I just finished another one of those books on how to supercharge your speaking career. And it was just like the last fourteen I've read on the subject: it talks at great length about having a great topic, having a plan, and being a good speaker. But when it gets to the actual part about getting more people to hire you, it dissolves into a coughing fit of pedestrian advice.
Earlier, I listed to a half-hour audioconference from someone who was billed as being the greatest expert ever on becoming an entrepreneur and bestselling author. His secret? Platitudes like having passion, doing your research, and eating your vegetables. Oh, and attending his paid seminar coming up soon.
Likewise, when I became the first person in my family in over a century to start my own business, I read every book I could get my hands on about self-employment. When it came to getting clients, most had one thin chapter full of useless advice (run ads, etc.) that had nothing whatsoever to do with how I really got most of my clients (build relationships, network with people, do a lot of free speaking, etc.).
The common denominator in all of these success-mongers? No facts. No proof. No walking you through exactly how they put 10,000 names on their mailing list, or sold the half million books they claim, or landed paying clients. By delivering platitudes, they feel they have fulfilled their promise to make you happy, rich, or successful. Even if they didn't.
But then there are the good guys. My media coach Wayne Kelly in Canada, for example: a real life radio personality who, for a few hundred bucks or less, teaches you everything you need to know about getting on radio. I listen to myself before and after on the radio, and look at how I pitch myself, and it's one of the best investments I've made. If you're serious about media publicity, visit www.onairpublicity.com and check him out. Capt. Tom Bunn, a pilot-turned-therapist who runs www.fearofflying.com, is another one: go through his program and you are, in fact, highly likely to lose your fear of flying. I like to think that I'm one of the good guys too.
So, I think I've finally figured out a way to separate the good guys from the bad ones. Look at what they teach you for free. Did it work? Did it start changing your life? Did it motivate you to dig deeper because of what you've learned, rather than an empty promise that you'll finally learn something when you pay? Wayne Kelly distributes a free 6-part radio publicity course that is surprisingly high-content. Capt. Bunn has excellent free content and a weekly live chat open to anyone. And there is lots of other good stuff out there.
I use a similar approach. My "schtick" is teaching people what to say in difficult situations, and the basics are all out there for free in the form of my articles, webinars, radio interviews, and book samples. Buy one of my books and you will learn these concepts in gory detail, with lots of examples and case studies. Attend one of my seminars, for a little more per person, and I guide you through these skills personally so that they change your life. And so far, after over 10,000 training attendees, everyone seems pretty happy.
So if you, like me, are in the business of helping people succeed, that's my secret to effective success-mongering: excellent free content, combined with a good value proposition for the paid stuff. Best of success!