The Speaker Lab

Grant Baldwin from The Speaker Lab podcast will be sharing speaking business tactics, tips, and strategies from his own experience, case studies, and interviewing the experts. Whether you're just getting started trying to get your first booking or you're a veteran speaker looking to build and grow your business, this is for you. Grant has built a multiple six-figure per year business as a speaker having presented to over 500,000 people in over 450 paid speaking gigs. We'll talk about speaker marketing, working with speaker bureaus and agents, building your platform, negotiating fees, social media marketing, networking, storytelling, humor, operating the business and so much more!
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Now displaying: April, 2020
Apr 28, 2020

Welcome to part five of how to find your first paid speaking gig with Bryan Allain!

If you missed the first three episodes with Bryan you can listen to here to part one, part two here, part three here and part four here.

On this fifth episode, you'll hear about Bryan's progress as well as the work he still has to do. You'll also hear about a slight delay he had and what that sidetrack was all about and how he can get back on track.

Get ready to listen in to all of those experiences and more with Bryan Allain on this episode of The Speaker Lab.


  • How do you approach events that are coming up in the next 3-6 weeks?
  • When is it too early to get on an event planner's radar?
  • How to evaluate whether or not to speak for free.
  • What's the best system to implement your follow-ups?
  • Why even making "wrong" decisions is ultimately helpful on your journey.
  • Do you need a business card?
  • What movie trailers can teach us about demo videos
  • What three things matter most when someone is considering hiring you?
  • And so much more!


Apr 27, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Erick Rheam hosted a Facebook Live to talk about how speakers are still getting booked and paid to speak even in the midst of the pandemic.

During the live stream, Grant and Erick discuss:

  • The state of the speaking industry
  • Dealing with ambiguity and anxiety
  • Long-term ramifications of social distancing
  • How some speakers are still getting booked and paid to speak
  • Reaching the point of turning down new opportunities
  • When to say no if a gig is outside your brand/industry
  • Thinking about the balance between virtual and live events in the future
  • How do you stay positive and keep moving forward?
  • Why proven systems don’t break even if the variables change
  • What speakers can do to work with live events to postpone without losing income
  • The value of relationships and why you can’t ignore them
  • Now is the time coaching really matters
  • Are speakers still booking events that are happening in the future? (Spoiler Alert: YES!)
  • Pros and cons of virtual events and how to book them
  • Why speakers are in the problem-solving business
  • How to adapt live event keynote to virtual offers that are still on message
  • Being prepared to pivot a lot
  • Starting somewhere and being willing to try new things
  • The dangers of a scarcity mindset
  • Never knowing who’s in the audience
  • How many “sleeps” are you gone for live events vs virtual gigs?
  • Going from 40 potential gigs in his pipeline to 81 during the pandemic
  • Industry insights direct from event planners
  • Using this time to position yourself for when the wave of live events comes back
  • And more


Apr 24, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Michael Port hosted a Facebook Live to talk about what speakers can do to take advantage of the extra time during quarantine to improve their value as a performer.

During the live stream, Grant and Mike discuss:

  • This is the time to be working on your talk
  • “Either it will pass or I will pass."
  • Best practices for wearing glasses on camera
  • Surviving as a speaker in the midst of a crisis
  • Why speakers can’t afford to be average
  • Everything you do as a performer must be transformational
  • How the expected quality for speakers will increase
  • What speakers should be working on right now
  • How speakers can maximize the gift of time during quarantine
  • Why using live events as rehearsals is a mistake
  • What deep work looks like for speakers
  • Mapping out an effective rehearsal process
  • Reinventing your speech in ways you never imagined
  • Asking specific questions when it comes to feedback
  • How to scale your choices from good to great
  • Using a mystery box visual to raise the stakes for your audience
  • The risk of failing to deliver on the promise your performance makes
  • Why Michael retired from keynoting
  • How to wisely leverage the trust you earn from an audience to enrich their experience
  • What Pixar considers a “perfect” film
  • Crafting a transformational experience for your audience
  • Are virtual events merely a temporary fix or a lasting trend?
  • The challenges events face in replicating the impact of in-person trade shows online
  • Advice for speakers to keep their head in the right space
  • Making sure you continue to support your network of colleagues and clients
  • The #1 most important factor in booking more paid speaking gigs
  • Creating a productive work environment
  • Incrementally improving your speech 5 minutes at a time
  • And more


Apr 22, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Clint Pulver hosted a live stream to talk about how speakers can change and adapt to a new “normal”.

During the interview, Grant and Clint discuss:

  • Developing a virtual demo video
  • Taking one day at a time on the rollercoaster
  • Live events that convert to digital and ask for virtual keynotes
  • Binge-watching the Imagineers documentary on Disney+
  • Creating a virtual studio at home
  • 5 things that clients are asking virtual speakers for
  • Using a moderator to enhance the virtual experience for the client and their audience
  • Create a virtual landing page on your website that showcases the value you deliver to the market
  • How clients and audiences have reacted to live virtual events
  • Providing best practices to the client ahead of time to ensure the best possible experience
  • What to do when someone brings their phone into the bathroom during your live stream
  • Conducting a separate soundcheck or run-through before a virtual event to test tech
  • Obtaining testimonials from your virtual clients
  • The difference between offering value and selfish promotion
  • How to approach pricing for virtual events
  • Diversifying what you offer to meet the unique needs of different clients
  • Will virtual offers continue being available after quarantine is lifted?
  • And more


Apr 21, 2020

Welcome to how to find your first paid speaking gig with Bryan Allain - part four.

If you missed the first three episodes with Bryan you can listen to here to part one, part two here and part three here.

In this show, Bryan is establishing himself as the expert through his web site and his demo video. You'll also hear how to deal with the impostor syndrome, something he talks about today. We even discuss whether or not he should quit!

To hear all of this as it unfolds join us for episode 286 with Bryan Allain.


  • What determines how quickly you will see results?
  • As a speaker, is there value in becoming a connector and curator?
  • What should you do if you don't have any video clips for a demo video?
  • How to stop the comparison game.
  • Does Impostor Syndrome ever go away?
  • What are specific questions to ask to find potential leads?
  • Why you should attend some events even if you aren't speaking.
  • This one simple trick can help you find even more potential gigs.
  • And so much more!


Apr 17, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Nisha Mehta hosted a Facebook Live to talk about a physician's perspective on the speaking industry during turbulent times.

During the live stream, Grant and Nisha discuss:

  • Balancing a professional career as a radiologist while speaking internationally
  • Building large online communities among certified physicians
  • Maintaining social distancing to flatten the curve
  • Insights on the pandemic from behind the scenes
  • Making tough choices to opt-out of live events before “shelter-in-place” began
  • Partnering with events to make virtual options work and still deliver value
  • The responsibility of speakers to prioritize the safety of others
  • When can we expect live events to happen again?
  • How big will live events be allowed to be?
  • Preparing for a secondary surge after social distancing restrictions are lifted
  • Hoping to start seeing things reopen in the coming weeks
  • The liability of hosting live events post-pandemic
  • Searching for a sense of normalcy
  • The key difference between SARS and COVID-19
  • Uncertainty about the unknown when it comes to new diseases
  • Realistic timeline for a vaccine or treatment
  • And more


Apr 15, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Scott Stratten hosted a Facebook Live to talk about the future of the speaking industry after a pandemic.

During the live stream, Grant and Scott discuss:

  • The long-term impacts the coronavirus will have on the speaking industry
  • Experimenting with style and facial hair while social distancing
  • Why “speaking” isn’t really your true profession
  • Understanding the gig is the payoff for building your platform and being an expert
  • Dealing with feeling like you’ve lost part of your identity
  • Grieving the loss of things that used to annoy you (like the too early soundcheck)
  • Predicting the recovery timeline for massive events and the impact on keynotes
  • Distributing a sub-standard virtual product will hurt your live speaking down the road by degrading your value
  • Accepting that the “new normal” is largely unknown
  • The pending lawsuits as a result of the virus spreading at large events
  • Treating the speaking gig as one component of your business and how you deliver value
  • Do what it takes to help you feel productive
  • Being okay with where you are at in responding to these unprecedented times
  • "Whatever your normal is right now, that’s fine."
  • Determining the right timing for when to pivot to virtual options for your audience
  • Avoiding guilt for not doing some things
  • A virtual answer isn’t the same as an in-person answer
  • Why you can’t shift the same equity you have on stage to a virtual gig at first
  • How webinars are a transfer of skills and what makes them different than a keynote
  • The drastic difference between our current circumstances and any emergency we’ve experienced in the past
  • Is everyone going to work from home in the future?
  • There will be a “new normal”, but it won’t be completely different from everything we know
  • How to avoid long-term risk by making short-term budget decisions that you sustain
  • Learning business lessons now that will carry you through the crisis and beyond
  • Ignoring hindsight regret
  • Getting creative with discovering new revenue sources and sponsored opportunities
  • How to approach outreach without appearing tone-deaf
  • Making sure you check on your contacts, colleagues, and clients to see how they’re doing
  • Reaching out to recent clients to offer a “thank you” video to their team
  • Losing your pride
  • Treat your email list as your most important asset and continue to build it beyond this crisis
  • Don’t feed the noise
  • Controlling who you follow
  • Healthy outlets for coping with stress and staying connected
  • Using the mute button on social media to create boundaries
  • Tips on growing a man bun
  • And more


Apr 14, 2020

Welcome! This is part three of our how to find your first paid speaking gig series with Bryan Allain.

If you missed part one and part two you can listen to here to part one and part two here. In those episodes you heard Bryan's background: he has done some speaking but is struggling with where to start.

This week on The Speaker Lab, you'll find out who Bryan has chosen to speak to, what problem he's going to solve for them and the pros and cons to his decision. We will wrap up with a chat about what to do next and how to move forward.

This series has been fun, insightful and intense. Join us to hear part three on this episode of The Speaker Lab!


  • How can you deal with the negative voices in your head?
  • Will you ever feel completely confident in your choice?
  • How do you know if you have enough credibility to speak on a topic?
  • Why your choices don't have to be permanent.
  • Is there a perfect time to get started or to make a change?
  • Should you use visuals to differentiate yourself in your market?
  • How to use the SPEAK method to determine your audience.
  • What is the goal of your web site and what should be on it?
  • And so much more!


Apr 13, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Mike Pacchione hosted a Facebook Live to talk about how to work on your speech and hone your craft during the quarantine.

During the live stream, Grant and Mike discuss:

  • Tips and tricks for virtual speaking
  • Enjoying becoming a first-time dad
  • Helping speakers deliver the best talk of their lives
  • How to prepare for your next live gig while social distancing
  • Getting feedback on your talk using a recording
  • A simple survey to send to friends and colleagues to obtain actionable feedback
  • The power of asking strategic questions that actually help you build a better talk
  • Why most TED talks don’t even make the website
  • How speakers can set themselves apart from the crowd
  • The unanticipated break from speaking gives you the chance to be objective in assessing your talk
  • Sitting down to create a list of what you think makes a great talk and applying that criteria to your craft
  • Asking yourself a tough question: does this talk seem to go on for too long?
  • What characteristics can make or break a speaker’s presentation
  • Why watching yourself with the audio off or listening to yourself without the video can reveal unknown weaknesses
  • The underestimated value of self-awareness
  • Is a speech ever really finished?
  • The dangers of defaulting to quarantine or crisis-oriented content in your talk
  • Avoid making coronavirus jokes because everyone else will be doing it
  • Why virtual keynotes and digital presentation must have a higher quality than live talks
  • Pacing tips for virtual events
  • Erring on the side of more slides
  • Making your virtual keynote interactive
  • Just because there are more virtual events doesn’t mean there will be less live events
  • And more


Apr 10, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Josh Bauerle hosted a Q&A on Facebook Live to talk about how speakers can benefit from the stimulus and address your questions about the stimulus check, unemployment, EIDL, and PPP.

DISCLAIMER: We are not finance or tax experts. Please contact your financial planner or local financial institution for professional advice.

EIDL - Economic Injury Disaster Loan
PPP - Payroll Protection Program During the live stream, Grant and Josh discuss:

  • Unemployment being extended to business owners and freelancers
  • Two loan/grant programs for small businesses to take advantage of
  • Which program is best for speakers to pay attention to?
  • Are earning thresholds for the stimulus based on Billings or on adjusted gross income?
  • How much unemployment can you claim?
  • What is the timeline for unemployment payouts?
  • How to apply for the EIDL
  • Would speakers apply for unemployment? Or the grant? Or both?
  • Can you apply for EIDL if you have a W-2 in addition to speaking gigs?
  • What happens if you get denied?
  • Being patient and persistent
  • Do unemployment and IDL go off of W2 and/or K-1?
  • Does past credit history (specifically bankruptcy) factor into EIDL acceptance?
  • Do you need an LLC to apply for EIDL or can you apply as an individual citizen?
  • Two placed to get financial help
  • What is the PPP? Who is eligible?
  • Discretionary power of banks in deciding who gets access to PPP
  • How the PPP math breaks down on calculating what you’re eligible for
  • Tips on selecting a financial institution to apply through
  • What happens if the loan isn’t forgiven?
  • Is the PPP looking at average gross or net profits?
  • How to calculate payroll for a speaking business formed after the 2/15/19 date
  • What to do if you started your speaking business on Jan 1, 2020
  • Will interest accrues on the unforgiven portion of the loan?
  • What happens if you posted a loss because it was a new business?
  • Can you apply for more than one of these programs? Or do you have to pick one route to go?
  • Talk to your financial institution sooner vs later to figure out what you qualify for and how to get it
  • For the EIDL, do you need an EIN? or can you use a DBA?
  • What’s a "qualifying expense" to have the PPP converted from loan to forgiven?
  • Do “contractors” = “employees”?
  • If you file as an S-Corp, but are the only owner/employee, are you still eligible for the PP/EIDL benefits of a Sole Proprietor?
  • If approved for EIDL loan, can you take the advance and not take the loan portion?
  • If you’re a sole proprietor with little overhead, is it better to apply for EIDL or PPP?
  • Making it easy for the financial institution to process your application
  • Do you have to payback the stimulus?
  • Will the bank look at your credit score?
  • Are you taxed on unemployment?
  • Taking a tip from Frozen II
  • And more


Apr 9, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Phil Jones hosted a Facebook Live to talk about the true confessions of a professional speaker dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

During the live stream, Grant and Phil discuss:

  • Rescheduling or canceling 27 events
  • Where do new event scheduling start coming from
  • How does the market react and build on the other side of this crisis
  • Using new technology and trying new things
  • Taking advantage of the opportunity to serve past clients
  • Finding joy in the gift of time to refocus priorities and spend time with family
  • Leaning into new revenue streams and discovering new ways to distribute value
  • Navigating schedule conflicts for Fall events with postponed Spring events
  • Creating custom programming for events now instead of rescheduling
  • Helping clients address the needs and fears of their customers
  • Showing up in the moment and modeling generosity
  • Maintaining the integrity of your speaking business long-term
  • What speakers have in common with 5-star Michelin chefs
  • Building a speaking business so that you’re not living month-to-month
  • How speakers are actually running two different businesses simultaneously
  • Discovering gifts and opportunity amidst the crisis
  • What you have permission to do now that you didn’t before
  • Inventing a new business model the creates recurring income
  • The Cupcake analogy
  • Redefining what success looks like now and thinking about your business in a different way
  • Why you need “resume points” on the other side of this crisis
  • And more


Apr 7, 2020

Welcome! This is part two of our how to find your first paid speaking gig.

If you missed part one you can listen to it here. Then come back and join us for the second half of our talk with Bryan Allain.

Bryan has done a bit of speaking but is struggling with where to start. On this raw, authentic coaching call with him, we explore that topic.

Join us to hear how we walk Bryan through getting his first paid speaking gig and how you can do the same on this episode of The Speaker Lab.  


  • What speakers should you find and follow?
  • What does it mean if you can't find speakers in your chosen market?
  • How to separate the signal from the noise.
  • What five audiences could you speak to?
  • How do you narrow down among those five audiences?
  • Why you don't have to be the world's greatest expert to speak to an audience.
  • What are the pros and cons of being an emcee?
  • How much of a factor is passion when choosing a topic or an audience?
  • And so much more!


Apr 7, 2020

Wouldn't it be great if someone could guide you through how to find your first paid speaking gig?

One of our own team members is here to demonstrate, Mr. Bryan Allain. Bryan has worked with us for a year now and he wants to know if what we teach actually works. This is an unscripted walk the process of how to find your first paid speaking gig.

Get ready to hear the details on this edition of The Speaker Lab.  


  • What should one of your first goals be?
  • Is there a simple way to build your confidence?
  • What are the two sides to selecting a problem to solve?
  • What does it mean to establish your speaking expertise?
  • Why it's completely normal to second-guess your decisions.
  • What to do when you don't know where to start.
  • How can you use your real world experience to start your speaking journey?
  • Why it's easier to pivot and adjust when you have momentum.
  • And so much more!



Apr 6, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Mike Michalowicz hosted a Facebook Live to talk about how speakers should handle their finances in the midst of crisis.

During the live stream, Grant and Mike discuss:

  • Pivoting business to accommodate canceled or postponed events
  • Expediting projects to fill the gap created by live events
  • Amplifying communication frequency while decreasing quantity
  • Super long, rambling emails can have a negative impact on your brand
  • The difference between seizing an opportunity to serve and being opportunistic
  • Sending out short sound bits of value to your audience is powerful
  • Ask your email list what they need to identify themes
  • Create products to meet those needs at a reasonable rate (not free)
  • The economy is built on paying for stuff. If we all give everything away, it falls apart.
  • Lessons small businesses and speakers can learn to prepare for the future
  • The business crisis trend
  • What can you do to keep the lights on
  • 1-Step Back Technique to discover new opportunities
  • And more


Apr 3, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Carrie Wilkerson hosted a Facebook Live to talk about how speakers can diversify their business.

During the live stream, Grant and Carrie discuss:

  • Starting her brand as “The Barefoot Executive"
  • Self-isolating with teenagers in Texas
  • Why worry won’t do you a bit of good
  • Prioritizing daily communication with your audience
  • Marketing with empathy and not appearing tone-deaf
  • Creating leverage in your business to create a “stage” in different ways
  • Teach a masterclass on your area of expertise
  • Provide mentoring to a few clients to coach through a specific process
  • Create the infrastructure for a membership program (>1000 email list subscribers)
  • Do not stop your marketing
  • Using the tools you have to deliver value to your audience
  • Asking the question: How can I serve your people from a distance?
  • Don’t wait for fancy tools to create value for your audience
  • Virtual keynoting and reimagined virtual conference for 50,000 people
  • Suit up and show up every day
  • Make the most of the opportunities you have
  • If you stop your marketing now and disappear, you’ll be forgotten
  • Stay in healthy communication with both colleagues and clients
  • It’s time to build your email list and stay in connection with them
  • Why you can’t rely on social media and paid advertising alone
  • How to go get some paid contracts
  • Learn something new while you’re stuck at home
  • Stay away from the fridge and stay in your speaker clothes
  • Practice your material and test new stuff on Facebook Live
  • Take care of yourself. Your image is your business.
  • Acknowledge your stress and grief, but don’t live in it. Focus on gratitude.
  • Set goals for each day and establish minimum expectations
  • Don’t be ashamed to get help. This crisis is not your fault.
  • Small businesses are what keep the country going.
  • And more


Apr 1, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Erick Rheam hosted a Facebook Live to talk about how speakers can convert live events that are postponed or canceled into virtual gigs.

During the live stream, Grant and Erick discuss:

  • Booking webinars and workshops to replace/supplement live events
  • Finding value in what you’re already doing and converting it to an offer
  • Repurposing the challenge of working from home to create new value
  • Discovering new opportunities to diversify your speaking platform
  • Add value while recognizing your clients pay you for the solutions you bring
  • Prioritizing service doesn’t have to sacrifice revenue
  • Strategies for stopping the bleeding in your business
  • Throw out the rule book in the short-term
  • How to price virtual speaking gigs versus live events
  • And more