How To Land Your Dream Speaking Gig

4 min read · 6 years ago


Dream Speaking Gig

I meet so many people who tell me that they dream about taking the TEDx stage. They long to be the keynote speaker at their industry premiere event. Or they plan to dominate the world at World Domination Summit.

Does this sound like you? Big speaking dreams. Big goals. Huge vision.

When I ask “What are you doing to make this dream happen?” hey tell me they are looking to apply for speaking gigs, but mostly speaking is a “someday” thing.

When speaking is reserved for someday, it means only one thing.

Those big speaking dreams will never become a reality. No TEDx stage, no keynote speaking, and most certainly no world domination.

These someday speakers are falling into the biggest trap out there regarding speaking.

They believe that they’ll start working on that big speech once they land that speaking gig. Not understanding that there’s no way in hell that dream gig is coming if they aren’t already committed to mastering the art of speaking.

You see, those TED peeps (and most peeps who book speakers) want to see you in action. This means you have a speech, you’ve polished and perfected that speech, you’ve given your speech, and your speech is so remarkable that you video’d it to share with the world.

So if you’re waiting to start because you think you need a speaking gig to start, think again.

Here’s your action plan to start today on the road to landing that speaking gig of your dreams.

Step one: Commit to the art of speaking

I just watched the Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck and what struck me most is how utterly obsessed Kurt was with his art.

He was always playing his guitar, penning lyrics, and the creative process oozed out his pores.

What was most interesting about Kurt is that he wasn’t interested in fame or money, he wanted to make music. He wanted to create remarkable music.

He never focused on the outcome of his work, in fact he didn’t give a sh$t about the outcome of his work, the work was what satisfied him completely.

So what the heck does Kurt Cobain have to do with landing your dream speaking gig?


To be the speaker who takes on TED or gets paid the big bucks on the speaking circuit, you need to commit (or if you’re like me get obsessed) with the art of speaking.

Always be thinking of your talks. Experimenting with the words. Reading all there is to know about speaking.

Speaking is about commitment to the art.

If you’re crazy committed to the work, and don’t focus on the outcome, speaking success can be yours.

Step two: Be of service

The thought of that big speaking gig might get you excited by the possibilities. More connections, more speaking gigs, more clients, more sales.

But the problem with the “more, more, more” focus is that it makes speaking about you.

Public speaking is never about you. Public speaking is about the audience.

Speakers who are remembered MOST are speakers who are of service to the audience. They focus on giving not receiving.

I’ve seen too many speakers where the only thing I remember about them is their sales pitch. I don’t remember their message or their BIG IDEA or even what they are an expert on.

If you want to be known for your message, ditch the sales pitch or “the what can I get” mentality, and figure out how you can transform your audience.

Step three: Invest in mastering speaking

The TED Global and SXSW speaker, Nilofer Merchant, published an article called “How can I be a speaker like you?” and she revealed that she spent $1000 and one-day working with a coach to develop the opening line of her TED talk.

$1000 for one line. It was totally worth it because that opening line became a meme.

Would you work with a consultant like me to craft your speech? A coach to work on your stage presence? Would you join Toastmasters to practice and get feedback?

Nilofer said “No one is going to pay you to rehearse your speech.” You’ve got to invest in your speaking first so that you can land the small gigs that get you to that big dream.

What are you willing to invest?

Step 4: Practice, practice, practice

There’s an old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.”

They same advice applies for how you make it to the TEDx stage or any other prestigious stage you see yourself on – you must practice.

You NEVER start on the TED stage (nor do you want a big gig like that to be your speaking testing grounds) instead you start small.

You speak for free wherever they will have you. You join Toastmasters. You speak at smaller conferences, workshops, and retreats.

After every speaking engagement you have, reflect on the one thing that could make your speech even better. Just ONE thing and work on that for your next speech.

Better still is to get constructive criticism on your presentation from a coach, mentor, or friend (who won’t blow sunshine up your butt).

You’ve got your action plan. If you want that speaking gig of your dreams to happen, it’s time to start taking action.

No more sitting around waiting for someday to come. Every day you wait – your dream moves farther into the future.

What do you commit to doing right now?

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Land Your Dream Speaking Gig

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