Question Time with Maria Franzoni and James Taylor – #146

Question Time with Maria Franzoni and James Taylor

Question Time with Maria Franzoni and James Taylor

Today we’re going to change things normally on this show, we have a different guest every week, and we talk about the speaking business industry, the world thing. But today, we thought we’d do a different, we’re going to answer a whole bunch of questions that you’ve kindly many of you kindly sent us in. We’d love any more questions that you’d want to send us. And it could be anything related to speaking, it could be about the marketing, the obviously the business side, the selling side was riads, absolute genius on could be on the craft of speaking, it could be on how to build a profitable speaking business. Anything you’re interested in, leave those questions in the comment section. And we’ll answer some of those. But I know we’ve already got a whole bunch of them, Maria, because you kind of emailed out to your list, asked for some questions together started this week

Question Time with Maria Franzoni and James Taylor


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

Maria Franzoni 0:59
Actually, we didn’t even do that. We just put a couple of posts up on social media. And we’ve got a lot actually some quite good questions here. Very tough ones, we’re gonna have to do some work. Are you ready to get cracking?

James Taylor 1:11
Let’s get started.

Maria Franzoni 1:12
Let’s get started. So the first question, I’ll put it to you first, we’re both gonna answer the question. So what is the best way to find out what the speaking market most needs in a particular topic area? Such a good question.

Particular Topic Area

James Taylor 1:28
Yeah, this is this is a big one. And it really relates to product market fit, how to find out in the speaking market, what your in your particular topic, or that topic is that the market is really looking for. So there’s a number of ways that you could do this. The first one is warn any of the speaker bureaus, websites and look at the topics, the trending topics, many of them will have that listed right there. So just now for example, we’re seeing a lot of things around Metaverse, a lot of things around collaboration, a lot of things around customer experience. So you know, those are the things that people are looking for. And then I think a lot of the the art is in thinking about if you’re speaking on a particular topic area, how could your talk relate to some of these areas? So even if you’re not a Metaverse expert, there’s obviously some, there’s a lot of interest. And that’s kind of hot topic. So can you think about maybe having a version of your speech that relates to that big topic. So that’s the first thing I do go on to the bureau websites, have a look at what’s trending, and then read out to any of the bureaus because they’re speaking day in and day out to people, they’re seeing exactly what they’re looking for the different topics that are really hot just now.

Maria Franzoni 2:37
Brilliant, I’d like to extend on that with regards to the speaker bureaus, because then so if you’re trying to find out what is going on in speaker market, and what speakers need to be focusing on in terms of a particular topic area, a great way to find out is to actually sign up to the newsletter, the bureau newsletter, because they will often tell you a lot more in a newsletter, and it will be quite specific. So sign up several newsletters, where bureaus are representing speakers in your area. The other thing is ask prospects us, you know, ask your prospects, ask your clients, that’s the best source to find out, you know, what, what are you thinking about? So for you creativity, what are the challenges you’re facing at the moment with regards to creativity? What are the areas that you most want to focus on? Well, let get them to give you the language is really useful. Social media, of course, is another great place, follow your competitors, see what they’re saying what they’re talking about, you have to know who they are first, of course, and look at what your clients and prospects of reading, read the same magazines, read the same articles, read go to the same sources. And I think we’ve even got a comment here. We’ve got a comment here, or we’ve got another question. We’ll come back to that one, then. Brilliant. So yes, so lots of different ways.

James Taylor 3:53
That’s great. And also, I think it’s interesting what you said there, Maria was read, you know, if you’re reading broadly, I tend to find there’s certain publications, I read that I know that the C suite or the VP level and organizations are reading anatra times, it could be the economist, you know, people who are the main decision makers on larger events. But then you can go a level and go for let’s say, certain HR publications, and get a little bit close to what’s happening on the ground on those because sometimes I feel a big pot takes a little while, like customer centricity takes a couple of years to filter down into the kind of frontline workers as well. So I think there’s, if you can read broadly up and down in different ways, I think you’re a really good indication of what’s going to be hot, maybe in six months or nine or nine months time.

Maria Franzoni 4:41
Okay, James, I’m sorry to do this to you. But your connection is really poor today. And I know you’re using your new Elon Musk satellite, and I’m sorry, Mr. Musk, but you keep dropping out. Is there any way you could connect to the normal?

James Taylor 4:54
Yeah, let me do this just now. Connect. Okay.

Maria Franzoni 4:57
And while you’re doing that, I

James Taylor 4:59
I will connect it to the other one now.

Speak About Change

Maria Franzoni 5:03
Your garlic. And we’ve had a question from Michael Radha, let me see if I can show this question. There you go. Wait. Gotcha. So good. So do you think speaking about change without delivering tools of change is right? That’s a nice question. So I think it very much depends on how you’re talking about change. Because I think there’s various different ways there are, there are speeches where you want to give tools so that people can walk away and take action. And there are speeches where you want people to think differently or feel differently about a topic. And sometimes if you wanting people to have a different way of thinking about change, you may you may be telling inspirational stories, giving example sharing case studies, and just having them think differently. So not necessarily providing a tool, it really depends what the objective of the client is, and what you’ve been brought in to do. So I think it’s not right or wrong. I think it depends on on what you’re trying to achieve. I don’t know if you agree on that. James.

James Taylor 6:06
Yeah, I mean, this idea, can you speak about change, but not deliver the tools of change? I think is a really interesting question. The first person that springs to mind actually was Sir Ken Robinson, he spoke about creativity. He didn’t really provide the tools how to do that. But he got everyone’s minds the most popular TED talk, I think. And it really changed what of mine. But I don’t think you have to provide the tools once again, as as Maria was saying, it really depends on the brief what the client is looking for. I’ll ask the client sometimes to give me a percentage. How much percentage do you want of big stories, inspiration ideas? How much your actionable tactical next steps is a 5050? Blend? Was it at 20 2080? That can give you a bit of an indication.

Maria Franzoni 6:50
Okay, and Michael’s got a follow-up point here. So I think I might have misunderstood the question. See, I was speaking about changes acting as Wake Up Calls. I’m not sure I understand the question.

James Taylor 7:01
If you’re willing to do it. Let’s get to the next question. So here’s one for you, Maria. This is from Abdi Omar, how do I go from speaking in schools to speaking to corporate audiences? What advice can you give me?

Speaking In Schools VS Speaking To Corporate Audiences

Maria Franzoni 7:16
Right? Okay, so from speaking in schools, the corporate audience is quite different. And I actually think the school audiences are probably tougher in many ways than the corporate audiences. But you do need to, you need to position yourself differently. And you need to ensure that your topic is relevant to your audience. So a school audience will probably have a different requirement in terms of the topic area than a corporate audience. So you probably need to reposition a bit, you probably also need to add video. Many schools don’t require you to have a video in order to get booked to speak. Because more often than not, they don’t have time, the principal, whoever’s booking hasn’t got the time to actually watch the video. But in the corporate world, video is really important. And it makes it easier to be up. So I suppose the first two tips would be make sure that you’re positioned correctly so that you’re relevant to that audience. And secondly, get some video.

James Taylor 8:12
Yeah, I would say on that transition from speaking to schools, speaking to corporate audiences, the kind of things that immediately come to mind. The first is, I think, with the corporate orientation more concerned with ROI of your presentation. So you have to get really clear, what is the benefit? Plan it? Can it be quantified in some way? How is it helping this client really get clear on what the outcomes are? For the I don’t think you had to do quite as strongly for it, perhaps for schools. The other thing I would say is, it has to be a fundable speech. And this is a phrase that David Averin the speaker told me, which is, it has to be something that you can imagine across the organization, someone is willing to put money into, you know, maybe significant sums of money into, but we haven’t talked about this multiple events over the course of a year. So that doesn’t work. So you have to sometimes like tweak, maybe a topic like resilience, you’re gonna have to change that you maybe want to talk about something like anti fragile, Talibs topic, which appears a little bit more corporate. So you have to change the language a little bit. And if you want, if someone’s watching this just now and you don’t already do any speaking in schools, I highly encourage you to do it. It’s a great, interesting audience to speak to, if you’re in the UK can check out their speakers for schools, which was started by a journalist called Robert Preston Peston and as a great program where they bring amazing speakers to speak for free in schools. It’s a great way of trying out material and seeing if your your material works for younger generations as well.

Maria Franzoni 9:41
And let me add if you’d like to get paid then go to school speakers, which is started by Claire young former apprentice candidate. So would you because you can get paid to speak at schools as well? How cool is that? Who knew right?

James Taylor 9:56
And also, I think in my understanding reason, you’ll know this better. A lot of the bigger bureaus in America, they actually have separate agents who focus on the schools and the college market. We don’t seem to have that really much in Europe, but it seems to be in America they actually have agents are really no those markets.

Maria Franzoni 10:11
Yes. And because the colleges especially, and the Ivy League ones, in particular, will pay very good fees for the right speakers. So you can actually do a tour of all of the colleges and make it quite interesting. If you could do that. Do it, America. Bye. Bye, college. That’s quite good fun, isn’t it? But okay. Let’s go on a few. They’re going to the next one. Let me ask I’m gonna ask you this one here. This is such a good question. What do you think makes the difference between an amazing speaker business and an average one and that came in? I’m not sure if I quote, but I think that was where Sarah Witten Thank you, Sarah.

Amazing Speaking Business

James Taylor 10:53
Thank you, Sarah. So what makes the difference between an amazing speaking business and an average one, I think we have to define for ourselves what that word amazing is, for a start, your version of a meeting may be completely different from my version, they’re amazing. Your version for amazing is maybe to give one speech a month. And that’s it. And that’s great. And speaking for my no huge amount for that other speakers might want to speak 10 times 12 times a week. And they’re willing to speak a little bit less, because they just want to get their message out there in different ways. I think we have to find what amazing. For me, what an amazing speaking business is, is a business speaking business, I call an all weather speaking business. That regardless of where the economy is, where the market is, your businesses continue to continually growing in some ways. So that sometimes means having components of your speaking business aren’t necessarily you getting up into a physical stage, and speaking. So it’s about having maybe multiple diverse source of revenue streams to your speaking business. The other thing I would say is to go for, and this is a personal decision, it’s not everyone’s going to be the same on this. Sometimes I think, to have a really amazing decision, speaking business, you need to have a team. Because otherwise it was just about you, you kind of hit a little bit, you’ll get to six figures, maybe seven figures, but you can’t really push much beyond that. So if finance money and profitability is a big thing that you’re looking for, then I think that’s going to involve other people are building very systems and having good people around you as well.

Maria Franzoni 12:30
James, you answered that brilliantly. I love that. The my exact same response when I’m thinking about the difference between an amazing speaking business, and an average one is begin with the end in mind, what is what is amazing for you, what does success look like, if you don’t have a target to aim for? You You’re a bit like that Monty Python race, you know, where the people with no sense of direction, you don’t know where you’re going. And you don’t know if you’ve made it and you don’t know, you don’t know if you’ve succeeded, right? So amazing means you, you know where you’re going, and you’re going to get there. And I think the difference between the speakers that really succeed, and those that perhaps don’t succeed, the ones that really succeed are totally and utterly in touch with their customers. And they know what’s going on, they stay ahead of the others by asking the right questions, keeping engaged, building those relationships, and remaining relevant, it’s very hard to have a long term speaking business, unless you are communicating regularly with your clients and finding out what’s going on in their world. So you stay relevant. So I suppose those will be a couple of things. But I mean, we could go into so much more detail couldn’t do with it. But it is again, with the end in mind, what does what is success? What is amazing in your business. And that’s

James Taylor 13:41
I and at the start of my speaking business I was a little bit arrogant is because it asked me a question like that, because I would assume amazing for them meant. So amazing for me is being able to get an opportunity to travel around the world, you know, share a message that you really care about, and going to really cool collectors and cool people. And then I started doing some coaching with other speakers. There’s one I remember there was one student had, who said, James, his amazing is that he doesn’t have to leave his young family. And he can basically stay where he lived. And he can build his entire speaking business, primarily virtually from home. And I thought that’s interesting, because and I think that that kind of changed my mind and got me to open up the potential of what what amazingly looks like.

Selection Criteria

Maria Franzoni 14:32
Fantastic. Another comment, we’ve got another comment. Michaels getting his money’s worth today. Well done, Michael, thank you for showing up and asking great questions. So I’ll pick this one up first, if that’s okay with you, James. So what are the selection criteria for selecting a new speaker for an agency? So having done this many times, let me give you what my selection criteria were. So first of all, when I’m looking for when I was looking for new speakers, and they needed to be relevant to me I client base. So it needed to be a topic that was relevant, or an area that was relevant and have the right caliber and standard. So they fitted in my roster, they filled a gap. And that might have been a gap that was in terms of a fee range, or it might have been a type of speaker that I didn’t have, or they might cover a language that I didn’t have. So they filled the gap. It was they had all their assets in place everything, you know, in order, so it was easy for me to sell them. So I mentioned video earlier, the video is important that you know got clear descriptions and headings for their topics. They’ve got a well written bio, they’ve got good photos, so everything that makes it easy for me to book them. And they’ve already got the experience on stage, they can hold their own onstage they deliver a great speech. So that’s some of it. You know, if they’re a bit quirky, a bit different, that’s always interesting, too. And if they’re coming with a following, that makes it great, too, because of course, these days everybody’s interested in your people having some kind of following on social media as well. Many of the clients actually ask for that these days, too. So James, what would you like to add?

James Taylor 16:07
Well, I don’t think I’m going to add, but I have a question for you as relates to that, Maria. So Michael, thank you for asking this about this selection criteria. In a previous life, if I was talking to an agent yesterday, but not he’s an entertainment agent, not our speaking agent. And he’s really growing as he’s actually looking to hire agents at the moment. And we were having this conversation about how he’s building his agency. And I’d be intrigued to hear from you, Maria, whether this applies. So we were talking about the Boston Consulting Group, I don’t remember the the stars, the cash carers, I can’t remember the other the other two. And he said he always wants to have in his roster. He wants to have a few cash cows, people who are really well known and you could just bankable, you could sell them day in day out, but they’re not really growing in any particular way. He wants to have a few stars, people that the smart magazines are writing about, everyone’s kind of talking about the doing cool stuff on Tik Tok. And then he wants to have some ones that he’s just going to work on really developing in very early stages that are not there. And they’re maybe not hitting the fee ranges that he wants. But he believes in them or he believes in their worth trying to create and he’s willing to invest that time. So he was telling me he said he was always trying to like how to get that mix rate to make it interesting for him and make it you know, strong for the for the Bureau. So you’ve got that, that kind of resilience, is that something that speaker bureaus do with the agents are they looking to have that kind of mix as well, or basically just primarily looking at cash, cows and stars,

Maria Franzoni 17:40
it varies dramatically, you can’t and it’s not black and white, I can’t say that every Bureau is exactly the same. So some bureaus will be interested in developing new talent and working with them because they have a setup for that. Others won’t, they won’t want to take people who are starting out and beginning. So you have to do your research before you apply to Bureau and you have to see what it is that they’re looking at. And you can tell by looking at their roster, who’s on their website, how they work. But you most bureaus want to have a range of people, because if a client comes to you, and they say I want to speak on creativity, and you’re the perfect fit James, but they don’t have the budget, I’m not going to ask you to reduce your fee, or I wouldn’t in the past, because I don’t do this anymore. But I wouldn’t have done that, what you would do is you would have a sort of a mini James and you might even have another James. So you’d have sort of different levels of people who can deliver a similar topic and deliver a similar outcome. So you do need to have a range. And the bigger the Bureau, the more people they’ll have on their roster, and there’s some jurors with 1000s of people on their roster.

James Taylor 18:44
Well, this is interesting, because you and I are both fans of a book, The One Thing Jay Papasan and Gary Keller. And I’ve noticed the way that they’ve built the speaking part keynoting part of their business is they have Jay who’s the main speaker, but they also have like five or six other speakers who give almost very similar kind of speeches, same topic, and are on different bureaus. And I thought that’s interesting. So that’s a way of really spreading your message, not making about the individual but making it about the message being more important. So I am wondering whether I should maybe I should be going creating some mini me’s.

Maria Franzoni 19:20
I think that could be a good strategy. It depends what your strategy is, in your business. Every business has a different strategy, of course. But I think that’s not a bad idea, James to have a mini you because you’ve got you know, the content is is valuable. So yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

James Taylor 19:36
We know that works really well in training trainer trainers has been Yeah, yeah.

Maria Franzoni 19:40
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m going to skip one and I’ll come back to that other one afterwards. So what are you seeing with regards to fees for in person versus virtual or virtual feast or lower than in person? And if so, what sort of difference is there? What are you seeing James for your in person and your virtual fee? is,

Fees: Virtual VS In-person

James Taylor 20:00
yeah, in person versus virtual fees, it felt roughly the virtual fees were about 75% of what in person fees were very broadly. However, I think that’s starting to change now, because I’m having a lot of conversations with speakers who are now having to look opportunity costs. So if the if they go and give that in person speech, that means they can’t do two or three virtual. So they’re having to take into consideration now. So I’m thinking what amongst a good virtual, because the fees will actually probably get closer to parity. And also the sometimes it’s doing hybrid now, or you’re maybe going into green screen studio, or you’re doing hologram is basically the same if not more than in person. So I think is a difficult one, I think it’s not quite, we’ve not kind of reached an equilibrium of things that’s going to be different for different speakers. I know some speakers are completely moving away from a person and just viewing virtual, I know other speakers who hate doing virtual, and they’re making their virtual fees twice what their in person fees are. So that I don’t miss and particularly right and wrong, but I am seeing probably very broadly 75% is of your in person fee is what the virtual is coming in at.

Maria Franzoni 21:12
Yeah, and actually, I was gonna say 80% Is what I’m seeing. So we’re very similar there. And the challenge at the moment with virtual and in person is exactly what you said is that if you accept an in person event, you could potentially be turning down two or three. Because what happens with the in person the lead time is longer. So you’ll get booked, you’ll have nothing in the diary in three months time potentially. And you’ll put in that date, and you’ll accept the in person and then the virtual comes in last minute. You’re smiling because you’ve had this and suddenly you get three virtuals for the same day only thinking I could do those three and yet. And that’s that’s challenge isn’t it? That’s going to be a bit of a problem.

James Taylor 21:50
I’m James Taylor, keynote speaker, and speaker business coach and this is the SpeakersU podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations that will help you launch and grow your speaking business fast and you thought possible, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss marketing strategy, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode as well as free speaker business training at This week’s episode is sponsored by SpeakersU the online community for international speakers, speakers, you helped you launch grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then SpeakersU will teach you how just go to to access their free speaker business training.

Going back to their previous question, what is amazing mean for you? If amazing means for you to reach new audiences to do new different things. You might take that inquiry that start booking virtual or in person, there’s less and be willing to forego other things because there’s an audience you really want to reach. So it once again, it goes back to you there’s no right or wrong answer. This goes back to what your strategy, what are your objectives, what your goals are as a speaker? Fantastic, brilliant, excellent. Let me ask you this one, this is this is going to be a common one. For this one. Do I need to have a speaker website? Or

Speaker Website

Maria Franzoni 23:14
now? Well, it depends James, it depends. So if you are getting booked, and you businesses coming from referrals coming from the fact that you’re out on stage, and people are seeing you, you probably don’t. However, if you’re starting out, and you’re reaching out, and you’re prospecting people are going to Google you and investigate you. And if you’ve got a website, you’ve got a chance to put out what you want to put out about yourself and represent yourself and your brand in your own way. Personally, I think you should have a website, even if it’s just a one page so that when people come to look for you, they find something I think it gives you more credibility. But you don’t necessarily need one. You don’t necessarily need to invest in one. So what are your thoughts on that?

James Taylor 24:02
Yeah, I think I think you’re absolutely right. I think whether you have or don’t have a website is where you are and also your you may have got a huge following on Tik Tok or YouTube and that’s kind of almost like your website miss your place. I would say like, for example, like a speaker like Molly bloom, it was a Americans video. She was made famous in a movie about poker playing. But she’s a very in demand speaker, but I don’t think she actually has a website because she works primarily through Bureau channels. So if I say search, Molly blue, probably the top three were will be Bureau big speak executive speakers, maybe some of the I see we have rat rally here from Chartwell, maybe Chartwells website LSB. And I think as maybe a Saturday because you primarily wants to go to the bureau channel. So you don’t have to, I would say if you’re a thought leader, you do need to have some way of getting your your message to all He says that doesn’t involve you going on stages. And that could be as something as being a featured writer on on on medium or Forbes or somewhere else. But for me, personally, I’m old fashioned, I like to build my own platform. I consider all these other places, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere else is rented space rented grant, I don’t own those, they can change the rules, they might not like saying something I say, and they can remove me. So I always like having the core everything I’d use on the main site, but then spending most of my time on all these various nodes that are out there.

Gets So Much Business

Maria Franzoni 25:34
Absolutely brilliant answer. Love that. Thank you so much. So here’s a question. We keep talking about him. We tend to meal all the time, because because he’s doing so well. And here’s the question, what does Jamil Quereshi should do? That he gets so much business? So let me answer that, from my experience working with him when I was running my bureau and why we booked him so often. And then I’m sure you’ll have something that you can add James because you know, Jamil as well. So for me, the reason that Jamil got booked so often is first of all, he is incredibly responsive. So when you’re working as a booker, you want to speak as it’s responsive. And in fact, he was so responsive, he actually shared his diary with me. So he made it super easy. So if I wanted to talk to a client about him, because he was a good fit, I could actually check the diary and say, I know he’s available, which means I can move forward so much faster. So that was one thing. And the other thing is, he’s an absolute safe pair of hands. And that’s so important for Booker’s for bureaus, and for clients to know that when you book someone, you’re going to get a good result a great result. And in fact, he’s, uh, he should increase his fees. I keep telling him we have done it, but we should do it more. So that way, people screaming at me bureau. But because, and the reason he doesn’t, I think, is because when he speaks, the client thinks, Wow, we got a bargain. We got a bargain. And that’s the other reason he gets booked a lot, because he’s a bargain in terms of what he delivers. So those are some of the things I don’t know what what experience or what your view might be,

James Taylor 27:08
or I’m not sure whose question this is, but I actually asked Jamil a very similar question to this yesterday, I will have a phone conversation yesterday. And I said, like, you know, he’s working nonstop, is super in demand is probably the obviously he’s probably the top earning of the UK speakers, UK based speakers, there’s not a celebrity as well. And he kind of talked around the different things and he’s obviously he’s very, he’s kind of got that British understatement as well. But my perspective, I’m just kind of seeing him and having conversation with him. The reason that Jamil Qureshi gets booked so much is because he has clients that he delivers for, who then want to book him again. So it’s a turn business. And he’s not a speaker that has a leaky bucket, you know, people with some more, but Kim, he’s also very smart in terms of how he delivers information, that he will go on stage, and he’ll talk about these 10 things to talk on on this particular topic. But today, I’m just gonna talk about these two things that relate to the two of these 10 things. So then it means he’s open to be able to do maybe further up work to focus on those other ones as well. So it’s kind of quite smart, you’re, you’re helping the client base a little bit as well and showing you have some depths of thought leadership. So getting the bookings or what I think is a really key one. And also, you know, it’s the Warren Buffett thing, do business with people that you like working with, and Gmail was fun to work with. I’ve given full stop to Gmail, Gmail has given work to me and it’s just nice. Some people are like that they’re just enjoyable to work with. There’s a no stress, there’s no hassle, there’s no drama, no dramatics. It’s so I think that that stands for a lot in the music industry. We have a phrase for it, we call it hang chops. He’s got Tang chops, which basically means if you’re on a tour bus for nine months in a band, and if you’re bringing a new member into the band, you want to have someone with a good hang chops they’re a good hang good to hang out with they’re not a pain and that you’re gonna have to look at their face for next nine months on the other side of that table in Durban bus. So you want someone who is just you know, you enjoy being with and I think Jimmy will also takes that and so for clients, he’s got good hang shops is great to hang with and after the event for the event when you want to spend time and the fact you can get and come speak to your audience is amazing.

Maria Franzoni 29:32
You mentioned leaky bucket which is actually Jamil is phrase you use that you have to explain it because you didn’t explain it would you explain what you mean by leaky bucket?

James Taylor 29:44
So when we talk about the sea, a sales funnel or a sales process, most people focus on how to fill the fill the top basically things are bucket. You fill the funnel and the funnel comes from suspects inquiries leads you fill the top Potential inquiries you can get. And of those that say 100 inquiries, you’ll come down to maybe one or two that ends up confirming and gets booked. But what a lot of people do is they put all their attention into the top by getting new inquiries, new leads. And they put none of their effort into thinking, how can I retain those clients whom I’ve just booked with, and get them to book me for more. So for example, last year, I worked with one client on over 2021 events, one client, so you just have to deliver once really well. And if that client trust you, and it works, you’re speaking in such a way that you can cover some different areas, then you’ve you’re making your bucket less, less, less likely to go out. So you don’t have to continually focus on trying to fill the top of the bucket, you’re spending a little bit more time further down the bucket. And just plugging those holes like how can I get that person not just what we want, but we time and time again. That’s me. Probably not a very good explanation. But that’s my kind of take on leaky bucket.

Maria Franzoni 31:01
Yeah, you don’t want to lose leads, you don’t want to lose, but you don’t want to lose anything you need to capture all the information. And yes, absolutely. So let’s move on. Because we’ve got still got questions here. So here is how long should a show will be? And what should it contain or not contain? What would you say James, what your thought.


James Taylor 31:17
So I have three types of show reels that I can consider. One is I call it a sizzle reel. Usually it’s less than a minute. And it’s the idea that you sell the sizzle, not the steak. So you just want to get people’s taste buds going, Oh, this is interesting, tell me more. Very short is for our short attention spans that we have now to kind of move you on, then I think you have a slightly longer one, maybe three to five minutes, which is kind of talking about the range of things you do the kind of clients you work with how you improve our clients lives and their businesses in some way. And that can shows you maybe on some things on stages, maybe little clips, but shorter clips. And then I think you want to have a number of the full, you know you onstage for an hour of 45 minutes. So clients can really see how you work for those that have an actual full speech. So they see that that you connect with that audience, and work there. So I can think of these sizzle reel, show reel. And then full video is going the way I think of it.

Maria Franzoni 32:19
It’s interesting that you talk about the steak. I talk about sausage, you say the sell the sizzle, not the steak. Obviously my budget is lower than yours. So

James Taylor 32:31
I’m vegan. So we’re gonna be a tofu steak here just to let everyone know as well. Like I think of anything lucky

Maria Franzoni 32:38
prefer. Okay, fantastic. So going back to my sausages. So for me, a show reel for me ideally, is a standalone video that tells me enough information or tells the booker enough information to be able to book you without looking at anything else. So the shorter you can do that the better try to keep it three minutes or under but that to me is the best kind of show reel. When I was a booker that I knew that if I sent the video, they had enough on there and so therefore it would include certainly clips of speaking. I’ve actually been sent shows in the past where there’s no speaking where there’s people on stages, and they’ve just got music, that’s no good. I need to hear your voice. So I have to hear your voice. And I have to hear something unique. So when I was a book I wanted to hear something unique I don’t want to hear anything generic so should contain something that’s really your content so that it stands out. And I need to be clear when I finished watching that video, I need to know who you are what you talk about that you talk very well and ideally I’d like to have a third party endorsement in there some kind of testimonial as well just to help me to make a decision so that’s my view. And I quite like music as well underneath it but not too not too loud.

James Taylor 33:51
I don’t want to fighting with your voice so be careful with your music. So that’s my my show what about we hear this phrase sometimes Maria a bureau friendly show reel. What does that mean?

Maria Franzoni 34:02
Absolutely. So Bureau friendly show reel will not have your contact details on it. If you put your contact details on your video, what will happen is the bureau will probably cut the end of your video so it’ll stop more abruptly than maybe you’ve actually edited to do or they won’t use it you want to make it as easy as possible I always say speakers have two versions have one with your contact details and one without but then it depends where you’re using it if you’re using it on your on your website only and not sharing in any other way or on your YouTube pupil got to come there anyway so they know that it’s us so if in doubt leave out the contact details but if you want to put contact details on keep it super simple and have a version without any for the Bureau

James Taylor 34:46
or tell me what is what is the worst. You don’t have to be the person who is but what is the worst speaker show reel you have ever seen and why was it the worst?

Maria Franzoni 34:56
The worst one was the one that I saw that was Speak up, being followed around on different stages getting onto stage getting off a stage or beautiful made to music. And for me, it was a music video, it was not a show reel because I didn’t hear a voice. And that’s all it was. It just had the name. lots of lovely music moving different stages, seeing lots of people in the audience more music ended. That was it’s like none the wiser. none the wiser. Does the person even speak? I don’t know. So that was the worst one? Yeah, I’ve seen a few, a few bad ones. But you know, and it doesn’t have to be super expensive to get it right. Let’s move on James, because more questions here.

James Taylor 35:39
Do you have any tips to using LinkedIn to find prospects,

LinkedIn Tips

Maria Franzoni 35:46
loads of tips for LinkedIn, I think you’ll find that many of your decision makers and Booker’s are on LinkedIn. So let me give you a simple one. First of all, if you have are working with a new client, connect with them on LinkedIn, make sure you connect with everything. And what will probably happen when you work with that client is you’ll end up maybe having a briefing call. And there’ll be three other people who joined that call, connect with them on LinkedIn, make sure that you are connecting with as many people as you are dealing with as possible on LinkedIn, and potentially even the audience if you can, if it’s permitted, because the deeper you go into the business, the more opportunities for work, just as James said earlier that, you know, you’ve got 21 gigs from one client. I’m sure that wasn’t from speaking to just one person that was from going deeper into the organization, which you can do on LinkedIn, of course.

James Taylor 36:39
Yeah, I think the other thing is finding prospects and this is the danger with LinkedIn, it’s there’s so many people on it 99 point 99% of people will never book you to speak. They won’t, they will not be the buyer, the decision maker on that. So for me, I am I’ve got the lazy School of LinkedIn, prospecting. And basically, I go to all of speakers, and agents, and I connect it people don’t really connect with people in certain positions. They’re using them because these people I know have a high probability that they’ll have already booked a speaker. So they’ve got budget, and they booked speakers. And then the other thing I’ll do if you really want to get stalky on it, is gonna look at all the testimonials of any speakers you can look at. I don’t mind if you look at my good to mine and look at the testimonials. And look at those people and then find those people on LinkedIn. But because you know that they’ve gone on the speaker’s website, do the same thing. I’ve got testimonials. Joe Bloggs, excellent VP of Ford, find Joe Bloggs and VP Ford, if it relates obviously to your topic and your similar kind of speaker, then you can go and do that. So I use LinkedIn for the bucket further down the funnel, the sales funnel, because I just don’t have the people on the teams and time to go a little bit kind of further up to go and reach out to people who, frankly never gonna book a book a speaker.

Maria Franzoni 38:06
I’m so glad you said that it was okay for people to go and look at your profile. Because what you don’t know is that when we do our practical prospecting day, I use you as a great example.

James Taylor 38:17
So we still call a stock away. We still keep James

Maria Franzoni 38:21
Thank goodness. Okay, so let’s move on to the next one. And we have should I speak for free to get my speaking business started? What are your thoughts?

Speak For Free

James Taylor 38:32
To get your speaking business started? I would say to get your speaking craft started. Yes. Speaking business, a business not a business unless there’s money involved, frankly, you know, it’s otherwise as a nonprofit. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So I would say speaking for free at the start absolutely in terms of learning your craft and developing your speech. And I did loads of rotary clubs and things like that right at the very beginning, just to see what worked with audiences and to try out different things and schools. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Once you’ve actually started your business and starting to speak, I think you have to make a bit of a decision. I think you can waive your fee, as opposed to speaking free, sort of slightly different things. So I don’t speak for free, but I’ll waive my fee. For certain things. I have a number of causes, charities that I thought I’ll happily do stuff for them and waive my fee, because the things I support. Likewise, if there’s something that I’m potentially going to get from that engagement, that is not a straightforward monetary situation, then I might waive my fee for that as well. Because I’m not really a sell from the stage speaker is less applicable to me, but I know lots of speakers who sell from the stage virtual or in person who primarily will speak for free or where they have access to the databases of the people that are attending and to be able to make some kind of off as well. So that’s another way you would use to be I don’t as a business model on its own, it’s a particularly good idea. I cat like cat food, with like, thumbs up, thumbs up, and stuff like that. So for my cat, so it doesn’t really work as a long term prospect. But I think if you want to waive your fee for certain things, I think it’s fine. And also, I think it can be get comfortable in saying no, to it as well. And if you want, give a reason why you’re saying no. And you can be nice in how you do it, you don’t have to be nasty how you do it. But if a venue of a promoters is spending $10,000 on their AV team, you have to ask why they’re not paying the speakers, for example. So just my take.

Maria Franzoni 40:42
This is one that this topic of, you know, should I speak for free gets quite a lot of response from people they get, get very passionate about it. And I think you’re so right, you have to speak for free to develop your craft, I don’t think it’s fair to charge while you’re still learning. As long as you’re giving value, then absolutely okay, but you probably wouldn’t charge your full fee until you are at a certain level, I think there are times where you work where you will speak for free. And I do encourage speakers to have a reason why they might it might be for marketing purposes, because that audience is going to potentially give them some further bookings down the line. But if you do that, I agree with you, James, you waive your fees. So you send an invoice and a credit note. So this is my fee. But here’s a credit note, and this is why I’m doing it because this is what you’re going to give you back and you still treat it as a proper booking. And so there are times when you would and once your business has started, I think there are certain clients where you will still speak for free and you might do a certain number per year, because you probably don’t want to charge charities, you probably don’t want to charge certain organizations. And you might allocate a certain number of dates a year where you will speak for free. And once those are full, they then go on the waiting list for the following year. But certainly I think there are times when you should. So let’s see

James Taylor 41:59
on that just a quick and I can’t remember if it was you know, it was I think we do another Bureau and I spoke to was she received a lot of pirates around International Women’s Day. And these come from a lot of clients for people and banks and big clients who were looking for speakers, women’s speakers to speak for free for International Women’s Day. And she’s now made appointing absolutely no. And I think they’ve been extremely cheeky there as well. I think it’s quite nice. I have actually a script that I’ve got for my team and I if we get those types of inquiries, and it’s not fit, then we have a script and nice way of seeing it. Something to watch out for and be very aware of this is a new speaker just getting started is not even those clients that want you to speak for free, but want you to pay to speak, be very, very cautious on that. And we can go into a different world there. But there are conference organizers, people that because they say we’re going to get in front of the right audience can be right exposure, there’s word that they use to certain types of audiences. And I would be very, very reticent about doing those.

Speaking Is Core Business

Maria Franzoni 43:09
Okay, you heard it here first, everybody that James has a script when he’s invited to speak for International Women’s Day that he’s going to do it. Okay. It’s what you said, Joe? So we’ve got it on tape, I might use that. So final question from Michael. Michael’s Done, done very well. Thank you, Michael, what is the share of your speakers for whom speaking is core business and income and the rest? Who do it only as a side business? So wow, I think you’re probably referring to when I had my bureau. And I’ve never done that analysis. But in many in many bureaus, a lot of the speakers are doing speaking as a side thing, a lot of them. So especially if they are economists or academics or in you know, business people who are still in a role, it’s a side thing for them. And it’s a very lucrative side thing, but they’re giving great value. And then in terms of speakers where it’s 100% speaking, it’s probably it’s probably a it’s actually probably a lower number in bureaus because you tend to find that many of the speakers who are 100% speaking, will be getting a lot of their business themselves, and then you’ve got the rare one that’s different. So Jamil is a different animal because he’s got a different business story. But it’s very, it’s difficult to put a number on it because every speaker is different. Every Bureau is different. So I don’t think I’ve answered that very well.

James Taylor 44:35
And I think it’s that it’s a hard one because there’s so many variables. The first person that came to mind, who many people would think of as a speaker because he’s an amazing speaker is phlegm Jones from the UK now lives in the states most of the time and fill it when I’ve had got interviewed Phil about this as well. So it’s on record. He talks about hit the keynote part the speaking part as being the cherry on cake. Not the cake, the cake is he’s going by train business Train the Trainer business is a great author, as well. So he puts the speaking there, but most people probably consider him a speaker as his main thing. But if you look at is totality of his income and how he spends his time, it’s actually a smaller part. But he has a full time thought leader, I guess, which is going to be different if you’re let’s say, someone like Marianne mazzucato is a wonderful economist, who’s you’ll make probably most of our money as a, as a consultant to national governments and being on boards and things. And speaking is really the, it’s just a kind of thing that she does in order to spread her message around her books as well. And that’s a very different type of business model. I think you’ll see a lot of those with bureaus that speaking isn’t the isn’t the main main

Maria Franzoni 45:44
thing. Yeah. And that’s why they use bureaus. And I should correct myself because Gmail, of course, still coaches does performance coaching. And he also does a lot of consultancy, so even not a full time. So, probably, if you’re speaking about bureaus, it probably is a side thing more than the main thing if we’re going to answer it properly. Right.

James Taylor 46:05
Thank you, Michael. Thank you for all your questions. Any great questions in here as well. And thanks everyone else, it makes me fantastic. Richard Abdi, Sara, and we’ll get rally here as well. We’ve had some wonderful questions. You can subscribe to the speakers you podcast on Spotify, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. Leave us a review. I really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor, and you’ve been listening to the speakers you podcast.