Quips, tips and parting shots
How to Avoid the Success Myths
of the Speaking Business
8 Shortcuts to a 12-Step Program
Take it from me, a recovered
speaking addict. After 12
coaches and 17 boot camps
in a dozen years, I finally
faced and conquered my
addiction. I now offer my
pearls of wisdom so that other addicts
can recover without the hardships I
experienced. Here’s how you can break
out of the eight success myths that will
keep you trapped by your addiction.
It’s all about the audience. While some
speakers would have you believe that
it’s all about the audience, I’ve found
that the more you focus on the audience, the more likely you’ll lose your
place. Focus on yourself because if
you’re not the center of attention, there
is nothing for the audience to focus on.
You must have an incredible one-sheet.
I printed 50,000 full-color one-sheets
for a mere 20 cents per piece. Now
I have enough to last me until 2030.
While I can’t change anything about my
business until I run out of one-sheets, I
saved a bundle.
You’ll grow your business by working
with bureaus. Bureaus charge 30 to 35
percent commission so the more you
work with them, the less you will make.
The less you make, the more likely
you’ll be out of business in a year. That
means more business for me.
Charge what you’re worth. During my
first year in business, I charged $150
for a half-day seminar. My speaker colleagues advised, “You’re worth way
more than that. Your clients will never
perceive value unless you charge more.”
The next year, I charged $10,000 per
presentation. I went from doing 100
programs a year to none, but was
thrilled that I was “charging more per
presentation and working less.”
I printed 50,000 full-color
one-sheets for a mere
20 cents per piece. Now
I have enough to last me
You must continually develop new material. There are 300 million people in the
United States. That means that roughly
299.99 million have not heard your
material. There are only seven highly
effective ideas. Do the math—it’s much
easier to find a new audience than new
You must create additional revenue
streams. To survive in the speaking
business, you must be more than just
a speaker. You must train, consult and
coach. I hired myself as a consultant to
evaluate my skills and then contracted
with myself as a presentation skills
coach. By doing so, I was able to triple
You must be an expert. We are told to
be “experts who speak for a living,” but
many of the most successful speakers
simply failed in life and then figured out
how to make money from their failures.
Instead of spending time developing
expertise, focus your energy on failed
Everest summits, Olympic catastrophes
or unresolved childhood bullying.
Let it go. A well-known speaker, who
will remain anonymous (but who’s
name rhymes with “Bo Malloway”),
once did a speech encouraging us to
“let go” of those things getting in the
way of our success. I decided to heed
his advice and let go of all my clients.
Now, I have much more time to pursue
my passion of speaking.
With a decade of experience in healthcare and 20 years as a humorist and
motivational speaker, Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP, offers humorous and
funny presentations that show how humor can redefine excellence for healthcare leaders and staff to improve the quality of patient care. For more information, visit www.FUNsulting.com.