6 Important Tips About How to Become a Paid Speaker

I spoke to head coach Mary Ann Sedor who is the founder of Intent MultisportShe is an awesome “all-in” person and I interviewed her for my sixth book- NO ONE Gets There ALONE. 

I sent her a video clip about my experience completing an Ironman, and she commented how she really connected with me as a speaker. 

That’s always nice to hear that you rock, because I mean who doesn’t like to hear that their stuff is awesome?  One of the most nervous and prepared keynote talks that I ever gave was to all the NFL strength coaches at the NFL combine. But, I used the same method I have ever since the beginning. 

I told her my “style” was from my very first time speaking in public.  

I was in a drunk-driving accident in college. I also fell off an 80-foot cliff. It was not the best freshman year of college. 

My accident occurred on April 20th in the early evening as I was attempting to drive back to college.

I crossed the center line and hit another car head-on. I was a loser! 

I never wanted to hurt anyone and it was a horrible mistake. Thank God I was the only person injured in that crash. It is also why I quit drinking…

Just a few weeks later as I tried to finish the semester, I received a call from someone in charge of Prom Promise at a local high-school. They wanted me to speak about the dangers of drinking and driving.

My jaw was broke, my arm in a sling, and it would be at a rival high-school where I still knew some of the people.

It was humbling, but I could not say “no.”

In front of a thousand high-school students, I told my story. And that’s when and where my speaking career began.

My mess was my message.

I realized that people enjoy hearing about your successes, but they really identify with your struggle.

How to become a paid speaker

Here’s 6 tips on how to become a paid speaker

1. Be Real and Genuine
2. Develop a 15-minute talk 
3. GIVE this 15-minute talk away
4. Video your talk
5. Create a 1-page speaker sheet
6. When you are asked to speak, CHARGE. 

1. Be real and be genuine. 

Not for your ego’s sake, but because we connect with the vulnerabilities of suffering. Most people try to copy others, develop your OWN style!

Borrow from others, but keep the royalties of your own personality and uniqueness. We speak from experience, so get out there and live and you’ll have perfect ways to help others. It’s one of my whys for doing tough races. 

2. Develop a 15-minute talk.

This is the task that I’ve had all of my sport psychology interns complete and most still use it to this day!

They craft and perfect a 15-minute talk…

Give your talk from a personal experience and speak about the one story that you probably don’t want to share either ( see tip #1). Work this into a masterful 15-minute talk that you can give at any venue in front of anyone. Get this down cold! 

3. Give this 15-minute talk away.

I’m a not a give it away for free guy. But, hear me out. This tip on how to become a paid speaker really works!

Seek out Optimists clubs, Rotary Clubs, and/or Chamber of Commerce to perfect your talk. When you are good enough and in doing so, someone in attendance will want to hire you to speak to their own company or team.

4. Video your talk.

Almost every year, I gave a Tedx type talk, called Sparks.

Here’s a compilation of these talks that serve as great marketing.  

With video, people can watch you in action and it takes the guesswork if you’re any “good.” It’s a huge marketing piece to becoming a paid speaker. It’s an investment, but worth it. 

5. Create a one-page speaker sheet.

Another investment that is well worth it!

Get a graphic designer to help cultivate your speaking brand. A one-pager interactive PDF shows off your work, expertise, topics, and testimonials from your 15-minute talk.  

6. Finally, when you are asked to speak, charge.

When you’re invited to speak, it’s how to become a paid speaker! 

If you don’t charge, then you’re not mentally ready to get paid for speaking and more work on your own head trash is needed.

It’s better to disappoint someone who wants you to speak because you charge, then it is to be resentful at yourself if you keep doing it for free.

There will be “no’s”, but that’s the game on the way to getting paid. 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.