Ryan Foland speaks with Andras Baneth, founder of SpeakerHub, a social network designed specifically for speakers of all backgrounds to connect with event organizers around the world.
Ryan and Andras share insights about what they have learned about public speaking, offering practical advice on how to become a better speaker, and build your speaking business.
Listen to this podcast to find out:
- Why having valuable content is the most important element of your talk
- Why some speakers get paid, and others don’t
- How to take your talk from an idea to a finished product
- Why identifying yourself as a speaker can make a huge difference to your career.
- Top tips on how to be an authentic and engaging speaker
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Interview with Andras Baneth
Ryan Foland: Welcome, the world of listeners, to the World of Speakers, the podcast that helps you understand what it takes to be a world class speaker. Today is exciting because it is our first, our inaugural, number one episode starting this podcast.
We thought, why not bring one of the original people who helped bring this to life, Mr. Andras Baneth.
Are you there, sir?
Andras Baneth: Absolutely. I’m here. I’m very excited to pick up the podcast.
It’s a pleasure to be on it as a guest, and you being the host is really, really exciting.
Hopefully this will be a long journey that starts with a single, simple step.
RF: Right here we’re taking this step. Well for those who don’t know about you, and don’t know about SpeakerHub, why don’t you give a little quick high level intro of what you’re up to, and how you’re involved in the World of Speakers community.
AB: SpeakerHub was founded by me, and helped by a lot of midwives, I had a lot of helpers around. There’s Esther, who is assisting with a lot of the content creation. We’ve got Racquel, who is an amazing help in making the podcast, and other content happen. Then we’ve got a couple of other folks, Steve, and others who are helping with the website, and with the development.
But in a nutshell SpeakerHub is a project that started as a startup I launched a little less than a year and a half ago, to connect speakers with audiences.
I wanted to make sure that speakers had a way to showcase their speaker persona, even if their day job is something different, because they are experts, professors, lawyers, and consultants. But showcasing who they are as speakers is what’s happening on SpeakerHub.
On the other side of the equation I have the organizers, event planners, event managers, and conference organizers of all kinds who are looking for speakers.
They need to make sure that the person they invite is not only knowledgeable about what they speak about, but are also great speakers.
To do that I wanted to create a very dedicated connection, or a platform where they can communicate. Because LinkedIn, and YouTube, and all the other platforms are great in and of themselves, but they are not tailor made for speakers and organizers.
So that’s it in a nutshell. We’ve been on this road for quite some time.
Ryan, you yourself have been instrumental to SpeakerHub’s growth, because now we’re global.
We’re nearing 3,000 speakers from all over the world, and we have several hundred organizers who have come on the website, and are using the website to source speakers for their events.
RF: Would you describe it as almost a farmer’s market for speakers?
AB: Yes. Sometimes people say this is the IMDB of speakers, call it what you may.
RF: I’m thinking that everyone has got their own virtual booth, and they’re slinging their products, or what their expertise is, and they’re out speaking.
For me that’s what’s so exciting about this platform you’ve created, is that it’s a gathering spot for all levels of speakers, supporting them in connecting with people.
Because I believe the best way to become a better speaker is to speak more, and that’s what we’re going to address here on this podcast as an ongoing theme.
We’re going to be talking about two main topics for each of these interviews.
One is going to be your tips and tricks on what you’ve found helps you, has helped you, and how you’ve helped other people with becoming a better public speaker.
Then we also want to talk about the business of speaking, and find out how you’ve been successful making money at it, and some great tips that you’ve gotten from other people.
Because those are really the two key components that a professional speaker needs. It’s always something you need to be increasing your skills in, and finding how to get out there, get more exposure, and ultimately getting paid to talk about your expertise is where the rubber meets the road.
Now, you sir, you are a speaker, and you speak all over the place.
Tell us a little bit about your story.
How did you discover public speaking as part of your now daily routine? I mean it inspired you to create this great hub for speakers.
Personally how did speaking start with you?
AB: Thanks a lot for asking, because I never truly have reflected on when I got started.
I think it’s one of those things where you do it a bit, and then you don’t realize you’re speaking. Then you do it more and more.
At one point you say, “Damn, everything I do seems to be what others describe as a public speaking.” In all honesty, I don’t think I’m there yet.
I wouldn’t consider myself on the same level as one of the many famous or even semi-famous public speakers, but I have given literally hundreds upon hundreds of presentations, workshops, speeches, and everything in between.
The path to that began when I started doing some university lectures, seminars, and workshops at my college, and then even afterwards.
But the real business of speaking started when I launched workshops.
When I was doing very specific trainings where there was a well defined objective that the participants had to reach, and the agenda was set.
It wasn’t the typical keynote, or after dinner speech that got me on this track, it was more the workshops.
In that frame, I’ve done workshops in Latin America, in the US, in Europe, and other different parts of the world.
I don’t know how typical this is, but generally what I’ve found is for well defined trainings there is a high budget most companies are willing to spend. Whereas for let’s say conference and speeches, that’s a slightly different angle.
Of course, I’m still learning, and I’m trying to understand this market.
The fact that I’m based in Europe changes my perspective, because it’s very different over here compared to the way you guys are looking at it over in the US.
Perhaps Ryan, you could share a few ideas with me, and with the listeners.
How you see the public speaking world, and especially the paid public speaking world from a US perspective?
RF: Sure. I want to go back to one of the first comments you made about trying to identify the point at which you “became” a public speaker.
I think that’s an interesting topic. That’s something I talk about a lot.
I’ll ask people straight up: “Are you a public speaker?”
In an audience, no matter what the size, you have some people who confidently raise their hands, some people who halfway raise their hands, and most people just stare at me blankly, and don’t identify themselves as public speakers.
From a core definitional standpoint, each person has to internally take that measurement.
But for you it sounds like speaking more came almost organically, it’s not like you sought out to be a speaker.
You mentioned that you’re still learning, which is great.
But what are the baseline components that you think somebody needs to consider themselves a public speaker?
AB: Here’s the interesting thing. A couple of weeks ago I did my first TEDx talk.
It taught me so much, and it changed my perspective on public speaking.
Here’s what I mean: before that my mantra was that “Delivery is the presentation.”
That your voice, your intonation, your body language, and the way you move around on stage are extremely important, and perhaps even more important than the content.
But as I was preparing for TEDx, I realized that content is king, and content rules over everything else. You can have the best delivery in the world, and if you have poor content it’s just not going to stick in people’s minds.
Even at TEDx where I was speaking, there were a couple of speakers who were very far from what you would call a public speaker, meaning they were not comfortable on stage.
But the content was so powerful, and they came across as so honest and vulnerable on stage that it really swayed everyone.
That changed my perspective, and made me realize content is the number one thing that any public speaker has to create.
Once you master your content, and make it so insanely valuable that the audience just wants to hear more of it.
That it’s practical, and emotional, and has got amazing insight.
That it takes the imagination further, and it has got a very good mix of facts, emotion, and inspiration.
Once you’ve got that, obviously you can be insanely good when you master the on stage presence, the voice, and everything else.
My conclusion from that experience was, focus on the content.
Make sure that you give so much value to the audience. Then you can put the icing on the cake, which is your presentation.
RF: If I’m hearing you correctly, to be a baseline component, or at a baseline status point for being able to be considered a public speaker, you’ve got to have something to say that’s worthwhile, an idea that’s worth spreading.
You were essentially inspired at your recent TEDx talk, and the fact that you have individuals of different “speaking levels”.
But the one thing that really stood out was their message, or what they’re actually sharing, correct?
AB: Yes, that’s correct.
I used to think that most people, especially in the US, since you guys do so much public speaking because of the way your education system is, that most people would be amazing to listen to, and they are if you stop at a point and listen to them.
But how much value you get, that’s where a lot of speakers fall flat.
Because they think that just because they’re able to formulate the words, and they can package it nicely with their body language, and everything else.
But the content might be mediocre at best.
That’s exactly what I’m saying, that the content has to be insanely good.
By insanely good I mean it has to be practical, and have the elements of inspiration and everything else. But it also has a lot to do with things like storytelling, things like proportions.
A lot of speakers don’t get the proportions right of how much intro, how much main content, the main body, the key takeaways. All of that has to be there, but it all has to be in the right proportion.
That takes a lot of effort, and it’s enormously important for a speaker to get that right.
Then we’re not talking about a speaker anymore, we’re talking about a scriptwriter, we’re talking about a content creator, we’re talking about a storyteller.
The speaking part only comes after that, it’s the next step.
RF: I dig it. Do you want to know what my baseline requirement is for people to consider themselves public speakers?
AB: That they speak in public?
RF: Yes. That they open their mouth and speak in public.
I really try to hit this home with all of my audiences. Because I think that everything starts with thoughts.
Thoughts become words, words become things, so think good thoughts.
One of the best things you can do as a public speaker, as somebody who wants to speak more in public, is to identify yourself as a public speaker.
You don’t realize it, but when you are speaking in public, it might be with an individual who is a friend, it might be with somebody who you’re asking directions from, it might be with a professor, it might be when you’re ordering your food.
All of these things have dynamic components of communication.
In fact, it is almost impossible to not communicate.
So much of what we say is in our eyes, in the way that we move our hands, and the positioning of our bodies.
I think that if anyone is speaking in public, which is everyone, I think that’s a baseline calculation for defining you as a public speaker.
Once you own that, then that opens up so much of the world.
Because maybe you’ll take on more opportunities and you won’t be as scared. There’s a number of doors that will open by just acknowledging that you are a public speaker.
I think it’s empowering, because communication in my eyes is the skeleton key. It is the one thing that you have the most control over to get what you want in any situation.
A lot of times when what you want is to share an idea, or communicate some awesome content that you’ve come up with, speaking is the platform.
But that same speaking can be on a podcast, it can be on the radio, it can be on TV.
So there’s my bottom line: if you’re listening to this, and you open your mouth in public, you are a public speaker, congratulations.
AB: That’s excellent. I think you’re raising a very important point.
Certainly anyone who speaks in public would fit that description, and the idea of being a public speaker.
But the point that I like very much: there needs to be perhaps some sort of an awareness of what is the genre, what is the type of speech we’re giving.
It’s often very difficult for speakers, especially those who have less experience, to correctly understand the audience that they need to address.
By that I mean defining: what the audience is truly looking for?
Is it a corporate audience, and are they looking for an update of the latest accounting rules, because Congress has passed a new piece of legislation?
That’s very different from you coming in and talking to a faith based group, a church, or any other group of that kind, where you essentially come in and you give a motivational, inspirational speech.
These are very, very different types of speeches. Some people are really good at one, but are fairly poor at the other.
The very first step is understanding that “Fine, I’m going to be speaking in public...hooray! What is the audience I’m addressing expecting of me?”
RF: Right. Just as much as is the age of the audience, and the location of your audience.
I had a recent experience speaking to about 150 middle schoolers, and it threw me for a loop because they weren’t responding to some of the jargon, and some of the stories I normally get an elicit response from by people who are a little bit older.
AB: That’s the hardest audience ever.
RF: Because kids will just stare at you!
You’re just looking at a bunch of blank stares, and it really threw me off.
But for me that’s what’s so exciting about speaking, and communication.
You alluded to this as well, that you’re still learning, you’re always learning.
I think that in order to go from good to great there is a constant path that will always be there if you’re trying to speak.
I don’t ever think I am the best speaker, I am always getting better. I keep going back to the fact that the only way to become a better speaker is to speak more.
That’s why I’m so excited about this podcast, and sharing with people some of those tactics in becoming a more effective speaker.
Then on the flip side, finding ways to have more opportunities at bat.
Because the more times you perform on the stage in front of audiences, the better you’ll become.
The better you become, the higher chance that someone will pay for your time, or you will have so many people who are trying to hire you to speak that you will then be able to charge a premium.
It’s all progress.
So let’s jump into the part where we get your nuggets of speaking tips.
You’ve touched on a couple of them, but we can stick with the theme of knowing your audience, and particularly about the message that you’re going to share.
But if you had your top two to three tips, either things that you share with people, or that you’ve received from influential speakers, what are tangible action items that people can take today, tomorrow, or the next day to improve their speaking skills?
Once we go through those, we’re going to jump into some of the tricks and tips that you have of sharing with us how you get people to reach into their wallets, scratch you a check, swipe a card, or give you money to share your information.
So what are your big groundbreaking tips that literally will make my computer, and everything reverberate like there’s a crazy earthquake of truth bombing?
AB: Fasten your seatbelts.
I wish I had those magic tricks. But I’ll give you some random ideas.
One of the objectives of this podcast is to have lots of folks with tons of experience share their ideas.
A couple of things we’ll probably be repeating, which is a good thing, because that means others think alike, and other points will be very unique to some of the speakers.
So, in no particular order!
The first one is focusing on structure.
When I prepare for a presentation or a speech, what I probably spend the most time on, or at least the most cognitive effort on, call that thinking, is in creating a structure.
The way I construct a speech is usually I have all sorts of random ideas that I throw into EverNote or whatever app you might be using. You basically jot down these 10, 12, 20 random ideas that you probably want to build into the speech.
That’s the relatively easy part. Because you’ve got ideas.
Your brain is hyper, and you get to get those things out on paper.
The difficult part is organizing them into a structure that becomes a narrative.
Where you can go from scene setting, all the way to outlining the problem. Then proposing solutions and the way forward.
RF: So you put all your ideas down first, sort of in a random these are the points I want to do.
Then you move and structure them at that point?
What is the actual process behind that?
Because I think structure is huge, but how does somebody go about those actual steps?
AB: To be very practical what works best for me is when I know I need to give a speech, and I don’t need to rush.
Because if you need to rush, that you want to prepare just the day before, and that’s not going to work out well.
If you have sufficient time, then open a notepad, or any sort of note-taking app.
When you’re just lining up a story, setting the cue, or the line,, when you’re just waiting at the red light in your car, whenever it hits you just jot down whatever bits, or whatever idea nuggets you have.
This way you manage to collect a couple of things over the course of a week, or two weeks.
Then you have those random things, but they’re all collected in a safe repository.
Then when you decide, “Now I have enough, I need to sit down, I need to focus, I need to discipline myself to put that into some meaningful way.” That’s when I start putting down the structure.
That can obviously happen in the very same application, whatever that may be.
If you’re more into mind maps, that might be an easier or better way to do it.
I love the concept of mind maps, but in all honesty I haven’t yet done speeches using mind maps. But I probably should because it’s a great tool.
Now, once I have that laid out, everything comes after.
Because that’s when I look at trying to put down numbers, or use bullets, and have one or two words which reflect the key concept for each of those elements.
I wouldn’t write long paragraphs, or anything else, but just the key concept.
Ask yourself “What’s the real meaning there? What’s the substance that I want the audience to remember in this particular item?”
Once I have those lined up, that’s when I start writing just a couple of telegram style keywords, or a couple of ideas of what I want to discuss in that particular box, in that particular element.
You see that it all comes from keywords into structure, and then you expand, but not the other way around. It’s not that you would start writing a long text that just runs on and lacks logic, or lacks merit.
Once I have that structure, that becomes the backbone of the entire presentation.
Not only that, but since I have those key concepts for each one of those building blocks, I can look for slides, and I can create visuals for that.
Because it’s much easier for me to find something when I know what the abstract concept is that I want to convey.
Instead of focusing on something that’s too specific, which is very hard to turn into a visual.
RF: You’re talking first about scattering keywords around. Then trying to find the structure and the core message that you want to outline.
Then you expand that into an outline, and take that outline to help guide you in collecting images that would go along with it, as well as more of a built out program based on what you have.
That’s a very linear approach to presentation writing, or speech writing, starting with the ideas that you have, structuring them, and expanding them in that order.
AB: I love EverNote.
Whenever I come across a funny tweet, image, or just something that sparks my interest, I would save it into a dedicated folder, or a notebook.
Sometimes I’m facing a situation where I say, “I’ve got this super funny, or really insightful image here. Where can I build that into? Where can I put that?”
That’s a little bit like reversing this very thoughtful, nice little process.
When I say, “I’ve got all my thinking, and the structure, and everything else,” then I look for examples.
But when I have a certain nugget sometimes I say, “I’ve got to build it in somewhere. Where am I going to do that?” That messes up the process a little bit.
I guess a lot of speakers have that, where they’ve got a great story, or something that they’ve lived through, and they really want to make that an important part in their speech.
I think that’s okay as long as you know you’re not stretching the limits.
As long as there’s a clear narrative, and a clear message that you want to pass.
RF: Right. I don’t think that messes up your structure.
Because you still have the keywords, the structure from which you can then expand.
But it almost seems like a separate concept of a tool chest, or a treasure box, or even a can of polish that’s sitting there, where you are creating this repertoire of specific examples, tweets, insights, or things that you just come up with, or that you’re exposed to.
Having that as your own little searchable database to then incorporate while you’re expanding what you’re doing.
AB: Correct. Maybe I could move onto another idea.
It’s not so much a very specific technique I use, but it helps me learn to be a better speaker.
That’s basically examining and analyzing speakers that I have a great respect for.
If I see, well TEDx talks are obviously the gold standard.
When you see a speech you say, let’s take a step back.
Perhaps I have someone with me, a friend of mine, or anyone that is just as interested in public speaking as I am: we would discuss and try to reverse engineer and say, “What made this so powerful? What worked so well?”
You can dissect it, because you’re looking at a speech, not just as a consumer of it, not just as someone who has emerged in understanding and absorbing it, but you’re taking a step back, and you’re looking at it as an analyst, or as an expert.
You’re trying to identify the building blocks, which are invisible to the untrained eye.
Looking at it and saying, “Well, the fact that this guy put his hand in his pocket on stage made him look so comfortable on stage, that’s something I should copy. Why don’t I do that?”
But if you do that too much, that’s going to backfire.
If there’s one great element I say, “I’m going to do that.”
If there’s another one perhaps about the content of the speech. I say, “How nicely that speaker has managed to blend storytelling with a very deep message. How she did that on stage, that’s a fascinating technique, I’m going to try to learn that.”
RF: Do you sit in front with a pen and paper, or just a computer and notes, and break it down?
AB: I wish I was that methodical, but unfortunately I’m not. I may have given that impression, but definitely not.
RF: I totally imagined you putting on a lab coat, putting protective glasses on, getting behind the screen, creating this whole event.
I almost envisioned you watching it in slow motion, to dig down and find these invisible blocks.
AB: Absolutely. Say with one way mirror. I analyze it, and write a police report.
RF: Yes. Then you have a focus group who is watching you react to it.
Then you get this crazy meta third party in a loop where you can blend them all together, graph them, and find the through line.
AB: Absolutely. You’ve got me.
RF: One thing that reminds me of that that I believe is a useful tip when evaluating other speakers, is to graph it.
You can come up with a number of different variants on the graph.
But a very simple one is if you’re looking at the energy level over time.
The X axis is time. If it’s a 15 minute speech you literally can block out the 15 dashes, or three five slot dashes.
On the vertical axis, you can have low energy to high energy.
That’s one of many things that you can track on a graphical basis.
Did they come out just full of energy up high, and then they dropped and got real somber?
There was a build up, and there was a plateau.
Things like that, where it’s energy, or body language, or tonal inflection.
Sometimes I’ll physically graph them out, even if I’m evaluating or watching a speech that I’m preparing.
Because when you see it in relation over time, it can help identify what is successful and what is not.
Because nobody wants to hear someone who is tone deaf with no change in energy. It’s about that flow and that vibe.
I like your two main tips are in creating the structure.
One being using keywords first, in no particular order of what you want to get out there.
Then physically cutting the paper, and rearranging them, or whiteboarding it, reorganizing it, or putting it into something that’s going to get across what you want to communicate.
Then from there you expand.
Given that you have a treasure chest of tweets, concepts, jokes, and insights, and graphs, and statistics that you are seeing on a constant basis, now you can pluck from it, and put them into your structure accordingly.
Then in order for you to improve your holistic approach to speeches, you’re taking speakers that you admire.
You’re watching them, you’re taking notes in a lab coat, and you’re trying to figure out the mechanics of what’s happening.
Are their hands in their pockets, out of their pockets, are they storytelling, all that kind of stuff.
AB: Yes. Honestly I don’t think I’ve given such specific thought to my own thought process.
But when I think about this, again, talking about the tech presentations, and another couple of keynotes I’ve seen and heard, it’s interesting how each speaker takes a different approach.
My personal favorite, again, this is not to say that this is how it should be done.
It's just what works best for me is when a speaker has a conversation with the audience.
I think it’s awfully hard to stand there on the stage, and feel, and be so casual that every member of the audience feels that the speaker is talking with them one on one.
What doesn’t work for me so much with other speakers, and again, I might be guilty of it because I’m certainly not at that level to do what I preach.
But what doesn’t work for me is when a speaker gives a speech where the audience feels, this is rehearsed, and well practised, and a very consciously presented speech.
For me that does not feel very genuine, and it’s a little artificial.
Because of that I think the speaker loses a lot of credibility, or simply the impact is diminished a bit.
RF: There’s not as much connection, right?
People in the audience want to feel connected.
I think there’s a big discrepancy where you might think that it’s all about posture, and tone of voice, and I’m going to look to the left, to the middle, and to the right: “I’m going to stand up tall, and I’m going to project.”
Some of those mechanics get in the way of delivering your message.
AB: Exactly. The word I was looking for is theatrical.
When it becomes too theatrical, to me, that’s too artificial.
Something that works perfectly well in a Shakespeare drama, where the actor is truly presenting an important literary piece, that has its own place.
But when it comes to a speech of this kind, a public speech, commencement speech, or any other kind, I think it has to be more natural, and you need to work very hard so that the audience will feel that you’re natural.
RF: One of the most difficult things in life is to break down components to their simple and basic nature.
In the same respect, one of the most difficult things while giving a speech, or talking, is to make it feel like a one on one conversation.
Something that’s private, and that you’re not taken out of that element, or disconnected, where you jump to your phone, and check Twitter, and see what else is going on.
There’s so much importance in that connection when it’s a live interaction.
AB: I absolutely agree. The same thing goes for workshops, and training courses.
Where in some sense, it’s much harder, because you need to maintain the attention of your audience.
Very often when you spend four hours with them, that’s difficult.
There it’s a whole new ball game of how you interact with a group of participants in an interactive workshop.
What kind of techniques do you use to engage them, to make it lively?
You, Ryan, do a lot of workshops, and I’m well aware of that, so you certainly must have some ideas there. But that’s probably beyond today’s conversation.
That’s something that might be worth exploring, during a four hour, or a full day workshop, what sort of techniques can you use to be a valuable trainer or instructor.
RF: I’m full of ideas when it comes to that.
It is challenging, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
I just last week gave a four and a half hour presentation at Camp Pendleton to a bunch of Marines.
These are individuals that are not used to the type of dynamic presentation that we brought.
We took them by surprise. It was a little bit of an ambush on our part, which really got them active and involved.
AB: Ambushing Marines, that is quite something.
RF: Yes. We made them do things that were meta, and thought provoking, including breathing exercises, and little group workshops that got them into an uncomfortable zone which really woke them up.
But there are tons of strategies for getting people engaged.
I think that your point is that you want to feel like there is a connection, truly a connection based on an important message that you’re obviously passionate about sharing.
But not so much that you’re creating a theatrical production, and alienating your audience.
AB: That’s correct.
RF: I’m going to assume that the better you are at these tactics, the more chances you have at getting paid.
We’ve got some great insights for our audience as far as structure, and connecting with the audience to improve your skills.
But let’s switch gears and talk about how we can help to monetize the message that we’re sharing, and find different opportunities to get more speaking gigs.
Now we all understand, or we should understand that speaking for money is a process.
Sometimes it takes a while to become established as someone who is paid. There is a bit of back and forth. Sometimes a takeaway, or a lot of negotiations.
I’m sure that two people with different approaches to a similar conference, commencement, or speech can end up with wildly different results, from speaking for free, to speaking for a large honorarium.
In your experience, thinking back to some of the gigs that you’ve had which have been paid, maybe you can share some insights as to what you think was the difference between getting paid or not.
Some steps which were unpaid measures that set you up for success.
AB: This is probably the number one question that every public speaker is interested in.
My experience in this area is that you indeed have to speak a lot before you can expect to be paid.
I think about what is a client going to pay for your speech.
Essentially there are perhaps three main reasons why they would be willing to pay.
The first one is that you are a household name.
That’s obviously not going to happen for any public speaker who is very much at the beginning of their career. This goes to the Tony Robbins, and this goes to all the people who have been featured and shown on TV, and they’ve been all over.
Meaning their name is an attraction, enough so to bring in audiences.
It’s definitely worth it for the conference organizer to bring in that sort of person, because that’s going to mean more ticket sales.
RF: It’s really an investment you’re saying.
If you have a household name to where you can draw your own audience to an event, that would make logical sense for an event to allocate money for that.
It’s still a win win for both parties.
AB: Absolutely. But again, that’s probably not going to be a scenario that helps most of us.
I think the second one would be you have such unique experience in a sector, or industry, or just a personal history, that is an interesting draw that they would be willing to pay for.
For instance, about two years ago I attended a corporate event where they have a dinner speaker. The guy who was invited, I had never heard his name before. But he circumvented Greenland on foot with a sleigh.
That’s interesting, and not something a lot of people do.
Maybe others have done it since, or there were some very, very…
RF: Some copycats out there, right? There have to have been.
AB: Exactly. But that’s the kind of personal achievement, or interesting background that not a lot of people have. So, it was unique enough to invite this guy.
But you can also talk about say a person who has assisted the merger of Time Warner and AOL.
That’s probably not a good example because it was a failure, as far as I understand.
But for instance, that sort of experience is very unique.
The person who had a role in that would be an interesting speaker, because it's not their name, but the very specific activity that they did, which would be the draw.
Of course for that to happen, a company, or an event planner would be willing to spend money on it.
That’s number two, if anyone has such experience, or you can repackage an existing experience of that kind that would work.
Number three is what most people are.
Simply, you have such valuable knowledge because you’ve read so much, you’ve experienced so much, and you’re self trained.
Because whatever you’ve done in your professional life has given you so much knowledge that you manage to convey that, and the client would find that very valuable.
For instance, as far as I understand, that was your experience with the marines.
That you’ve been doing similar workshops, teaching, training, and speaking. If someone heard you at a conference, or seen your TEDx, or wherever they came across your work, they would say, “This guy knows a lot. I don’t necessarily know his name. I don’t think his experience is so unique that I would invite him back. But what he’s saying is super valuable. I’m going to bring him in, and I’m going to pay him money, because I want my team to hear that.”
RF: Those are the top three things that are going to get you in the door to get paid.
One, having a household name: either at the peak of your career you become an internet sensation, or you just grind it for 10, 15, 20 years, to where you are holding international workshops, and your name brings in an audience.
Number two, experiences that are so unique people will want to hear that experience: such as going around an entire country on foot, or with a dog sled, or doing some extreme thing that could be in the Guinness Book of World Records. Which gives you almost a form of celebrity status that you can leverage from an experiential standpoint.
Then knowledge or expertise. That sounds almost like the first one, just without the name brand. Having a unique niche in a certain topic.
One thing I’m curious about is your insider knowledge of the different types of events that typically pay.
Because for some events, from my understanding, there just is no budget. They are set up on having people speak for free.
They might even have a certain status associated with their event, so that you want to speak at their event just for getting the acknowledgement of speaking there, even though everybody knows it’s for free.
One example would be the Social Media Marketing World by the Social Media Examiner.
They have 140 experts that come from all over the world.
They beat their chest and say, “None of our speakers are paid speakers!” That’s essentially a big part.
You still want to speak there, but you’re not paid.
So to demystify the fact that you can’t always get paid at every event…
AB: ...If my approach, and again, with the caveat that I’m European, and I have a better understanding of what’s happening on this side of the Atlantic, as opposed to the US market.
You’ll have lots of guests in this podcast who are much more familiar with the US market, so that’s slightly different.
But to answer your question, I think that speaking, at least for me, and many people that I’ve spoken to, speaking is the hub that connects the many other activities that they do.
The speaking would be for personal branding, it would be for thought leadership, it would be for visibility, it would be for getting new leads, it would be for connecting with event planners and audiences. It does a lot of things.
You might go much further in terms of monetizing your activity if you don’t charge for your speech per se.
Because maybe you’ll get $500, maybe you’ll get $1,000. Maybe you’ll get a little more the more experienced you are.
But that in and of itself is certainly not enough to make a living.
What happens is the speaking itself will open doors that otherwise would never have been open to you.
How much you get paid for the speaking per se is not the main question.The main question is what other things can you do to monetize your expertise.
Can you do consulting?
Maybe you do workshops, maybe you have a podcast, a blog, a book, or an ecourse.
Those are all great channels to monetize.
How much you get for the speech itself, that’s a secondary question.
It’s more about you choosing the venues and the events at which you speak, because those will be more relevant for you to develop your business.
RF: That’s a great point. Because you can speak to an audience of 1,000 people and get $500, or negotiate your way to get in there, and speak to 1,000 people.
You might land a handful of clients that give you a lot more than $500. It’s good to put that in perspective.
It’s not about chasing the almighty dollar. It’s about getting comfortable sharing things that you find value in.
Eventually those people who find the value might pay for you, or you might be able to get in front of an audience that’s willing to pay for you on their own.
Now as we wrap up here, what is your pitch for getting people to sign up for SpeakerHub? Because that sounds like a great first step for somebody who wants to establish themselves, and put out there in the world that they are a public speaker.
What is the signup process? How difficult is it? How much does it cost? Let us know more about SpeakerHub.
AB: Creating a standard profile is completely free of charge.
That enables you to be out there, and be visible, and have organizers see your profile, and also allows you to access events that are looking for speakers.
The sign up is extremely easy, and straightforward.
You can even use your LinkedIn profile, and pull in some of the information you have there. It should be very easy, and a no brainer to get there.
We don’t charge any commission fee whatsoever.
Being on SpeakerHub is a great first step to launch your speaking career.
RF: Rad. Well we’re excited to get going so that we can continue to share tips on best practices for public speaking, as well as best practices for getting paid to speak in public.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are listening to the World of Speakers. Join us as we get information from experts on how to become the best in world class when it comes to speaking.
Our guest today was Andras, and it has been a pleasure. We look forward to your involvement as we take over the world with the World of Speakers.
AB: Thank you so much Ryan. It has been a pleasure.
RF: If we want to find you online, how do we do that? How do we get in touch? What’s your favorite social media platform for people to follow you on?
AB: Just look me up on SpeakerHub, on the about us page. I’m the founder, so you will be able to find me quickly and easily. I’ve got all my social media accounts there, videos, and contact details.
Feel free to reach out any time.
RF: Thank you. You take care of Europe, while we take care of the United States here.
We’ll all take care of each other, and we’ll talk to you later, sir.
AB: Thank you Ryan.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a weekly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.
We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.
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