an idea worth sharing, you think, “Next!” You have to because you are in charge of making the event a success and have to deal with many other issues like finding the best venue, filling the seats and motivating volunteers. Lots to do. The presenter is just a piece of the puzzle. Does this make sense?

Now, there are two proven ways to have someone “just book you” so you can speak. First, you can work for a public seminar company. You do have to learn and teach their content. They will fill the room and have the room set up and ready for you. No marketing, but you do have to drive to the next city every night for a week. Many famous speakers started this way. Some that you may have heard of are: Ford Saeks, Mark Sanborn, Ed Tate, David Brooks and Craig Valentine.

The second option to have someone book you is to work with a speakers bureau or a speaker management company. They can get anywhere from 20-30%. Sounds great, however, consider their perspective. They already work with a stable of world-class speakers and don’t need any more options. In order to get you considered for a booking, they ask you to send a description and a demo video. Some of my close friends that work with bureaus invest $10,000 on their demo video. So, if you were planning the event and you saw a $100 video vs. a $10,000 one, who would you more likely consider? Bureaus don’t even want to consider working with you until you are earning $5,000 per speech. Some, not until you are in the $10,000 range. So, it is possible to have someone “just book you” and you just speak, but they need the tools to get you booked; and you need the skills to match it. That make sense?

A completely other different option is to build or hire your own team to market you. That has its own challenges, but it is a possibility. You are the CEO of your business. Now, you have to manage your team. I’m just saying. 

A little reality can hurt. It can also be just the kick in the butt we need to take the action we need. Instead of wishing you could find the person who could “book you” so you can just speak, take steps each week to make yourself more bookable. If I can talk you out of your dream, good. Maybe you can find another dream. If I can’t talk you out of your dream, you just might have a chance. It does not matter where you are right now. What matters is what you are doing about getting where you want to go. If we want world-class pay, we need to deliver world-class value. If not there yet, no worries, take a step today towards where you want to be. Go speak. Create a demand for you, your style and your message as you grow. Every world-class, in-demand speaker once wasn’t, but they took steps. What is a step you can take today?

What do you take from this?


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