How to Stay Ahead in the Ever-Changing High-Paid Speaking Market

The professional speaking market is complex and fragmented, added to that it’s always changing, because client needs are constantly changing. As a speaker, one of the biggest hurdles you face is staying relevant. Success relies on your ability to predict changes, adapt to new demands, and consistently offer innovative, engaging content to your audience. Here is a short guide on how to stay ahead in the high-paid speaking market.
1. Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience is key to remaining relevant. Who are they? What are their interests, concerns, or aspirations?  Audience preferences evolve over time, and having a finger on the pulse of their needs helps you tailor your content to deliver the right outcomes.
2. Keep Abreast of Industry Trends
Make a concerted effort to stay informed about the latest trends in your field and the speaking industry.  Now you are going to say, Maria there isn’t really a speaking industry is there.  Well, no, not really.  You need to keep up with the industries that your clients are in and what’s going on in Meetings and Events.  How? Attend conferences, join professional speaker networks, follow thought leaders on social media, and subscribe to blogs, podcasts, and newsletters.  Check out new speaking styles, presentation technologies, and content delivery platforms that could improve your delivery.
3. Continuous Learning and Development 
In any ever-changing market, you have to keep learning.  Here are some ideas: Attend workshops, online courses, and seminars.  Hire a coach who can give you personalised feedback and guidance.  Don’t know one?  Check out Mary Tillson-Wharton
4. Create a Unique Brand
In the crowded speaking market, a unique brand helps you stand out. Your brand goes beyond your logo or tagline – it embodies your values, your speaking style, and the unique experiences you bring to your audience. Develop a strong personal brand to position you as a go-to expert in your field and can attract higher-paying speaking engagements.
5. Harness Technology
Embrace tech, it can save you hours and really propel your business.  Use social media to be visible, make sure you choose the right platform/s.  Engage with your audience, and promote your speaking.   Many organisers look for speakers with a strong online presence, and even if it’s not a requirement they will check you out online.  Rehearse your virtual speaking, if that’s going to be part of your offering, practise on the different platforms and make sure that your visual and audio is top quality.   
6. Diversify
We all know what happened in Covid to those who only offered keynote speeches, they had a very bad time.  Learn from that.  Diversify, create a portfolio of services with a range of fees to appeal to different budgets without devaluing your work. This could include workshops, online courses, podcasts, writing articles, providing templactes, coaching etc.  As well as giving you additional income streams, it also enhances your credibility and exposure.
7. Build Relationships
Build relationships with event organisers, past clients, and other speakers. They will become your best source of referrals, recommendations, and repeat business. A healthy professional network is an invaluable asset in staying ahead of the curve in the high-paid speaking market.
Staying ahead in the high-paid speaking market means you can’t keep doing what you’ve always been doing.  You need to be continuously learning, adapting, and innovating.  Regularly reviewing and enhancing your value proposition and being proactive about meeting the changing needs of your audience and the industry. That means staying close to your clients, prospects, and competitors.
In the words of William S. Burroughs (yes I had to look it up) “When you stop growing you start dying.”  We don’t want to do that.  So let’s get moving.  Which of the above do you already do and which are you going to start doing/do more of?

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