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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Feb 5, 2019

Does the idea of cold calling strike fear into your heart? It won't after today's edition of The Speaker Lab!

Joe is an up and coming speaker who has quickly added a lot of gigs to his calendar by using the four rules of cold calling for speakers. On this episode, Joe tells us what those four rules are as well as how to remove the fear of cold calling and how to make it easy for your prospects to say yes to you.

This is another terrific guest you won't want to miss so be sure to join us on episode 223 of The Speaker Lab.


  • How did he first uncover the power of cold calling?
  • How can you get your foot in the door of an industry in which you are not known?
  • Do you have to go in hot to a cold call?
  • How do you know if you are a good fit for a potential opportunity?
  • Why uncommon commonalities are important in your cold calling process.
  • What's the best way to reach out: phone, email, or social media?
  • How expecting nothing and appreciating everything will explode your business.
  • The type of follow up you can do to show your gratitude for the people who help you.
  • And so much more!


Jan 29, 2019

Mike Kim is one very smart man who knows marketing and branding, and he is here to share his 7 step process for creating your speaking brand. This is the same process he has used with his clients, including well-known thought leaders like John Maxwell, Donald Miller and Suzanne Evans.

On this episode of The Speaker Lab, he walks us through those 7 steps and what they entail. We also talk about why positioning determines so much of everything else you do in your business, how to price yourself as a premium speaker while still being able to negotiate and take lower-priced gigs.

Whether you are new to speaking or are a long-time veteran, this is a great episode chockfull of helpful recommendations and frameworks to help you. Without further adieu take a listen to Mike Kim and I on today's The Speaker Lab.


  • What is the most unique selling proposition that any of us have?
  • Who should your marketing materials be speaking to?
  • Which platform is best for you?
  • Why you should position yourself towards the high end of the market.
  • How do you know what kind of product you are offering?
  • What is the best way to pitch and sell yourself?
  • What are the three sub-identities to every brand?
  • Can you sell lower-tiered products while being positioned as a high-end brand?
  • And so much more!



Jan 22, 2019

Some people do it all and our guest today is one of those people! Alli Worthington joins The Speaker Lab to tell us all how to write, speak and host conferences.

Alli is a speaker, author, business coach and conference host who fell into speaking the same time she hosted her first event, an interesting story she shares with us today.

We also talk about how having a book has impacted her speaking career, what you should do if you want to speak to female entrepreneurs, and how she chooses which speakers to hire when she is hosting her conference, Blissdom.

You'll hear all of those topics and more - there is a LOT to learn from Alli Worthington on this episode of The Speaker Lab!


  • Why she hosted her first event before she had ever been to a conference!
  • What did Scott Stratten say that shifted her mindset about being nervous?
  • Does she consider herself an author or speaker first?
  • When is it worth speaking for free?
  • What is the perceived value in having someone else handle your calendar?
  • Is there a connection between the quality of your writing and the quality of your speaking?
  • What advice does she have for women about fees?
  • When should you say no to an opportunity?
  • And so much more!



Jan 15, 2019

If you are just starting out your main concern might about how to get started as a speaker. Our guest on this episode of The Speaker Lab is here to tell us how he did it.

Today Jason Hewlett is a professional speaker and entertainer, but like many people he had no idea where to start. He had the dream and the desire, but he needed a plan.

On today's episode we talk about how he got a plan in place and took action. We also discuss how he went from performance-based speaking with impressions and impersonations to more serious keynote speeches. You'll hear his tips and ideas on those topics and more on this edition of The Speaker Lab.


  • Why does he prefer the keynote closing session?
  • How did following up after gigs help build his business from scratch?
  • Why event planners are in the risk-mitigation business, and how you can help.
  • How did he keep integrity with his fees?
  • What advice does he give to people moving from one niche to another?
  • Why speaking is a humbling business.
  • Why he always takes a selfie with a client, and what he does from there.
  • What's the value of having relationships with other speakers?
  • And so much more!



Jan 8, 2019

Justin is a unique guest who is unlike any other guest we've had before on this show: he's here to explain what magic can teach us about speaking.

As a magician, Justin is an amazing entertainer who speaks and performs from stage. On episode 219, Justin tell us when he knew he wanted to pursue a career in magic, how he strategized which markets to focus on and what his business look like today.

We dig into those topics and more so join us on today's edition of The Speaker Lab!


  • How to deal with a topic that needs to be explained to your potential clients.
  • How did he get on The Ellen DeGeneres Show?
  • What would he do if he were starting over today?
  • Why there is no silver bullet to content marketing.
  • How did doing one event for free lead to a book deal with Wal-Mart and an international ad campaign for Coca-Cola?
  • Does he customize his magic presentations for each client?
  • Where does he get his ideas for new material?
  • When does he know a bit is ready for stage and how does he test it?
  • And so much more!



Jan 1, 2019

As we kick off the new year resolutions are in the air! Is writing a book one of yours? If writing a book is your way of running down a dream then there's no one better to help you on your path than our guest today, Tiim Grahl.

Tim is a book marketing expert who has been in the industry for 10+ years. He has worked with everyone from Dan Pink to Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank, and many other names you'd recognize.

Today on episode 218 of The Speaker Lab, he tells us what it takes to make a book successful. He also talks with us about his latest book, Running Down A Dream, how you can overcome doubts, fear and insecurities about running down your own dream and how to find time to build your speaking business no matter how busy you are.  


  • Why shouldn't you focus on social media?
  • Why just having a book out on the market can build your platform.
  • How many years should you continue to promote your book?
  • The one exercise to find the truth about how much time you actually have.
  • Where did the idea for Running Down A Dream come from?
  • Why don't most people run down their dreams?
  • How to know when to course correct your path.
  • What is the difference between coasting and settling?
  • And so much more!




Dec 25, 2018

Is there something unique about you, perhaps something you haven't fully shared with the world? Our guest joins us to share how being different is awesome and how what makes him different has opened doors in his speaking career.

Ryan Haack is a student in our Booked and Paid to Speak training program, and has had success speaking to elementary schools. Specifically, he talks to elementary school assemblies about a physical difference he has had since birth and why being different is positive.

Also on today's show we talk about the pros and cons of speaking to elementary schools, including fees and other logistics, plus how he juggles speaking with a full-time job. Join us for those topics and more on episode 217 of The Speaker Lab!  


  • What two questions to ask yourself to determine your audience.
  • How does he balance speaking to multiple audiences while not being too broad?
  • What came first: his book or speaking?
  • How do you know you're doing the right thing?
  • What model works best for speaking to elementary schools?
  • How does he adjust his speeches according to the age groups in his audience?
  • Who is typically the decision-maker he goes through?
  • What next steps does he recommend if you are getting started?
  • And so much more!




Dec 18, 2018

What is a speaker showcase and how do you master the art of showcasing to colleges? Justin Laipply will explain on this episode of The Speaker Lab.

Justin has been on the show before on episode 107. On that show, we dig into his background in the college/education space as well as his current market: the corporate world.

But today on The Speaker Lab, we talk about what showcases are exactly, who is in the audience and how to leverage these appearances into paying gigs and long-term relationships. Join us for all the details on episode 216 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • What is the #1 marketing tool of a speaker?
  • What's the difference between a showcase audience versus any other audience?
  • Who hosts showcases in the corporate space?
  • What is block booking and how does it work?
  • What speaking market has the singlest easiest barrier to entry?
  • How can you get your foot in the door at APCA or NACA?
  • What is a contract request?
  • Is it better to start at a regional or go straight to a national?
  • And so much more!




Dec 11, 2018

People who excel at speaking and any other profession have one thing in common: they invest in themselves. A great example of this is our guest for today's show, Kate Garnes. Kate is a member of our elite coaching program and her results reflect why investing in yourself matters so much.

On this episode, we will talk about the moment she knew she wanted to be a motivational speaker, why she signed up for the elite coaching program, and how she went from zero gigs a year ago to having 13 upcoming paid keynotes across the country! Join us to hear Kate and I dig into those topics and more on episode 215 of The Speaker Lab.


  • What was her first step after deciding to become a speaker?
  • How did she hone in on her niche of teen leadership?
  • Why your topic and your target market will always be changing.
  • How can you avoid rookie mistakes?
  • Why having a rock solid talk will book gigs.
  • How much did she invest in her speaking career?
  • What systems does she have and what is her process for following up?
  • Why it's okay to doubt yourself, and what to do in those moments.
  • And so much more!




Dec 4, 2018

Have you ever thought of YouTube as more than a place to host your videos? What if you could find out how to use YouTube to grow your speaking business? The man to tell us how is none other than my friend Thomas Frank. 

Thomas went through our Booked and Paid to Speak trainings a few years ago. I met him when he was in college; I spoke at his school. We stayed in touch and he's become extremely successful, especially with his YouTube channel. 

On today's show, we talk about his origins, how you can use YouTube to build your audience and find and book potential speaking gigs, and best practices for YouTube videos to generate more interest and views. Join us for Thomas' insights on those subjects and much more on this episode of The Speaker Lab.   


  • What is his strategy when he goes to a conference?
  • How does he use his platform to build relationships?
  • What other income streams has he built aside from speaking?
  • How Fizzle and Pat Flynn influenced his platforms and business growth.
  • What is the second biggest search engine after Google?
  • Is it best to position yourself as a topic expert or a speaker?
  • What are the 3 factors to succeeding on YouTube?
  • What can flags teach us about using YouTube effectively?
  • And so much more!



Nov 27, 2018

At a certain point, most of us think about how to ensure we are living a life of significance. One person who has definitely done this is our guest today, Pete Smith. Pete has devoted his career to this very topic and he's here to share with us how he's successfully done so as a keynote speaker.

Today he has between 40 and 50 engagements a year, most of which are opening or closing keynotes on the topic of bringing significance into our lives. But how he choose that topic and how he's grown his speaking career from free local association gigs to international keynotes is a fascinating story.

On this edition of the show, he'll tell us how he got his start, the funny story of what happened the first time he was asked what he charges to speak and how he picked his domain name since his name is so common. Tune in to hear that and more on episode 213 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • What are the 3 biggest takeaways he wants his attendees to get from his talks?
  • How did having a stroke impact his speaking career?
  • Why is he the poster child for how NOT to go out on your own?
  • How local associations helped him get his start.
  • How many free events vs paid events did he do in his first year?
  • What type of person is cut out for this business?
  • What is working for him right now to find and book gigs?
  • If you have a message to deliver what is the question to ask yourself?
  • And so much more!



Nov 20, 2018

One of the fundamental keys to succeeding as a speaker is providing an exceptional customer experience for your client. This includes all aspects of your client's event: before, during and even after.

A man who knows this truth like the back of his own hand is Joey Coleman. You may remember Joey from epsiode 197 of the show, and you may remember we finished that show with a tease to bring him back. Well he's back and in full force for part II!

Today Joey walks us through an 8 step process of what to do before, during and after an event to provide an exceptional customer experience. He also explains why this all matters so much and gives us his top pro tip on what to never, ever, ever do! Jump on in and join us for this in-depth look at providing an exceptional customer experience on episode 212 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • How can you keynote the same event year after year?
  • When do clients have buyer's remorse and what can you do about it?
  • Why you don't have to be an exceptional speaker to be successful.
  • Why does he send letters of agreement and not contracts?
  • What are questions he always asks during planning calls?
  • What is the biggest fear most event planners have?
  • You have a minimum of three audiences for all of your gigs: what are they?
  • How to get your client to become your biggest advocate.
  • And so much more!



Nov 13, 2018

Can you change your audience once you’ve started speaking? You can, and here to share how to pivot in your speaking career is Kendra Dahlstrom.

On today’s episode of The Speaker Lab, Kendra shares how and why she changed her speaking niche, how she gained traction early on in her speaking career, and what it was like to make the jump from alast full-time job to a full-time speaking career.

Join us for all of that and so much more on today's 211th edition of The Speaker Lab!  


  • When did she know she wanted to work full-time as a speaker?
  • Why did she resist nailing down her niche?
  • How did she stay positive through multiple transitions?
  • What did she do early on to get gigs?
  • How did she know how much to charge initially?
  • Why does creating time blocks help prioritize?
  • How did she decide when to add coaching, consulting and courses?
  • What advice does she have if you want to leave your full-time job?
  • And so much more!



Nov 6, 2018

Do you need a speaking management company? What's the difference between a speaking management company and a speakers bureau?

Here to answer those questions and more is Karen Harris of CMI Speaker Management, a management agency for speakers. Karen's agency is designed to represent the speaker's interests and take care of their needs, while also growing their business.

On this episode of The Speaker Lab, we talk about the differences between speaker agents and bureaus before discussing what clients want to see from potential speakers and what distinguishes those speakers who make it from those who don't succeed. Join us for that and more on episode 210 of The Speaker Lab!  


  • What does Karen look for in potential clients for her agency?
  • Are videos better shown in small chunks or one longer clip?
  • What can we learn about marketing from the latest Mission Impossible movie?
  • Why should you have multiple YouTube channels and what should each of them be?
  • What are the top two topics event planners are booking for right now?
  • What works well to book gigs when you are a new or emerging speaker?
  • Do you always have to do "exposure opportunities"?
  • Why you must take a video down if it's more than a year old.
  • And so much more!




Oct 30, 2018

Have you ever considered how to develop your voice through speaking and writing? Whether you are a speaker who wants to write or a writer who has a book to promote writing and speaking go hand in hand. Here to tell us more about this is Ann Handley.

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, she's also a best-selling author and a speaker. Today on The Speaker Lab she and Melanie are talking about writing and speaking are intertwined, how to find and refine your unique voice and the importance of showing up authentically on stage and in your content.

Episode 209 is also a different kind of episode: Melanie Diezel is back as our interviewer. We've done this once before and you all loved it so much we decided to do it again. Let us know if you want another Melanie-run interview and a repeat visit from Ann after you listen to this latest edition of The Speaker Lab!  


  • What is the essence of public speaking?
  • What is the dirty truth of being an author?
  • Can we develop a strong sense of our own voice, even if we aren't writers?
  • What makes the best writing?
  • Is writing something only a few special people have been gifted with?
  • How does content play into building your speaking business?
  • What gave her the feedback to know she needed to write her second book?
  • What is a baby step you can take right now to experiment with writing?
  • And so much more!



Oct 23, 2018

Some of the advice you'll hear most on this show is about how to narrow your audience. Yes your topic may appeal to a wide range of audiences, but how are you going to find the people perfect for you? By staying focused and going narrow.

Someone who epitomizes this is Rick Clemons, our guest for this episode. Rick has gone through The Speaker Lab elite coaching program and has made fantastic strides in the process!

Today we are talking about how he's worked to narrow down who his audience is (even though his topic could appeal to many different groups), why systems and structure have helped him to book more gigs and simple strategies to increase engagement when contacting potential clients. Join us for that and more on episode 208 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • When did he realize he's a storyteller who happens to speak?
  • How did he pivot so he could narrow his focus?
  • How to adapt your language to connect with potential clients.
  • What is a common mistake most speakers make?
  • How and why to get clear on the results you want.
  • Why he focuses on the six to eight states nearest him.
  • What is his email follow up system?
  • How does he utilize video to personally connect with potential clients?
  • And so much more!



Oct 16, 2018

Do you think if you get listed with a speakers bureau the gigs will just come pouring in? It's not quite that simple.

Marcus Sheridan joins us to share why speakers bureaus alone won't make you successful (and what will) on episode 207 of The Speaker Lab.

Marcus is a successful speaker who has built his business in an unconventional way. Today we break down and bust through myths he held, how his perception of speaking bureaus has evolved and changed, how he thinks about speaking fees and quantifying the value you offer.

And we finish with Marcus giving an answer he is certain I disagree with! Tune in to hear what that answer is and if I actually do disagree on this episode of The Speaker Lab.  


  • Is a bureau pivotal to booking higher quality gigs?
  • Why bureaus should supplement your business, but not be the sole source.
  • Was it hard for him to ask for money for his own services?
  • Why success takes more than just getting on stage and speaking.
  • At what point did he start bringing in a team to help him?
  • Why does he think speakers have difficulty asking for higher fees?
  • Why people aren't paying you for your time, and what they are paying for instead.
  • How to take full advantage of the seeds of trust you have already developed.
  • And so much more!



Oct 9, 2018

Do you know what SEO stands for or how SEO can grow your speaking business? You're in luck because today's guest will answer those questions, and more. Brian Dean of Backlinko joins us for episode 206 of The Speaker Lab.

Brian's company is Backlinko, an SEO training company that teaches people how to rank in Google and YouTube. Most people know Backlinko as a blog, it gets 3 million visitors every year and is one of the top SEO blogs in the world.

If you're wondering what SEO is the term stands for search engine optimization, which means getting your site to rank higher on Google. The purpose of SEO is driving more traffic to your site from search engines, like Google and YouTube.

On this episode, we'll talk about why SEO (including blogging and YouTube) should be a part of your marketing strategy. Brian will also share techniques you can use, including where to begin, and much more on today's edition of The Speaker Lab.


  • What does EAT stand for and why does it matter in your Google rankings?
  • What is the barbell strategy?
  • How do you know which keywords you should use?
  • How many keywords should you be targeting to be most effective?
  • What are the two ways Google reviews your site to rank it?
  • Why has he put so much effort into YouTube?
  • What is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world?
  • How long should your videos be on YouTube?
  • And so much more!



Oct 2, 2018

You know it takes time, effort and energy to build and grow your speaking career; succeeding as a speaker means you also must know how to compete every day. Someone who embodies this is Jake Thompson. Jake's brand, Compete Every Day, is an apparel lifestyle brand based on the idea that life is worth competing for.

On this episode of The Speaker Lab, Jake will go into more detail on the evolution of his brand as well as how he's uncovered who his audience is, how he battles discouragement in this business, and how he hustles to expand his business without getting overwhelmed or spreading himself too thin.

We also get into some coaching before wrapping up with Jake's advice for hanging in there through the ups and downs of your journey. Join us for all of that on today's edition of The Speaker Lab.


  • When did he feel called to the stage, and why?
  • What is the goal behind his brand?
  • How has he gotten traction over the last six months?
  • What role has content played in helping people to find him?
  • Why it's easier to pivot from the wrong niche than it is to speak to a broad target market.
  • What can we learn from Kobe Bryant's basic drill exercises?
  • How is batching a variety content helping him grow his business?
  • Why you can do it all, just not at once.
  • And so much more!



Sep 25, 2018

Can publishing a book help your speaking career? It can and here to explain how to get a book deal is my friend Chad Allen. Chad has 20 years of publishing experience under his belt, including being the head of the Baker Books division of The Baker Publishing Group.

On this episode of The Speaker Lab, we're going to talk about how to create your book proposal, why and how to follow authors in your space, how to contact potential publishers, and much more.

Chad has been extremely instrumental behind the scenes of my own book deal and publishing process so I wanted to share his advice with you. Join us on to hear what we've been up to along with his advice for you on how to get a book deal on episode 204 of The Speaker Lab.


  • Why you need a business plan for your book.
  • What are the six major elements of a book proposal?
  • Do you always need a book agent?
  • How do publishers decide which books to publish?
  • What are the key metrics a publisher uses when evaluating your platform?
  • What is the #1 reason publishers turn down a proposal?
  • How many email subscribers do you need at a minimum?
  • What are the three forms of credibility and how does a book give you all of them?
  • And so much more!



Sep 18, 2018

One of the most common topics people ask me about is how to create a demo video. To dive into this topic our co-host, Ms. Melanie Diezel, is returning for episode 203.

This is an important part of building your speaking business and your brand so we're dedicating an entire show to it.

Today, Melanie and I will walk you through the best practices to keep in mind for your demo video, how to actually create your demo video with or without footage, and our best technical tips and software suggestions even if you aren't technically-oriented.

There's a lot to get to so tune in to hear it all on episode 203 of The Speaker Lab!  


  • Why your audience is key when you are creating your demo video.
  • How and why to use B roll and voiceover in moderation.
  • How can you layer in photos to show diverse experience?
  • What is one of the easiest ways to punch up your demo video?
  • What do you do if you need footage?
  • What are some ways to hold people's attention throughout your video?
  • Can you shoot your entire video using just an iPhone?
  • Why your title and description of your video are also important.
  • And so much more!



Sep 11, 2018

Are you a part-time speaker, or are you someone who speaks on occasion? Or maybe you're doing a lot of speaking on the side while still working your full-time job, and you're wondering how to transition into full-time speaking. If any of those scenarios sound like you then you're in luck!

Today's episode is completely dedicated to this very topic - how to transition into speaking full-time. Melanie and I will share our own stories of how we went from part-time speakers to having full-time speaking careers.

We'll also tell you when it makes the most sense to make the transition, how to juggle everything before, during and after the transition and how best to prepare yourself so you can make the transition as smooth as possible. Join us for those topics and more on episode 202 of The Speaker Lab.


  • Why are so many people intimidated by making the leap from their jobs to speaking?
  • How long does it take most speakers to build their business into full-time speaking gigs?
  • Why there is never the perfect time to do anything.
  • What are the two types of regret?
  • How can you promote yourself without ruffling the feathers of your full-time job?
  • What are other streams of revenue you can use while you build your speaking skills?
  • How to determine a realistic budget and a financial safety net.
  • Will there be some seasons that are busier than others even when you're an established speaker?
  • And so much more!



Sep 4, 2018

This is my favorite guest we've ever had and ever will have: my wife! We are talking with Sheila Baldwin, my other half.

Sheila was previously here with us on episode 60, and we're bringing her back for part two today. We'll talk about how to be married to a speaker: what Sheila's role has been in my business, what it's really like for her when I travel, how we divide up chores and what we like to do for fun.

You'll hear Sheila give her thoughts on those topics and more today. Please enjoy this conversation with me and my wife on this episode of The Speaker Lab!  


  • What was it like to make the transition from full-time work into self-employment as a speaker?
  • Will there ever be the perfect time?
  • How did we stay connected while I traveled for speaking gigs?
  • How can you stay fully present when you are at home?
  • When Sheila has been kept separate from my business, and why.
  • What challenges has she witnessed as the business has evolved over the years?
  • Did she ever want me to give up speaking?
  • Why does she have me do my own laundry?
  • And much more!



Aug 28, 2018

Welcome to The Speaker Lab for a very special milestone: episode 200! Whether it's your first time here or you've been with us for all 200 shows, thank you for listening.

On today's episode we are doing something different - we've reached out to our speaker friends and other people in the speaking industry and asked them to share their best speaking tip. It could be related to connecting to the audience, building your business or the craft itself.

About 20 some speakers chimed in with their #1 tip and you're going to hear it when you listen in to episode 200 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • Why should you throw away half of your best presentation?
  • What is a contextual model and why should you have one?
  • Why you should stop seeing others as competition and start learning from them instead.
  • Three ways to take full advantage of the ecosystem around your speaking engagement.
  • How do you get your audience to share your talk?
  • What three things do you need to have a sustained, successful speaking career?
  • Why you want to niche down as far as possible.
  • What is the one question you can ask to create more sales?
  • And so much more!



Aug 21, 2018

By now you know publishing is a great way to solidify your reputation in your niche. But did you know you can also grow your speaking revenue through publishing? You can and our friend Jeff Goins is here to share exactly how.

Today is a different type of episode, it's actually an interview taken from our upcoming course Beyond The Stage. Our conversation focuses on all things publishing: self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid of the two we are covering it.

There's a lot of great stuff on this show so please join me and Jeff Goins for a preview of Beyond The Stage right here on episode 199 of The Speaker Lab.  


  • Why getting a traditional book deal isn't necessarily going to make your career.
  • Did Mark Twain self-publish his books?
  • How are book advances determined?
  • When does it make sense to get a traditional book deal, and when not?
  • How do you know if your platform qualifies as a "big" platform?
  • What is hybrid publishing and how does it work?
  • When does a hybrid deal make sense and when does self-publishing make sense?
  • What are your "subrights" and why should you keep your audio rights?
  • And so much more!



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