Types of Public Speakers (WHICH ONE ARE YOU?)

storytelling tips May 27, 2020

What kind of speaker are you? Are you a platform speaker where you get on to stage so that you can tell more people about ways that you can help them and you want to sell your products and services? Or are you a keynote speaker, a motivational and inspirational speaker who is typically paid to come and speak? Either way, we're going to talk about both of those speakers and what you need to do to maximize either being a keynote speaker or a platform speaker.


I have been speaking for over 30 years now and I've also had a very successful career as an Emmy award winning TV host, a life and business coach and author, speaker and a filmmaker. I coach author speakers and coaches on how to get seen, get heard, and get paid. In this blog post and video, I want to simplify this because I get people who come to me who are just beginning and they know that they want to speak, they know that they've got a great message, they know that they have a powerful story, but they're not quite sure if they want to be a speaker who is brought in as a keynote speaker who's there to inspire, motivate, encourage the audience and typically earn a speaker's fee or if they're a platform speaker because they’ve got a product or service to sell. Maybe they’re a coach or an author or a program developer and they’ve got something that as part of their story or the time that you're on stage, you want to find your ideal clients or customers in the audience and you want them to buy your stuff. That's a platform speaker.


So again, two different types of speakers. Keynote speakers typically are people who have powerful stories, they typically come in, they get a speaker's fee and they don't necessarily sell from the stage platform. Platform speakers are selling from the stage, they're looking for their ideal clients and customers to buy their stuff. So we've got our keynote speakers for the most part, and then we've got our platform speakers.


There are times when they cross over. In fact, I'm one of those crossover speakers. I can go out to colleges, universities, nonprofits and give certain speeches and earn money to do that. And I'm not there to sell something. I'm pro primarily because I have a social justice project and I advocate for victims of cyber bullying, revenge porn and that really affords me an opportunity to go out and speak on that topic. Conversely, I will go out and I will speak about being a speaker and about my book, which is called “Hustle: Why now is the time to unleash your passion.” So typically I'm in front of a group of entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to get more visibility to grow their business primarily by using speaking or the media or publicity. And so when I'm there to do that, I'm typically selling one of my coaching programs or my book from the stage. So I'm able to leverage both of those but when I'm working with my new speakers, I always want them to get clear about the path that they're working on because there are lots of steps that are different that you will need to take. 


Decide what type of speaker you think you want to be.

Now there are lots of very similar things that you should be doing but the end game is different and it's important that you know what type of speaker you ultimately want to become. There are a lot of different reasons because you're going to spend your time differently. You will use your resources differently and you will also be prospecting for opportunities to speak differently again. So you've got to know the difference going forward. Having said that, I want you to take a moment and identify for yourself. If you're a new speaker just based on this, are you likely going to be a keynote speaker, someone who has a very powerful story and you want to inspire or educate or motivate? Or are you going to be a speaker who has something to sell from the stage as a platform speaker? So let's get that clear. 


Who needs to hear your message? 

Ask yourself who needs this and where am I going to give this message? And that gets us to start thinking about how you find speaking opportunities. It all starts with Google and it can start with my event prospecting system of which I talk about in a free training. You can go out and take the free training  at where I talk about different ways that you can find speaking gigs. However in this case you're going to approach it entirely different, but you need to know it getting started so that you are approaching your speaking prospecting in an entirely different way.


What will the audience do?

What's going to be the takeaway? What is the action that you want the audience to do? And with platform speakers it's typically you want them to buy something. So your call to action is entirely different. You want people to be engaged with you, to hear your story or to hear whatever it is that you have to say. And then when you get off stage, you hope that they're in the back of the room buying your stuff. 

As a keynote speaker, maybe you want them to follow you or you want them to be a part of your movement. You may have a book, but it's less about you selling and more about you being in service. So are these people going to come to your website or they're going to be a part of your Facebook group? Will you continue to provide great information for them? Sometimes keynote speakers don't have a plan of action. And this is where I'm telling you, you're making a mistake. You have to have an offstage strategy no matter what. 


So let's talk about your offstage strategy. 

Again, I don't care if you are a platform speaker or a keynote speaker, it's still important for you to continue to engage with the audience who has just heard you speak and having a solid offstage strategy means that could look like continuing to be in community with these people in your Facebook group, sending them emails with great useful information, giving them tidbits or ways that they can continue to improve their lives or make a difference or or whatever it is that you just shared with them as part of your message as the keynote speaker.


Again, as a platform speaker, it's pretty clear that you want people to buy your stuff, but if you don't really have a strong offstage strategy, that's not going to work either. Which means that just because there are a hundred people who heard you speak doesn't mean that all of them are going to scramble to the back of the room and buy your stuff that day. They might decide in the weeks and the months and the years to come that they want to buy what they heard you speak about, but without an offstage strategy in place without the systems, tools that you need in order to ensure that those people in the future think of you when it's time to buy your stuff. You really didn't do your job that day. You were onstage, so there's a lot that goes into creating a powerful off stage strategy and I want to help you do this.


If this is something that you're committed to doing, I want to give you a couple of different ways that you can do this. You can sign up for another free training that I have, which is simply going to which is a free web webinar I share with you and I do it live each and every week or you can schedule a call with me at


You've got to really think about what do you want to do in terms of the long game of how you're going to still play a pivotal role in the lives of people who have just heard you speak either way, without a successful offstage strategy, you're leaving money on the table, you're leaving your potential impact on the table, and you are leaving other speaking opportunities on the table. 


So let me assist you and help you to develop a powerful offstage strategy. Again, the path to beginning typically is two directions. You're either a keynote speaker or you're a platform speaker, but what you do when you're off stage is essentially as important. So don't miss this piece.


I hope that you've enjoyed this video and if you haven’t already done so please like, comment and subscribe to my YouTube channel.


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