How to Go from FREE to a FEE Paid Speaking Engagement

As a Professional Speaker I often get asked by those who have tackled the fear of speaking publically - "Can I get PAID to do this?" Of course, for me it is a YES!

So the first step is "practicing" on a free audience. If you've been using your dog while he's sitting on the couch or, practicing in front of the mirror, or a teddy bear sitting in a chair - it's time to graduate. So the question is where do I go to speak for free?

  1. Every club looks for speakers for their local meetings. You need to make sure what you're speaking on would be a good fit for them and then ask if you can speak at the next meeting. Your goal is not to sell anything - it's to build rapport, practice your talk and develop a "close" to get their contact information so that you can follow up and see if they are looking for your information in-house.

    When I first started speaking - I had no "product" to sell or even give away. SO I loved The Dollar Store. Did you know there are some GREAT books there that are current and about business or business people that just didn't sell in the stores so those got shipped to the dollar store? So for a small investment you can pick up several books and offer those as give-aways when you speak. Just have every audience member put their card in a bowl you've brought and do a drawing. Then follow up with the rest of the cards via phone or email.
  2. Ask for an honorarium from the club. If the won't pay you the $150, just by asking, they will be obligated to do some sort of exchange with you. The best exchange is a list of participants. That way you can follow up via email or phone for additional opportunities.
  3. Another way is to speak for free in exchange for a Letter of Recommendation to (a) their national convention contact where you can get paid (b) their regional director of their company so that you can get paid to do in-house training.
These strategies continue to work for me - decades after being in the business. Yes I STILL speak "for free" on occasion when I need to get introduced to an new industry or presenting a new always ends up providing me a fee paid engagement in the future!


CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Speaker, Keynoter, Personal Coach, Author and now Get a Life Balanced Podcaster. You can view more credentials at She's known as The Implementation Coach presenting programs that get results for attendees. Whether it be sales, communication, leadership, goal setting. life balance. or presentation skills - she's proven she knows her stuff with 25 years on the platform.   Reach her directly at ...

Go Deeper | Website

Want More?

New Graphic
Subscriber Counter