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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Oct 27, 2020

Overcoming adversity is an experience almost everyone has at some point in their lives. Our guest today was faced with this challenge early on and today he shares how doing so led to his speaking career.

Chris Ruden speaks to corporations and non-profits about overcoming adversity and diversity inclusion, especially regarding diabetes. Chris was born with a limb difference, he had most of his hand amputated when he was born. At 19 he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. That diagnosis was his wake up call to do something, which led him to his current speaking path.

On this edition of The Speaker Lab, we talk about what his speaking business looks like today (including how it shifted as a result of COVID), and he tells the story of how he landed his first $50,000 client.

Join us to hear it all on episode 313 of The Speaker Lab.



  • Why it's okay to change course when opportunities present themselves.
  • Why becoming a great speaker is not enough to have a successful speaking business.
  • When is opportunity the worst thing that could happen to you?
  • What's the difference between someone who talks to a crowd and a speaker?
  • How can you change your outreach to increase your fees?
  • How finding your core message will help you narrow your market.
  • Why your job as a speaker isn't over when you finish your speech.
  • What one question can you ask yourself to help define your message as a speaker?
  • And so much more!
Oct 20, 2020

Have you ever doubted if your message matters? Our guest has literally written the book on this subject and today he is sharing some of his insights on the matter.

Jonathan Milligan is an entrepreneur and speaker with over a decade of experience helping people hone and fine tune the messages they have to share with the world.

We dive into his experience plus how to believe in your message and define it so you can build a business around it. Listen in for all of that and more on today's edition of The Speaker Lab.


  • How can you stop falling into the comparison trap?
  • Do we need outside perspective to see our own gifts?
  • Is it ok if your passions change?
  • What are egoic labels and why are they relevant to your audience?
  • What is the hourglass funnel and how does it work?
  • What are some red flags to look for when exploring your topic and your target audience?
  • How do you know if the market is saturated or if there is a niche opportunity?
  • What are the basics you need to grow your reach?
  • And so much more!


Oct 13, 2020

Today we are talking about building your speaking web site: how to create it, what mistakes to avoid and what you must include.

We cover all the ins and outs of building your speaking web site with Rick because he's one of our coaches in our Booked and Paid to Speak program. He works with our Elite students to help them build their ideal speaking web sites.

Join us to hear his insights straight from the trenches! It's all here on Episode 311 of The Speaker Lab.



  • Who should you be building your speaking web site for?
  • How do ensure your site appeals to multiple generations?
  • What are the "must-haves" for your web site?
  • How can you create a demo video if you have no experience?
  • Where should your contact info go in your demo video?
  • How to ensure you have great lighting any time of day or night.
  • Should you fit your entire talk into your demo?
  • Every page of your web site is about what?
  • And so much more!


Oct 6, 2020

How to shift to virtual speaking is something many speakers are exploring now, and our guest is sharing with us some of his best strategies for doing so.

Brian Lord has been an agent at Premiere Speakers Bureau for over 25 years. His career began in college when he booked gigs for local talent, including a gospel singer and speaker. Fast forward two decades later and he's still going strong!

On this episode of The Speaker Lab he shares what he is seeing in the speaking world today in light of the current pandemic. You'll hear how this pandemic compares to other dips in the market and his advice for new and established speakers.

Be sure to join us for that and more on episode 310 of The Speaker Lab.


  • Will virtual speaking have a real place in the future?
  • How are fees shifting in the new virtual space?
  • Is there a different skill set to be funny on video versus live?
  • Why your content must be delivered in a different way.
  • Are there any best practices that are exceptionally effective right now?
  • Do you need a different demo for virtual gigs?
  • Are all good speakers also good at speaking virtually?
  • Is it taking event teams longer to book speaking talent?
  • And so much more!
Sep 29, 2020

Welcome back to our fifth and final episode in this series on The Power of The Pipeline!

Once again Erick Rheam is joining us as our co-host. If you missed the first four parts of this series be sure to go here for part I, part II, part III and part IV. Then come back and listen in to this episode, the final piece of the speaking pipeline.

Today we are wrapping things up with a discussion on the contract negotiations stage: this is the cherry on top after all your efforts have paid off. You'll even hear Erick's story of securing a $20,000 gig.

It's all about closing the deal so be sure to join us for episode 309 of The Speaker Lab!


  • What are some situations in which it isn't possible to get a deposit?
  • What are items to include in your rider?
  • Why you should be specific with the introduction you send to the client.
  • What is the agreement package and the 3 parts it entails?
  • How do you follow up once the contract has been sent but not signed?
  • At what point do you send a final email to close out?
  • When do you need to have your own insurance?
  • And so much more!
Sep 22, 2020

Welcome back to the fourth in a five-part series called The Power of The Pipeline! Joining us again is your friend and mine, Mr. Erick Rheam.

If you missed last week's episode of The Speaker Lab (part III on episode 307), check it out here. You can also hear the first stage of the pipeline on episode 305 and the second stage on episode 306.

This week we are digging into the fourth stage: the proposal stage. Things get real in this step of the process as you'll find out when you listen in to episode 308 of The Speaker Lab.


  • At what stage of the pipeline should you be introducing pricing?
  • How many pages should you proposal be?
  • Do event planners mind when you follow up?
  • What are the six parts of your proposal?
  • Where should you include testimonials and how many should you have?
  • When should you follow up after sending a proposal?
  • What is first right of refusal?
  • Is it okay to send a proposal for a talk you haven't finalized?
  • And so much more!
Sep 15, 2020

Welcome to 307, the third episode in our five part series on The Power of The Pipeline. Joining us is my friend and co-host for this series, Erick Rheam.

Last week we covered the second stage which is the contact made stage (you can find the second stage here and the first stage here). This week on The Speaker Lab we are talking about the phone meeting stage; we will cover the two goals you should have for all of your phone meetings and why you should save pricing talks for the phone.

You'll hear details on why this stage is the most important part of this process - so be sure to take notes and follow step by step when you listen to episode 307 of The Speaker Lab.


  • Is it more effective to schedule a call?
  • What research should you do before getting on the phone?
  • Why you need to focus on the event and the event planner.
  • What is the number one thing you have to ask when on the phone?
  • When should you walk away from a potential gig?
  • What factors go into your pricing fee?
  • How to make the ask to secure the gig.
  • Why you always want to leave the connection open for future business.
  • And so much more!
Sep 8, 2020

Welcome to the second episode in our 5-part series on The Power of The Pipeline. Joining me again as co-host is Erick Rheam, our Director of Student Success here at The Speaker Lab.

Last week we covered the first stage, the lead in stage of your speaking pipeline. If you missed it you can listen here.

This week we are diving into the second stage: making contact. In this stage, your primary goal is to move from email exchanges to talking on the phone with your contact. There are 8 steps to make that happen and you'll find out what they are when you join us for episode 306 of The Speaker Lab!



  • What are the two ways to schedule a phone call with your contact?
  • When should you schedule your follow up calls?
  • What is the magic move and how do you implement it?
  • Should you contact people every year?
  • Why there's power in being willing to walk away.
  • Is it ever a good idea to give pricing over email?
  • When do you know you aren't reaching out to enough people?
  • Why a 70% failure rate at this stage is great!
  • And so much more!
Sep 1, 2020

Episode 305 is a brand new series focused on the power of the pipeline.

Joining me as co-host for this series is Erick Rheam, our Director of Student Success here at The Speaker Lab.

Today we are talking about the five stages of the pipeline, including an in-depth discussion on stage one from initiating contact with a lead, structuring your follow-ups and avoiding several common mistakes speakers make.

Hear the details on all of that and more when you join us for episode 305 of The Speaker Lab.


  • What is a pipeline?
  • What four things do you need your CRM to do for you?
  • What are the five stages of your pipeline?
  • When should you embrace a high failure rate?
  • Is an email the most professional first step?
  • What are the major parts you should include in your introduction?
  • How many follow up emails do you send and how often?
  • When is it appropriate to follow up to your original email?
  • And so much more!
Aug 25, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to work with a speaking agent? Our guest, Li Hayes, has all the info you need to decide if an agent is right for you!

Li runs a boutique speaker agency and works with a dozen different speakers. On today's The Speaker Lab, she tells us what her role is as their agent and what you need to do if you are looking for an agent. She shares her advice for emerging speakers and what you should and shouldn't be doing when working with event management.

We wrap up with her tips on what is working right now for speakers so be sure to join us and listen in til the end of episode 304 of The Speaker Lab!


  • What's the difference between a bureau and a speaking agent?
  • Who actually needs an agent and who needs a personal assistant?
  • What are the best ways to find and book gigs if you are an emerging speaker?
  • How narrow should your market be?
  • Why you should stop trying to get on a big stage.
  • What is pull marketing?
  • What are the big 3 event planners want?
  • Why connecting with your audience makes a difference onstage and offstage.
  • And so much more!
Aug 18, 2020

Speaking part-time to grow your full-time business can be a surefire way to expand your reach, maximize your impact and your bottom line. Our guest is a living example of this and she joins us to share her journey.

Liz Bohannon is a very successful keynote speaker but speaking itself is secondary to her full-time gig. Primarily, she is the founder and CEO of a lifestyle jewelry company called Sseko Designs.

On today’s The Speaker Lab, she tells us how speaking moves the needle of her lifestyle business and whether she is representing herself when she speaks or her business. We finish with what value there is in experiences themselves, including one of the riskiest and craziest stories you may ever hear!

Listen in to hear that story along with her passion, energy and insights on episode 303 with Liz Bohannon.


  • How do you harness the power of your own stories?
  • How to translate your personal experiences into topics for your audience.
  • Why sharing your message is an act of service to others.
  • When does she speak on behalf of herself and when does she speak on behalf of Sseko?
  • What questions should you ask to pinpoint the best speaking events for your business?
  • Should you build your business and your service for one person?
  • What do we need instead of more content?
  • Why you should give yourself time to let the "wow" set in, before the "how".
  • And so much more!


Aug 11, 2020

Stories are one of the most important tools for any speaker. So how do you tell stories that stick long after you've finished speaking? Our guest has the answer. Kindra Hall is a renowned speaker and author who is here to talk all things storytelling.

On today's episode of The Speaker Lab, Kindra and I talk about storytelling for speakers, whether to use first person or third person and how to ensure your stories are built around your audience.

There's so much great content on this show so be sure to join us and hear it all on the 302nd edition of The Speaker Lab!



  • How do you recognize when you're in the middle of a story?
  • What are the three reasons stories are so valuable to a speaker?
  • What parts of your speech should be illustrated with stories?
  • Is there a right balance of stories to include in your speech?
  • Does every story need to have an action item?
  • How do you use a bystander story effectively?
  • What makes a timeless story versus a time-sensitive story?
  • How to use social media to develop a story.
  • And so much more!


Aug 4, 2020

Ryan Giffen is an agent at Premiere Speakers Bureau and he's here to give us an update on the current state of the speaking industry.

He's been an agent for over a decade. While he's joined us in the past to talk about education and working in a speakers bureau, on today's show he's going to tell us what he's seeing on the front lines right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan works with speakers and event planners on a daily basis so he has his finger on the pulse of the industry. Listen in to hear his perspective and much more on episode 301 of The Speaker Lab!



  • How are the different markets responding to the current pandemic?
  • Are certain avenues opening up more than others right now?
  • What kind of flexibility will you need as a speaker?
  • How do you need to prep differently for virtual speaking?
  • How can you tier your fees for virtual gigs?
  • Is virtual just a stop gap until we can get back to in-person events or is it the new normal?
  • When do you need to readjust your pricing?
  • Why you should focus on how your content can add value in different ways.
  • And so much more!
Jul 30, 2020

Don't quit your day job to start a speaking career. Begin building your speaking business on the side.

During this Speaking Workshop, We Cover:

  • The 7 things you must clarify from the outset
  • Where to spend your time and money as you get started (and where not to)
  • The one thing you CANNOT do while trying to grow your speaking business
  • Why not all full-time jobs are created equal
  • Why your plan should take into consideration the type of boss you have
  • The change levers you can pull to set yourself up for success
  • Live Q&A at the end with Grant and Erick

We answer the following questions:

  • Which one of the 4 full-time job types are you in?
  • Which one of the 4 types of bosses do you have? (This is a fun one to answer.)
  • Which one of the 3 life phases are you in?
  • Which one of the 4 career phases are you in?
  • Which one of these 4 financial situations sounds closest to yours?
  • What are your speaking goals? (We’ll help you make some if you don’t have any!)
  • What changes are you truly willing to make?

Schedule Your 1:1 Strategy Session Today:

Jul 28, 2020

Three amazing students join us for this very special 300th episode of The Speaker Lab!

All three of our guests today are students of The Speaker Lab and they crushing it. They are here to share their insights, wisdom and secrets to success. Going forward we're going to be sharing more students' stories on bonus episodes so be sure to join us for their stories.

And we've got a huge giveaway in honor of episode 300 and to thank you for being a listener! The grand prize winner receives free enrollment in our new program: Virtual Speaking Pro. This person will also receive five of my favorite speaking books, plus a free copy of my book, The Successful Speaker, and a free one-hour one on one coaching call with me. Want to enter? Go here!

Even if you don't win the grand prize, you might one of the lucky five runner up winners! Each of those winners will receive a copy of my book and a one-hour group coaching call with me and Erick Rheam (our Director of Education at The Speaker Lab). You can enter right now.



  • Why it matters what you are saying to yourself.
  • Does everyone battle self-doubt?
  • When do you need a coach?
  • How long does it take to see results?
  • Why you must pick a lane, even if your topic appeals to all audiences.
  • How each of these speakers have pivoted during the pandemic.
  • Why you need to get reps, and how to do it.
  • How do you approach speaking for the long game that it is?
  • And so much more!
  • Celebrate our 300th episode with us by entering this giveaway!


Jul 21, 2020

One area we haven't touched on is how to be a corporate trainer, my friend Michael Bungay Stanier is here to change that!

Michael is a well-established keynote speaker and corporate trainer. On today's The Speaker Lab, we talk about what topics work in this industry, positioning yourself versus positioning a product/program, and who hires corporate trainers.

We have a lot of fun during this informative and practical conversation with Michael, so please join us for episode 299 of The Speaker Lab!



  • What's the distinction between selling yourself versus a product?
  • Why you need standards if you are going to scale.
  • How to define "good enough" and why you must.
  • Are there both prizes and punishments to scalability?
  • Can you dabble with having other people speak for you?
  • What are the three delivery models and what do they entail?
  • How should you determine your fees?
  • When do you charge per participant?
  • And so much more!
Jul 14, 2020

We talk about relationships but what about building relationships through giving gifts? What are the dos and don'ts of successful gift-giving? Here to tell us is gifting expert, best-selling author and keynote speaker John Ruhlin.

On today's episode of The Speaker Lab, John tells us who to give gifts to, when to give gifts, and how to reframe gift-giving as an investment versus just another line item expense.

You'll hear those topics plus a few great gifting stories on this edition of The Speaker Lab.


  • How to show appreciation even during a pandemic.
  • Why gifting is the purple cow of business.
  • Why doesn't he allow his clients to send gifts at Christmas?
  • What makes gifting one of the most effective ways to stand out in a crowd?
  • Why you should stop putting logos on your gifts.
  • What are the four buckets of the Inner circle and how do you invest in those buckets with gifting?
  • Why you should never send a gift after receiving a referral.
  • What should you do if you cannot afford to give gifts?
  • And so much more!
Jul 7, 2020

How to speak to the medical field is a question I get asked a lot, and today our guest is answering it. Nisha Mehta is a practicing physician, specifically a radiologist. She also speaks around the country to medical professionals on the topic of burnout.

Today we talk about how she got started speaking, the different speaking opportunities in the medical industry, whether or not you need a background in medicine to speak to doctors and how to use media to position yourself as an expert.

You'll hear those insights and much more on episode 297 of The Speaker Lab.



  • What is the typical speaking season for the medical industry?
  • Do you always have to choose between a job you love and speaking?
  • Can you get hired to speak on a topic that's important, but no one else is talking about?
  • What are some topics speakers are hired for in the medical industry?
  • How important are credentials in being hired to speak?
  • What specific speaking opportunities are available within the medical community?
  • What area is harder to get into within healthcare?
  • What niches have bigger budgets?
  • And so much more!
Jun 30, 2020

Today's conversation is a discussion on race and the speaking industry with my friend Nicole Walters. Nicole is an incredible speaker, amazing entrepreneur and phenomenal human being.

On this episode of The Speaker Lab, we talk about the heavy but important topic of racism in the speaking world. We talk about what exists in the marketplace for her as a Black woman, how she sees things that I don't as a white male. She also gives advice for minority speakers and shares what the speaking community at large can do to better support diversity in the industry.

These are serious topics but Nicole brings her humor, lightheartedness and personal wisdom. Join us for this much-needed talk on episode 296 of The Speaker Lab with Nicole Walters.



  • Why it's important for activism to be on-going and not just a trend.
  • How racism impacts her everyday life: a snapshot.
  • What are new factors she considers now when booking gigs?
  • Do you know what performative activism is and why you should avoid it?
  • What group of people are becoming entrepreneurs at a rate of 9x the average American?
  • When you should add 10% to your asking fee.
  • What are some ways white people can be an allies for speakers of color?
  • How to encourage diversity at your speaking gigs.
  • And so much more!


Jun 23, 2020

How to embrace your fears is the subject that helped our guest today jumpstart a whole new career as an international speaker and author.

Michelle Poler is here on The Speaker Lab to talk about how she embraced her fears through 100 fears in 100 days challenge, how that challenge culminated in a TEDx talk and how some of those fears even became things she now loves to do.

We explore those topics plus specific steps she took along the way and how you can do the same. Join us to hear the scoop on episode 295 of The Speaker Lab.


  • Which speaker was instrumental in both of our speaking careers?
  • What should you do if your fears are holding you back?
  • Why you don't need to believe all the speaking advice out there.
  • What is more important than the number of views of your video?
  • How she utilized her network to get the ball rolling on speaking gigs.
  • Why having your spouse on board is incredibly helpful to grow your business.
  • What actions did she take that led to referrals from Brene Brown?
  • What can you do to set yourself for success when approaching speaking bureaus?
  • And so much more!


Jun 16, 2020

How to pivot to speaking virtually may not have been something you thought of before the pandemic, but our guest today explains why he and a lot of other speakers are embracing it now.

Jon Acuff is an entrepreneur and author. He is also one of the best speakers I've seen live: he takes this craft seriously and it shows. In our conversation on The Speaker Lab today, Jon explains the pivots he's made during the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual speaking and utilizing YouTube to grow his client base. We also explore the long-term implications of virtual speaking going forward.

This is a fun, informative, and engaging talk with Jon Acuff so join us on episode 294 of The Speaker Lab.



  • What can be done virtually that can't be done from the stage?
  • How do you adjust your pricing for virtual speaking gigs?
  • What are value adds to consider in your virtual offerings?
  • How can YouTube contribute to growing your client base?
  • Has he tweaked his content to reflect current events?
  • If you use humor when speaking live can you continue doing so virtually?
  • Should you read comments while you're speaking virtually?
  • Why it's okay to be an amateur when starting out as a virtual speaker.
  • And so much more!


Jun 9, 2020

Knowing what meeting planners want from a speaker can be the difference between booking some gigs and being a full-time speaker. Our guest today has the inside scoop on this very topic and he's telling us the answers on episode 293 of The Speaker Lab!

Jay Baer is an exceptionally successful speaker who has been in the industry for a long time and has accrued a wealth of knowledge along the way. Today on The Speaker Lab, we talk about Jay's recent research study that surveyed 150 event planners. We dig into what topics planners are looking for, what they want and hows event planners find speakers.

Join us to hear the details on all of those topics and more episode 293 of The Speaker Lab with Jay Baer.


  • Why micro-categories may be your ticket to success.
  • Who speaks on more topics: mediocre speakers or great speakers?
  • How much customization should you do for your speaking gigs?
  • Substance versus showmanship: what balance do you need to strike?
  • How can you build momentum when you are just starting out?
  • Why bringing something unique to the stage gives you an innate advantage.
  • What are the ways to test your material?
  • How does Jay think the coronavirus will affect speaking topics going forward?
  • And so much more!


Jun 8, 2020

Grant Baldwin and Erick Rheam hosted a Facebook Live to talk about one of the biggest challenges professional speakers face: getting consistent speaking gig leads and what to do with them.

During the live stream, Grant and Erick discuss:

  • Where many speakers get stuck
  • Why you can’t afford to sit back and wait for the phone to ring
  • How Erick falls back on principles he learned in the military
  • What speakers can do to prepare for times of crisis
  • How to handle stressful times without getting stressed out
  • The value of creating a system to help you take the next right step
  • Identifying the secret sauce behind a sustainable speaking business
  • The 5 stages of your speaking gig pipeline
  • Where to never discuss your pricing
  • Setting up event planners for success and recruiting them to your team
  • How to replicate the success of professional speakers
  • And more


Jun 2, 2020

How public relations helps speakers may not be something you've considered before, but after today's episode you will know how PR can make a difference in your speaking career.

Chris Winfield joins us to talk about this topic. He teaches PR (public relations) and the art of relationships and connections. We dig into those three areas right out of the gate, and also talk about my skepticism of the value of public relations!

We answer questions like how important is it to build long-term relationships?  What are the challenges and potential obstacles if you are an introvert versus an extrovert? Chris also tells us about PR firms, why most are horrible, and a simple exercise you can do right now to move the needle.

This is a fun and informative show so join us for episode 292 of The Speaker Lab with Chris Winfield.


  • Does everyone have Impostor Syndrome?
  • What is the law of reciprocity and how does it work?
  • Ten minutes in person can replace how much time online?
  • Who are the people who make the greatest connections?
  • Do you have something to bring to the table, even if you are starting out?
  • Are certain forms of media more impactful than others?
  • What does it mean to "borrow credibility"?
  • How do you know which platforms are ideal for you?
  • And so much more!


May 26, 2020

You may see the value of writing, but do you know why writing matters for speakers?

Our guest does and he's here to tell us on the 291st edition of The Speaker Lab! Hugh Culver is a repeat guest who is a successful speaker in his own right, and also works with other speakers and thought leaders on content, blogging, and writing.

Today we'll talk about the process of writing for speakers, how it can actually help you become a better speaker, and a simple framework to help you approach writing new content. We'll even give you insights on how we produce this podcast!

There's a lot to get to so join us and listen in to this episode of The Speaker Lab.


  • What happens when you hit on a topic that resonates with your ideal market?
  • How can Google analytics help you narrow down your topics?
  • What are the five components of your template for writing content?
  • How do you follow a framework without boring your audience?
  • What's the downside of not using a template or a framework?
  • When and when not to edit your content during the writing process.
  • What is a common trait among the highest paid speakers?
  • How do you know what to outsource and what to do yourself?
  • And so much more!



Are you interested in booking virtual speaking gigs?

Check out our new program, Virtual Speaking Pro, to learn how to diversify your speaking business without leaving your house.

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