40 | SPEAKER | March 2017
tHe transItIonIng sPeaker
Making the leap to full-time speaking
Iwas having a working lunch in the Koz Sushi Bar in Washing- ton, D.C., with a friend of mine, when she asked, “What’s your secret to your professional speaker marketing?”
I was taken aback, because I
consider myself a horrible marketer.
However, I reflected on her question,
and came to the realization that my
story is my greatest marketing asset.
I believe story is the foundation
for embarking on this profession.
Every speaker I know began their
journey with a story. The story usually
centers on some new insight that solves
a problem for clients and audiences.
There are three ways I’ve discovered
that work in marketing my story.
They might be rudimentary for the
experienced speaker, but I also know
building a solid foundation is critical
to future success.
Know Your Story. First, know
your story before you market
your story. What makes your story
different than others?
Stories need conflict and resolution.
I have many stories, but the story that
resonates most with audiences is my new
normal signature story because it contains the most conflict and resolution.
Bill Stainton, 29-time Emmy Award
recipient, says that to find a good story,
you should look for times in your life
when something went wrong. Stainton’s strategy is brilliant. I call it being
We all make mistakes. If you are one
of those people who never make mis-
takes, you probably know someone
who has. Mistakes are unique to us, yet
universal to others. Sharing uniquely
unique mistakes connects with our au-
diences. Find your unique mistake and
Tell to Sell. Tell your story to sell
your story. Then, make a point.
In 2014, I had a problem. I was failing at telling my signature story. Audience members would approach me
after my speech, shake my hand and
sympathetically say, “Oh, I feel so sorry
for you.” Um, not the response I desired. Something needed to change.
Throughout my entire sports career,
I have been coached. Yet, I was never
coached as a speaker.
After being convinced by Vernice
“Flygirl” Armour, CSP, who told me
to invest in a coach, I immediately
called Story Theater Method masters
Doug Stevenson, CSP, and Debbie
Stevenson and booked their last
coaching retreat spot.
The Stevensons enhanced my story
and moved it from sympathy to symphony. Audiences no longer feel sorry
for me. My story makes the point I
need it to make and actually sells my
Be Authentic and Excited. Be live
and alive for prime time.
No matter your topic, if you are not
projecting authenticity and excitement
when sharing your story, your audience
won’t buy it. Your audience mirrors
your emotional output.
I am not saying you must jump
around the stage like a wild person. I
am saying you should be congruent to
When you are authentic on the platform, your audience will share you
with their friends. This is prime time to
ask them to share you with others.
I hand out an evaluable lead sheet to
attendees after each program. When
someone checks the box indicating they
want me to speak for their group, the
evaluation has just morphed into a very
warm lead and potential cash.
Back in the sushi bar, I turned to
my friend and answered her question:
“My secret to marketing is to tell a
John Register, CSP, is a Para-
Three Ways to Market Your Story
lympic silver medalist, Gulf
War veteran and experiential
keynote speaker who shows
business leaders the secrets to
medal podium performance by cultivating a
new normal mindset for success. View his
2015 TEDx Talk at www.johnregister.com.