How to Build a Public Speaking Career

A NEW BOOK By Smiley Poswolsky



About the Book

Public speaking has become an essential life skill. In previous decades, the barometer for successful thought leadership was publishing a book. Today, it is delivering a TED talk.

Every single minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube, 400 hours of new video are shared, and 7,000,000 videos are watched on Snapchat. There are five TEDx events organized every day in 130 countries. Every day, 1.5 million TED talks are watched online. These talks are translated into 90 languages. 

In addition to becoming more popular, the speaking industry is changing quickly. The speaker circuit is becoming more diverse, more interactive, and more experiential. Op-eds have exposed the antiquated corporate speaking circuit for what it is: a never-ending parade of white men. A recent article in The Atlantic cited research proving that women are invited to give fewer talks then men at top U.S. universities. Forbes did an expose on the pay-gap between men and women speakers at tech conferences. Mic ran a popular article titled, “Think there aren’t qualified women in tech? Here are 1,000 names. No more excuses.” The blog, “Congrats: you have an all-male panel,” went viral.

THE BREAKTHROUGH SPEAKER is the first guide for the next generation to take over the speaking industry from BOWDs (Boring Old White Dudes). For too long, too many people, too many BOWDs in ill-fitting khakis, have realized public speaking is a lucrative field and they haven’t told anyone, certainly not anyone that doesn’t look like them, how they did it. There has never been a better time to break in and shake up this archaic industry. 

This book shares the lessons I’ve learned from building my speaking business from $0 of revenue to over $100,000 a year of revenue. It includes anecdotes from other successful speakers and changemakers I’ve met along the way, and provides helpful lessons, tools, interviews, and workbook-style exercises for speakers to start earning money from sharing their story. 


A Practical Guide to Break Into Public Speaking 

Part I: Speak your truth will help you discover your story, craft an anchor to earn credibility, and discover how to align your zone of genius with a top-of-mind hook organizations care about and are willing to pay for.

Part II: Share your truth will give you the marketing tools to spread your message, reach a wider audience, and make your work stand out from the crowd.

Part III: Get paid for your truth provides tips for you to break into the corporate speaking industry, stand in your worth, negotiate higher speaking fees, and become a speaker clients love.

Resources and Bonus Chapters: Discover the best books, podcasts, courses, and tools to help you grow your speaking business. Learn how to write a book that will grow your speaking business. Plus, 10 interviews with professional speakers, speaking agents, and conference organizers to help you book more gigs and make more money. 


A Few Things You'll Learn

How do you storyboard an inspiring talk?

How do you turn your 15-minute TED talk  into a business that can generate anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 an hour?

How do you break into an archaic corporate speaking industry?

How do you market yourself as a speaker when you're just getting started? 

How do you stand out in a sea of speakers doing similar work? 

How do you know when to take an unpaid speaking gig? 

How do you book your first paid speaking gig?

How do you know what to charge for speaking gigs? 

How do you increase your speaking fee from $0 to $10,000 a gig? 

How do you get a speaking agent? Do you need a speaking agent? 

How do you write a book that will grow your speaking business? 

How do you empower other speakers in your community? 

How do you ensure all conferences and events book diverse speakers?

How do you maintain balance in an industry that is often grueling and lonely? 


Want to work on the book?  

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The Women Speaker Initiative 

The intention of this book is create opportunities and assets for new voices in public speaking. This project supports The Women & POC Speaker Initiative, a community which aims to increase the number of women and people of color speaking at conferences and companies, as well as ensure that women and POC speakers get paid competitively as compared to their colleagues.

100 percent of the profits from sales of the book after expenses will go toward supporting efforts of The Women & POC Speaker Initiative (which now has over 1000 members!). If you are interested in learning more about The Women Speaker Initiative, please join us. Anyone (anyone) who supports increasing opportunities for women and POC in public speaking is welcome.