Honestly, I was not pursuing my dreams. I thank my wife for opening my eyes to the fact that I have absolutely loved speaking since I was a teenager and I got a chance to do it professionally for a little bit about 20 plus years ago. I was going through a career transition and my wife reminded me that speaking has been a passion of mine and now is the time to finally give it a chance to really go for it.
After that, and as crazy as this might sound, I saw a Speaker Lab promotion on Instagram. I knew Grant from a program we did together years ago, Making It Count Programs. So, of course I recognized him. I decided to check out the offer. Once I found out more, I was all in. I knew if I wanted to live out my dream and get paid, The Speaker Lab could help me do that.
Today, I talk to college students about leadership and how to prepare themselves for a career. I like to talk about followership and how this leads to great leadership.
How did the SPEAK Framework make an impact on you?
One of the questions I kept asking myself is “How do I put this all together?” I knew I had the talent, but I didn’t necessarily have a method. I would write decent talks, get great feedback from the audience, maybe a little bit of money – if any at all… but what was missing was a method.
So, the very first thing that stood out to me was the talk creation template. It helped me organize my thoughts and it gave me the language. It helped me put into words what it is that I talk about. That has been such a game changer for me.
The other thing the SPEAK Framework revealed for me was how to treat my speaking as a business. This was missing for sure–understanding what problem I solve. Getting clear on booking gigs but also having the skills to create a stellar experience for my audience. And then, how do I get more gigs from that gig. I had none of this in place before Speaker Lab.
The email templates were a huge win for me. It changed the way I communicate with prospects tremendously. I was one of these people who, my first email would be like three paragraphs long. No one is reading that, absolutely no one. So, the prospecting email templates were a game changer for me.
What have been some of your results?
I followed the email templates to a “T”. I prospected over 50 colleges and immediately I received responses from 10 to 15 colleges. I was like “WOW! These really work!” Whether those responses were “I’m interested,” “Tell me more” or “Not right now,” I was elated just to get the responses. And even with the “not right nows” I was like, okay, okay, great… not right now means not for now, but stay in touch!
I am happy to say that of the ones who were interested, I have 3 verbal commitments and, thanks to The Speaker Lab’s guidance on websites, a university contacted me through my website about a gig.
Another result is my mindset shift around prospecting. I recently heard a peer talking about constantly being on the hunt for his next gig. I thought this was impressive especially since he is an established speaker at a high level. It taught me that you can’t let your guard down, you have to be constantly thinking about prospecting and finding your next speaking opportunity.
This also made me realize that I need to play the numbers game. The more prospects I nurture, the more gigs I will secure. The gold is in the follow-up. I have learned that even if I don’t get a response, I need to keep reaching out in a respectful manner and cadence. Eric shared a story about prospecting this one lead for over a decade. Think about that… so many of us would have given up, but he kept at it. In the end, that perseverance ended in a nice big contract. So, I know I have to play the numbers and patience game. This is a relationship building business and that has to be priority number one.
Another result is TSL empowered me to think about my business holistically – meaning what else can I offer in addition to my speaking? This all came from that very first question y’all ask “What problem do you solve?” So, thinking through keynotes, workshops, MCing, and then additional services around personal branding to help young college students present themselves more professionally. I don’t know if I would have thought of bringing that all together without the coaching of The Speaker Lab.
Who would you recommend to The Speaker Lab?
I would recommend Speaker Lab to someone like me. Somebody who has raw talent and who is passionate about sharing a message with an audience. What is missing is the method and/or strategy to reach out to the people and secure paid gigs.
I would also recommend it to someone who is a very solid professional in their field. That type of person that when you listen to them talk about their work, you just sit there and go, “Oh man, why aren’t you telling more people about this?”
Make an investment in Speaker Lab because they may not necessarily want to be a speaker per se, but at least they can find out how they can really benefit from being an extraordinarily valuable and knowledgeable resource.
Finally, people in higher education. I would love to see them get paid and get paid well for their knowledge. I think people like them would benefit greatly from The Speaker Lab.