You’ve heard it – speak from stages. You may have also seen people brag about getting paid to speak. And perhaps, you want this for your business as well… but you’re just not sure where or how to get started (or if it’s even an option for you!)
Bri Williams is going to share her secrets of paid speaking… including that there are TWO types of paid speaking, and how you can break into it if you’re not using speaking in your business already.
Listen in and then go get that stage!
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Episode 98 – Using Your Book as Leverage When You Speak with Bri Williams
Alyson Lex 0:03
When you think about speaking engagements, sometimes you think about appearing on a virtual event, and working to collect the leads and doing all of those things that collaboratively you want to do. And we love those things. Don't get me wrong, we think they're awesome. But there is a whole nother level to speaking. And that's actually having people pay you to be on their stages in their workshops in front of their people. And so Bree Williams, she was a guest on Jenny's summit. So she does the speaking for free Thing She Does the virtual summit thing. She gives such incredible information, we knew we had to have her on the podcast, to talk specifically about getting paid to speak. And using that, to make even more money and turning those people in the audience into clients and all of that stuff. So Bree, thanks so much for being here with us today. I'm super excited. This is my favorite topic to talk about. So excited to. Well, and before we dive into your favorite topic of getting paid to speak, I want to just dispel any myths, is there anything wrong with speaking for free?
Bri Williams 1:16
No, absolutely not. And in fact, I would encourage everybody to look at the free stages option as their very first, and maybe only ever option they'll need. It really depends who your ideal audience is. However, if you are a coach and expert or consultant, somebody who wants to get in front of consumers, potential clients, so we're talking B to C, as opposed to B to B, then a free stage is all you may ever need in order to share massive value with your audience. And also invite them to take the next step with you, whether that is connecting with you whether that's a soft sell of giving them resources information, a next step that they could get a quick win, or whether that is indeed sharing your offer from the stage of free. A free stage is actually one of the number one things that I encourage clients to focus on, because there's so many of them. And they're super high quality, ways of getting in front of your ideal audience.
Jennie Wright 2:20
100% agree. And having had Bri on my recent grown profit online event was phenomenal. By the way, she is the model guest. Okay, punctual does all the things does the pre work showed up, you know, gave an incredible presentation, all the things. So if you're looking for somebody to speak about speaking, look at Bri. Okay, plug over next question that I have to ask you about this is what kind of stages should I be looking for? And I'm going to relate this a little bit on my own side, I'm very selfish about these topics, because I just got my first paid speaking gig not long ago, which was really cool during the pandemic, even. But what kind of stages should we be, like looking for? And how do we use this as a launchpad kind of thing?
Bri Williams 3:05
Firstly, congratulations, that's massive. And the cool thing is that you really can, no matter where you're starting from even beginner speakers can find speaking opportunities. So whether that looks like a Facebook group, that's a stage, whether that looks like speaking at a local business event, networking event, and think about where you're starting from, and try not to think about, you know, going from zero to 100. You know, a lot of people come to me and say, I want to be a paid speaker and I say, Well, what speaking Have you done already? Well, none. Okay, so we're not going to train, we're not going to run a marathon before we've run our first steps, right. So the first step is to start speaking, even if that means setting up your own stage. So business page, personal profile, Instagram rails, wherever it is, anybody who is listening to this podcast has a stage available to them, you can take this stage into your own stage. And now, the next step, after you've got some experience, and some confidence and a topic to speak about is to find somebody who thinks that what you've got to say is interesting and helpful and useful and relevant for their audience. So I would suggest that the first step for people who have not done any speaking on anyone else's stage before is just simply to look at people who have Facebook groups, or communities. So a great one is looking at who has a membership or a paid program that would love to have a guest speaker. I mean, I can tell you that some of the warmest, friendliest, most receptive audiences are those who are already in a paid program, because they are already invested in that development. So if you are bought in by the by the host of that program, then you're already being endorsed by that host. to people who are already investing in their own development, I mean, that is a good combination.
Alyson Lex 5:09
So I want to be clear, if we were approached, I get this a lot, I get approached by people, Hey, will you come deliver a workshop or a masterclass? or what have you, to my audience to my membership? Yeah, I know that they're really receptive, and they like to buy. So I'm happy to do that for free. But are you saying that I could also be getting paid for that?
Bri Williams 5:30
I mean, even if you got paid 100 bucks, I reckon you'd feel pretty good about that, if you've never been paid before, right. So I think the idea that I'd love to share with your listeners is that if you don't have pricing structure, if you don't know how to ask for opportunities, you know, you're not going to get paid for speaking. So you need to start from where you are. And if you don't have speaking, confidence, get get your speaking chops. Get get those reps in, and you know, to get you to the next stage, if you speak if you're confident, but you haven't got the opportunities yet get on your own stage, ask get really good at asking people, hey, do you know of any events coming up? Do you know anyone that's got a podcast, just start asking you. I mean, you can't swing a cat without running into a podcast host on social media Come on. Now, I'm not saying all podcasts are created equally, either, you do want to get in there and have a critical eye to whether your audience is there, whether it's a good fit, however, even if all you get out of this experience is speaking confidence, that then gets you towards the stage. The step if you like, of being ready to ask to be paid. It's all a process, right? You have to look at where you are. And if you're already speaking in these environments, where people are having instead the host is getting paid. And then they may have budget, you know, even if it's a small budget, so get used to asking is, is the next piece of advice I give?
Jennie Wright 7:11
What I'm hearing, and I completely agree is it doesn't hurt to just ask, right? Just to ask the question and find out I mean, you never know. They could say, Sure, I can give you like a little stipend for it and give you a little something for it. I mean, it's great. It's 100 bucks is still paid.
Bri Williams 7:28
I mean, absolutely. And once you've achieved $100 for a speaking engagement, you know what's possible in the world, it completely changes your perspective. Okay, that was 100 bucks, where where will I find other people that have budget who are likely to have allocated funds for this not just, you know, I'll maybe I can do this. Or maybe I can do that if to use a b b2b example, I come off the back of 1516 years in corporate life, where I know that within the training and development Learning and Development Department, there was budget within HR, there was budget within every single department in the business, there was budget for training. So if you know that that exists, then you can start to think about who the right person is to connect with. And so that might be useful for some of your experts who not only have business with consumers, but could also look for these paid opportunities where they're not really looking to sell to the audience, but they're looking to make an arrangement with the business directly. And, and thinking about where parts of those that budget sets is the first step, you know, are you able to make that connection, and then having your pricing list in place is, is the very next thing you need to think about?
Jennie Wright 8:46
I think we're going to have to come back to that pricing list. Like Actually, you know what, I want to talk about pricing list, because you've mentioned it twice. And I have another question I want to ask, but I have to talk about my singles. How do we figure out our pricing list? How do we start with that?
Bri Williams 9:01
Okay, this is gonna sound crazy, but the fact is, there's no universal speaking pricing list. And but there are acceptable kind of norms, if you like within the industry. So if you're getting paid less than, say, $5,000, for a speaking gig, then anything, really anything goes. I mean, it's what you the value that you can and show the host that their audience is going to get. And that comes back to really knowing who you are as the expert and coming back to, you know, not so much thinking about negotiations, or what can I get out of this, but what do you what problem do you actually solve and having a look at what that is? what that looks like in meaningful terms for that business or that consumer. So to give you an example, and working with a client of mine, a b2b speaking opportunity, a series of workshops, so we were looking specifically at improving their customer engagement through the way that they were speaking the way that they were communicating with their customers, and and some of that involved presentation type skills, right? And so we're looking at, well, what's a successful customer engagement worth to this business? Is it 100 bucks? No, it's upwards of six figures, and each and every customer that we're talking about. So once I knew that, and that's part of asking, asking questions, and not just being the speaker, but asking good questions, and actually listening to their response. And no, that's not a dig at all speakers. But there are some speakers that just love the sound of their voice and don't listen very much. And, you know, it's looking at what value does this actually bring to this organization in measurable terms, because we need to speak numbers here. This is not just the fluffy stuff, people will feel good that feel, you know, feeling 100% confident is nothing to sniff out. But if I know that this is getting passed up the line and getting approved by people that are just looking at numbers, and return on investment deliverables, and I need to speak their language. So finding out what this means in meaningful terms for a business, for example, if they're earning, you know, millions of pounds of dollars, off the back of the work that this training, and you know, off the back of the work of this training, then you can look at a very small percentage of that and say, Well, is it worth this to you? Is it worth 1020 3040? You know, and figure out where you can land with that.
Alyson Lex 11:37
I really like how you're going in not just as I'm a speaker, I get on a stage and I deliver a canned present. It's, I'm looking at your business. So you're coming to it not just from a speaker perspective, but a strategist and a coach perspective, using your expertise to deliver results. And what I'm hearing is there really two models that you can use, use a stage to get leads from the audience, or sell to the stage itself. So you're selling to the audience or selling to the stage. Either way, you can get paid for it. But am I correct? And that those are pretty much the two models where we're looking at?
Bri Williams 12:19
Yeah, so instead of being paid to speak, I like to encourage people to think about being paid because they speak. So there are so many, and I've got 13 plus different methods in my program, that people get paid because they use speaking as part of their strong overall strategy. So looking at where a talk or signature talk, and or a podcast tour, and other methods that will actually meet their business goals. They're not looking at it in isolation, which is what people often do I see myself on stage. Why? Well, you know, I kind of like the feel of the spotlight, or it's been one of my greatest fears. And I want to overcome that, you know, people have all different motivations for wanting to speak. And so it's looking at the bigger picture. And I think that that's essential when you're looking at including speaking in your strategy overall, because it does take it's it's not hard work, but it does take some time consideration, bravery for some people, and you know, overcoming fears, those sorts of things. And it's not just getting up on stage, it's how you market yourself as a speaker, the business of speaking as well.
Alyson Lex 13:32
So, how do we are, what are some best practices to really begin getting paid because we speak so you mentioned inviting them to connect with you or pitching from the stage or offering them some resources. But what are some really good strategies to to get these leads and clients from our stage experience.
Bri Williams 13:56
So the first thing is that you have to have developed a signature talk, you have to go in with a really well refined message that is super valuable. It's not just fluff. It's not just veiled pitching. Right? This is, this is an opportunity to do better from the stage. So really going in and making sure that you are delivering on what is essentially a promise at the beginning of your talk you're delivering against that. You're then also every single talk that you go in, you want to know exactly where this is leading to. So what is your offer, so that there is no, no chance to make this optional. The offer could be connections, it could be resources, it could be selling your offer, but the fact is you have to have that objective, because if this is part of making money for your business, you have to directly relate it to the offers within your business, not just talking about things that have a loose connection to the way in which you help people Specifically in your unique way.
Jennie Wright 15:06
I'm furiously taking notes, and then realize that I have so much time supposed to speak. So whoops, a daisies. Alright, I have a really cool question. This wasn't originally more of the questions I had. But I've gone off script like twice today, and I'm okay with it. Should we be making a speaker reel page? Should there be a page on our website? Or should there be a page that we have somewhere that says how we like what we do and what you know what past podcasts we've been on or summit? And how do we market ourselves? Like, how do we go, Hey, I'm available, come hire me or come find me? How do we make that happen?
Bri Williams 15:40
Absolutely, yes, you want to be discovered as a speaker, you want to position yourself as a speaker, even if so, you know, step number one on your bio on social media, add speaker. Like, if you do nothing else, let people know if you have a really cool comment that you make online or they find you, they can see some evidence, and that you are a speaker. So that means thinking about your speaking brand. So who you are as a speaker, that might be slightly different to how you market yourself as a business. And making sure that there is discoverable, searchable content, even if it's a Facebook Live, even if it's a video on social media somewhere or on your website, so that people can see evidence. And all this is doing is taking a few of those resistance boxes that host might have, hey, I really like the sound of this or I you know, this person's pitch me Who the heck are they, they go and check you out. Even if you're starting from zero, you can do very small things that position you as a speaker. So if you have been on podcast, make sure that you are sharing that on social media, that you are firstly helping the hosts out. So that you're you're doing your part for being a great guest as well. And but equally, so it's searchable. So if you are pitching people, if you are making connections, I think what I really like that person, you know your perspective on things, they can come and find more about you. And video is the number one way to do that they can hear your personality, your tone of voice, silly accent like mine, which doesn't know which country it belongs to. I mean, they can hear that. And immediately, they build much more rapport with you as a person because they've seen and heard you.
Alyson Lex 17:30
I really like what you said, and I know that there are a lot of different places that you can put your your speaker sheet and be in directories. And I definitely take advantage of most of those simply because I want to be found where people are looking for podcast guests and experts and things like that. But putting it in social and I know before we recorded this interview today, you put a post out that said, Hey, I'm super excited to do this today. And it was simple. But Jenny and I were like, Yay, we didn't and you tagged us in it. And it's really simple, like you said, but it up levels, your profile as a speaker. And it makes us feel good as hosts to have that support. So it's a win win right?
Bri Williams 18:25
Now, and I think I know Jenny and I spoke about this on the summit, where people connecting with people, we want to do business.
Bri Williams 18:41
Find that aesthetic. We saw
Bri Williams 18:53
were people connecting with people do do what you would do if you met someone in person. Don't be a weirdo. If you're genuinely excited, share that excitement and be a good guest. So think about what you can do to elevate the profile of your host to share your excitement. But also, I mean, some of this serves my business as well as the speaker to show that it's really simple. It doesn't have to be like a bunch of really over engineered posts or something, share that you're excited. And also, going back to the previous point about looking and sounding like a speaker talking about a podcast that you're about to record looks and sounds like something a speaker would do. Right. So it all kind of works together. It is a win win.
Alyson Lex 19:45
I want to come back to the whole from stage experience because Jenny kind of got us off on a really good tangent but now I want to bring it back. Pitching from stage when we're selling something. Or even if we're just pitching. Even if we're just pitching a lead magnet, how do we do that in a way that doesn't feel as salesy and sleazy and scammy and all those things.
Bri Williams 20:21
That is the number one thing after getting the signature talk content, right? That is the number one thing I work on with people, it's their confidence, and its structure. So the first thing is that when you are selling from the stage, you have to make an offer that is a natural next step to what you're talking about. So it has to be totally congruent. So that Firstly, you know that if someone has got the challenges that you've been talking about in your talk, if they could potentially benefit from the solutions that you've presented for those challenges, then of course, they're going to want to know, what is the next thing that happens? If I know this is my problem? If I know that, that sounds like the thing I want to do, how do I do that. And so, including parts of your process, in your talks, are a great way to build credibility with your listeners, but be to actually show them what change could look like what transformation could look like what your solution could do for them. So that by the time you get to the part of your talk, where you are sharing your offer, if you are making a direct offer, you want to zoom out and simply say, Okay, today, we have talked about the specific challenges related to x. And what I'm going to share with you, you know, let's zoom out for a second, just realize that this is just one part of the bigger picture. And that's where you talk about your process, how do you actually work with people? Now, I looked at your landing page for your amazing session that you offer people. And I was looking at your process there. And you could zoom in on any one of those pieces, whether it's done for you content, whether it's actually providing a strategy, not just a call, and and really dig into to what problem you solve with that particular call, then you want to zoom back out again and say, Hey, listen, this is the actual process that needs to occur for this change to be long lasting for actually to solve the problem. So I'd suggest thinking less about selling stuff, and more about helping people know what an actual natural next step would be, if they have identified with what you've spoken about during your talk.
Alyson Lex 22:39
I can't stop taking notes. In fact, Jenny, and I do pull up pull outs, and we highlight things. As we take notes. During this episode, we aim for three to four per expert, and I think I stopped actually doing them around eight to 10, not six of them. Alright, I stopped at six. And that didn't even cover the last 10 minutes of this interview. So I cannot thank you enough for all of this really great information that gets us thinking about getting paid to speak, or even better getting paid. Because we speak that's definitely one of the things that I highlighted. Where can we find out more about you, and maybe learn more,
Bri Williams 23:21
I'd love to invite anyone that's interested in speaking to come and check out my free Facebook group, it's public speaking for entrepreneurs, this is the type of content we go into plus a lot more. So that's the number one way that's the place I hang out the most. And that's where I share free training all the you know, and get to know people.
Jennie Wright 23:45
She's so modest, there are a couple other spots that we're going to be able to find Bree as well. We've got her on her Facebook, in the group, as well as LinkedIn, and Instagram. And we'll make sure those links are available in the show notes. So head on over there. So you can grab those and make sure you connect with Bree. Allison, I have a couple takeaways from today, which we found were incredible. It was a real hard thing to stop it for. We could have kept going. This was like an eight takeaway kind of session. But we're gonna stop it for so I want you to look at free stages as an option as the first thing, and maybe the only thing that you need. That's something that Bree said really early on in today's show, which really struck me now having done some it's a lot myself, and for my clients, sometimes that's all you need to be doing is free online summits, why and podcasting, just to make your mark and Excel. So don't think that you just have to go on paid stages. Don't forget these free events can be incredibly, incredibly life changing for your business.
Alyson Lex 24:46
One of the things I really liked was when we started breaking down the types of stages that there are because we think of a stage as a conference with a physical stage, you get all miked up, which if you haven't had that experience, yet, the first First time is terrifying just as a heads up, you're like, what am I doing, I'm about to get on stage. But Facebook groups, make your own stage, create an audience, find summits and podcasts, those are all stages that you can speak on. And it doesn't matter if you've spoken before, and how beginner you are, you can find an opportunity.
Jennie Wright 25:25
I love that. And one of the things that she said that I also really love is that anybody can start finding speaking opportunities. Some people think that you have to be a really well, you know, well versed speaker or somebody who's done a lot of this to find spots, or you have to be in the business that you're in for a very long time before you can, anybody can start speaking pretty much at any time, you can do it really early in your business. As long as you can get up there and talk about something with some confidence and some real content and understanding and not fluffing it out, then you can make that happen.
Alyson Lex 25:58
And the last thing, this spoke directly to my soul, if you want to make money from your speaking, make sure any offers you have, that you make when you speak, relate back to what you've spoken about. Because it can't be super off the wall, it won't land, and it'll be a wasted opportunity for you.
Jennie Wright 26:20
These are some really cool things that we pulled from today. We hope that you love this episode as much as we do, and that you've loved Bree as much as we do. She is awesome. And we can't wait to hopefully have her back at some point in the future because I think we could probably make a whole other episode just on some really cool speaking stuff. So thank you so much for doing this with us today. It was my absolute pleasure. Awesome. All right. And if you have been listening to this podcast, make sure that you follow us and tell your friends and let them know about these cool episodes that we're doing with some pretty amazing people. We'd love for you to continue listening to this and also to share some feedback if you feel comfortable with that. So head on over to System to thrive.com or wherever you're listening to podcasts and leave us some feedback. Thanks so much for listening. We'll be back again soon answering another big question.