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22 Words That Will Get You Speaking Gigs (with Joel Weldon)

May 03, 2023

Joel Weldon is not just a Hall of Fame speaker who's been speaking for over four decades but he is also a true legend in the speaking industry—having been paid to speak at over 3,000 events and personally coached over 10,000 speakers. 

In this episode, we talked about how to nail your pitch letter if you want to get into corporate speaking (he actually recites, off the top of his head, a letter that you'd be crazy not to type up and send). He also gave us the 22 words that will get you speaking gigs, why you need to replace every "I" in your speech with "you," how to make your audience want to read your book and so much more.

This one is gem after gem after gem! I highly recommend getting out the pen and taking some notes. And if you already know you want to work with Joel, you can go ahead and book a free slot here.


→ You can get my 5 steps to creating a life-changing book

 You can apply for an Authority Experience to have us create the concept and promotion plan for your authority-building book

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How Authors Can Get Booked to Speak with Topher Morrison

How to Make Your Book Into a TEDx Talk with Bridget Sampson 


Anna: Hello, the most patient man alive. Mr. Joel Weldon. How are you?

Joel: Wonderful, Anna. And more important, as you're listening to this, you're here because you're an author, and you want to be able to have more people read what you've written. And one of the ways to do that is to be an even better speaker when you talk about your book, and what it can do for your readers. So thrilled to be here and talk about that subject, Anna.

Anna: And I don't know anyone who, who is better at coaching people. When it comes to speaking, you've coached probably hundreds of people that I know, personally and you've coached me. So what is the number one thing if an author is listening to this and says, I, now I want to be a public speaker. What should they do?

Joel: You need to have a great presentation. The best way to be a great speaker is to have a great message. What, why is Martin Luther King's speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial still rated as one of the best speeches in the, in modern times? And that was back in the 60s.

Anna: Right.

Joel: That, because the speech was so good.

Anna: Yeah.

Joel: That's why. It wasn't because of marketing, advertising, social media. It’s people who were there live and saw it and heard it were touched. And people who weren't watched the replay or a video of it and passed that on. And now decades later, it's still being talked about. So if you just go, go on Google  “best speech in modern times,” I'm sure “I have a dream” by Martin Luther King will be in the top two or three, Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford. Why are people still talking about that? He's been dead for years. Because the message was so good. And that's what you need. You need a message that connects with the people you're talking to, in a way that gets them excited to first read your book. And then tell others about what you're doing. And there’s things that you can do that will help you and that's what we're going to talk about.

Anna: Like? What's the first thing you can do? What, okay, so you, let's say you have a book and you go, I, I think my message is pretty good. Don't know if it's Martin Luther King good. How do I know?

Joel: Well, I don't know how you know about the book, except by the one word that I judge everything by. That would be results. When somebody read your book, your friends and relatives, what did they say? Oh, that was really good. I liked it. Well, oh, my God, I had no idea you were such a great writer. How do I get more copies of this book?

Anna: Right.

Joel: All right. So I'm not an expert on, on writing books. I've read a lot of books. I have a lot of books. Some are good, some are great, and some are not very good. Let's just say you've got a great book. But no one cares. That's one of the basic things you need to think. No one cares about you. No one cares about your story. No one cares about why you wrote the book. But we're going to add one word after that negative description that no one cares. And the word is unless. No one cares about you, your message, your book, unless your book, your message, or you can help them. Either meet a need that they have that hasn't been met yet. Help them overcome a fear or a worry or a concern that they now have. Or reinforce what they're already doing successfully but they see they could do it even better. And if you can connect with those three things: needs, fears, or victories, people will be interested. And how do most people begin an email, a phone call, or a speech about their book? I'm so excited to be here. No one cares that you're excited. I’m, I was so looking forward Anna to this conversation. No one cares. Unless this conversation about helping you be an even better speaker so you can promote your book and touch more lives is going to help you do that. You don't care anything about me. Anna, you don't really care anything about me. When, when I was helping you with those talks at Genius Network, you didn't care. Why does Joel do what he does? You want to know, does this guy know something to help me make my presentation even better?

Anna: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Joel: That's what somebody wants from you. Is this book gonna help me do, whatever the theme of your book is? It’s overcoming an addiction which is what you talked about. That one talk we worked on. Is this going to help me with the challenges I'm facing? If so, I'm in. I’ll listen to her. I'll read it. But if it's just, so let me tell you my story because I'm so passionate about, you know. I wake up in the morning, and all I want to do is… No one cares unless it relates to them. So here's the key word to tell the difference. I versus you. I is the most used word in the English language. Look at your email that you've written to a client or customer. Look at the first two paragraphs. Count how many I’s and how many you’s. The suggestion is the opening should never have an I, me, or my in it. So how do you open? Anna, hope you're making it a wonderful productive week. Your podcasts are terrific. And your book, oh my goodness, you really wrote a winner there. You have such an ability to do things. One of the things you asked is about your podcast. And this would be something great to do. Your listeners would benefit from these ideas and being an even better speaker. And this is what we're going to talk about. I didn't say I one time. You can write a 10-page letter and never say I, me, or my one time. Now there's nothing wrong with I. But what do most speakers do? Well, I'm so excited about my book. And let me tell you why I wrote the book. And you know, because I've had such a challenging time. And I, I figured out some answers and, and as a result, I'm just the happiest I've ever been. No one cares!

Anna: So…

Joel: Go ahead.

Anna: Let me ask you this. This is purely selfish. So right now I am having my team pitch me to corporations, because I want to do more public, more corporate speaking, because you know, some good money there. Um, and we're writing these pitch letters. And so, so let's, and so let's say my listeners are in the same situation, and they're like, this is great. I have a message. It's not about me. How do I do it? Yes, you have a great message. But how do you get the corporations or the colleges or the masterminds to even know you have a great message?

Joel: All right, give me an example. Name one company, college or, or organization.

Anna: Okay, a place my team is pitching me to is called Marquee Brands, Marquee brands? And it's like a clothing, they own like BCBG and these other clothing companies.

Joel: Okay, so it's a clothing company?

Anna: Yes. But it's so, it's a huge corporation. So they bring in speakers and I talk about goal setting.

Joel: Okay, so the subject would be goal setting. And these would be for team members of this clothing company?

Anna: Yep.

Joel: Your clothing line has been so successful. And one of the reasons you have been so successful in getting your clothes competing with all those other manufacturers is you have wonderful people that support your efforts. From your factories to your administrative people, to your customer service people. The question is, could they be even better?

Anna: Oh my God.

Joel: What if, what if they were able to achieve even bigger goals? Now at the top you see things differently than they do. But when you're a worker and getting paid a salary, the idea of setting a goal to make more money for the corporation means nothing. If you're interested in ideas that would help your team members be even more self-motivated, focus on not only their personal goals but the corporate goals that you set as a manufacturer. That's where Anna David can come in. If you're looking for ordinary, don't even consider her. But if you want an extraordinary speaker who can make complicated ideas simple and confusing thoughts clear, Anna’s your gal. One of the other things you'll get with Anna is you'll get a customized message using her years of experience to help people achieve goals and overcome the obstacles, etc. If this makes sense, get back with us and we'll set up a conversation to talk about the details.

Anna: Literally speechless. If you guys do not take that down and shamelessly use Joel's words to book speaking gigs. You should never come back to this podcast because you don't know what's good for you. That was amazing.

Joel: Well all you need to do is what I did. Is think like your audience, that's one of the most effective things that a speaker can have. Think like your audience. So now we have a company, a clothing manufacturer that's successful, that's got hundreds or 1000s of employees. They have team meetings. The corporation run by a president and CEO have goals. And they think that, that their team members are interested in corporate profits. If they don't have profit sharing, they don't care how successful the company is. What about my insurance program? That's what I care about. What about my bonus pay? What about my Christmas benefits? Honest, you if that's going to be part of it, then that's what the goals need to be talking about. So if you have a message for them, it's got to be what's in it for them. And if you have a message for the decision makers who are running a company to bring in a speaker, rather than so here's what I talk about, I talk about goals, I talk about. Now, one of the things if you really want to do what we just talked about even better, is do a little Google search, look at the company. See, look at their, if it's a public company, they show their profit and loss, they show the gross sales. And saying, since you've had one of the best years in your 42-year company history, overcoming what was happening in the pandemic. Now with your stores open again, your sales are soaring. But all of the growth that you've had in the past was determined by the people that you had working for you. What if they were even more motivated? What if they were even more focused on their goals? Imagine instead of a 42% increase that you had in sales last year you can increase that this next year? That's what Anna David can help you do.

Anna: Oh, my God, ah…

Joel: A Google search would give you customized benefits. Because I don't even know who that company is.

Anna: We did something not nearly as smart, which is we went to Chat GPT. And we said, what are the company, um sorry, what are those called… values. And they’re always, no offense companies, super boring. All the company values are always like, we care about integrity, and we care. You know, it doesn't mean anything. And so we wrote these incredibly generic letters that are going to be rewritten before we pitch -- you caught us in the nick of time by the way.

Joel: Oh, wonderful.

Anna: So okay, so let's say someone's like, okay, now I've got the pitch letter, I've got the message. How do they write an effective speech? Can they convert their book into a speech effectively? I mean, it depends on the book, of course, but in general.

Joel: Well, it all starts with the audience. Now as a professional speaker, for all of these decades, I've been paid to speak at over 3000 events, all corporate events. I never gave the same talk twice.

Anna: Wow.

Joel: How could that be? Certainly material was used, stories were done that were used before, but they would tweak, they were adjusted, they were fine tuned to the audience. And if you want to build a speaking career to promote your book and the ideas that are in your book, you need a great message. And in, in over four decades of doing this, no advertising, no marketing, no demo videos, no sales agents, no one sheets, no outgoing marketing. All we did for 48 years is wait for the phone to ring. Two things happened. The people that heard my message wanted to hear it again for a different part of their organization or a new message. Or they referred me to somebody else. I don't know anything about marketing or sales. But it's the same thing. If you want to go into restaurant business, you know what you need? Great food and service. You can have great marketing. They come in once, the food is terrible, the service is bad, they’re not coming back.

Anna: Right.

Joel: So the same thing with a presentation. Go back to Martin Luther King. He wasn't saying, you know, I want to be a speaker and get more speaking gigs. How do I do this with this talk I've got, I'm gonna give about a dream I had?

Anna: [Laughs].

Joel: No!

Anna: Right.

Joel: So if you have that mindset, that your message is going to be the key. It's not advertising, marketing, promoting. It's having a great message. The best way to grow a speaking business is word of mouth and referrals. So how do you do it? Well, let me give you a great open. If you want to open any message, use three words. This will help you. It's going to be really hard Anna. I don't know if you'll get it. It's very complex. You're here because… If you just began that you're here because you're part of a clothing manufacturer XYZ Manufacturing and this is your annual employee meeting. And you realize one of the things that you're going to have is a nice dinner. And there's only one thing standing between you and dinner. And that's me. Because Fred wanted me to talk to you about the goals that you have this year as a team member. All right. So if you, if you just get in the habit of opening with, you're here, because… It’s going to be about them. And how does most, do most presentations begin? I'm so happy to be here. You know, I was thinking about this all week, about the chance to get on here. I love coming to, Hawaii is my favorite place to go for a meet. No one cares [laughs].

Anna: Mm-hmm. Um, I love it. And so how do you get practice? I know you're a big proponent of, why am I blanking on what it's called? Where you guys, you and Eileen and Alex all go.

Joel: Toastmasters.

Anna: Toastmasters. Do you think everybody should practice at Toastmasters?

Joel: Well, you, Toastmasters is an international, nonprofit organization to help people overcome their fear of speaking. And it's a great place to practice. Now we have a big club here in Scottsdale. I'm a slow learner cause I first joined in 1967.

Anna: Oh my God.

Joel: And that was the difference. Matter of fact, it launched my career.

Anna: How?

Joel: So September 9 1969, became a Toastmaster and still am. Because you've got to keep getting better, it's a great place to practice. But our speakers get three times a year they can practice. So it's not like you can get a lot of time in front of them. But the best place to practice is in front of a live audience. And then do this one thing. If you took a, looking for a, [looking] it’s… an index guide.

Anna: Mm-hmm.

Joel: If you just had an index guide for everybody in your audience. If it's a live event. And then not at the very end, but just before the end. So let's just say you had 45 minutes, so maybe it meant at 35 to 40, you would say to the audience, since Anna David set this meeting up for you, it's really important that we give her some feedback on what's happened. So you all have a little index card. Don't put your name on the card. Just put three things: A) Just write A. Put a number from one to 10 on a scale of one low, 10 high. How valuable were the ideas you just heard about setting and achieving your goals? One, it was a complete waste of my time. 10, it was fantastic. Put a number from one to 10. B) Of all the ideas that we talked about, what was the one that hit you the hardest? That was the most beneficial? Just a couple of words. Anna and I will know what they mean. What was your best idea? C) If we could do this all over again, like a Groundhog Day, what would have made this presentation even better for you? And not only, what could I have done even better? If you have it, put it down, and don't put your name on the card. And now we're going to pass them in to the end of the aisle. And Martha and Fred are going to pick them up. And then we'll give them to Anna at the end. And I'm going to read them as well. Fine, now, I, so that's not the end. Now comes the call to action. What do you want people to do? Well, since Anna brought you all my book, here's my suggestion. This is the call to action, based on what you've heard today. Go to page 37. And read 37 to 39. That's three pages. If at the end of that third page, you aren’t excited about the book, give it to someone else. Because that summarizes the kind of thoughts that are in the rest of the book. Now if you like what you've read on page 37, go back to page one and read the whole book. All right. Now that's a call to action. Call to action is what does the audience do, think, or feel? That was the do, read the book. Or feel, feel more excited about your work. Embrace those core values of the company. That can be feeling, thinking, think about what you could do to achieve the company goals as well as your own goals this year. Think about what you could do better. Even better. See the difference? What you could do better. What you could do even better.

Anna: Mm-hmm.

Joel: All right, that's a call to action. That should not be your closing. So what a closing should be, and it's such a simple idea, create a mental picture of your audience doing what your message was about. So let me close this podcast, if we were closing it right now, with the call to action. So here's the call to action, replace your I’s with you’s. Think more about your audience's needs, fears, and victories. And number three, just be you. It's not a performance. Just be you.

Anna: Mm-hmm.

Joel: That’s the call to action. Now the closing. Just imagine it's a month from now. You've been using the ideas you heard today in this podcast and suddenly, you've got a number of speaking engagements that you never thought you would have gotten. Because you have already given a number of talks, and they were the best ones you've ever done. The reason is you open with, you're here because… and you made it about them, not about you. And because you were yourself, you were so relaxed and comfortable in that position. And you realize this is just the beginning. You're going to be even better every time you speak. Now go out and speak. Anna, close.

Joel: Oh, my God! Joel, I wish we, okay, that was so brilliant. And, and we really are working towards the close. But the actual information I would like to leave them with is what if somebody wants to work with you? What would they do? Are you taking new clients?

Joel: Yeah, I take a certain number because I have a unique situation. Anna, have you ever worked with coaches before?

Anna: Yes, yes. I mean, I've worked with you. I'm semi un-coachable on a regular basis, but you were brilliant with me.

Joel: Well, well, when you hire a coach, you get a certain amount of time or you invest like in a Genius Network, you invest for a year, you get a certain number of meetings. Well Earl Nightingale was my mentor. And he taught me this great truth, which you should be using. Don't compete, create. Find out what everybody else is doing. And don't do it. So what I do as a coach one on one is you hire me one time, you pay me one time, and you use me as much as you want for as long as you want. There's no time limit, we don't count hours. Once you hire me, you got me. Now Anna, at Genius Network, over 200 of our members have hired me as their personal coach, everybody from Vern Harnish, who charges 50,000 for a keynote to Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach, to people who have never spoken before in front of a group. It's a one-time investment. And if you want to get on a call, just go to talk to Joel dot com ( Talk to Joel dot com gives you my calendar. Set up a 15-minute or 30-minute call. And let's talk about what you do. And if it sounds good, then we can proceed. Because I only take a few people because I want to have time. Now you might think Anna, well this guy he's old, he could offer an unlimited thing. Because what if he dies tomorrow? So here's what you get: a one-year guarantee that you get me for at least a full year with as much time as you want in that year. And then, if I'm still here at the end of the year, we just keep going. You can't pay me anymore. One time. That's it. Forever.

Anna: Joel, you're also going to live forever. May I ask, remind me your age because…

Joel: Well, I'm gonna be 82 and I feel like I'm still doing everything I did in my 40s and I'm still an active water skier. I'm, matter of fact, taking my granddaughter out to a private lake where we're going to ski this weekend with four of her 18-year-old girlfriends. So most of the people I hang around with are in their 30s and 40s so.

Anna: Well you, from the moment I met you, have been one of my favorites. I'm so grateful to you for recording this for a second time. We don't need to go into that. But you are…

Joel: But I have got a call, I've got a closing.

Anna: Okay. Yes.

Joel: The call back was if you want to talk to me go to talk to Joel dot com but we got to do a closing. So when you have, it's only 22 words. So I want you to be the final word. But when you're finished with me, say Joel give me the close.

Anna: Well, thanks you guys for listening. And thank you Joel, and Joel give me the close.

Joel: Okay, so here's what you might think of. 22 words on how you can be an even better speaker. Are you ready? I'll go slow. Speak to your audience about what they need in an organized way they can follow and get yourself out of the way.

Anna: I love it. I love it. Thank you, Joel. Oh, I'm gonna stop talking. I'm so bad at behaving. Thank you