When a lot of my coaching, consulting, and thought leadership clients first speak with me about their speaking goals, one of the biggest fears they reveal to me is that they will have to choose one platform for their speaking.
And they don’t want to.
While many entrepreneurs aspire to deliver keynotes at corporations and for prestigious industry events, they also recognize that speaking can be an immediate way to generate high quality prospects for their individual and organizational offerings.
The good news is that experts who successfully use speaking to grow their businesses can use approximately 80 percent of their speak-to-collect-leads presentation structure for a more traditional keynote.
Now, before I explain how to create a presentation that can successfully work for both goals, let me unpack what I mean by a keynote and a speak-to-collect-leads presentation.
When speakers deliver a keynote, they are paid handsomely (or beautifully!) to deliver an approximately 35-45-minute inspirational presentation for a group, usually at a significant event.
Think corporate women’s leadership or industry conference, an upper-level management retreat, or a new student orientation.
In the United States, a “typical” keynote fee can be $5000 for a college, nonprofit, or small business event upward to $15,000 for a Fortune 1000 company. If you have a New York Times bestselling book or you are a celebrity in your industry, that number would be much higher.
Prior to becoming president, Donald Trump, for example, was paid $1.5 million to deliver 17 keynotes with The Learning Annex. (Yup, that’s over $88,000 per presentation!)
Now, a speak-to-collect-leads presentation could be as short as twenty minutes, or as lengthy as sixty minutes (though I recommend thirty to forty), and it typically will be “free.” I use the air quotes because these presentations can actually be quite lucrative, as long as the speaker has a strategy and corresponding offer in place to invite interested audience members into a future offering.
As I mentioned earlier, approximately 80 percent of a keynote and a classy, high-converting speak-to-collect-leads presentation are the same.
First, both typically begin with the speaker sharing a powerful story that shows a profound, aha-inducing moment they had – that started a chain reaction of positive results for themselves (and often others).
Second, in both presentation formats, the speaker than bridges from him or herself to the audience – allowing audience members to shift their mindsets, shed limiting beliefs, and see new possibilities for themselves.
Third, speakers in both versions then introduce their big idea – and help their audience members see how it can be transformational for them.
Fourth, for the remainder of both presentations, speakers argue on behalf of that big idea. Whether a speaker is comedic, earnest, or hopefully a combination of the two, they integrate storytelling, humor, powerful questions, and persuasive evidence to show the importance of their idea and persuade audience members to take action on it.
They speak directly to the conversation in their audience members’ heads – countering objections as they emerge, and reminding them, by being vulnerable, that they have been where they are. And, usually through a mix of faith and elbow grease, evolved in the way(s) they are showing them to.
It’s the final five-to-ten minutes that look different between keynotes and speak-to-collect-leads presentation structures.
In a keynote, the speaker usually summarizes his or her main points and ends with a powerful story or a probing question (or series of questions). Because keynote speakers have been paid, no offer is made – although as a part of the speaker agreement, keynote speakers may have included their books, an opportunity to sell books, or have provided each attendee with promotional material related to his or her business.
In a speak-to-collect-leads presentation, the call to action has two key components. Just like in the keynote, the speaker asks audience members to get out of their own way and apply what they have heard in their own careers, businesses, relationships, health, and so forth.
And… the speaker has shown that a gap still exists between what audience members have discovered and their ability to implement and achieve the results they seek for themselves, their employees, their romantic partners, their children… you get the idea.
They have invited audience members to learn more about opportunities for partnership in a way that is hopefully honest, heartfelt, and not manipulative – so that they can get the results they seek, and the support they need, to avoid reverting back to old ways of thinking and behaving.
They have given one tangible next step to learn and grow more – for example, a postcard to fill out or a code to text and opt-in for more information. (In most cases, they have set-up an automated process for delivering their free digital content or for scheduling follow-up calls so that outreach happens immediately, or very shortly after, while they, as speakers, are still at top of mind for their audience members.)
Then, as in a keynote, they close with some of their most compelling content.
Because most keynote opportunities are not advertised – they are offered directly to established speakers that organizational leaders, meeting planners, or event organizers are familiar with – many coaches, consultants, and experts begin by using a speak-to-collect-leads presentation until they start attracting keynote opportunities their way.
And again, speak-to-collect leads presentations can be lucrative (and fulfilling). They need not be seen as a rite of passage – something you do until you “go pro.”
Let’s say, as a coach, consultant, or expert you have a core offering at $5000 (or above). If, at each speaking engagement, you pick up two clients, you have developed a way to make five-figures each time you speak.
First, they are not offering their premium programs until much later in their enrollment funnels – erroneously assuming someone needs to give them a nominal dollar amount before they will make a more substantial investment.
While this is typically true for cold traffic generated from paid advertising, when someone sees a speaker live, by the end of that presentation, the relationship is significantly deeper than if that person simply heard a speaker on a podcast or watched him or her in a free video series or even on a webinar.
And second, too many coaches, consultants, and experts (hopefully not you!), are struggling to create a dynamite, high-converting, speak-to-collect-leads presentation.
And third, too many of them (you?) are not strategic about going after the right stages to get face time in front of ideal clients.
As a result, their speaking does not convert – and they never have the opportunity to get on bigger stages and deliver keynotes.
I experienced this frustration, over-and-over-again, in the early years of my business as well.
I didn’t know how to structure my presentations.
I didn’t know who my right audiences were.
I didn’t know how to make an offer – let alone close the people I did manage to have follow-up conversations with.
Oh, and of course, there was the whole – I feel so much sensation whenever I get in front of an audience that I’m going to focus on getting the words I memorized out rather than on creating anything remotely resembling lasting transformation for my audiences.
Of course, I didn’t say that to myself, but that’s exactly what I did.
What about you? Where are you struggling with going pro as a speaker? Please let me know in the comments below.