This is one of those confessional blog posts as more people continue to approach me about how to get into the speaking profession (and yes, it is a profession), how to gain speaking clients, build relationships with speakers bureaus, etc. So, for all of my aspiring friends, colleagues, and mentees, here are my top suggestions:

1. Expert First, Speaker Second – What’s your source of unique insights, independent perspective, thought leadership, provocative ideas that add value to those who read, watch, and listen to your expertise. Chicago Tribute just named Relationship Economics as a Top 10 Book for Corporate America:

2. Focus on the Outcome, Not Input – How are your clients better off because they work with you? Your methodology doesn’t matter. How you do what you do doesn’t matter! How is their situation improved, enhanced, or otherwise elevated – is the only question that matters!

3. Do what you love and love what you do – I deliver 50-60 global keynotes a year and it honestly doesn’t feel like work! Don’t misconstrue my comment: you have to hustle, travel extensively (for some reason you’re never a hero in your own home town!), sacrifice family time, do a ton of due diligence on a broad array of clients, industries, and relationships. But if your passion, fuels what you do for a living, it really doesn’t feel like work. Here is a synopsis of the HP Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago:

4. It’s a Relationship Business – Given two equally talented, professional speakers, the one who invests time, effort, and authenticity in a trusting relationship, while providing value, expertise, and a demonstrated vested interest in the client’s outcome, is the one will earn the client’s business.

5. Package, Market, Sell, and Deliver Your Brand Promise. Brands create market pull. Brands elevate you above the noise. When they believe you, you have established a brand promise. When they believe in you, you’ve delivered a brand equity.

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