“Your ability to communicate with others will account for fully 85% of your success in your business and in your life.”

Brian Tracy

Imagine being paid well to travel the world and share your message with people that want to hear you speak?

If something in that question resonates, this post might be helpful.

Today, over 50% of my income comes from delivering keynote speeches and workshops to industry conferences and corporate leadership teams. It has taken over 16 years from my earliest free speeches towards a career where I can live from speaking. I have delivered over 2,500 hours of keynotes and workshops to over 50,000 participants.

In terms of quality, my recent 100 hours of speaking are astronomically better than those first 100 hours… but everyone has to begin. How do you begin?

How to get paid to speak…

Step 1:

1. Become an Expert.

Your fees depend more on you being (and perceived) as an expert than on how well you actually speak.

Maybe you can be paid well even if you don’t master anything, but if you are not on the path to mastery… I personally would rather you stayed home. If you are planning on being paid to speak, make a deep and lasting commitment towards true mastery.

There are 3 types of Expert speaker.

The 3 Paths of Expert Mastery:

  1. The Result Expert – Proven ability to get specific results for others eg Toni Nadal, Marshall Goldsmith, Tony Robbins
  2. The Research Expert – Has interviewed performers and has a deep knowledge of tools, strategies and tactics in an area eg Michael Porter, Jim Collins
  3. The Role Model – Has been successful eg Jack Welsh, Barrack Obama, Casey Neistat

A well paid speaker needs to be seen as a thought leader. The classic path is to write and publish a book, but in today’s world there are new paths: build a large youtube, instagram, or blog following. Pick one and start producing thought. I suggest that you use your blog not for sharing expert articles, but sharing your learning journey. When you write expert articles, it is much more valuable to submit them to highly credible sites (depends on your segment, but for me this would be HBR, Forbes, Inc, FT, Big Think).

3 Actions that The Best experts regularly do

  1. Interview other experts looking for patterns and best practice; building your connections and reputation in this important community.
  2. Create arguments based on 4 parts:
    1. What we should Pay attention to
    2. What things Mean
    3. How things work
    4. What might happen
  3. Simplify complex ideas with frameworks

Are you on a path towards being a true expert? Have you chosen whether you are a results expert, a research expert or a role model? Good… now we move to step 2.

Step 2.

Speak Lots and lots…

and lots…

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Albert Einstein

This blog is full of material about speaking well so I will not repeat. Some good articles on speaking well:

  1. Blog post: 12 tips for Public Speaking,
  2. Video: Improve your Speaking,
  3. YouTube playlist Develop your Speaking Skills and
  4. Free course Speaking as a Leader.

Learn directly from expert speakers. Rather than paying for a course on public speaking, pay to go and see well paid expert speakers deliver their keynotes. I learn more watching how a great speaker plans, prepares, delivers, follows up than by reading books or courses on speaking. In february I asked Luis Soares Costa to run a retreat for Vistage. I watched how he interviewed me, how he clarified what we needed and what we could do… I travelled with him the day before and watched how he prepared the room and himself for the 2 day retreat. I learnt more watching what he did and how he did it than by asking him for tips.

Here are 5 ideas for those who wish to make speaking a profession:

5 Advanced Tips for turning Pro as a Speaker

  1. Model the Greats. Bill Clinton modeled himself as a speaker on President Kennedy, even down to the gestures and word choice. YouTube and TED have great examples. Personally, I spent years modelling my approach to speaking on the style of Jim Rohn and the delivery of Alan Watts. The idea is not to copy, but to clarify what works and how to make it work for you.
  2. Practice Every Day. Make selfie videos. Every single day. (Here’s my 10 week email course Speaking As a Leader). Join Toastmasters, give speeches to the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Lions… Teaching at a university (IESE Business School) and delivering workshops at entrepreneur accelerator programs (for free) were how I got my first 500 hours of speaking experience.
  3. Practice what is hard, not what you find easy. If you are naturally charismatic and go with the flow… practice deep structure; if you are analytical and structured, practice improv. In Aikido they believe that your early strength will become a weakness if you are not disciplined. I personally still work hard on structure and ensuring a consistent delivery of my content to all audiences.
  4. Deliver Emotion. Emotions are power. Nobody will ask you back because you were the most analytical and correct speaker, they will ask you back because you made everybody feel strong emotions (and they can see it is predictable… nobody will recommend you if they don’t know 100% that you will deliver the same emotional impact every time). If you struggle to deliver emotional content and create deep connection with an audience, start to work on yourself. If you can deeply connect to emotion and to your own inner struggle, you can then begin to connect to others. It may take psychotherapy, it make take mastermind groups with personal development angles… but you must get deeply connected with your own internal emotional life.
  5. Focus your Speaking Topics. If you speak about anything to any audience, you will destroy your value. It is hard to say no, especially when you haven’t been paid for a few months – but each time you dilute, you die a little. A powerful brand is best defined what what it will not do, than what it will. Apple will never make toothbrushes… and if they do, sell the stock immediately.

Step 3.

Build your Reputation

…with the people that matter.

Be very careful who you take feedback and praise from. Only other speakers and people who pay for speakers count. Do not rely on friends, toastmaster club mates, family. They will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.

The best speaker referrals are other great expert speakers. When a conference has success with a speaker, they will ask that speaker to come back. They will also ask that speaker for recommendations. When another speaker gives your name as a referral, this is the most powerful marketing. I get more opportunities from other professional speakers than from any other source. Build a good reputation with this group.

Testimonials and Articles on high Credibility sites

A blog is interesting, but it is not a path to expert credibility. Articles on Forbes, HBR, Inc are more valuable than articles posted on your own blog.

Testimonials from conference organisers, other professional speakers and people who have paid you are the most valuable resource for credibility.

Put some of your speaking on YouTube. It is such a powerful tool to share your message, and in a format that people can see your quality.

Long Term: Become “The” Expert

It is not enough to be an expert, you must become known as the expert. Some people become “The” expert – their name is so closely linked to a category that an event is not “The” event if they are not speaking. Jim Collins has built that level of personal brand in the business leadership category. Marshall Goldsmith in the business coaching category, Tony Robbins in the personal development category. They can multiply their fees by 100 because their name alone sells half the tickets.

My good friend Raul Aguirre’s TEDx talk (The Hidden Secret of Success) is about how to create a unique category for yourself. It is hard to be the best business school professor in the world, but I can combine 3 categories: Great business school professor (IESE) who also has a massive following on YouTube and also is the expert on the role and challenges facing CEOs (Vistage). When I put IESE + YouTube + Vistage together, nobody else can compete.

3. Become a Wealthy Expert

There are many experts sitting in bars sharing their wisdom for free with people who don’t want to hear. It is not enough to be an expert, and it is not enough to be known as an expert – you must become a professional. Professionals know the value of their time.

It took me several years to be comfortable with the following actions, but you must if you are to have the resources to be able to really make an impact with your message.

Four Actions of Wealthy Experts

There are 4 things that can differentiate the wealthy expert speaker from the non-wealthy expert speaker:

  1. Package your knowledge: Write, speak, record – put knowledge into a form that people are willing to purchase
  2. Campaign vs Promote your knowledge – each interaction leads to a further interaction. Build a community around your expertise.
  3. Charge expert fees – charge more than you are comfortable with. Run your speaking practice as a business. You have value and are the expert. You are not selling 60 minutes, you are selling your lifetime of experience. Your service improves people’s lives. Price yourself accordingly. Most expert speakers build a structure to their offering around multiple price points:
    1. free – blogging, writing, webinars
    2. €100 – public speech or open event
    3. €1000 – 1 day workshop
    4. €3000 – 3-7 day workshop
    5. €10,000 – 1-1 coaching or mastermind group
    6. €100,000 – something high end to make the rest seem more reasonable…
  4. Focus on:
    1. Distinction – Keep studying the competition and keep innovating, get real feedback from the important people (the person who pays and from other speakers… not from your friends or people who didn’t pay you)
    2. Excellence – Be better every day
    3. Service – Be helpful and responsive

These 4 actions were inspired by a video from Brandon Burchard.  Brandon advises others on how to become well-paid experts.

Are you a Speaker

Are you a paid speaker? What other tips would you give to someone thinking about this path? I plan to update this resource a few times with more materials and tips over the coming months.

This is an interview with John Zimmer, one of the leadership communications coaches who joins me regularly at IESE Business School for various programs. This week we are teaching the Executive MBA program.

John has a wonderful blog: Manner of Speaking. Four of the top posts at his blog are:

About IESE Business School

IESE Business School

IESE Business School is a global business school offering MBA and Executive Education programs. Ranked #1 in world by FT, four years in a row (2014-2018). IESE has locations in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Munich and Sao Paulo.

The Mission of IESE Business School

The mission of IESE is to develop and inspire business leaders who strive to make a deep, positive and lasting impact on the people, companies and society they serve.

“We want to educate leaders to whom we can entrust the future of business and society. For this reason, we develop the integrity, spirit of service, professional excellence and sense of responsibility of all those who take part in one of our programs.”

IESE Business School

IESE Business School activities are centered around three management axes:

  • global mindset
  • general management approach
  • people-centered vision, with the ethics and social responsibility that entails. We believe that companies are, above all, communities of people who work better in atmospheres of respect and trust.

You can listen to the full podcast on soundcloud, or subscribe on iTunes (itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radeo/id1250841955

I had a wonderful conversation with EO South Africa member and RadEO Podcast host Ross Drakes (along with the great Rich Mulholland) a few weeks back after the EO Global Leadership Academy in Washington.

About this Episode: In this episode of RadEO, Ross talks to Conor Neill, the president of Vistage Spain. They talk about how you are a vehicle for a project and one should realise your own potential and purpose. Finding meaning in suffering can help in not losing sight of your full strength. Conor gives his 3 top ways to communicating effectively and understanding others around you by asking them what fulfilment looks like. We are all encouraged by enthusiasm, and Conor suggests putting enthusiasm into everything we do.

Podcast Show Summary of our Conversation

  • 00:44 – Conor’s elevator pitch
  • 09:38 – Unlocking your own potential and realising your purpose
  • 13:20 – Finding meaning in suffering
  • 20:21 – Not losing sight of your full strength and potential
  • 22:05 – Communicating effectively
  • 26:05 – We are encouraged by other’s enthusiasm
  • 32:50 – Nothing worthwhile is within your comfort zone
  • 35:00 – When your core is clear you’re not seeking after the opinions of others
  • 37:13 – Ask people around who want they need to be fulfilled
  • 40:20 – Sometimes it’s easy for us to give to others, what’s easy for us to give
  • 43:40 – Allow your intuition to tell you what are the things that are important to you
  • 44:37 – Write down your purpose

You can listen to the full podcast here on soundcloud, or subscribe on iTunes (itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radeo/id1250841955

Running thru Washington with Ross and Friends

Ross is the one with the beard in these photos…

This video is from Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim Museum. I was in Bilbao for the launch of Vistage in the region.

In my courses I often have participants who hate following standard processes. Sometimes this is a good thing. When you decide to break the rules, you better do your homework and preparation so that what you deliver is excellent. Too often, “creative” people break the rules of structure… but don’t do the necessary work to be excellent in delivery.

If you liked this video, you might also like Performance Excellence: Deliberate Practice and the 3 Models of Mastery and Self Discipline will make you a Better Leader.

During the EMBA intensive week at IESE Business School in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to spend a whole week with John Zimmer, Tony Anagor, Tobias Rodrigues and Florian Mueck… and 119 wonderful IESE EMBA Participants as we learnt and grew both professionally and personally. Here, John Zimmer shares 3 tips on Speaking With The Audience.

More John Zimmer

Check out John’s wonderful public speaking blog: Manner of Speaking, and especially his regular “quotes for public speakers” that is now up to #281 

About John Zimmer
John built a successful career as a senior lawyer for the United Nations.  4 years ago he made the courageous leap and now makes his living as a keynote speaker and trainer.  John has won several speaking competitions at Toastmasters.  He maintains one of the top public speaking blogs, Manner of Speaking.  He has spent years doing detailed analyses of great speeches including Barack Obama, Monica Lewinsky, Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey.

 

This video is about 4 different types of audience that you can face as a speaker and how to adjust your objectives and manner of engagement to each of these distinct audience groups.

The 4 Types of Audience

There are four types of audience, and consequent persuasive strategy that you can come upon when you are seeking to move a group to action through your speech.

  1. Friendly. Your purpose: reinforcing their beliefs.
  2. Apathetic. Your purpose is to first to convince them that it matters for them.
  3. Uninformed.  Your requirement is to educate before you can begin to propose a course of action.
  4. Hostile. You purpose is to respect them and their viewpoint. The most you may be able to gain is respect to listen to your views. It is key that you can present some information that is viewed as new to the audience before asking for any change in their position.  This is firstly courteous, but also gives the listener’s ego room to change without feeling demeaned (“based on this new information, I ask you to change”)

Dealing with a Hostile Audience

Specific Actions for Hostile Audiences

When providing new information it is vital that you help the listeners “assimilate”.  How can you make it real for them?  There are a number of techniques to bear in mind.

  • Use stories (ideally real stories), metaphors, hypothetical situations
  • Stress common ground
  • Present statistics/data that is clear to conclude from
  • Address conflicting evidence (what are the strengths and weaknesses of the conflicting evidence)
  • AVOID exaggeration or gross hyperbole.  The use of exaggeration in a number of areas of public debate has caused extreme entrenchment of the opposing sides. eg. abortion, climate change. The persuasive speaker works hard to keep to the facts and be clear about the logic of the proposed course of action.

This video comes from IESE during the Executive MBA (EMBA) intensive week in Barcelona. Florian Mueck, John Zimmer, Tony Anagor and Tobias Rodrigues all share wisdom on:

  1. public speaking
  2. hand gestures
  3. giving constructive feedback and
  4. the powerful pause

The Guests on this Week’s Video:

You are going to give a TED talk? You want to give a TED talk? It is on your bucket list to deliver a TED talk?  This video is for you…

The 10 Areas to Prepare a TED Talk

ted

Learn about the 10 areas:

This is a 20 minute video covering 10 areas that you will need to work on in order to Prepare, Deliver and benefit from a TED Talk.

TED Talk Further Materials:

My TED Experience

My TEDx talk from 2013

This is my TEDx talk “Who would you bet on?” I shared this talk at TEDxUniversidaddeNavarra back in 2013.

As of today it has 990,774 views (29 May 2019).

  • “How stupid are our leaders?”
  • “How stupid are they?”
  • “I’m really rich”
  • “Politicians are all talk, no action”
  • “huge,” “terrible,” “beautiful.”

Any guesses which political leader made these statements?

“he prefers simple language” Jon Favreau, Obama speechwriter

How Donald Trump Speaks

Donald Trump dominates a specific type of rhetoric. His speaking is radically different to every other political candidate in the USA.

21language_graphic_web-1547In the graphic to the left, researchers passed the speeches of all the US political candidates through the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, an analysis that tells us what level of school you need to understand the speaker.

Bernie Sanders speaks at a high school level.

Hilary speaks at junior high level.

Where’s Donald?

Donald Trump speaks at a 4th grade level.  He speaks directly and simply.

Read the full review of the Flesch-Kincaid analysis over at the Boston Globe: For presidential hopefuls, simpler language resonates: Trump tops GOP field while talking to voters at fourth-grade level

 

Speak in simple words

What does Donald do?  There are 3 key things:  Simplicity, Dialogue, Repetition

  1. His language is Simple – Short sentences.  “Look at Paris”.  75% of his words are single syllable words.
  2. He uses Dialogue – “lots of people” call me and tell me “thank you Donald, you said what needs to be said”  “They say Trump has a point”
  3. He uses Repetition – “Make America Great Again”, “Problem, problem, problem”.  The power of repetition is that we start to believe something is true if we hear it repeated enough time.

Focus on The Audience

What allows him to do this is that he is always speaking about the audience’s problems.  He never talks about how difficult it can be, he never goes into details about how…  he brings it back time and time again to “Problems, problems, problems.”

Donald Trump follows in a long line of US Presidents that radically altered the nature of effective political communication.  Abraham Lincoln made the radical communication step of using newspapers to share his message.  Dwight D Eisenhower made the radical communication step of using radio to speak directly to people in their homes, in his fireside chats.  JFK used television more powerfully than any other politician.

How Donald Trump Answers a Question

The Nerdwriter episode on “How Donald Trump Answers a Question” is a brilliant analysis of one specific answer that Trump gave to Jimmy Kimmel.  If you are reading this via email, check out the video here: How Donald Trump Answers A Question

How Simple can we Go?

“A leaders’ job isn’t to educate the public — it’s to inspire and persuade them, That requires meeting people where they are, and speaking in words that are easily accessible to the broadest possible audience. Perhaps the most powerful, inspirational political phrase of the last decade or so involved three of the simplest words in the English language: yes we can.’’Jon Favreau, Obama’s speechwriter

“At some point enough is enough, If you continue drawing these lines, you’re going to hit comic strip levels. . . . There are real costs to oversimplification.” Elvin T. Lim, professor at Wesleyan University

and… to finish…  why Donald tweets

If you are reading this via email, check out the video here: How and Why Donald Trump Tweets