Top 20 Countries Where I Want to Travel for Paid Speaking Engagements

I just finished reading the book: Keynote Mastery by Patrick Schwerdtfeger and was inspired to create a list of my top 20 destinations for paid speaking engagements. Patrick has a Google map on his website with geo-markers on cities where he has spoken before. It’s a brilliant way of showcasing instant credibility. If you have travelled to that many places (over 50 for Patrick) to speak, you must be doing something right.

Let’s get to it. In no particular order, these are cities where I will have paid speaking engagement in the years to come:

  1. Seattle in Washington, USA
  2. New York City in New York, USA
  3. Chicago in Illinois, USA
  4. Washington DC, USA
  5. Montreal, Canada
  6. Toronto, Canada
  7. Dallas, Texas, USA
  8. Miami, Florida, USA
  9. Salvador, Brazil
  10. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  11. Dubai, UAE
  12. Barcelona, Spain
  13. Rome, Italy
  14. London, UK
  15. Tokyo, Japan
  16. Hong Kong, China
  17. Helsinki, Finland
  18. Manchester, UK
  19. Dublin, Ireland
  20. Mumbai in India

The list started with 20, but I was inspired to add 5 more when composing the list.

  1. Paris in France
  2. Cape Town in South Africa
  3. Lagos in Nigeria
  4. Nairobi in Kenya
  5. Yaounde, Cameroon

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Let me get to work so I get to meet you one day in one of those cities and countries.

Professional Speaker Startup Toolkit

Over the past two years I have ready almost every book on public speaking I could lay my hands on, and I have library cards of 3 different cities in Orange County. Some of them like “World Class Speaking: The Ultimate Guide to Presenting, Marketing and Profiting Like a Champion” by Craig Valentine and Mitch Meyerson  or  “The Message of You” by Judy Carter are keepers. gumroad-cover

I very frequently come across people who have incredible stories, good speaking skills, all the credentials one could desire, and yet, they are not leveraging all that to generate an additional stream of income as Professional Speakers. If you don’t care about generating an additional income stream because you don’t need it, do it and donate all the proceeds to your favorite charity.

What is a Professional Speaker?

Allan Weiss in his book “Money Talks: How to Make a Million As A Speaker” defines a professional speaker as someone who makes his or her livelihood from presentations made in front of live audiences. That definition has evolved to include those who make get compensated to create value for live audiences through sharing of their knowledge, experiences, stories and messages.

If you have already been paid at least once for a speaking opportunity, you could technically consider yourself as a professional speaker. However, if you don’t seek and get more paid speaking opportunities, you will be classified as a used-to-be professional speaker. You get it! It is about staying in the game, and relevant!

What is this Professional Speaker Startup Toolkit?

If you want to generate some income through public speaking opportunities, I created a simple toolkit to help you get started. This toolkit  is designed for those who:

  • Have overcome their fear of speaking in public
  • Have valuable life experiences or knowledge they enjoy sharing with audiences
  • Need help getting started in the professional speaking industry

Who is the Professional Speaker Startup Toolkit For?

If there are three levels in the professional speaking industry, (1 = Starter, 2 = Pro, 3 = Veteran), this manual will best serve those on level 1. Its aim is to provide you with a step by step process for packaging yourself and your message.

It will serve those who have a desire to monetize their speaking opportunities, but might not have the credentials or sales experience to earn themselves a piece of the speaking industry pie. This guide was kept short to keep it simple and non-intimidating. It is my experience that big manuals seldom get opened in this age of ADD, ADHD, and overbearing noise.

What Does the Tookit Contain?

The toolkit contains a series of explained steps with action exercises. You can complete all the exercises within an hour or two. That is a small investment of your time considering the potential rewards. Repeat the process periodically or when you want to market to new niches.

You can get a copy of the toolkit for only $5 on Here is the link:

Professional Speaker Startup Kit

Get a copy here:


7 Action Steps to Grow Your Speaking Business in 2015

public speaking business

2015 is just around the corner. By this time of the year, most corporations have already set their budgets for the new year and scheduled their meetings, conferences and events. One of my passions is speaking and I have been progressively learning how to get rewarded financially for sharing valuable information and knowledge to audiences, as a professional speaker.

If you are involved in the speaking business or want to get involved but need some guidance, you will get from this article seven action steps you can take to start or make your business grow next year.

  • Review or Revamp Your Personal Brand

Seth Godin defined branding best as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” You already have a personal brand. To keep it simple, your action step here is to take a 3 x 5 card and write down 3 keywords that you want to be associated with you when clients and prospects refer to you.

There is no right or wrong here. Brands that sell are brands that are authentic and stay true to themselves. Take any professional speaker you know or have heard of. Chances are the 3 keywords you will mention when speaking about them would be very close to how they intentionally decided to be perceived.


Action Step 1: Write your 3 personal brand keywords, and remain aware of them when you interact with clients and prospects.

  • Schedule and Host Your Own Seminars and Workshops

Staying ahead of your game requires attending training programs in the form of seminars and workshops, among other things. Like Brendon Buchard explains, speaking is only one aspect of a speaking business. My friend Michael Brandt of has a meetup group and as part of his Social Media Marketing business, he host regular seminars and workshops during which he offers valuable information to attendees. He has generated a lot of business for himself through hosting his own workshops.

You can host your own seminars or workshops at local libraries or schools at virtually no cost to you. Plus, you get to promote your event at those venue where you will host your programs.


Action Step 2: Set dates for at least two of your own seminars or workshops to be hosted next year. You can even decide to make it a conference and invite other speakers to draw from their networks.

  • Attend 2 Paid Seminars or Workshops

You can attend as many free workshops or seminars as you can, but usually when you pay for them you get more value out of the experience. Attend one in your subject of expertise, and one in the area of speaker training or seminar hosting for speakers. There are lots of professional speakers who host their own speaker training workshops. For example: Big Money Speaker Bootcamp, Hell Yeah! Star, Sean Stevenson 10k Speaker Training.

In addition to providing you with great value, programs you pay to attend usually give you VIP treatment and golden networking opportunities. If possible for your annual budget, why not even consider attending a TED conference.


Action Step 3: Search for and signup for two paid seminars or workshops in 2014.

  • Create a Social Media Strategy

Oxford Dictionaries define strategy as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” Facebook as the leading social media networking site has 1.4 billion users worldwide. It is one of the cheapest forms of outreach available on the Internet, when used properly. As you work on growing your speaking business in 2015, you cannot afford to ignore social media sites.

However, you do not have to have a presence on ALL social media sites, just focus on two or three depending on your subject of expertise. I recommend to people to choose Facebook and Twitter, and focus all efforts there. Also have a blog with your own domain name. You can get a free blog setup and ready for your posts in a few minutes at With a few dozen dollars a year, you get your own domain name and a no ads. Typepad (used by Seth Godin mentioned above) is also a good option for creating a blog.

Your social media strategy must include the following 3 elements? What two or three platforms will you focus? What type of content will you publish and at what frequency? Ultimately, social media can help you position yourself as an expert and grow a fan and followers base. Two questions you must ask yourself before publishing on social media are these: 1) How is this post relevant to my audience? 2) Is this post valuable to my audience?


Action Step 4: Create a weekly calendar for your social media strategy execution. 

  • Create New Signature Speeches

Speakers usually tend to speak on a lot of different subjects within their area of expertise. As you grow as a speaker and refine your skills and message, you want to create a new signature speeches. A signature speech is between 20 minutes to 90 minutes long and is usually very focused and rehearsed. Your new signature speeches should ideally focus on processes, so that you can find ways to make them relevant and customized for different industries or groups.

For example, if you are positioned as an expert on Relationships, you can have a signature speech that addresses: “Dealing with Difficult People.” The process that it takes to successfully deal with difficult people might be the same process leaders can use to incite people to change, thus you might be able to develop a new signature speech that addresses: “Leading Those Who Don’t Want to Follow.”


Action Step 5: Look at the signatures speeches you already have and use them to create a few more signature speeches.

  • Create a Content Creation Strategy

Gary Vaynerchuck of Vaynerchuk Media says in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook that “Content is king and context is god.” Throughout 2015, how many books, eBooks, audio CD, Video CD with your original content or curated content will you produce. If you don’t have an audience and you don’t know what you can do to create one that you eventually market and sell to, start by focusing on creating quality content.

William Lee was able to start and is building a successful speaking business based on his first book which he completed in only 4 months. You can read a transcript of my interview with William Lee here:

If you only write 200 words every day, in 60 days you will end up with 12,000 words of content you can package into any form, and distribute to your audience. If you face a lot of resistance when it is time to create content, I recommend the book: “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.


Action Step 6: Commit to a daily or weekly content creation activity. You might decide to go with audio (podcasts), video (youtube), or text (blogging.) Map it out on a calendar.

  • Get a New Website or Revamp Your Existing Website

There is no valid reason for someone not to have a basic website today. If you don’t have a website because you either don’t have money or time to invest in one, get a free web page here: and customize it with your own picture and information about you and your area of expertise. You can get 250 free business cards from with your website address. If you already have a website, get feedback on it from other speakers to make sure it is serving your interests more than otherwise. A bad looking website can turn away prospective buyers from you.

Your website should 1) Be at the center of your content creation strategy, 2) Provide you with email capture forms to build your list of followers. 3) Serve as the center of your content distribution hub.


Action Step 7: Contact a media agency and find out what it takes to get yourself a good or improved website. Then give yourself a deadline to make it happen.

What other action steps can you add to the list from your personal experience?

How to market yourself as a professional speaker – lessons from Sheryl Roush

speak and market like a pro logo
Speak and Market Like a Pro logo

Do you sometimes feel like you must be paid for giving valuable advice and sharing your experiences through public speaking? Or maybe you already get paid for speaking, either as a speaking professional or as a professional speaker and wants fresh ideas that will help you increase your current fees? The Orange County Speakers Bureau is one of a group of professional and aspiring professional speakers who meet once a month to help one another improve their skills and share experiences. The March monthly meeting was a special event. The bureau hosted Sheryl Roush for a two hour educational session on Speaking and Marketing Like a Pro.

Sheryl was worth every single minute of my time spent at the workshop. I learned new things that will help me position myself better in the professional speaking arena. The objective of this post is to share my notes from the evening. This information is relevant for both professional speakers and public speakers who want to improve their skills and make (more) money speaking.

Here is the essence of what Sheryl delivered:

  1. Use different but professional and purposeful photos for your marketing material, including website and flyers.
  2. Always tell the audience who you are and how you relate to them.
  3. Thing big. Develop the mindset of someone who can and will speak to thousands of people, sharing your message.
  4. People want to take you home with them. Always provide audience members with a way for them to take you home. You can do that through books, CD’s, DVD’s, handouts, promotional flyers, and the like.
  5. Be driven by service to your audience, not money. Think specifically on how you serve the needs of your audience with your message.
  6. Conduct a self-assessment or self-evaluation (possibly with a coach or another professional) to uncover skills you have that might help you enhance the delivery of your message.
  7. Always focus on delivering a specific message to your audience.
  8. Take time to learn new skills and new things, but also take time to practice and apply what you learned.
  9. Protect your original and authentic ideas and materials with trademarking and copyrighting.
  10. Don’t write a speech, brainstorm a message.
  11. Work on your speech delivery backward. Start with the end and work backwards from there.
  12. Network effectively and you will be able to learn how to command higher fees.
  13. When you don’t have to, don’t memorize a script. Even if you do, don’t be scripted.
  14. Have a conversation with your audience members. Engage them and allow them to engage you.
  15. End the presentation where you began. Complete a full circle.
  16. Don’t name your speech. The message will reveal what it wants to be called.
  17. Record yourself every time and listen to yourself speak. Most people sound different when they speak and they don’t know.
  18. Be who you are, your authentic self, on and off the stage.
  19. Remember that your audience wants to play with you.
  20. You must develop the right mindset as you work on developing the skill set.
  21. Everything about communication is RESPECT.
  22. Meet your audience members where they are. Use their language and terminology.
  23. Seek first to understand before being understood. If you were in your audience member’s sits, what would you have wanted to hear?
  24. Tailor your presentations for the specific group you will address as much as you can.
  25. Always exceed expectations.
  26. Your marketing material needs to look as good as you want to be.
  27. When designing a flyer, your message should be so compelling that your prospect has no objection to calling you.
  28. On your marketing material ask questions that name the pain of your prospects.
  29. Don’t speak just to hear yourself talk. Always remember to speak to deliver a compelling message.
  30. Evolve. Everything about marketing is an evolution. You might have to re-package your brand a few times in your speaking career. That’s a good thing when done right.
  31. If you have a website, your one-sheet must be downloadable from the home page.

If you live in Orange County or Southern California and want to learn from a veteran of professional speaking, Sheryl has a few workshops coming up. Visit her website for her calendar and event schedule: As I always tell audiences I speak to, the different maker between achievers and non-achievers, top performers and average performers, is action. Let me go start implement what I learn.

Before you act on the information above, which one of the nuggets is your favorite and how do you relate to it?

Top 10 professional speakers to share the stage with

As I continue working on myself to become an award winning professional speaking to the rank of Patricia Fripp and Les Brown, there is a list I have developed of the top 10 speakers I will share the stage with throughout my career. big-stage-speaker

This list is posted here for reference and will give you an opportunity to check out the credentials and accomplishments of these refined and accomplished speakers. Looking up to them and using them as role models can server you well, as well as it serves me (if not more.) That is provided you are also interested in professional speaking. Otherwise, these individuals have built tremendously successful businesses around their honed skills. That is something we can all learn from.

Here goes the list:

The list is in no particular order. All the people in the list above have made various contributions to my life in different ways. And because it is possible that dreams come true like every single one of them will attest to, my dream of being on stage with each one of them will come true.

Is there someone or are there some people in your industry you are interested in working with?