Top 5 Tips to Winning Stages

Today, you’re in for a treat…

You get 5 actionable tips on how YOU can win stages in 2020. 

These are field-tested, proven, and CURRENT strategies we’ve been using over the past year…and we know they can work for you! 

These tips apply to ALL stages, no matter your niche or industry. 

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn:

  • The first thing you MUST have before you try to win stages
  • The #1 medium you MUST use to stand out to meeting planners (hint: adds the element of human interaction)
  • How to win over meeting planners 
  • When you should be willing to lower your fees (and how to keep your price integrity)
  • The BEST strategy we found to reach out to meeting planners that works like magic (hint: almost NOBODY does this!)
  • Where to go to connect with dozens of meeting planners

So…what do you do now? 

1st: If you haven’t watched the video above – watch it now. It gives you 5 actionable strategies to land stages VERY soon!

2nd: Go to REACH Live 2020! Towards the end, we mention how you can join REACH Live 2020 at a discounted price and surround yourself with DOZENS of the world’s top meeting planners…Click here to grab your tickets! 

It’s time for YOU to go win a stage! Let us know about your experience. 

Your Message Matters, 



Podcast Episode Round-Up: Learn From The Best This Holiday Season


We put together a “holiday playlist” for you, featuring 8 of our TOP episodes from Inside the Greenroom!

These episodes feature some of the world’s TOP meeting planners, and are LOADED with information you won’t find anywhere else – and the perfect playlist to listen to as you travel for the holidays! 

Our top 8 episodes from Inside the Greenroom…

Bari Baumgardner: “The Art Of Why – How Strategy Can Make Or Break Your Event

Get Bari’s 4-Part “Strategy First” approach to running profitable live events. Learn the key questions you must answer before starting to plan your events PLUS how to win stages as a beginning speaker.

Check out Bari’s Interview here! 


Michael Hyatt: How I Overcame Stage Fright (And How You Can Too)

In this episode, we discuss how to overcome the fear of speaking, avoid the “road warrior” trap, and how to host a world-class live event. Michael Hyatt also shares his “double win” concept, which shows how it’s possible to win in both business and life, without having to sacrifice your family. 

Check out Michael’s interview here!


Ryan Deiss: The Blueprint For Event Revenue

Ryan is the one who introduced me to the power of online stages, and he’s been a valuable mentor in my business. In this episode, we discuss the Top 4 Event Business models – and how you REALLY make money from events. 

Check out Ryan’s interview here!


John Ruhlin: The ROI Of Gifting Small Gestures With Big Impact

Learn how to create wins for both the meeting planner and the speaker. John also shares the prospecting strategies, bartering fees, building relationships with clients, and small “ninja tips” that ultimately make a big difference. 

Check out John Ruhlin’s interview here!


Chalene & Bret Johnson: Using Events To Create Raving Fans

Chalene and her husband, Bret Johnson, have built multimillion-dollar businesses and have been running events together for decades! In this episode, you’ll learn how they’ve created raving fans across multiple industries, how they select the perfect speakers for their events, and how to pick the right venue to host your own events. 

Check out Chalene & Bret’s interview here!


Roland Frasier: How We Sold Our Event, And How You Can Too

In this episode, you’ll learn how to build a company you can sell. We also discuss how to create your events so that they become an asset. 

Check out Roland’s interview here!


Jon Berghoff: How To Add A Zero To Your Paycheck Through Learning Environment With Jon Berghoff

Jon shows you how to run a new type of event that gets your audience engaged throughout the entire process, and has them leave wanting to come back for more. We discuss transforming the type of event from passive to active learning, crowdsourcing wisdom from event attendees, orchestrating the event to help people connect easier, and much more! 

Check out Jon Berghoff’s interview here!


Daniel Tardy: How Dave Ramsey’s Team Fills High-Ticket Events

In this episode, we dig into the nitty-gritty details of what it takes to both FILL and RUN a world-class event – creating an experience that leaves people enthusiastically wanting to come back again and again, year after year. 

Check out Daniel’s interview here!



The Power of Free Stages

Don’t we all want to get on PAID stages?

I just recently heard one of our clients talk about how they offered Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), $750,000 to speak on their stage.

This is higher than former Presidents of the United States of America – they make about a quarter of a million dollars to speak on a stage.

There are advantages to paid stages, and we here at Advance Your Reach hope your keynote fees continue to increase as you progress in your career.

At the same time, what if I told you there’s a “hidden power” in free stages? One that is so powerful that can even make them more valuable than paid stages? That’s what today’s post is all about. The power of free stages, and the situations where it makes sense to get on them.

Situation #1 – When You’re Getting Started

Not only are free stages a “good idea” when you’re just getting started, but they are most likely a necessity for most people. There are people who do a 90-day challenge, which I highly encourage you to do as well. This “challenge” means you strive to get on as many free stages as possible within the next 90 days.

Beginners just getting started will gain some credibility in the marketplace, and this serves as your opportunity to do so. In addition, you’ll be gaining experience and feedback within the process, which is extremely valuable for any speaker – paid or not.

Situation #2 – Having Powerful Associations Around You

If I’m given the opportunity to be on a stage with other influential people, I would take that stage in a heartbeat – paid or not. If your audience sees you on stage with other experts, they automatically assume you’re an expert as well. When you can associate yourself without other powerful names, it elevates your position in the market, and going on stage for free becomes WELL worth it.

You’ll be able to say the names of who you shared the stage with when conveying your credibility, you can get incredible footage, and you can even get testimonials. In addition, we’ve had several cases where “big name” celebrities have decided to work with us after being on stage with them, which leads me to my next point…

Situation #3 – Having an Audience of Potential Buyers

I saved the best for last because this is the most important bucket of free stages. If the majority of the people in the audience could potentially buy your products and services, it’s a complete no brainer to take a free stage.

The same thing holds true for the keynote speakers out there who make their living off of keynote fees. In fact, if I was a keynote speaker and the majority of my audience could purchase my products and services, I would take a free stage over a $25,000 keynote fee any day.

Why would I do something crazy like that?

Because often, the value of the audience investing in your products and services is a LOT more valuable than just the keynote fee itself. Many of my free stages have made more money than former Presidents of the United States, who usually get paid $250,000 or more for a talk.

Therefore, I urge you to never “knock” the free stage OR think it’s beneath you.

Want to know the different TYPES of free stages you can get on?

Download our Stage Matrix here, where you’ll discover the 80 types of stages you can land – including those that are free.

So go out, and get on those free stages!

They may be even more valuable than a 5-figure keynote fee…

-Pete Vargas

PS. I can’t wait to hear from you…how are you using free stages in your business?


30 Tips For Better Speaking From 30 Meeting Planners

The Speak Off is consistently one of the highlights of Reach Academy Live. It gives 40 speakers the opportunity to compete and get their message in front of the entire audience. The winner of the Speak Off gets a guaranteed speaking gig, but the true value comes from the process of the competition and the feedback from over 30 meeting planners who work with speakers all the time.

Here’s a video of the full Speak Off finals to give you an idea of the powerful speakers who show up to compete.

Reach Live Speak Off November 2017 – LIVE NOW

For the first time ever we are broadcasting our Speak Off Finals Live. This is like the American Idol of speaking. You will hear 11 phenomenal speakers and from 35+ Meeting Planners (the people who control stages). Don't miss this! #ReachLive #SpeakOff

Posted by Advance Your Reach on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Again, what’s truly powerful and unique about this event for both the speakers and the audience is to see a bunch of different talks and then hear how different judges–all meeting planners with amazing stages or speakers themselves–respond to the different talks and unique personalities of the speakers.

At the end of the Speak Off, each judge shared their words of wisdom for the speakers as closing thoughts. There’s a lot of treasure in what they say for anyone wanting to improve their speaking career.

What to look for in this advice

Before you dive into this advice, remember that although all of these tips are great advice, some may be a better fit for you than others. You may also notice that some of the tips are similar, and the patterns you see in the advice point back to the key elements of a great talk. The more something gets repeated, the more important the idea is.

Dr. Isaac Jones, Health Experts Alliance – “Be authentic and you can move people into action.”

Authenticity is harder than you think, and in some ways it’s counterintuitive. Authenticity comes from practicing your talk and knowing your material so well that you don’t need to spend any time thinking about what your next line is. You instead focus on bringing your unique personality to the stage and your story to life.

Dave Woodward, Funnel Hacker – “Do not be afraid to convey your true emotions so the audience can feel what you felt.“

Emotion is the key to creating a human connection with your audience. Without that true connection, what you say or do may come off as “salesy,” “hype,” or “boring”. Diving into the emotions you felt in the stories you share–and being courageous and vulnerable enough to share them–is the key to building that connection.

Giovanni Marsico, Archangel – “Let go of the rehearsed part and your audience will connect with you more.”

Truly knowing and mastering your talk means that you are comfortable enough to go off script without completely derailing your talk. Every audience and event is unique and will provide you with unique opportunities to connect with the audience in an authentic way. If you cling to your script, you may miss these opportunities.

Connor Beaton, Man Talks – “Less theatrics & more conversation. When audience feels that you are having a conversation with them, that’s when you are winning.”

It’s important that your talk is entertaining and engaging to keep the attention of your audience. A good talk creates a sense in the audience like they’re just sitting one on one with you in a coffee shop and you’re conveying your advice and story just for them. Bringing this conversational feel and relaxed energy into your talk can help your big points connect.

Tiffany Swineheart Hal Elrod – “Rather than trying to be understood, try to make the audience feel that you understand them.”

Remember that the goal of storytelling is to help your audience know that you’ve been in their shoes and you understand the problems they’re facing. Do your homework on your audience and make sure you construct your talk in a way that speaks right to the problems they’re facing.

Heather Cazad, – “Know your audience and teach them something they needed to know that they didn’t think they needed to know.”

From the first second you step onto the stage, your audience is looking at you and wondering if they’re going to get something valuable out of their presentation, or if this time would be better spent checking their email. The way to capture the attention of the audience is to understand them so well that you can teach them something that shifts their paradigm and opens them up to new ideas they never knew they needed.

Angela Phillips, Ontraport – “Own your story and take control of the story that you have.”

If you’ve watched some of the talks from the Speak Off in the video above, you’ll see some very powerful stories. You may think that you need to have overcome tremendous pain or achieved a spectacular goal to be a successful speaker, but that’s not the case. Take your focus off of other speakers and own your own story–don’t let comparison slow you down.

Anthony Trucks, Trust Your Hustle – “You’re going to venture into an unknown that is scary and intimidating. The fears of failure will slow you down. What you also have to realize is that inside of that same unknown is all the amazing success you can experience.”

Being a speaker, an entrepreneur or anyone with a message is an adventure. There’s going to be many uncertain moments you must confront and fear you must overcome. Trust yourself in those moments and don’t let the fear slow you down. Take risks and get back into the arena.

Marc Gutman, Entrepreneur’s Organization – “Relive your story, don’t just retell it.”

Your talk should take us into your story with you. As you tell it, your audience should experience it in the present moment. Talk in present tense, share little details like smells, sounds, tastes, and feelings so they can immerse themselves in the moment with you.

Chandler Bolt, Self-Publishing School – “Have a central idea for what you are saying and tie it back to every idea and point in your talk.”

A good talk is built around an idea that is simple enough to be summed up in one sentence. When you have that level of clarity and focus in your talk, it allows you to loosen up what you are doing because you can always go back to the main point. It keeps you from getting lost in your own talk and lets you focus more energy on connecting with your audience.

Margaret Noroian, CADA – “Be real, be honest, be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to be the same person on and off the stage.”

A great talk will bring out the best in you and will ensure that you’re the same person whether you’re on the stage or not. Having the courage to be vulnerable and show your true self in your talk is the key to building a human connection with your audience.

Allison Gadeke, CADA – “Deliver with passion.”

Your passion is contagious and it feeds the key emotions your audience needs to take action. Make sure you deliver the key points in your talk with passion and that there’s no doubt in your audience’s mind when you are delivering the best ideas in your presentation.

Heather DeSantis, The Influencer Revolution – “Make sure your message is relevant and timely to what’s happening in the audience’s world right now.”

A few weeks before the Speak Off, there was a social media frenzy around the #metoo campaign. This was a powerful message for many women and men. A few speakers referenced the campaign in their talks and connected their story with it. This timeliness and relevance helped their messages hit home.

Karl Krummenacher, Mindshare Summit – “Keep your stories congruent and try not to do too much.”

Your story should be simple and make sense without any effort from your audience. Usually this means keeping it simple and just focusing on one key idea throughout your presentation. Make sure your talk is aligned with your audience by personalizing your story to the unique needs of your audience.

Don Shaffer, CADA – “Care about your clients and become a partner with your audience.”

One of the core goals of your talk should be to clearly illustrate why you care about your audience. The elements of your story should leave your audience without a doubt that you care about them and the problems they’re facing, and that you’re on their team.

Houston Kraft – “Share the story as you see it in your head and not how you see the notes in your head.“

What sounds good in writing is not always what sounds good spoken out loud. Make sure you practice your story so that you can create the sense of being right in the action as you tell it.

Angelique Rewers, The Corporate Agent – “Make sure your message is marketable and memorable.”

A marketable message will get stuck in your head like a hit song on the radio. By keeping your message simple and tying it back to all of the ideas in your presentation, it will make it easier to remember and share.

Julie May, Shine Events – “Your audience needs to know what your message means for them. You’ve gone through a transformation in your story, but what does that look like for them?”

A key challenge to overcome is to make your story relatable so that it not only resonates with your audience, but they can come away with meaningful information to apply to their own lives. Your story shows how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned, but does your audience need to do the same? Make sure you have a clear call to action that helps them take your story home with them.

Julie Davis, eWomen Network – “Come from a place of how are you serving your audience. It’s not about the speaker but about the listener and what the audience is gaining from the speaker and the story and what the listener can do with it.”

Giving a great presentation is more than just telling a riveting story. You need to make sure that the story you share provides something useful for your audience. Break down your key lessons, takeaways and calls to action in a clear way that helps your audience take action on the ideas you share.

Aaron Street, Lawyerist Podcast – “Be purposeful in your body language.”

All of your movement on stage should serve a purpose. Whether you’re moving upstage, downstage, making gestures or leaning in, your movement should help drive your points home. Any movement that does not have purpose is distracting.

Brad Johnson, The Elite Advisor Blueprint®: The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors – “Quiz or consult your audience before you go up on stage.”

Your presentation begins long before you take the stage. You can spend time in the weeks before you speak talking to the audience or the meeting planners that represent them to identify their most pressing needs and tailor your presentation to perfectly fit them.

Jon Block, Speaker Venture – “Follow the 3H rule: Head, Heart, Humor.”

Head, heart, and humor are all key ingredients to a good talk. With only “head,” your talk is informative but boring; with “heart,” your talk is inspirational but the feeling fades quickly; and “humor” alone does not work either. By combining all three, you can have a talk that’s memorable and helpful and employs humor to help contrast the powerful emotions of your story.

Keith Yackey, Amplify Live – “Keep practicing.”

The only way you’re going to improve your talk and your speaking skills is by staying in the arena and getting in front of more people. Take risks, make mistakes and always be looking for new ways to improve your talk.

Dush Ramachandran, The Net Momentum – “Interact with the audience and engage them in the conversation. Invite them in, rather than talking at them.”

Staring into the bright lights from the stage can make it easy to forget you’ve got an audience in front of you. Do your best to keep your audience engaged in your talk, respond to their reactions, and involve them in the conversation that’s happening. Interaction helps your audience connect with you on a deeper level.

Terra Ramachandran, The Net Momentum – “Make your close as strong as your opening.”

The very beginning and end of your talk are essential to perfect. A good opening will grab their attention, and a good close is essential to get your audience to take action. Many can get the opening right, but you’ll be a true master if you can close your talk with the same power.

Michael Port, Heroic Public Speaking – “Don’t get too bogged down in feedback.”

As someone who is getting up on stage and in front of many people, you’ll get lots of feedback from lots of different people. It’s important to consider feedback and use it to improve your talk, but don’t attach too tightly to any single piece of feedback and let it slow you down. Carry out your vision and message in the way that feels best to you.

Amy Port, Heroic Public Speaking – “Where you shine is in what makes you different.”

It can be difficult to watch something like the Speak Off and not try to cram every single idea and piece of feedback into your presentation. But it’s not always the best fit for you. Make sure you understand what makes you different and what separates you from the pack, and never compromise it.

Phil Mershon, Social Media Examiner – “Build a bridge from your story and passion to your audience. Make your content as memorable as your story.”

A great talk does not just have a memorable story–it needs to have memorable content that will stick with your audience long after your talk. You need a strong understanding of your audience to make sure your content connects with them in the way they need.

Tom Schwab, Interview Valet – “It’s not only about learning how to be a speaker, but how to be an amazing speaker.”

You can learn all the tactics and strategies for being a great speaker in the world, but the process of becoming an amazing speaker involves more than that. It’s a process and a journey that will change your life in many ways. It requires facing your past, your pain and your fears and turning that into something powerful that you can share.

Taki Moore, Black Belt Marketing – “Be real.”

Authenticity is a challenging thing. It’s not the same as technique, and it’s not a tactic. If you can be real and authentic, your audience will recognize it. Being real comes from talking about something that’s important to you and having the vulnerability to really show yourself to your audience, which can sometimes be scary, but it’s well worth it in the end.


The Speak Off is an incredible resource because you get to see so many different styles, stories and feedback in a short period of time. It can be easy to get overwhelmed if you try to apply all of the ideas and suggestions to your talk at the same time. Carefully consider the feedback you hear, and experiment with the different tips to find what fits for you.

How LaVonna Roth Lands Stages With Confidence And Focus

LaVonna Roth is the creator of Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, an organization that is making an impact in education and corporate settings throughout the United States, particularly amongst women. Previously a teacher for 10 years, Roth used to lack the confidence necessary to speak in front of others. When she was asked to train other employees in her school district, she says her brain screamed “no,” but she verbally said “yes” anyway. From there, she became a consultant and planted the seeds for Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® She wanted to help support others to help them gain the confidence that she lacked for so long.

Tapping into her education background, LaVonna likes to talk to students about confidence. She views confidence as a huge factor in the success that people will have, not just in school, but in their careers as well. She wants people to look into other positive traits while acknowledging their own strengths.

Nine years ago, LaVonna took the risk and created her own company. Although she’s had plenty of risks and challenges along the way, she’s turned her business into a six-figure company. In fact, her hope is to build upon this success and strive toward having a million-dollar company in the near future, with her speaking engagements serving as the main driver of that growth.

How LaVonna Has Increased Her Revenues From Speaking

Since LaVonna created Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, her speaking fee has more than tripled. But that’s only a small part of the revenues she earns from her stages.

Most of the revenue growth, according to LaVonna, comes down to finding a niche. LaVonna wanted to set herself apart, and she went and did a lot of self-critique as a result. As she improved as a speaker, she was approached by a publisher, who asked her to write a book. That one book has turned into eight books, which helps supplement the income that she receives through Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®.

With Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, she has also explored additional sources of revenue that further reinforce the meaning of her business. She’s launched a bracelet that has five twists – one twist for every letter in the word “S.H.I.N.E.”. Each letter has a unique meaning: self, heart, illuminate, navigate, and exceptional. It’s more than just an accessory that people can wear. The bracelets that LaVonna sells serve as a reminder to those who may be struggling to live in the moment to think of what’s positive around them and to see the good in others. It’s a reminder that they can always find something that shines in any aspect of life, no matter how adverse a situation may feel in a given moment.

Aside from LaVonna being a solo speaker, she has looked at other methods for spreading her message. She is beginning to hire speakers that will make up a team to help spread the message of Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®. These speakers will be trained in LaVonna’s speaking style, and they will be there to help with LaVonna’s various speaking needs. Whether she needs a speaker to take her place due to other commitments, or if a client cannot afford LaVonna’s asking price, LaVonna wants to ensure that her message of positivity is continuously being spread. This helps her team land more stages and bring in more revenue.

Additionally, LaVonna is exploring a new digital product that will be released before the end of 2017. Calling them, “SHINEtastic Lessons,” LaVonna says this is a framework course composed of videos and lesson plans. Any educator can shine in the online program at any time and go through the program at their own pace. While this provides more income for LaVonna, it has the added benefit of allowing her to take time off of the road so she can spend more time with her family.

If you want to learn more about how to land your first stages, check out: 10 Steps To Book Your First 10 Stages This Month

How LaVonna Engages Meeting Planners And Wins Stages

One of the biggest ways that LaVonna has been able to grow her business is by landing an increasing number of speaking engagements. This rise in engagements has been in large part due to social media websites, most notably Twitter.

LaVonna participates in many informational Twitter sessions with her followers, who number more than 13,000. From time to time, she will engage in conversations with her followers to help expand her network. But her social media activity has also helped her get noticed by others looking for potential speakers. She says that she will receive direct messages for people to book her as a result of the content she posts on Twitter. In fact, it’s not unusual for her to see two new bookings each month that can be traced directly back to her activity on the social media platform. After customers have found her on Twitter, they have looked at her website, which she has linked on her Twitter account, and they have often been even more impressed.

LaVonna’s mastery of Twitter speaks to a key concept that she says has made a real difference in her approach to seeking stages: picking a channel and nailing it. While there’s something to be said for having a presence on multiple social networks – and Facebook and LinkedIn are not without their own advantages – this does create challenges when it comes to achieving consistent branding across various platforms. In the end, LaVonna is living proof that being strong on a single social network is preferable to being mediocre on many.

Outside of social media, one of the most powerful tools LaVonna uses is her speaker box. Speaker boxes are exactly what they sound like – a box with a series of gifts that helps you introduce yourself to a potential client.

LaVonna has her speaker box laid out in a unique way. She uses a white box that contains the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® logo inside of it. She combines decorative aspects with colors and shapes that complement her company’s branding. LaVonna then makes sure that her speaker box includes aspects of her work – such as a 3-minute promotional DVD of her speaking.

LaVonna’s speaker box also includes a simple promotional brochure that provides additional information on her experience and background. She makes sure her contact information is included in the brochure so prospective clients can get in touch with her. As a special touch, she includes a light bulb in each box that is packed with yellow M& Ms. The color scheme lines up with the rest of the branding and reiterates her overall message of igniting the shine of yourself and others. LaVonna considers adding her logo to the light bulb in the future, so it can serve as a constant reminder of her brand. Finally, she includes other smaller gifts to help introduce herself, such as small gift cards. These gifts have helped LaVonna be referred to other customers, further widening her potential income stream and expanding her customer base.

Identify Your Biggest Asset

LaVonna says her strongest asset, by far, is her assistant. One of the biggest traits to look out for in your biggest asset is whether or not they share your passion for your business and will be there to support you as you strive to reach higher. For LaVonna, her assistant Sandi is very much that person.

LaVonna describes Sandi as her “right hand.” When LaVonna needs help with anything related to the business, Sandi is always willing to help. When there’s the opportunity to learn about new technology or skills to enhance LaVonna’s business, Sandi is always willing to do it. Sandi also has a business and marketing degree, which proves only to strengthen the business. When you want to take your business to the next level, it’s important to have that additional person to support you.

The Importance Of Your Story

Everyone has a story.People may think that their stories may be similar to those of others, but everyone’s story has impacted them and shaped them into who they are today. At the same time, everyone’s story has the potential to affect, influence and inspire others.

LaVonna Roth Competing In The Speakoff At Reach Academy Live.

For LaVonna, her story goes back to when she was born. LaVonna was told that her biological father walked out the door at the hospital, to never be a part of her life, and it had a large impact on her throughout her life, although she didn’t really realize how much until several years ago. She admits she was a people-pleaser, always wanting to fix things and struggling with low self-esteem.

LaVonna’s self-confidence would not be helped as she struggled in school. As someone who learns in a way that she describes as “different than how subjects are often taught in school,” LaVonna’s grades began to decline as soon as she hit middle school. By the time LaVonna was in high school, she admits that she was struggling to get by, and her confidence had reached a low point.

This low self-confidence persisted, lasting even while she was able to find validation in other areas of her life. Despite receiving recognition for her excellence as a teacher and later as a business owner, she still struggled to believe in herself. Thinking back to her own time in school, when she thinks about her work with Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® in the education sector, her focus is on finding ways of teaching that allow every single student – and every teacher – to discover the ways that they shine and the value they bring.

People who understand the power of their story and get their signature story down is the key to making your speaking career a thriving success.

Starting On Your Journey

For LaVonna, realizing the roots of her lack of confidence and discovering that there are elements of her life that needed to have shine played a key role in helping her discover what she refers to as her “calling” – finding a way to best support others in developing their confidence – giving her the boost she needed to strike out on her own as a speaker.

For those who want to get into speaking, LaVonna stresses the following key points:

  • Get involved for the right reasons.Don’t get caught up in glamorous ideas of being a speaker to travel the world and see the sights. That’s not realistic. Speaking is hard work, and you need to have a deep sense of purpose for what you’re doing to keep you going.
  • Find a mentor.Don’t assume you’ll be able to figure everything out on your own. Find a mentor with experience as a speaker – and as a business owner – to provide you with extra guidance to build your brand and reduce your likelihood of making limiting mistakes early on in your journey.
  • Stay focused on your goals. If you want to build your own business, your goal is to make your mission as large as you want it to be. While the mindset of “hustling” for your own business can be extremely overwhelming, the key for your business is to always keep it moving forward. Identifying your immediate and near-future goals is one of the best ways to keep your business on track.

Despite being in the speaking business for the better part of a decade, LaVonna continues to make changes to her business model even today. She has seen an increase in customer engagement through continued efforts, and more people are talking about her presence as a result. The journey may not be linear, but the focus must always be straight ahead.

Feeling inspired to jumpstart your speaking career? Learn how to book your next stage in 24 hours with the Unstoppable Stage Campaign

10 Steps To Book Your First 10 Stages This Month

Your first 10 stages are crucial for building your speaking career. Whether you want to become a motivational speaker or use speaking to grow your business, landing stages is the way to make it happen. There will be extra challenges landing stages when you first start out because you need to learn how to work with meeting planners, and you need to build up some social proof and promotional materials with these first stages.

We use the Unstoppable Stage Campaign as our main tool for landing stages. But this campaign is highly detailed and can be challenging to set up if you’re just starting out speaking. Plus, some of the biggest and most valuable stages that you want to get onto may take several years to happen, so it’s important to get some quick wins and momentum early in your speaking career.

In this post, we’ll share some quick action steps you can take to land your first speaking gigs, test out your talk and build out some social proof.

Step 1 – Define your target

Before you start anything else, you need to be clear on who you want to reach with your talk — who your ideal audience is that would be interested in your story as well as your product or service.

There are thousands of stages out there, and if you don’t take the time to understand what to look for, then you’ll waste time on stages that don’t benefit you. Worse yet, if you speak on the wrong stages you probably won’t resonate with the audience or the meeting planners, which works against you.

Here are a few questions to help you define what the best stages are for you:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What makes me different and interesting to them?
  • What kind of events would they attend?
  • How can I relate what I do the core themes of these events?
  • Who are some of the people they follow, and what events are they attending?

Step 2 – Prepare a signature talk

If you want to start landing stages, you’ll need to have a talk ready to deliver. Now that you understand who you want to speak in front of, you need to develop a talk that’s going to touch their hearts and inspire them to work with you. Plus, having your talk prepared will give you some excitement and energy to get it out in front of people.

You should be prepared to speak for 5 to 30 minutes for your first talk. Since these are your first 10 stages, it’s likely that you’ll be getting a lot of breakouts and smaller time slots. These will give you some time to practice and refine your talk as well. If you can master delivering a good talk in 5 minutes, then it’s easy to build out around it.

Step 3 – Ask around

Now that you have a talk ready, you can start searching for speaking opportunities.

The lowest hanging fruit for stages is in your current network.

Take some time to sit down and think up friends, clients, mentors, colleagues and anyone else that both trusts you and may be able to connect you with some events and stages.

Sit down for an hour and brainstorm people that might be able to connect you with some stages, and then reach out (by phone if possible, but email is okay, too).

Here’s a basic script for what to say:

Hi [NAME],

First off, I just wanted to thank you for believing in me and my message. These last few [MONTHS/YEARS] have been so fulfilling for me as I have seen [AUDIENCE] respond to my message of [MY CORE MESSAGE]. You’ve always been so supportive of me, and it means a lot.

Now, I’m ready to take it to the next level. Since I’ve been getting such a great response, I know I can reach even more people with my message. I’m looking for more stages in my area of expertise, which is [NICHE]. These might be podcasts, webinars, online seminars or summits, or actual physical stages.

You’ve been in the industry for a while now, and I wanted to see if you had any recommendations of stages where my message would resonate?

Would you be interested in hopping on the phone (or just replying to this email) with your recommendations?  

Thanks again for your support and belief in me; it means more than you know.



Step 4 – Search for local stages

If you live in or near any large cities, look for local events that you can participate in. Local stages can be more accessible since you don’t need to travel long distances or spend money on hotels to participate. Plus, it’s more likely that you’ll have contact or champion who could connect you with a local stage.

Start to build out a spreadsheet where you can record the names of events, locations, dates and contact information for the meeting planners.

  • Conferences in [your city] – A few simple searches in Google can turn up dozens of conferences and events that could be a good fit for you. Try searching “conferences for [your niche/industry/customer] in [your city]”
  • Event Centers – Search for event centers in your city, and then look up their calendars. See if you can find any events coming up that could be a good fit for you.
  • Associations – Look for associations that serve your target customer. It’s likely they have some local chapters in your city or region that are often looking for fresh speakers and ideas for their audience.
  • Meetups – Go to and search for meetups related to your audience. Meetup hosts are usually very easy to contact and may be open to having you speak.
  • 1 Million Cups – 1Million Cups is an organization for entrepreneurs to present and share their ideas. They have meetups in most cities across the U.S. and are always looking for more speakers.

If you want to land 10 stages, you’re going to need to research at least 30 or 40.

Step 5 – Look for online stages

Remember that stages don’t have to be physical locations. There’s a wealth of opportunity for getting on online stages. You can speak on an online stage from the comfort of your own home while reaching thousands of your ideal customers. There’s also usually a much lower barrier to entry to get onto online stages.

Podcasts – Podcasts are constantly looking for new guests who can speak to their audience. To find good podcasts for you, go to iTunes and search for podcasts related to your niche. iTunes won’t directly link to their website, but once you find the name of the podcast you can search it online and usually find the contact information for the host in a few simple clicks.

Webinars – Many associations, businesses, and online communities host regular webinars for their audiences. Check for opportunities on websites of the associations you researched in the previous step. Also, look for businesses or brands that serve your audience and reach out to see if they would be interested in co-hosting a webinar with you.

Online Summits – Online summits are powerful “digital conferences” that give many people an opportunity to speak. Sometimes summits take an interview format where one host speaks to many different people, while others act more like a collection of webinars.

Try to find another 30 or 40 online stages in this process.

Step 6 – Prepare your pitch

Once you have a big list of stages ready, it’s time to start preparing your pitch for them. This is where many people go wrong. Most just point-blank ask meeting planners for a stage or talk about how much a stage will help their business. This is the opposite of what you want to do.

Your pitch needs to address the wants and needs of the meeting planner and the audience they serve.

Create a signature sentence

A signature sentence is your entire story and signature talk distilled into one crisp sentence. It makes for a perfect opener that explains what you do and catches the attention of the meeting planner from the beginning.

Here’s the basic formula for a signature sentence:

I [action] [who] to experience [what] so they can get [result].

Here are a few examples of signature sentences put together by attendees of Reach Academy Live.

How can you solve the meeting planner’s problems?

Be sensitive to the meeting planner’s situation. They have to sift through hundreds of different speakers interested in what they are doing to put together something that’s a big hit for their audience. Their biggest fears are inviting someone who is a “dud,” difficult to work with or tries to sell a bad product to their audience. Make sure you can address these fears in your pitch.

How can you solve the audience’s problem?

Make sure you can clearly articulate the problems that your audience faces and the value you can add to them.

Collect social proof

Even if you’ve never spoken before, you can get some social proof together to help build trust with the meeting planner.

  • Business stats – How many customers have you helped? What kind of results can you get?
  • Credentials – What have you studied or achieved that makes you an expert?
  • As seen on – Have you been featured on any big websites, media outlets or events that could lend to your credibility?

Set up a speaker page/website

You’ll want to have a speaker page set up so that, when you start your outreach, people will begin to research you. Make sure you have a page to send them to that will present you well.

If you want to learn more about what makes a great speaker page, check out: The Anatomy Of A Great Speaker Page

Step 7 – Introduce yourself

It’s time to reach out to meeting planners and start landing your stages. Most people go straight for the stage with the first contact. That’s like asking someone you just met to marry you. For this introduction, you just want to make a good first impression and open up the doors for more conversation. There are two ways you can do this: with video email or a speaker box.

Video email

Video email is our favorite form of outreach. Using video in your emails is the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation. It gives you the power to convey that extra meaning and emotion in the messages you send and to put a face to your name.

There are a lot of different apps and services out there that can help you add a video to your emails. Our favorite is BombBomb. It’s an incredible tool that makes recording a video from your computer or phone a snap.

Send them a video email introducing yourself, praising the event and asking about opportunities to help out with the event (sponsorship, help with promotion, etc.). Keep the key elements of your pitch in mind with how you can help the meeting planner and the audience in your messaging.

Speaker Box

Instead of doing what 99% of people are doing and trying to reach out via email to meeting planners, you can target the least crowded inbox of your meeting planners: their mailbox.

The speaker box is one of the signature elements of our Unstoppable Stage Campaign. We send it to meeting planners who we want to build relationships with. It includes a few different materials to introduce who we are and what we’re about.

Here are a few things to include in your speaker box:

  • A problem solving letter – This letter is all about how you can add value to the meeting planner and solve their problems.
  • A promo sheet – This is essentially a printable version of your speaker page. (Pro tip: Make the sheet fit the dimensions of the box you use so you don’t need to fold it.)
  • A small gift – Add a small gift that will delight the meeting planner and make a good impression.
  • A USB drive – Include video footage of you speaking, and any other information that is better presented digitally.
  • A book or other materials – If you have a book or any other materials to share, be sure to include them.

The speaker box can be expensive to send, especially early on in your speaking career, so you may want to be selective in who you send a speaker box to. If you can’t afford to send a box to every person you reach out to, at least send out a problem-solving letter. Don’t ignore the power direct mail can have on getting you noticed.

For more outreach strategies and details on our speaker box, check out: Unstoppable outreach strategies that cut through the noise.

Step 8 – Get on the phone

Once you’re sure your video email or speaker box has arrived, reach out to the meeting planner and try to book a call. Getting the meeting planner on the phone to talk to you will be crucial to landing their stage.

We developed the “Win-win script” as part of The Unstoppable Stage Campaign to make this call a breeze. You don’t just talk about speaking, but opportunities for exhibiting, breakouts or sponsorships that will help the meeting planner be more successful. The core idea of the script is to always be positioning what you do and what you want as a win for the meeting planner.

Immediately after your phone call, make sure to follow up via email and thank the meeting planner for their time. In this email, include the next steps, like your booking process.

Step 9 – Send them a small gift

Also after the call, immediately send them a personalized note in the mail with a small gift or a treat. We recommend Send Out Cards for this. Thank them for their time and reiterate how excited you are to be collaborating with them. Include a small treat like popcorn to make it more memorable for them.

If you want to learn more about the art and power of gift giving, check out Giftology by John Ruhlin.

Step 10 – Deliver your talk and get feedback

With enough outreach, you’ll be landing stages in no time.

With these first 10, you need to be sure you’re collecting good feedback from the audience and the meeting planners so you can not only improve your talk but also collect better social proof to help you land more stages in the future.

Meeting planner testimonials – Ask the meeting planner to do a testimonial for you. You can collect some written testimonials but, if possible, get a good video of the meeting planner enthusing about you and your talk.

Video from your talk – You’re going to want to collect a lot of footage of you speaking for your promotional videos.

Audience ratings – Many events will have surveys where their audience can rate the different speakers and give feedback on their presentations. Most speakers never ask for this information, but it can be a gold mine for social proof and ideas for how to improve your talk.

Bonus Step – Rebound the ones who said “no”

You’re not going to land every stage you reach out to, but you should not lose hope at the first “no” you get. Most people, after getting a “no,” will go quiet and never reach out again, even if it was just a matter of timing that kept them from landing that stage.

Instead, attend the event and introduce yourself in person. This will help the meeting planner to put a face to your name and will show that you support what they are doing. By attending the event you can get a better feel for it and how to position yourself as a good fit for the next one.

Mark the dates of the events even if they say “no,” and follow up once the event is over with a gift and some encouragement. Send them an email or mail them a small treat and acknowledge the hard work they put into the event. This will make a big impression on the meeting planner, and they’ll be more open to letting you speak at the next event.


Stages are everywhere, and they’re easier to win than you think. By following these simple action steps, you should be able to get some quick wins in 30 days or less. This will jumpstart your speaking career and get you on track to landing your dream stages.

If you’re ready to take your stage outreach to the next level check out the Unstoppable Stage Campaign.