The Speaker’s Edge

The Ultimate Go-To Guide for Locating and Landing Lots of Speaking Gigs

By Ken Lizotte – Foreword by Alan Weiss, PhD

Pub Date: July 12, 2016
The Speaker's Edge
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-938548-36-9 / 216 pages / $19.95
ePub ISBN: 978-1-938548-37-6 / $9.99
Kindle ISBN: 978-1-938548-58-1 / $9.99
ePDF ISBN: 978-1-938548-38-3 / $9.99

• Discover hundreds of tactics to find and win speaking engagements, especially ones that pay
• Describes products and services you can offer as add-ons to their speaking engagements
• Aimed at consultants, authors, business professionals, and other speakers

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Speakers for business and nonprofit events are sought out each and every day by meeting planners and program directors. Those who get the call are typically those who will fill a specific need and can boast the correct credentials and experience. The Speaker’s Edge will show readers how to land these speaking engagements, especially ones that pay.

This comprehensive book covers all the conventional means for locating and winning speaking engagements as well as clever, innovative tactics practiced by the most successful veteran speakers. Readers will learn how to:

  • Position themselves as go-to thought leaders in their speaking field of expertise
  • Use valuable tools to highlight their speaker value, including social media videos, websites, speaker sheets, speaker bureaus, speaker business cards
  • Consider a variety of speaking opportunities, such as serving on or moderating a panel, introducing another speaker, emceeing or hosting an event, conducting a breakout session, and participating in webinars, podcasts, TV, teleseminars, Skype events
  • Carefully craft a high-impact message – a 20-second elevator speech
  • Locate attractive speaking venues, and successfully use the formal proposal systems such venues require
  • Consider what freebies and volunteering for pro bono gigs offer as venues for practice and visibility
  • Hire someone to be a speaking placement manager
  • Negotiate great deals, including setting fees, expenses to request, and give meeting planners options
  • Maximize the speaking experience, including selling products, following-up with thank-you e-mails, building an e-list from the audience, arranging follow-up gigs, soliciting testimonials, referrals, and evaluations, and getting videos or other recordings made of the presentation

By employing many or all of the recommendations in this book, readers will elevate their speaking careers and businesses to new heights.

About the Author

Ken Lizotte

Ken Lizotte, CMC, is the Chief Imaginative Officer of Emerson Consulting Group Inc., a firm that transforms businesses and individual experts into “thoughtleaders.” A Certified Management Consultant, Ken speaks regularly to the CEO Club of Boston, Harvard University Extension School, the Concord Authors Festival, the Institute of Management Consultants, and the National Speakers Association, as well as many others. Topics include book publishing, article writing, public speaking strategies, building creative skills, the art of thought leadership, discovering your “dream career,” and work-life balance. Author of six other books such as The Expert’s Edge (McGraw-Hill), he’s been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Fortune Magazine, CBS-TV News, National Public Radio, and Investor’s Business Daily, to name just a few. He is also pro bono president of Thoreau Farm, the birthplace of Henry David Thoreau, located in Concord, Massachusetts, where Ken resides with his family.

Table of Contents


  1. Intro: Speakers Wanted!
  2. Setting Yourself Up: The Basics
  3. Why Authoring a Book (or Two, or More) Is Essential
  4. Social Media and Eblasts: Spreading the Good Word
  5. Tools & Tricks of the Trade
  6. Keynotes Aren’t Everything
  7. Making Formal Proposals
  8. Creating Your Own
  9. Volunteering and Freebies
  10. A Little Help from Your Friends
  11. Hire Somebody!
  12. Negotiating Great Deals
  13. Delivering Great Presentations
  14. Maximizing Your Engagements
  15. Conclusion: Ensuring Speaking Success

About the Author



First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. — Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Do you have all your speaking ducks in a row? Because without at least some of those essentials you’ll be hard-pressed to succeed at locating and landing lots of speaking engagements, no matter what else you learn from this book.

But before we line up these ducks, let’s look at what other speakers and event planners have to say about what’s worked for them. Which is not to say that the results of a survey I took on the matter are carved in stone. Nope, some of these methods might work for you even if they haven’t work for others, and some might not work for you even though they have worked for others. But knowing how the extremes play out may direct you to worthwhile priorities and time well spent. At the very least, studying the experiences of others can give you a place to begin.
Here’s what my speaking engagement survey participants told me about the effectiveness of the most commonly recommended techniques for developing new gigs:

Top Vote Getters

• Referrals and networking
• Publishing

Second-Tier Vote Getters

• Employing a speaker marketing rep
• Internet presence
• Contacting event planners directly
• Social media
• Formal proposals

Few Votes or None at All

• Media interviews (1)
• Advertising (0)
• Cold calls (0)

The most effective techniques clustered around paying attention to relationships and simply getting out there (referrals and networking) as well as publishing your ideas, preferably in a book. While the first is practiced by most of us in one form or another, the second is often ignored.

Yet authoring a book, or even articles published in reputable journals, reigns supreme for a variety of reasons. The credibility that comes your way can be enormous, amplifying your status as an expert and dazzling your potential audiences with the glitter of your name in lights . . . or at least on the cover of your shiny new book. Many in your audience will envy you for your ability not only to get a book published but also to write a book at all. Others will be ecstatic that they can take you home via your book and learn still more about a topic that has now, thanks to your speaking skills, so stimulated their interest.

Certainly not least among reasons to write and publish a book is the fact that many event planners are swayed to offer their speaker slots to authors, for reasons such as those cited above. A majority of my survey-takers have therefore found that publishing ranks at the top of effective techniques for landing speaking engagements.

On the other hand, note the lowest tier results, where few or no votes were cast for media interviews, advertising, or cold calls. Maybe these methods would work for you, but they were reported to be a pure and utter waste of time by most speakers. Though there do exist potential rewards from media interviews, no one had anything good to say about advertising or cold calls.

Praise for The Speaker’s Edge

For those of you looking for great advice on how to secure speaking engagements, The Speaker’s Edge is the book for you. Whether you’re just starting out in the speaking circuit or a veteran speaker, you’ll get some great tips on the how and where to take advantage of the many speaking opportunities out there, both paid and unpaid. Ken Lizotte has written this book in a conversational style with tips that speakers can easily implement right away.
STEVE MARKMAN, President, Markman Speaker Management

A landmark book for speakers! Powerful, practical, and spot-on advice from one of today’s most experienced thoughtleaders. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the field, The Speaker’s Edge is an essential read for any speaker who wants to reach the highest level of performance and excellence!
MARSHALL GOLDSMITH , the international best-selling author or editor of 35 books including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and the #1 New York Times bestseller Triggers

As an experienced author of 30+ books, I didn’t think I could learn anything new about the publishing game. Boy, was I wrong! Because reading Ken’s wonderful book (especially Chapter 3) wasn’t only ‘a feast of recognition’ for me, it actually contained all kinds of new and interesting material which turned out to be very helpful in publishing and marketing my work in a high performance way.
DR. ANDRE DE WALL, MBA, Academic Director, HPO Center, the Netherlands, and Associate Professor, Maastricht School of Management, the Netherlands, and author of What Makes A High Performance Organization

The vast majority of professionals simply do not understand what a profound, positive change they can make in their business by speaking effectively in front of their most important audiences. As an expert on the platform, you differentiate yourself from all others in your field, and build a formidable, unforgettable brand. Embrace the secrets of this book and leave your competitors in the dust.
SUZANNE BATES, author of All the Leader You Can Be, Speak Like a CEO, Discover Your CEO Brand, and Motivate Like a CEO (all from McGraw-Hill) and CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), a designation of the National Speakers Association

The Speaker’s Edge is the go-to resource to turn a speaking hobby into a speaking business. The strategies and techniques presented by Ken Lizotte are field-tested and proven. They work!
LEE B. SALZ, sales management strategist and bestselling author of Hire Right, Higher Profits

Ken Lizotte’s Speaker’s Edge is the perfect sidekick for new speakers looking to get started, get noticed, and get booked! This helpful guide teaches the dos (and don’ts!) of building a successful speaking business while giving lots of useful tips and stories from successful speakers. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to be taken seriously and make a real career out of the art of speaking!
ANGELA LUSSIER, award-winning speaker, author and creator of The Speaking School for Women

Ken Lizotte understands that professional service practitioners – consultants, speakers, and executive coaches – want pragmatic, no-nonsense strategies and tactics to boost their effectiveness. In his newest book, The Speaker’s Edge, Ken presents a guidebook to getting speaking gigs and growing your professional speaking business. The advice is immediately usable and relevant for today’s market. We should all call Ken ‘The Mailman’ because he just keeps delivering the kind of practical advice we all need to grow our businesses, serve our clients and balance our personal lives.
JIM POULIOPOLOUS, Director, Professional Sales Program and Marketing Lecturer, Bentley University

Don’t be a ‘best-kept secret.’ Speaking brings visibility and presence. The Speaker’s Edge provides you with everything you need to land high profile speaking engagements. A must for all thought leaders.
RICK DACRI, CEO, Dacri & Associates, LLC, nationally recognized speaker and author of Uncomplicating Management: Focus on Your Stars and Your Company Will Soar

Ken Lizotte delivers another masterpiece! The Speaker’s Edge is a comprehensive, practical guide to making a business out of speaking. Where other books speak in generalities, Ken gives you specifics including templates, checklists, and all the how-to’s you need as a new, intermediate, or even veteran speaker. His recommendations are not absolutes, but a plethora of options to pick and choose to best suit your market and your buyer’s interests. Regardless of which you choose, you’re assured they’ve all been tried and tested by the expert speakers whom he’s been advising for years. If you follow Ken’s advice and your customers’ direction, you can’t help but book rewarding and profitable speaking engagements, over and over.
CURTIS N. BINGHAM, CEO, Chief Customer Officer Council

I do a lot of speaking and have heard many professional speakers talk about their craft. I have to say Ken Lizotte’s book, The Speaker’s Edge, brings new value-added to the conversation. Ken shows readers why a speaking gig is not about the money it pays, or the publicity. Speaking is a platform for sharing your message, your story, and your brand. The value of speaking comes from the people who hear you, and the future relationships that develop. As for the art of speaking, Ken shows his readers that in today’s world, it’s not about the speaker, it’s all about the audience. The Speaker’s Edge is a great gift for the successful professional who learns how to leverage speaking gigs into productive professional relationships.
KEITH LONG, Collaborative Writer who has been published by Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Random House, and Financial Times, among many others

Ken Lizotte’s book is full of tips and tools every speaker should know, with a dash of humor and authenticity thrown in. As someone who has learned the business of speaking the hard way, this book will save you time and help you focus on what you do best – being you!
KATHLEEN BURNS KINGSBURY, Wealth Psychology Expert and Author, How to Give Financial Advice to Women and How to Give Financial Advice to Couples

The Speaker’s Edge will become the ‘how to’ book on maximizing speaking engagements. Ken has provided unique insights and practical and valuable perspectives evidenced by real life examples for any reader to customize his/her own plan to securing speaking engagements.
LAWRENCE SIFF, CEO, Neptune Advisors, LLC, and C Level Community, LLC

As experienced strategic growth advisors who use public speaking as a vehicle for getting our message out, we’ve seen that the world of speaking keeps changing in pace with the changing business environment. The Speaker’s Edge by Ken Lizotte is particularly valuable because the main focus of the book is on using both traditional paths and digital paths to get more ‘speaking gigs.’ Ken not only lets us know what it takes to find and obtain speaking engagements now, he gives practical guidance on what it takes to keep doing so into the future. This is a book whose time has come and, in fact, is long overdue!
PAMELA S. HARPER, Founding Partner and CEO, Business Advancement Inc. and D. SCOTT HARPER, Ph.D., Senior Partner, Business Advancement Inc. Co-hosts, Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper & Scott Harper

A key point in this book that stuck out for me is that you need to know just what you’re looking for and then ask for it. By being direct about what you want to speak about, you will land more speaking dates than by being vague. Also, you never really know where one referral for a speaking event will lead you, so the important thing is to just get out and speak. I’ve had this very thing happen to me. A few years back, when attending a local networking event, I was asked, “What are you looking for?” I answered that I was looking for professional organizations that provide workshops and similar education to their members. I would be interested in leading such workshops if I could only find them. My new contact next asked if I had ever heard of the IEEE. “You could speak at the local Boston Chapter,” he said. So I followed up, submitted a proposal to this local chapter, and next thing I knew I was conducting a workshop there. This in turn led to other interesting developments, from other organizations. Then I got interviewed by the IEEE publication, then a request to write a guest blog. Ken says in his book that speaking can lead to writing opportunities as well as more speaking. He is so right about that. Trust me . . . I know!
PAUL HUTCHINSON, Principal, Hutchinson Consulting

Ken Lizotte understands how vitally important an effective speaking engagement can be and his book The Speaker’s Edge brings it all together with his trademark cogency and humor. I’ve been speaking for 35 years and I know Ken’s insights will make a real impact on my future programs. A must-read for every thoughtful professional who wants to “up their game.”
GERRY SHERMAN, Management Counsel to Financially Challenged Companies, Pathway Advisors LLC

The Speaker’s Edge contains a plethora of great ideas, well organized by topic. Every speaker will learn great tips that have proven successful for other speakers. It is a superb resource for both speakers and for people who need to be speakers to advance their careers!
NORMAN DAOUST, Information Modeling and System Integration Consultant and Trainer, Daoust Associates

As a Ken Lizotte disciple, I can promise that if you follow his advice and remain focused you’ll see results – in the form of more speaking engagements! I especially love the “Speaker Notes” sprinkled throughout the book that share tips and wisdom about becoming a successful speaker. Great to have the quotes too from real-life speakers whose success reinforces all that Ken advises us to do. But one of the biggest takeaways is: get off your butt and just do it! Securing great speaking opportunities takes effort and energy. If you don’t have the energy to go after the engagements, you should question if you have the energy to be an engaging speaker at all! Just do it . . . with the help of this book.
SHELLEY F. HALL, Principal, Managing Director, Catalytic Management, LLC, Author of Brick Wall Breakthrough. What The @#$% Do I Do Next. Actions for Exceptional Sales and Service