QA 79 – Matthew Kimberly Answers “How you can get higher paying speaking gigs”

Matthew Kimberley

In today’s Q&A, we are helping JJ figure out the path to higher-paying speaking gigs and exactly what you need to focus on to book yourself solid as a speaker.

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Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Let’s dive into this week’s question!

JOCELYN: Hey y’all! You’re listening to an Expert Q&A with S&J. Today’s expert is Matthew Kimberley of

Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Join us, each week, as we teach you how to flip your lifestyle upside-down, by selling stuff online. Are you ready for something different? All right, let’s get started.

SHANE: What’s going on guys? Welcome back to our Thursday Expert Q&A. We have Matthew Kimberley back with us again today to answer your questions. Matthew, welcome back to the show.

MATTHEW: Thanks for having me, Shane and Jocelyn.

JOCELYN: Yeah, we are happy that you’re here. Today’s question is from a Flip Your Life community member, JJ Mayo and JJ says, “I’ve posted before that as a side hustle, I’m a speaker for a continuing education company albeit making a small portion of my total sales. I’ll be interested to know from Matthew, what steps are needed to get higher paid speaking gigs even if I’m not a celebrity. Is it having the right contacts or some system that needs to be followed? Any resources would be excellent.”

SHANE: And this is a special planted question just for Matthew Kimberley. Matthew Kimberley is all about booking yourself solid. He’s one of the best, live speakers that we have ever seen, so when we knew you were coming back on this show, we went into our premium Flip Your Life membership community and we said, ‘Hey guys, we’re gonna give you first dibs on our expert question.’ This was one of the first ones that popped up, was just how do I get move live speaking gigs when nobody knows about me. What a perfect question for you. So, how do you do that man? How do you get on stage when maybe nobody knows who you are?

MATTHEW: Okay, so I’m gonna presume here and correct me if I’m wrong that when I talk about higher paid speaking gigs, we are talking about getting paid to speak; not getting paid because you are selling from the stage, or because you speak and people book you on the back end; am I right?

SHANE: Exactly, JJ wants to speak, like he wants to be a paid speaker, he’s not gonna pitch, he’s gonna deliver valuable content in this space, he just wants to get more of those gigs and get paid more to do them.

MATTHEW: Absolutely; well, I know a few things about this, but not least because my business partner Michael Port is the founder of Heroic Public Speaking, and that’s the first resource I think you should check out. Go to and have a look at the stuff that we’ve put together there for you. At the Hero Public Speaking live in Fort Lauderdale last February, we had this question asked of our expert panel, and they were people like Bob Burg and Scott Stratten and Dorie Clark on the panel. And Dorie said, there are various steps to your speaking career, and I can’t remember whether there were three or four, but I’m gonna go through them as I remember them; the first step as a speaker is:
1. When you want to speak but nobody wants to hear you speak, and nobody will pay you to speak. So, first step is no one wants you to speak and nobody will pay you to speak.
2. People are happy to have you speak, but they still don’t want to pay you.
3. People will happily have you speak and they’ll pay you a little bit.
4. Yes, you must speak and yes, we’ll pay you whatever you want.

And of course, 90% of speakers are in stages one to two and it’s incredibly difficult, and incredibly hard work but definitely worthwhile to pursue getting paid for speaking gigs. I’m gonna put in the standard disclaimer here that you – and I didn’t come up with this, and I will give an attribution if I remember who said it before we finish. I can’t remember who said it but you don’t get – most speakers do not get paid to speak, but they get paid because they speak. So the minute you stand up on stage, there is – I believe that there is no quicker way to truly resonate with an audience than spending 45 minutes having their attention basically given to you on a platter as you address them with a microphone, from the stage. So on the back of that, people will come and sign you up, they will buy your book, they will check you out, they will join your mailing list, and you have a far high conversion rate than any other kind of direct marketing efforts really. Give me a room of a hundred people speak to you, I can convert 99 of them, possibly 100 of them to newsletter subscribers, and then give them a quick push very quickly afterwards and probably a good 20% of them will buy something. And there is no other marketing method that allows you do that. You can also sell from the stage, which is direct way of getting paid to speak but it’s slightly different. So, here’s what you need to do in order to get paid speaking gigs: firstly you got to be a good speaker. That is fundamental. You can get paid speaking gigs if you are not a good speaker, but they won’t last – your career won’t last very long and you must be able to back it up with some other kind of celebrity. For example, “I climbed Mount Everest with my eyes shut” that’s probably not enough nowadays actually to get a paid speaking gig, but that will certainly get you into the speakers’ bureau but you will be booked repeatedly if the feedback from your customers is great. So you got to be an excellent speaker, work that muscle. If you are an alright speaker and you think you can just wing it, that’s why it’s even more important. At that stage, it’s even more important to become a really good speaker and I don’t necessarily recommend going to public speaker training, but I’ll recommend going to acting class or performance class, maybe practice stand-up comedy, movement speech, breath, stuff like that; again, another plug for Heroic Public Speaking.

SHANE: There you go.

MATTHEW: Very focused on exactly that; so here’s what you do, you, in order to muscle up your speaking jobs, you need to do – well you can do one or two things; you can either get on other people’s stages or you can get on your own stage. And for many people, when it’s difficult to get invited to speak when you are relatively unknown, the way that you get invited to speak is to extend the invitation to yourself. So how about you host the event? How about you put on the conferences? Even if there’s only 20 people who come and listen to you speak in the local library, this is how you begin. You practice, you practice, you practice. You rehearse in front of live audiences until you are reasonably confident. And then – can I say the word prostitute?

SHANE: Go ahead.

MATTHEW: You prostitute yourself out for free. There really is no – you know, if you don’t have other celebrity credentials behind you, there’s really no other way around it. Very often you won’t even get your expenses repaid in the beginning of your career. You show up, you’re willing to put in the legwork, do the work that other people won’t do in order to forge a reputation.

SHANE: Yeah.

MATTHEW: You collect testimonials; you continue to get good at speaking until one day somebody will reimburse your expenses.

SHANE: Right. Do you record these early speeches so you got some – like even if it’s just you in front of like the front row with like three people, that’s all you can see looks like you are speaking, so you got some kind of role that you can show to people.

MATTHEW: Absolutely. So that’s really well worth collecting and why not? Yeah, I think you should start from the very beginning of your speaking career and putting it together. A bad fizz will do you more harm than good.

SHANE: Right, but you can highlight it and cut it up and –

MATTHEW: Absolutely. You can start collecting footage from the beginning. You know, it’s well worth paying somebody; you’ll be able to get a local film student or a professional photographer who doesn’t cost a bomb to come and take an interview.

SHANE: Right.

MATTHEW: As you upgrade your career, you will invest in proper lighting and proper sound and proper videographers, and when it comes to putting your [Unclear 0:07:19] together, you know, many speakers, or one of the speakers made a mistake of having a [Unclear 0:07:25] that looks like – and by [Unclear 0:07:26] I mean this specific demo tape if you like, for speakers. They made a mistake of having it look like a trailer for an action movie, where’s it’s all panning shots across the audience who were screaming and laughing and crying and fainting, and you are walking on fire, and you are thumping the air, and jumping up and down on your rebounder, and the crowd went wild. But professional booking agents, people who book speakers are not looking for that. That doesn’t prove that you can speak; that proves that you got a good editor. What they are looking for is an uninterrupted segment of you speaking. We’re not looking for choppy edits; we are looking for a little bit of finesse, sure, first impressions count, but if you can show me a seven-minute or five-minute or three-minute slot of you addressing a point to an audience who appreciates it without you cutting backwards and forwards to their face, then we know that you can hold the audience’s attention and more importantly, communicate well. So you hustle, you said it’s your side-hustle, JJ – what’s his name?

SHANE: Mayo.

MATTHEW: JJ Mayo. With a name like that if you are not a professional speaker within five years, you are doing something wrong. You keep hustling, you keep this side hustle up and you speak when other people won’t, and you drive all night to go to the gigs that other people won’t go to, and here’s the most important thing: you continue to expand your personal network. You continue to reach out to people. Listen, if you want to get invited to speak at the next – I don’t know, what’s a big event?

SHANE: Tropical Think Tank by Chris Ducker.

MATTHEW: Yeah, you will never ever, ever, be invited to speak at Tropical Think Tank by Chris Ducker unless Chris Ducker knows who you are.

SHANE: That’s right.

MATTHEW: And so that – you know, it’s just – it’s so very rarely gonna happen and you have a duty to invest in your relationships as much as you invest in your speaking skills.

SHANE: It’s so funny because we really – about an year a half ago, we started – when we really started making it online, we said, okay, I don’t want to go – were looking for events to go to and we totally ruled out the 50,000-person events in Vegas and stuff like that –


SHANE: – because we were like, that’s fun but it’s not – so we said, all right, small events you know, 25-250 people, where we can actually – like I want to be able to go up to the host of the event and say, “My name is –” and we have never even started public speaking or doing any of that, but we have been starting to get invited to public speak because we’ve held ourselves in those conversations, we’ve took action and kept up and followed up with all the people that host these events after and lo and behold, we are starting to get emails now to be like ‘Hey, would you guys like to do a session, a small session, a training session?’ Now, they are offering to pay us necessarily but we’ve been starting to get these opportunities because we’ve jumped in front of people.

JOCELYN: Just even being a part of those circles is so powerful and this may be one of the most powerful things that you can do, I think.

MATTHEW: So here’s a strategy, here’s a really easy strategy from Book Yourself Solid again, it’s called the direct outreach list of 20. There are gonna be 20 people out there who can get you more speaking gigs, or in front of speaking gigs, or connected to conference organizers, or introduce to booking agents or who have access to people you don’t have access to. You don’t know who they are today, and they definitely don’t know who you are. Make it your job now to write down a list of 20 people you believe can help you further your speaking career and get to know them.

SHANE: Oh, what a great point. That is just an awesome – that was like value bombs dropping like nuclear bombs everywhere man. Just dropping everywhere, how to get more speaker gigs; awesome episode of the Expert Q&A. I wrote this down because I screwed it up the last time Matthew was on the show, so I’m gonna read this properly, as my friend would say. Matthew Kimberley is the head of the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training and author of the self-help classic, ‘How To Get A Grip.’ So how can we get a hold of you Matthew? Anybody that’s listening, how can they contact you and how can they learn more about the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training and ‘How To Get A Grip’? How can they learn more about that?

MATTHEW: You know, the best thing to do Shane, is to go to and give me your email address. Now, if you go to or ‘get in touch’ or something like that, you’ll actually find my telephone number. Some people call me on my phone and if you call me on my phone, you have my immediate attention. But if you are too scared to do that, give me your email address and I promise to write to you multiple times a week and leave you with a big grin on your face each time.

SHANE: Awesome.

JOCELYN: I love it and you can tell by this interview why we love Matthew so much ‘cause he’s just so much fun.

SHANE: Yeah, if I could have him on every Thursday, he would probably do it.

MATTHEW: Shucks.

SHANE: And you threw a “shucks” in there, that’s what I’m talking about.

MATTHEW: Shucks.

SHANE: All right man, guys, great episode, reach out to Matthew, he’s a great person to talk to and until the next time, take action and get out there and flip your life.


Do you have a question about online business that you would like to have answered on a future episode of the Q&A with S&J Flipped Lifestyle podcast? If you do, it’s super-easy to submit your question. All you have to do is text the letters ‘QASJ’ to the number 38470 and we will send you a text message back with a link to our website, where you can submit your question. That’s ‘QASJ’ to the number 38470. Send us your text, and we will shoot you a link back where you can ask your question and maybe you can be featured on a future episode. If you are outside the United States or near a computer, you can also submit your question over on our website, at

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