In this article we look at the life of a paid speaker. You get a glimpse into the real world experiences of a moderately successful speaker . . . and at the special pleasures routinely enjoyed by this breed. The writer has, for 25 years, lived this life.
1. Your Dream . . .
If you have dreamed of the speaker’s life, if you have seen yourself living the Public Speaking life, if you’ve fantasized about what it is like, you’ve come to the right place . . .
2. When You’ve Been There, You Know . . .
Because I have lived this life since September 1982. For the next few moments imagine you are me: Experience your first overseas speaking engagement. You are living in Santa Monica, California, USA, (as I was). You secure a gig in Sydney, Australia . . .
3. Picture You Living This Life . . .
Successful speakers live a charmed life. Picture you enjoying lots of travel, beautiful hotels, and some of this fantasy overseas. Occasionally you fly in First Class or Business Class. This costs you nothing because you soon discover how to upgrade to the front cabin where the air is better, the service is better and the food is better . . .
4. Your Upscale Hotel . . .
You sleep in upscale hotel rooms, often in 4 and 5 star hotels because that’s where top shelf meetings, conferences and conventions are staged. You quickly get used to white tablecloth dining rooms where you are seated by a liveried host. Extensive menus usually including rare regional choices you cannot get at home. You often sleep in a suite or demi-suite beautifully furnished with the best . . .
5. You May Dine with Top Brass . . .
You’re often invited to break bread with CEOs, Presidents, or Managing Directors because you are the expert from afar and they want to pick your brain. This occasionally leads to a multi-figure consulting contract for you . . .
6. Your Unforgettable Thrill: Your Platform High . . .
Plus this: Platform high! The incomparable thrill you feel in every quivering cell of your body when you are introduced, step on to the platform, and stand before hundreds or thousands of eager faces looking up at you . . .
7. You Board Your Flight . . .
You use your miles to upgrade to Business Class for this 14 hour flight. Your departure from LAX is scheduled for 10:30 PM. You check in and walk directly to the Business Class cabin . . .
8. Your Spacious Seat . . .
There, you settle into your wide and comfy seat. You are handed your amenity package by a flight attendant. In it you find your personal slippers, hand lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste and other goodies. Already you feel like royalty. A hot towel arrives to refresh your hands and face . . .
9. Your Favorite Beverage . . .
You are offered a libation, whatever you desire, usually a top shelf label. A little bowl of assorted top shelf nuts appears out of nowhere on your armrest . . . How do they do that?
10. Dining At 40,000 Feet . . .
Shortly after your flight reaches cruising altitude you are served a scrumptious supper. It starts with a salad tossed right there at 40,000 feet. You choose from an array of entrees, each nicer than the rest.
(When Pan Am was flying I remember, after being served my filet, asking the flight attendant if I could have a taste, just a taste, of the lobster thermador. She smiles and serves me an entire lobster dinner.)
After your pastry your after dinner drink, and your coffee, you are given a warm blanket and you drift off to sleep. You skip the mid-flight snack.
11. Morning On Final Approach . . .
Hours later as the Australian dawn appears, you are served a bountiful breakfast on real china. You ask yourself, is this possible, is it happening, am I dreaming? Deluxe everything, paid for by the conference sponsor, plus my speaking fee, too.
The upscale hotel at which you are to speak overlooks Botany Bay and its white sand beach. You, of course, arrive a day early to let your body clock adjust to the time change. So you take a long walk on the Botany Bay beach. You can hardly believe you’re being paid for this adventure . . .
12. Getting To Know You . . .
In the evening you get to know some of your new Aussie “mates.” Down under, the word for a friend is “mate.”
Next day you speak and are rewarded with generous applause, business cards and inquiries about your services. You enjoy the conference, the great food, and your new mates for the next couple of days. One of them, a Sydney native invites you for a full day of touring fascinating places including the Sydney Opera House. You keep your camera busy capturing all the scenes . . .
13. You’re Back Home . . .
A day or two later you arrive home, check in hand, and glowing with gratitude at being a part of this lifestyle . . . a lifestyle lesser mortals never taste.
14. You’re On You’re Way To The Bank . . .
While lesser mortals writhe and moan, gripe and squirm, suffer and sweat . . . you’re on the way to the bank to deposit your fat check . . .
15. Your New Lifestyle . . .
Do you yearn to create this lifestyle for yourself? The exotic travel, the adventure in new locales, the new friends and clients. And don’t forget moving to a nicer neighborhood, a more spacious home, and private schools for your children.
16. Make It Happen . . .
What does it take to let this happen: For a start it takes your desire for this lifestyle. Next it takes expertise in something organizations and people want and will pay for. Then it takes work on your part to master the rules of the game. (I started in 1982 knowing nothing, making many mistakes on the way to personal mastership.)
In addition it takes a work ethic that won’t quit, resolute integrity and patience while you master the marketing aspects.
17. This New Life is At Hand For You Now.
You can have this life if you want it . . . and you gotta want it enough to have it!
Most people, having gotten this far, sit back and do nothing. Because they lack the will to begin. They condemn themselves to live all their lives in the mire of mediocrity. They make themselves members of the “I could have” club . . . Don’t let this be you.
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