Episode 100: Inside Secrets to Getting Booked as a Speaker

November 2, 2021

In this episode, Jackie Lapin, a leader in helping leaders, authorpreneurs and entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers and more connect with their next followers around the globe, shares how you can get more speaking opportunities. It’s chock full of tips and strategies on exactly what it takes to get massive visibility, credibility, and sales through speaking!

Resources mentioned

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3 Key Points

Having a book is a great tool for either speaking or podcasts, or any other kind of media. It is your gateway in the door.

You have to block three hours a week in your calendar as if you were making a meeting with somebody else, and use that time to actually go after your speaking gigs or have a VA do it for you.

Aside from locating the opportunities you want to go after, you want to be prepped with the materials that are going to get you booked.


Ellen [00:02]: Hi, I’m Ellen Violette. And you’re listening to Episode 100 of the Books Open Doors Podcast. On this episode, I’ll be speaking with Jackie Lapin, founder of SpeakerTunity. She helps leaders, authors, coaches, speakers, and entrepreneurs get booked, and we’ll be talking about how she does that and how she can help you. So, let’s do this.

Announcer [00:26]: Welcome to the Books Open Doors Podcast. Are you a mission-driven speaker, coach, consultant, thought leader, creative entrepreneur, or author who wants more credibility, financial abundance, and wants to make a bigger impact in the world and leave a lasting legacy, and who wants to have fun doing it? Then stay tuned for today’s inspiring podcast with your host, Ellen Violette.

Ellen [00:52]: I’m here with Jackie Lapin. Jackie is a leader in helping leaders, authors, coaches, speakers, and entrepreneurs connect with their next followers around the globe. An expert in aiding them to get booked, she provides strategy, guidance and direct leads through her SpeakerTunity programs, tip sheets and regional directories that get change-makers booked for speaking engagements, radio shows, podcasts, virtual summits, Ted X talks and virtual networking across North America. Ellen

[01:24]: She also offers a speaker one sheet, graphic design service, booking systems, and training to fill up your speaker calendar. SpeakerTunity is the ultimate speaker’s toolbox, so welcome to the call, Jackie.

Jackie [01:40]: I’m delighted to be here, Ellen. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Ellen [01:45]: Well, I’m happy to have you. We’ve known each other a very long time, and I was excited when I found out that you had started SpeakerTunity, because I believe that as important as books are, speaking is just as important and I believe that they go together.

Jackie: I am in full agreement with you.

Ellen: Okay, good.

Jackie: The perfect duo.

Ellen [02:08]: Yes they are. So why don’t you tell us a little bit how you got started?

Jackie:  So my story goes back to when I was eleven years old and I decided I wanted to be a sports writer. I married my two favorite things, the LA Dodgers and writing, and so at twenty, I was at the Detroit Free Press.

At twenty-one, I was at the Associated Press and on the front pages of the LA Times, and at twenty-two, I was at the Washington Post, and so from there I launched one of the two largest sports special events, Cable TV, PR agencies in America with a world-class client list, Toyota Motor Sports and the National Hockey League, and Showtime and Avon and Seagram’s, and I can go on and on and on, and the last thing I did was launch the Worldwide Poker Phenomenon with the World Poker Tour.

[02:58]: All of that was a juggernaut for about twenty years and sort of at the tail end of that, I started writing, I was called to write two books. One is called The Art of Conscious Creation: How You Can Transform the World, which actually just went up on Audible, and the second one was called Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires, which was the best spiritual book of the year at the International New Age Trade Show. When I got done doing those, and I had promoted them aggressively, I had found this entire section of media that was passionate and wanted more content on these kinds of information.

[03:35]: Whereas the mainstream media was saying, okay, okay, we don’t have enough space for this anymore. I mean, they were contracting and making it harder to me to do mainstream publicity, but this whole marketplace was saying I want more, and my heart really was with the messengers of the world, the people who were making the world a better place through their books, through their missions, and so I decided that that was the time to rebrand my company, and we became Conscious Media Relations, and that was about twelve or thirteen years ago.

[04:07]: Over the course of that time, we’ve continued to do radio podcast tours where we introduce leaders to 9,000 radio shows and podcasts with a minimum guarantee of 30 interviews. Now from there, people kept saying, and for them, you know, we’ve worked with people like Don Miguel Ruiz, and Arielle Ford and James Twyman, and Joe Vitale, and Chris and Janet Attwood, Maureen St. Germaine, you know, real luminaries, and we do service anybody that’s books improves one’s life, one’s business to the planet.

And so out of that, many people kept coming to me and saying, can you book me for speaking engagements? Can you book me for speaking engagements? And I’m going, I don’t want to do that, but I know where they are, so why don’t I just tell you?

[04:47]: And that’s how SpeakerTunity was born, being able to provide leaders, contacts, where they can book themselves so that we can shortcut that time and eliminate all the research that they have to go into it. From speaking gigs, virtual and live, we’ve expanded to radio shows and podcasts, and virtual summits and product giveaways, and TEDx’s and virtual networking.

I mean, we have directories for all of those, which make it easy for people to just get out and start getting booked, and so that’s the evolution of the company, and now as the speaker and leader resource company, we’re just expanding and expanding and expanding, providing more tools, adding a new product a month and making it really robust.

Ellen [05:32]: One of the things that you just said that I love is people wanted it and you didn’t want to do it, and so you found a way do it that did not impact your own integrity. And I love that because I mean, that sometimes is a real struggle I know for me and for others, where you feel like, you know your audience wants something and it’s just not something that you really want to do.

Jackie:  Well, and for example, I am burned out on doing a ton of media myself, you know, social media. I mean, you know, Facebook Lives and Clubhouse and, you know, all these other podcasts. You know, I do other people’s podcasts, but I don’t want to do one, so I’m looking around to actually bring somebody in who will do that for me.

I thought about it one day and I said okay, not only is it not … you’re good at it, but it’s not where your heart is. You’re resistant, and if you’re resistant and if you know anything about energy, then you’ll sabotage it, and so I thought a better thing to do is just to find somebody who loves it, bring them onto my team, make them part of the SpeakerTunity family, and that’s the direction we’re going to go.

Ellen [06:49]: Like I said, I love that. I first heard that from John Assaraf, and what he said was, “Do what you love and find other people…” I’m paraphrasing. This isn’t exactly what he said, but find other people who want to do that thing, and that’s fun for them.

Jackie: Right.

Ellen: Right?

Jackie: Exactly.

Ellen: Yeah, and it’s exactly what you just said. It’s like if you don’t really want to do it, you’re going to have resistance, you’re going to sabotage it or you’re just not going to do it well, or you’re going to do it and you’re just going to be miserable.

Jackie [07:21]: That’s what happens to me.

Ellen: Yeah, yeah.

Jackie: I’m resentful because I’m not giving myself a little bit more self-care, a little more free time.

Ellen: Right, right. Yeah, I once heard Russell Brunson speak, and this is what really brought it home for me, because I thought wow, if this even happened to him. He was saying when he built his company before Click Funnels, the first time he built the company, and he had gotten to where he had like 60 employees, he was making millions of dollars, and he hated getting up in the morning, and one day he just said he just had to blow it up, and that’s what he did.

He just quit, he started over, and then he did Click Funnels, and so what it really came down to was changing your business model because in one business model he had 60 employees. In another business model, now I don’t know how many employees he has, but it’s way less than that, way less, and he’s selling something that is recurring income and comes in every month. Yeah, and that’s what you’ve done too with SpeakerTunity. I mean, people sign up for a membership, and then they pay you monthly.

Jackie [08:30]: We have subscription services, but we also have regional speaker lead directories where you can actually go in and get up to 2000 speaker leads just in your market. Now that’s a one-time subscription fee because you’re going to get all 2000, or there are between 900 and 2000 leads at that one time. But plenty of our stuff is subscription-based, and so it makes it easier, but you’re right. We love the opportunity to be of service on a monthly basis.

Ellen: Right, so I just wanted to mention that on the side of being the provider. Now let’s talk about being the person who’s using your services. Tell us more about what speakers should do to get more opportunities.

Jackie [09:18]: Well, aside from locating the opportunities you want to go after, you want to be prepped with the materials that are going to get you booked, and the three things that you really need to book yourself for speaking are initially, a speaker one sheet, and this is a glossy sheet that basically, it’s two sides, or two pages digitally, and what it does is it really portrays who you are with a great bio.

But the bio really speaks to what it is that you’re bringing to the audience. How are you going to heal, change, improve their lives, do something? It can’t be all about your credentials, so it needs to be skewed that way, as well as your headline, and then it should have on the back, three presentations that you offer because if you only have one arrow in your quiver, it had better be a bullseye.

Jackie [10:07]: You’re going to be putting it in front of different people, and they need to be able to have some choice. This one works better for my audience. That one doesn’t, so you have three presentations on the back and you want to have a couple of really good testimonials on it, great artwork that makes you look fabulous, and so, then it’s impactful.

That’s really what it needs to be is impactful, so that’s what you will attach when you write the proposal letter, which is item number two, because the proposal letter, you can’t burden it with all that information. Nobody is going to read that, so the proposal letter needs to be no more than five to seven paragraphs, and short ones at that.

Jackie [10:50]: You know, you tell them what you’d like to speak on, why you’d be the ideal candidate, how it resonates with their audience, and then you want to include the third item, which is a little slice of video, where they can see how you can present. I’m saying don’t give them a whole presentation. Give them three to five minutes, and make it something preferably in a room where you’re being dynamic and speaking from the stage. But in this world, where we’ve had some setbacks in that area, if you need to have something that you’re sitting in a chair and doing it on Zoom, that’s acceptable for the time being.

Jackie: Essentially you send the letter with the link in it, and the reference to the fact that your speaker one sheet is attached, and that’s the best way to start presenting yourself. You pick the target speaker booker that you want to present it to, you send that off to them, and I have what I call the rule of three. Either the follow-up should be one phone call and two emails, or two emails and one phone call, and if you get stuck there, you can go to LinkedIn or you go to direct message on Facebook, try those two things. But if you don’t hear from them after those five contacts, move on to the next. That’s my recommendation.

Ellen [12:10]: Yeah, and I’ll say as a podcast host, sometimes I just get overwhelmed with a lot of people, or I can’t get back to them right away, and there have been a few times where it’s been a long time before I’ve gotten back to them, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to get back to them.

Jackie: Well, and it doesn’t mean you want that phone call that the guy is irritated and saying I haven’t heard from you.

Ellen: Right. Well, that’s true, that’s true, but I’m just saying sometimes there’s a lot of back and forth. It’s like they keep emailing you and then you try to get back to them, and it just kind of takes some time before it kind of all gels.

Jackie: So, the message is have patience.

Ellen: Right. Have patience, absolutely. Yeah, and unless I say to you … Well, what I’ll do is I’ll just say sorry, we’re not interested. Usually it’s sorry, it’s not the right fit for our show. That’s usually the main thing.

Jackie: Most people just don’t respond, and if they don’t respond after a certain period of time, you have to just figure that this isn’t right for them.

Ellen [13:09]: Oh, interesting. Oh yeah, I always respond, because I don’t like to leave people hanging. I mean, I’ll just tell them yes or no, but like I said, it may take a while, but they will get a response one way or another.

Jackie: Well, keep in mind if you’re submitting yourself for conferences, you’re most likely going to be submitting a form anyway too, so you want to have a lot of that information that you can pop in, your bio and a variety of other things all in a Word doc, so that you’re not searching around and trying to have to recreate it while the thing’s timing out and all that other kinds of stuff, so just have enough stuff that you can just pop into those.

Ellen: Well, I have a question about the video too, when you said have a video. Were you saying that you’re better off having a video from an actual presentation that you did?

Jackie: Yes.

Ellen: Oh, okay.

Jackie: Yes.

Ellen: Okay, that wasn’t clear.

Jackie [13:58]: Yeah, because they want to see how you perform in front of an audience, how engaged you were, and how animated you are, and the dynamism of your presentation.

Ellen: And how long do you think it’ll be okay to do that with a Zoom type video? I already see some people setting up regular events for the Fall.

Jackie: Oh yeah, it’s coming, so I would say maximum six months, and at the end of six months, you better have in-room video again.

Ellen: Okay, and then what if you haven’t done that? So, then what do you do?

Jackie [14:39]: You go find yourself a small stage with a small group, you know, a local chamber of commerce, a woman’s group that you belong to, a health and wellness group, and ask the organizer if you can bring in a video camera and have somebody come and shoot you, but I don’t recommend you do it with a cellphone. It has to be lit properly. They have to have the right sound, because otherwise you’ll defeat the purpose.

Ellen [15:05]: Okay. Do you know any vendors for that, or how do you suggest people find that person?

Jackie: Ask other speakers, ask coordinators of events. They’ll all have people they can recommend you to.

Ellen: Okay. I would imagine it’s all got to be local, right?

Jackie: Yes.

Ellen: Yeah, so look for speakers in your area definitely. Okay, so what else do speakers need to know? Anything else that we haven’t covered?

Jackie: That I think the opportunities are opening up at this point, that you need to have the flexibility to speak either virtually or live because many of those meetings that were coming online that went virtual and were originally in a room, some of them are not coming back.

They like being virtual, so you have to have that flexibility to be able to do either one, and you want to have the right background, you want to have the right sound and microphone. You want to have a ring light. You don’t want to have … If your backdrop pixelates, you don’t want to have a virtual one. You want to have one that’s … Like for me, this is a backdrop because with curly hair, curly hair does not do well with virtual backdrops.

Ellen: Oh, interesting.

Jackie: It pixelates.

Ellen [16:34]: Oh yeah, you look like you’re floating in space.

Jackie: Exactly, exactly, so you really have to figure out what’s going to work best for you and your environment.

Ellen: Oh, that’s funny. Yeah, we’ve moved, so as you can see mine still is kind of bland. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will. Yeah, any other interesting things about backdrops? I mean, so many people have different kinds of backdrops. I’ve noticed some people, I interviewed someone the other day, and I think they literally have something hanging there. It almost looked like a shower curtain. That’s kind of how yours is.

Jackie: Exactly. We’re using a green screen frame without the green screen. But you can buy them inexpensively online. This thing, which is like 15 feet by 20 feet or something like … I think it only cost us about 35 or 40 bucks, although we did get it from China, but you can find them online for not a whole lot of money, and you can get city backdrops, you can get textural backgrounds, and again, if digital works for you, and digital is best when you have a green screen behind you, but then you can use the Zoom ones. But really test it to make sure that you get … And you can have something branded.

Ellen [18:00]: I was just going to say. I was just going to say one of my coaches when I was doing Click Funnels, Alex Branning, and he had his logo pattern all over it, but it looked really nice.

Jackie: Well, and you can just do one logo so that it’s not overwhelming because things that can get busy. It looks like a step and repeat banner.

Ellen: Yeah, no on his it was okay, but yeah, I’m sure on some of them that’s true.

Jackie: Right, right.

Ellen: Yeah. Okay, so do you recommend when people come to you as speaking that they have a book? Or, do you not say anything?

Jackie [18:34]: I think having a book is a great tool for either speaking or podcasts or any other kind of media. It is your gateway in the door. I was just on a conversation with a group of women speakers who were very specifically talking about how a book got them more speaking gigs, significantly increased their speaking gigs. And one of the gals was actually putting excerpts on LinkedIn, and that was really kicking in a lot of the speaking opportunities.

Ellen: Oh, nice. Okay, that’s a good little tip there.

Jackie: Great strategy I thought.

Ellen [19:13] Yeah. Yeah. Do you have any specifics on things that they said, like what it did? I know I have one client, he really wanted to get on the stage and it wasn’t happening for him, and we made him a number one bestseller in six categories, and in less than two months he was on his first stage.

Jackie: Oh, that’s great.

Ellen: Yeah.

Jackie: She didn’t say anything more except that all of a sudden she started getting a great lineup of speaking that she hadn’t expected, so it seemed to be a great pathway that she had not anticipated.

Ellen: I think that one of the issues for so many authors, and I admit I’ve been guilty of it at times too, and I’m definitely getting better, is just not promoting their books enough, and so one tip that I would add to that is every time that you speak make sure that you mention your book.

Jackie: Absolutely.

Ellen [20:04]: Mention your book, and the other thing that I did, my office is not set up really well for this yet, but if you look over here, if you’re watching this on video and you see that over there, that is my book. That is my workbook right there.

Jackie: Well, actually yeah. You can actually put your book on the table in the front of the stage if you’re presenting. You can also put it on a slide, either on your first slide or on a slide somewhere in the sequence of a presentation, but yes, it should be very clear, and of course, the other issue is make sure that …

You know, we’re all in a print and demand world, so have enough copies at home, so that if somebody suddenly says hey, I’ve got an opportunity and we’ve got 35 people coming. Can you show up and bring your book, that you can do that instead of think oh my God, it’s going to take me two weeks to get them ordered from Kindle.

Ellen [21:03]: Right, or you can run down to your local printer and have some made if you absolutely have to, but yeah, it’s better to have them. Yeah.

Jackie: Make sure you have a stock on hand in case anything comes up with a speaking opportunity that you did not anticipate.

Ellen: Yeah, and I will say a no-no is a lot of times I’ll see people and they have a shelf behind them back here, and it has other people’s books on it, so they’re actually promoting other people’s books. Make sure you’re promoting your book. I’ve even seen that on some of the talk shows where they don’t even know. They’re on there all the time and they didn’t know to put their book there. Yeah, so that is a real missed opportunity. Okay, so any final tips before we go?

Jackie [21:52]: Just yes, there is one. If you really want to start getting yourself booked, you cannot just think oh, I’ll find some time this week to do it. It doesn’t work like that. You’re going to get to the end of the week, and you’re going to look back and say oh, I ended up doing client work. I ended up doing this, I ended up doing that. You literally have to block three hours a week in your calendar as if you were making a meeting with somebody else, and use that time to actually go after your speaking gigs, or here’s the other alternative.

Train a member of your staff or a virtual assistant to do this for you, and you don’t just hand it off to them. You actually go through a training with them. You help them write the materials, you have them pitch you. You talk about the dialog that they’re going to have with people so that they represent you like they were you. When you have somebody that you’re confident that can get out there and present you and do the follow-up, then you’re going to take the load off yourself, and there’s lots of ways to do that with VAs.

Ellen [22:56]: Yeah, and I would say decide what your top three things are that you need to do in your business that only you can do, and make sure that those are the things that you do every week, so if it’s speaking, if it’s writing your book, if it’s reaching out to new clients. Whatever your biggest goals are that you need to be working on, don’t pick so many that you can’t possibly do them all, and pick the ones that are going to be the most impactful so that you don’t get caught up in all the day to day nonsense that just eats the time away.

Jackie: Right, exactly.

Ellen: Yeah, okay. Well, I think that about covers it, so thank you so much, Jackie. That’s great, huh?

Jackie: You know, Ellen, I’d love to give something away free if that’s okay.

Ellen: Oh, absolutely, yes.

Jackie [23:45]: I’ve got a couple of really cool things. One is if you’d like to just kind of try out Speaker unity and get a sense of it, we give away a free month in all of our three subscription services.

Ellen: I actually have an affiliate.

Jackie: You have a link.

Ellen: I do.

Jackie: Yes.

Ellen: I do have a link.

Jackie [24:04]: Get that one. Go put it in with the notes.

Ellen: Yeah, I just remembered that I have that. Wait a second here.

Jackie: I’m glad you remembered that.

Ellen: Yeah, SpeakerTunity. Okay, here we go, so my link to that is http://ellenlikes.com/podcasts-radio-speak. I’ll say that again. It’s kind of long, ellenlikes.com/podcasts-radio-speak, and I will put that on the page. At the top we always have resources that our recommended, and then it’s also in the transcript.

Jackie: That sounds great.

Ellen: Yeah, yeah.

Jackie: That sounds great.

Ellen [24:55]: So thank you so much. Like I said, I’ve known Jackie for years. She knows her stuff inside and out. I mean, I didn’t even know all that stuff you said at the beginning. You had a whole other career before. That was awesome, and that’s why you’re great at what you do now, so having those connections is half the game, so definitely connect with Jackie.

Jackie: Thank you, Ellen.

Ellen [25:18]: You’re welcome.

Jackie: I so appreciate the opportunity and your great support.

Ellen: My pleasure. So, that’s it for today. Be sure to join me next week when my guest is Paulette Enzyme. Paulette helps content experts convert their knowledge in content into cash online and offline with new and unique income streams, marketing tools or both, with less attachment to your calendar and clock.

Also, if you’re new or you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to pick up a copy of The Rock Star Author’s Toolkit on our website at https://booksopendoors.com, where you’ll get step by step checklists for writing your title and book and marketing your book, and also a guide on positioning your book to make it a number one bestseller. So, until next time, Bye-bye.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to the Books Open Doors podcast with your host, Ellen Violette. If you’d like to connect with other mission driven speakers, coaches, consultants, thought leaders, founders, creative entrepreneurs, and authors who are changing the world one book at a time, join us in the Books Open Doors community at Facebook.com/groups/booksopendoors, and let’s rock your business with books.


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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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