If you want to get paid to speak, you must raise the bar and your standards. The more you raise your standards, the more you can get paid. That means you need to take on the mindset of continuous improvement. Your message must solve a problem. The problem I solve is that I help businesspeople to get more clients and referrals. In other words, I would never start my elevator speech with I help people become better speakers. Instead, it’s important to attach my message with their problems. For example, I help businesspeople get more clients and referrals with my proven speaker system.

Another example, I have a colleague in my business networking group who sells supplements. He was using the core message in his elevator speech that he helps people live a healthier lifestyle. He never got any referrals. This was not surprising because he didn’t solve any problem. You need to be able to share the benefits and directly relate them to the problems they solve. If you think about what people in a business meeting want, they have to be healthier and have more stamina, and last through 5 o’clock and not have that lull at 2 pm. They need to be more productive especially without that lull, they can get more clients, do more follow-up and outreach, and make more money. If you have skincare, studies have shown that healthy-looking people, attractive and younger-looking people get more business.

So what does your elevator speech have to do with getting paid to speak? Once you have identified the benefits of your work and tied it to solving their problems, you then have a clear message that you can use to market and attract speaking engagements.

The bigger the problem you solve the higher speaker fee you can command. Likely you solve a big problem. You need to be bold and say it like it is. Blowing your own horn and sharing what you’ve done is very important and points to your greatness.

How To Monetize Speaking Engagements

When you get a request to speak, we often forget to mention the money piece. You need to be asking for or at least inquiring about a fee when it’s a corporation, a school, or a church. If it’s an entity it’s fair game to inquire. Networking meetings typically don’t have a budget except for maybe their annual conferences.

Lots of people want to get paid big bucks. It’s just like acting. You don’t do atmosphere work and expect to get paid a million dollars for the next movie you’re cast in. There is a staircase to typically climb.

When you know who’s asking you to speak, you know whether to ask about a fee. If it is an entity, then you want to find out a little more information before you decide to move forward (and/or even ask about a fee). Here are the basic questions to ask:

  • What time is it? Is it in person or on zoom/virtual?
  • How long do you have to speak?
  • How many people are there?
  • If they answer all the above questions with responses that work for you, then you ask this next question:
  • What do you typically pay your speakers?

This last question with the word “typically” leaves the door open especially if they don’t pay their speakers. They may respond that they don’t pay their speakers in which case you can either opt to negotiate, decline, or accept by saying, “Ok, I was just checking.” If you are not going to charge anything, then it’s good to give a reason why this is acceptable. You might say, “Well, that’s ok because it’s on Zoom and I don’t have to go anywhere so I can waive my speaker fee” This educates them that you typically get paid and they will value you more. Then they will make a big fuss over you, feel so grateful for you, adore and edify you especially since you indicated that you normally get paid.

How To Negotiate A Speaker Fee

If the fee is under $1000, that is considered an honorarium. When they offer you less than what you typically would get paid, you can accept the fee with a request that will make up the difference. For example, you could request that you be able to sell your books, workshops, and/or other products or services. This gives them the power to negotiate and there is an equal exchange. Then if they allow you to sell, you got their permission to do so.