How I’ve made thousands of dollars in a day + more on backend sales from public speaking at conferences and workshops. And how you can do it too. Public speaking tips & tricks from someone who has made basically every mistake you can on stage.
On this channel we talk about skills that can increase your earning power – public speaking is a really good one and is something I’ve been doing for money for about 5-6 years now. Everyone is scared to do it, which is why top speakers are rare and get paid very well.
The funny thing is, I really believe anyone can get good at public speaking if they get enough practice in – regardless if your introverted, not confident or get anxiety even thinking about it.
In this video I share how I go into public speaking, how you can get into public speaking, my public speaking tips, how to reduce public speaking anxiety and the financial benefits of public speaking.
My speaking page: https://raycorcoran.com.au/speaking/
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Good day there, Ray Corcoran here. In this week’s video, we’re going to be talking about public speaking and how you can develop the skill of public speaking so that you can get paid literally thousands of dollars in a day to do keynote speaking and things like paid workshops. I’ve been speaking for the last probably five or six years now for money. I’m not sure I’d call myself a professional speaker, but it’s something that I’ve been doing for a number of years and it’s been a tremendous asset and a great earning skill that I’ve had. And it’s a skill that I think is really, really versatile.
So it’s going to be useful for a number of different reasons, whether you have a business or whether you’re in a job. It’s something that’s hard to understand if you’ve never spoken on stage before or that makes you really nervous. But it’s one of those things that once you learn how to do it, it’s actually quite effortless to do. If you enjoy the video, please give it a like, it does help push it out to a lot more people. And if you’d like to consider subscribing, please do so. We do videos on making more money, investing money, and saving money.
So firstly, why would you consider doing speaking? Well, there’s a few different benefits of doing speaking. One would be that it’s a rare skill. So because everybody’s scared of speaking, if you become one of the few people that actually gets good at it, you can actually get paid disproportionately because there’s a very, very small number of people in every industry that can speak clearly and speak in an engaging fashion on stage in front of large groups. So if someone’s running a big conference, they want an organised, professional, entertaining speaker who knows their stuff. So if I can develop that, I can be very, very valuable to them and consequently, I can charge a lot for that.
It does take a bit of time to develop that skill, but that’s like anything. So it’s one of those things where, I didn’t have any real previous experience, I just did a whole bunch of speaking and now I’m much more comfortable with it to the point where someone could grab me right now and say, “Hey, there’s 2000 people waiting out there. Can you talk to them about X?” I wouldn’t be nervous doing that, whereas in the past, that would make me freak out. I would have a massive anxiety attack. So it is a skill that takes time to develop, but that’s true for anything.
The second benefit is that you can just get flat out paid for your speaking services. So they can hire you, they can pay you a few thousand dollars, you just get paid for your time. The third thing is, if you have a business, you can get clients out of it. So for me, I have a marketing agency and I’ve spoken at numerous conferences. The ideal situation is you get paid to speak and then you get clients off the back of that as well, which are worth typically far more than whatever your speaking fee was. So you can rock up, say the conference is on a Friday or a Tuesday or whatever it is, you can get paid a few grand on the day, and if you get three or four clients out of it that all pay you a few grand a month, there’s a huge earning potential. Like I said, it does take time to build up to that but that shows the kind of potential. I’m not Richard Branson or some famous speaker, it’s just a skill that I’ve practised.
Number four is it will raise your profile and help you get noticed. A lot of the time, the highest paid people in our community are not the best necessarily, they may be very good but they’re not the best, but they may be the most visible. So visibility is crucial. Whether you have a job or you have a business, your goal to be visible. You don’t want to be the best case secret in your industry. If you’re in a job, you’re going to be positioned for a promotion, people that speak or are comfortable speaking in front of large groups get noticed. It’s a core leadership trait as well, so that positions you nicely for bigger opportunities.
Number five, it’s a very versatile skill. So Because this is something that won’t go out of fashion in 10 years, being able to speak confidently in front of large groups is something that very few people can do well. But I believe that pretty much anyone can learn if they’re willing to do the practise to get there. And the best part is, it can serve you for your entire career. I was probably mid 20s-ish when I started learning how to speak and now it’s been several years later and every year, even the other week, I got asked to speak at a conference in Malta. And due to lockdown I can’t go anywhere, so that’s a bit devastating. But there’s lots of places overseas that I’ve been as a result of speaking. You get flown around to all different parts if you become an in demand speaker.
The six benefit is that it’s just fun. It’s a huge amount of fun going to different places, meeting different people, both the other speakers. You can build really, really good relationships with other key people in your industry. There’s also the attendees, you get to meet some amazing people in the crowd. After your talk, people will often come up to you and have a chat. Some will talk to you about hiring you or wanting to connect and some will just be interesting people that you get to have a great chat with.
So my first large-ish speaking gig was in front of about 200 people and it was actually by surprise. A company I was working with at the time was running an event and there was a few hundred people in the room and I was up the back and I was chatting to the MC of the event during a break. I had already expressed to them that I would like to start doing speaking and start practising . They said, “No worries.” So as soon as the break ended, he goes, “Do you want to speak right now?” I just said, “Yes.” I didn’t even think, I just said yes because I knew if I thought about it, I would get nervous. He goes, “All right, cool.” The guy grabs the mic and he goes, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a very, very special guests in the room. His name’s Ray Corcoran. He’s a massive expert on digital marketing.” He said all these things to pump me up. Then he goes, “We’re going to do a quick digital marketing Q&A because that’s my specialty and then he goes, “Round of applause for Ray.”
And literally, I had 30 seconds between him asking me and me being on the stage basically. It was probably better in hindsight because I didn’t have chance to build it up in my head as this big scary thing. I ended up having a blast. I had probably about a minute or two of nervous on stage first. And then after a while… One of the things about speaking is once you’re up there, it’s all live. So if you make any mistakes or whatever, you need to smooth it out as you go or correct yourself as you go, there’s no retakes or nice editing that can fix it. And since then I’ve done it probably about 150 to 200 plus talks since then, from small workshops up to large conferences. And it’s been an awesome experience. When I say it’s fun, it really is a lot of fun. It’s a massive rush as well, so if you like adrenaline rush, it is quite fun when you have hundreds and hundreds of people all staring at you. There’s very, very few things that are just as exciting as that.
So now I’m going to go over how do you actually go from a person that’s never done talking on stage to someone that gets paid for it quite handsomely. One of the things I would do is create a speaking page. So I’ll put a link to my speaking page on my website. If you want to model it, that’s fine, but try and adapt it to your style. That page is tailored to me and my personal style, so obviously adjust it to suit you. Basically what that page does is really show that I understand event organisers because ultimately the people hiring you are going to be business owners, conference managers, that sort of stuff.
And you need to show that you are not only a knowledgeable speaker, but an entertaining speaker, someone that’s organised, on time. And there’s lots of other things aside from being able to actually talk on a topic, you need to be actually entertaining. So there’s lots of people that are entertaining but don’t know their stuff, there are people that know this stuff but are boring to watch, there are people that are great speakers but very disorganised, which is an event managers worst nightmare and they wake up late or all sorts of stuff. So if you can conduct yourself like a professional and be a reliable, good speaker, you’ll always have work.
On my speaking page, I have a bunch of stuff why hire me, what topics I talk about, what you can expect when you hire me from start to finish. I also have just pictures of me speaking on stage so they can see that I actually do it regularly, I’m not just someone that’s starting out. And if you’re starting out, you won’t have those pictures, but eventually you just get those photos eventually over your first few gigs. Another thing I have is anonymous feedback scores. So some of the events have actually been able to get the anonymous feedback scores where people basically say the truth about what they thought about your talk. And sometimes it’s quite brutal, but it’s really a useful. As you start to get better and better, it shows that people do rate your talks and enjoy your talks.
My second tip is to speak at anything you can full freight as much as possible. The biggest tip about public speaking is practise. And that might seem cliche or whatever, but there is no shortcut or no book or video that will ever be able to do the practise for you. So it’s really important that your goal is as much stage time as possible. So that means speaking on the stage or speaking in front of groups. The more you do it, the more desensitised you will be to it, and the easier it gets.
So if you have any opportunity, I don’t know, at your work, someone’s like, “Can someone do this talk.” Or, “Is there anyone who want to put their hand up to do this?” You put your hand up and just be… I did that by default. And when I was trying to learn to speak, I would be actively hassling people to be like, “Hey, is there any chance I can speak at this event? Or can I do a short talk or a Q&A or be on the live panel? Anything.” I was scrounging for any kind of job I could get speaking because I knew the more practise I got, the better I’d get, and then eventually it would go from me hunting work to work coming to me because I’d built up a reputation and I had some runs on the board by that point.
My third tip’s a big one. So it’s just realising that speaking is not a big deal. If you’re someone that can talk from one person to another on the street or in person, you can speak on stage, that’s literally all you need. What I like to do is I like to minimise speaking in my head and that helped me deal with nerves to the point where nerves… I might get 10 seconds of nerves literally just before I go on stage.
Once I’m up there, I don’t care. I literally have no care in the world, I’m just there to do what I need to do. So many things going through your head and I like to think about it like, if I can talk on ground level, me going up five steps and talking there is not very different. If I can talk to one person, I can talk to 50 or 1,000 people, it doesn’t really matter. once you get over about 100 people, it just looks like a bunch of blur up the back anyway, so you can’t really tell. It could be 50,000 people, you still got to stand there and you still got to say what you need to say.
Another thing to remember is that people are there to learn from you. So if you’re speaking on stage, they want what you know. They don’t care about, oh, is your collar perfect or is your outfit right or do you look nervous anything like that, a lot of people don’t care. The only person that cares is usually you. When I’ve done speaking gigs, I always talk to people a lot about the two trains of thought you’ll have. You’ll have one is what I’m actually saying on stage and two is like a second track where it’s what I’m thinking about what I’m saying.
I’ll be talking about a topic, but in the back of my head, I’m like, “Did that sound stupid? Could I have been more succinct about that? Am I waffling about this topic?” This the second train of thought. What I’ve found is if you want to reduce your nerves and be a more effective speaker, you need to focus on the audience and the fact that they need your help right now. I create this story in my head that all these people are desperate for my advice right now and I really, really need to help them otherwise, they’re going to be screwed. And creating that story in my head helps me go out there like I’ve got a purpose and a job.
Number four is pick a topic and pick an audience. So you might aim to start off by doing one topic for one person. If you’ve got an area of expertise that you’re either amazing at or pretty good at, that can be your topic and you’re doing that to service-based business owners. Or you could be doing that to people in your industry at a conference, if you have a 9:00 to 5:00. The reason why picking a topic or only a couple of core topics is important is for efficiency. Because a lot of people say that you got paid several thousand dollars in a day and they go, “Well, how good is that?” But the truth is not as good. Ultimately, you got to have to pay tax on that. And ultimately you have to spend many, many hours, it’s not just walking up and talking.
You might talk for an hour, then you may spend 10 hours in creating the presentation, creating the slides to go with it, rehearsing that presentation, travel to and from the event. You have to get to the event a little bit early. You probably have to stick around off the event as well to talk and network with delegates. So there’s so many different parts and pieces to it that even if you get paid 5,000 bucks a day, which sounds great and we’re appreciative and we’ll take it, when you spread that out across maybe 15 or 20 hours, it’s not as good.
One way you can combat that and be more efficient is using the same talk over and over. A lot of the time you can do that without that being a problem because a lot of people want to learn the same stuff. What I found is a lot of people want to learn about the same topics. If you are an expert on say Facebook ads, they usually want to learn the same stuff. And what you can do is have the same core presentation and then you just tailor it slightly for that audience if needed. That way, you’re shortening the amount of hours you need to allocate to this presentation while still keeping the quality high for the people that have hired you.
And the final thing I’ll say is that it will really help develop your confidence because really speaking in front of people should not be a big deal. I think with social media and using all these devices, we’ve gotten less and less social and less comfortable talking in front of groups. I definitely didn’t naturally have the knack to speaking in front of people. But if you do it so many times, it’s hard not to learn the skill. So if you’re someone… And I consider myself a relatively introverted, but for me to speak in front of groups is not a big deal. Don’t worry about your background necessarily or what you’ve done in the past. I would recommend starting with little gigs and then work your way up to bigger and bigger things.
And just accept that there’s going to be a phase where you one, you’re going to be terrible and two, everything’s going to go wrong. So for me, I’ve had almost anything you could think of happen to me while I’ve been on stage. My mic has cut out in the middle of a crucial point, I’ve had hypostatic, which was nothing to do with me. I couldn’t walk to certain areas of the stage because it was too much static, so I had to stay on one weird end of the stage. I’ve tripped when I went to go on stage, which is the biggest nightmare of any speaker. And then you have to laugh it off. I’ve forgotten where I’ve been in my presentation numerous times, the projector died so I actually couldn’t see my slides and some of the things I actually didn’t plan on remembering because they were going to be up on the slides.
It’s pretty much anything I think all of that can go wrong will go wrong. They’re live events, this happens all the time. But after a while, you learn to roll with it and that’s the difference between an amateur and a professional speaker. Now I could go on stage, I could trip up, I could do all those things on the same day and we’ll just got to roll with it. We’re all human, everyone makes mistakes, everyone understands stuff goes wrong. And if you can be someone you can get on stage and speak regularly and not be phased by that, you’re going to be invaluable to the event organiser because you’re going to be someone they can just count on to perform no matter what happens.
So I hope you found that useful. If you enjoyed the video, please give a like. And if you’re thinking about doing public speaking, please let me know. If you ever have any questions about public speaking as well or you want to get into it or you got a big talk coming up, please feel free to give me a buzz on Instagram DM. If you want to ask about anything to do with that, happy to help you out. I’ll give you a J-up before you go up on stage. But yeah, that’s the video, hope you enjoyed it. And I’ll see you in the next video.