How To Find Right-Fit Clients By Getting Paid to Speak

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Business Development

Speaking is the fastest way to get exposure and build credibility. It’s how every great movement began. It is also the best way to attract high-paying clients.

“To influence and connect with others, inspire change, and build your business, it is critical to speak authentically and confidently in front of groups,” says Maria Lynn Johnson, author of a book titled The World’s Greatest Speakers.  

Whether on a stage, in a conference room, or over the internet, this book provides the elements necessary to become a great speaker. Through her personal interviews, Johnson has masterfully captured the exclusive insights, first-hand experiences, and detailed advice of 20 world class speakers including Brian Tracy and Suze Orman.

Johnson is a speaker, trainer, and business communication coach. For over 20 years she has held leadership roles in training, change management, and performance coaching in Fortune 500 corporations. She is also an adjunct university instructor and has a master’s degree in Human Resource Development.

Here are 12 tips from Johnson on how to get paid to speak:

  1. Get clear on your core message. (What are you passionate about? What is your big “Why?” How do you want to serve? What problem do you want to solve?) 
  2. Decide what type of speaking you want to pursue. (Is it keynote, live events with selling from the stage, corporate training, workshops and lunch-and-learns, retreats, or online speaking?)
  3. Envision your ideal client and who you want to serve. Create an avatar in your mind of the specific person, their problems and how they think.
  4. Start with speaking for free at Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, churches, networking/industry groups.  Spread the word that you are looking for places to speak. 
  5. Once you have practice under your belt, move to paid speaking at conferences and organizations. Google places to speak. Type in “Speaking opportunities in XYZ city,” “Call for proposals,” or “Call for speakers.”  
  6. Research groups and organizations and track down the person who schedules speakers. (This may take a few calls.) When possible, attend the meeting at which you want to speak. 
  7. Introduce yourself and ask meeting professionals how you can serve them. (What can you say and do that will ensure they hit a home run at their event?) 
  8. Be ready. Have your speaker sheet, intro and topics written. Try to capture video and photos of yourself speaking, as most places ask for a speaker reel. 
  9. Deliver a compelling talk so you get referrals. (Open your talk with a bang by engaging them, then share 3 key points with supporting stories, and give a call-to-action.)
  10. Practice. Speak as much as possible. Record yourself. Don’t wait until you’re perfect and confident to begin. Beginning is how you get there.
  11. Behave as the expert. Run your practice as a business. You have value and are the expert. Offering your services improves people’s lives. Price yourself accordingly. 
  12. Eventually expand and repurpose your content. Once you’re delivering your signature talk, look to branch out. Use your content to build training, webinars, a book, podcasts, videos, newsletters.

Johnson gave up her corporate job to follow her passion of helping entrepreneurs and leaders reach higher levels of success through effective speaking. With her unique blend of business experience and the ability to entertain an audience, she’s a highly sought-after speaker, trainer and coach.

Henry DeVries

Henry DeVries is the editor of Agency Owner News and the CEO of Indie Books International. He is the host of the Agency Rainmaker TV Show, editor of the Agency Rainmaker Newsletter, and the author of 20 books including Marketing With A Book For Agency Owners.