A lot of the success is simply keeping good communication with your leads. You don't have to act as a tip-top LinkedIn professional. The real world likes people who are real and have a few flaws and quirks. That actually can make you more approachable and more personable. It's just a matter of implementing a system, and building relationships, which changes everything.

Michael Rossi

Why TSL?

I joined The Speaker Lab after seeing an ad on Facebook. Normally, I ignore these things and keep scrolling, but for whatever reason I stopped and clicked the link because I was in just the right type of rut as to where my career was going. 

I’ve been a college professor for the better part of 20 years, so one could say that I’m already a “public speaker” of sorts; except that my audience is an exclusive tuition-paying group of students who have to listen in some ways. I love what I do, but the state of affairs in academia has been on a downward trajectory over the past few years, and what was once considered a safe and secure job is now reliant on  whether or not yearly contracts will be renewed, so, it’s a constant Sisyphean project of making certain that I’m maintaining a full-time career.

After reading through the ad for the Booked and Paid to Speak Elite Program, I thought this might be a great transition into something very similar to what I do, and take my abilities and interests to a wider public audience eager to learn but without having to pay college tuition.

 

What are some A-ha’s and takeaways?

After completing the Virtual VIP Elite Program with Erick Rheam, and especially hearing about his Master Speaking Pipeline – the “secret sauce to success” as he calls it – I was surprised at how unbelievably simple it is. It made me realize that in order to get to where he, Grant, or other Speaker Lab alum are, you actually have to unlearn a lot of stuff that you supposed beforehand. There’s really no magic formula or special recipe that’s needed. Nearly all the talent and creativity that’s needed resides in us. Erick just showed us how to untap that creativity and harness it in a way that enables and empowers us to become entrepreneurs in our own field. 

A lot of the success is simply keeping good communication with your leads. You don’t have to act as a tip-top LinkedIn professional. The real world likes people who are real and have a few flaws and quirks. That actually can make you more approachable and more personable. It’s just a matter of implementing a system, and building relationships, which changes everything.

The other takeaway I would like to share is people tend to think that they have to be 100% squeaky clean, ready to go before they begin. No, you don’t. I gave my first gig about a month ago at Rutgers University. I don’t want to say it was completely off the cuff, but all they really asked for was a title and an abstract. I came up with the notes and the material, basically a few nights beforehand. I had a receptive audience and everything went really well. Sometimes, you simply have to jump in and just do it. Sign up for the gig before you have it all figure it. It will help your procrastination and combat your imposter syndrome because you’ll be too busy getting prepared. 

 

What is your new normal?

Carving out time each day to work on my speaking business. It’s showing up consistently and just chipping away every day, not spending hours, but just chipping away at everything. My goal is to get to that point like Erick, where I don’t have to sell myself, because my speaking is my promotion getting me booked and paid to speak on repeat. 

 

Who would you recommend to The Speaker Lab?

As an academic, I would recommend this to a number of other PhDs looking for alternative careers outside the university. If you love the teaching aspect of academia, you’re already a public speaker! If you’re a part time instructor, or a non-tenured professor, this is a great opportunity to supplement your income, grow your public image and, most importantly, build a lucrative career outside the Ivory Tower.

About our student

Michael Rossi