140 | Get the Gig: Series 3 of 3 with Gene Hammett

Gene HammettToday, I share with you the the third episode in this “Get the Gig” series and what personally works for me. I’ll be specifically honing in on “unpaid” gigs that produce big payoffs. Getting on the stage requires that you get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. I’ll be sharing the common myths and mistakes people make in the process of booking their speaking gigs. And even more importantly how to land your gigs.

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Gene’s Target Audience: Gene works with entrepreneurs who want to find the perfect match between their unique value and the people who will become their best clients and biggest fans.

Taking the stage to get clients is not new. Likely you have heard that it is the highest ROI for lead generation

My experience over the last 5 years is certainly that speaking has the highest payoff. Speaking on a “stage” provides immediate credibility and trust that just meeting someone won’t give you. It is amazing how different the experience is when you compare attending an event to speaking at an event. The attendees look to the “expert” the speaker- as the one that has the answers. The Speaker has the chance to take the relationship 2 or more levels higher just because they have been invited by the organizers to share their perspective. It is a given that you want to be great at what you do- this is a must! If you are not good at sharing your thoughts and leading the audience to a new place, you will harm your future business. BUT if you stay in a realm of information and topics you are experienced in, you will likely have more information than anyone else in the room.

There are 2 types of gigs: paid and unpaid

Let’s talk about PAID speaking gigs first.

Paid is great. My wife is a paid speaker. She gets 3 to 7k per speech. For most professional speakers, experts and celebrities, this is great, yet not usually the starting place. And not necessarily the place that I suggest leaders start when they really just want more clients. Types of paid speeches include Keynotes, breakouts, and workshops.

Unpaid is also great. It is where you start if you want to quickly get clients. (I have never heard of anyone that has just rocked up to speaking and got a check on the first speech). It is not impossible, but rare. I love unpaid events because I have more freedom to attend events and be in the room with my ideal clients. I have made more than $25,000 just from giving a speech where I paid $900 dollars in travel expenses.

Examples of where to give unpaid speeches are at local events like business networking groups, meetups, chambers of commerce, and don’t forget the special divisions of chambers too, rotary clubs, associations, and other monthly groups. There are groups exclusively for women, men, or mixed. Whether it is small business owners, executives, salespeople, front line business owners, or leaders- there is a group out there that needs to hear your powerful message.


Who is this for? Speaking is for market leaders and emerging leaders. I have helped coaches, consultants, creatives, mortgage brokers, and many more in my work. Most of them now do some sort of speaking to generate leads and get clients. The common element is you have something BIG to say. We don’t need speakers spouting out the same old stuff. Do you have a message that is begging to be shared?

If this you and if you want to share your value with an audience…lean in…get your notes ready…I am giving you all I’m going to give you all I’ve got right now on getting the unpaid gig.

My first speech as a coach had 6 people in the audience at a business club. I had been asked to fill in for someone at the very last minute and yes, the gig was unpaid. However, one of those people became a client and created thousands of dollars in revenue for me.

This inspired me to get more speaking gigs. I did 20+ speeches in 2013 (#1 lead source and #1 revenue source for my business).

I gave one speech in 2013 and someone that heard me hired me a year later. This was amazing to know that my message stuck with them and they remembered to call me a year later. The power of speaking positions you away from others as the authority or trusted advisor.

In 2014, I spoke on national stages. Some paid my expenses and some did not. My average was 18K per speech in revenue after the speech (notice I said AFTER the speech). I got great clients from speaking and many of them are still with me.

5 Myths About Speaking Gigs:

  • “It’s Too hard”: so they don’t even try. Not sure where to start. I am about to tell you how.
  • “Not many opportunities”: this is a huge myth. There are thousands of events everyday- in fact there are hundreds in your local metro area.
  • “You need experience first”: No! Jumping in is how you get experience. It helps to understand how to structure a speech and deliver a speech. (I will give you something on this to help you at the end of today’s show).
  • “You need a book”: No published book is necessary- don’t let this stop you.
  • “They just let anyone up there – Well you know this is not true. You have likely sat through some of those speeches- don’t be that person.

Brace yourself for Failure: You will not get every speech. Seriously. You have to find the right gig for you. You will get turned down. What’s the lesson in that? Persistence & Focus (make this your job).

2 biggest mistakes you can make:

1) Not starting – letting some fear stop you from doing it
2) Quitting too soon – chasing some other shiny object before you really impact

Today we start with a huge question I get all the time: “HOW DO I GET SPEAKING GIGS?” I am going to give you all I can. But this is just the first step in really a 5 step process. I want to give you all 5 steps in a training that I put together. It is FREE and it will help you if you are willing to apply what I share with you. Will it be hard? No, but it will push you out of your comfort zone.

If you want the full training, scroll to the bottom and look under “Resources.” You will find all 5 STEPS on getting Speaking gigs and getting the clients.

Let’s jump right into how to get Speaking Gigs:

Prerequisite: Understanding your Niche. This is about knowing your specific audience and the best topic for you to share with them. Most people approach this and just want any audience. However, if you want to get clients, focus on audiences that are full of people that WANT what you offer and are WILLING to invest in your offer. Once you have this, everything else gets easier.

Finding the SPEAKING GIG

Problem: Many people find out too late. Remember that the bigger the opportunity, the more advanced planning is required.

Plan ahead with your research and your pitches.

6 parts to Step one “Finding the SPEAKING gig”

1. Research -Use THE GOOGLE to search niche + conference or niche + association + state/city. Peak over the shoulder of other speakers you admire (see where they are speaking). MeetUp.com is a great way to network too. Find the influencers in your niche (start local, but you are not limited to local). With experience, you can easily turn a speech into 5 figures and it is a blast. (Here is a secret- super secret way to get gigs: It’s called the “ASK strategy”).

2. Discovery – which events are right for you? Here are the 5 things you MUST know before pitching:
a) Your Niche/profitable: know your audience!
b) Your title
c) Your core message,
d) 60 second overview
e) Write dozens of titles. The first one is never the one with the most zing so draft 2 dozen titles and then rework them until you get it.

3. Your Positioning – Prepare your website, messages, video, one sheets, head shots, experience (if you’ve got it). If this is your first event don’t bother with this stuff. It is a distraction and you will just be making it all up. If you have some experience, the best job possible is to put what you have together in a clear format. Organizers have told me to put it all on one page to make it easy for them to find it. Your priorities are having a great BIO and great headshot (no photos with animals or some 15 year old shot at the mall, aka- “glamour shots”).

4. Your Approach – Determine who is the organizer. Utilize social strategies by outreaching and making calls. You can have someone do this for you. Email is a great tool, but be sure to follow up. Booking gigs is more about a relationship than a transaction. Getting certain gigs will take a long while and are a result of a nurtured relationship

5. Making Your Pitch or Submissions – They specifically ask for an engaging title, great descriptions that spark curiosity, powerful bios (sample bio on show notes), head shots, experience. Some organizers ask for slides before the event. The bigger the event, the more in advance they will need these items.

6. Accepting the GIG – 7 questions you MUST know before saying YES: Access the TOOLKIT here.

After you get the gig, you are going to need to prepare the content (aka write the speech), practice the speech, deliver it, make an offer and get the clients (enrollment conversations). I have a free training for you to help you understand all 5 Steps of Getting the Gig and Getting The Clients. Scroll to the bottom of this show notes and look under “Resources” for your Free Toolkit.

Get the GIGs and Get the Clients…5 Steps to Speaking for Impact

Start locally…thousands of meetings need speakers
• Not hard to find, but focus on your ideal clients
• Get experience with Toastmasters if you are serious
• Bigger stages come with experience and positioning
• Creating your own events is a great way to grow
• Start small to get practice and not stress over getting numbers of people to your event

Leaders take ACTION. They don’t let fear or other excuses stop them. Leaders are willing to stand up and speak up about what they believe.


Go for it. Nothing will come to you just because you are awesome.The most successful leaders are ACTION TAKERS. When you have the right mindset and the right strategy, you can do it. Seek out opportunities that give you experience and ones that stretch you. When challenges get in the way, turn those challenges into an opportunity.

If you want to RIGHT the wrongs in your industry…take the stage.
If you want to dispel the MYTHS in your industry…take the stage.
If you want to position your AUTHORITY with your ideal clients…take the stage.


Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter @genehammett.

Do you have questions about today’s episode!?

Did you know that you can apply to chat with me by phone? This is a limited time offer to help anyone that is serious about refining their business as well as developing a clear & compelling strategy that will drive them forward. Complete the questions and our team will follow up with you to schedule time for your “Business Breakthrough Session”. These are limited to 30 minutes, completely free and oh, so valuable.  Apply Now!


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