As one half of the (grandly-titled) JLA New Talent department I receive several approaches each day from a variety of performers, presenters and motivational speakers. While I love talking to clients (obviously!), I also relish the chance to meet and to watch “new talent,” and give feedback to my colleagues and clients on which comedians and motivational speakers they should be considering for their next event.
The speaker circuit has exploded in the past few years, as has the number of people climbing mountains and performing feats of incredible endurance, and the norm is now to tout yourself on the speaker circuit. As the general demand for external, motivational speakers has grown, so too has the number of approaches that New Talent receives.
Elite athletes and sports people end their careers at a relatively young age and cast about for revenue-generating opportunities. Injured servicemen and women have access to incredibly advanced prostheses and are able to complete previously unheard-of challenges. All these stories are awe-inspiring and the majority of these people should be given a platform to boast about their achievements, but there are plenty more with slightly less to talk about. They can’t all become motivational speakers, although many try to do so. And sometimes it gets a bit ridiculous….
Have you completed a gap-year expedition? Why not make some money talking about it? Are you the first Welsh-German woman to climb Scafell Pike wearing only one shoe? You should join the ranks of motivational speakers! Write to JLA!
Without wanting to sound too cynical, the New Talent heart often sinks when it sees these emails from wannabe motivational speakers because, while the achievements gained and challenges overcome are (almost) always extremely impressive, there is often nothing in the email to indicate why a client might choose that person from a pool of similar motivational speakers. If you type “motivational speakers” into a popular search engine you receive over 2.5 million results. What can you do to stand out? First, you should know that the JLA Agent’s job is to provide objective advice to their client, and she needs to be able to suggest a list of motivational speakers who all fit that client’s brief and who, at first glance, will all appear to be quite similar. The Agent then needs to distinguish each of those motivational speakers in discussion with the client, to make the client understand what they’d get on stage and why they might want to choose one speaker over another. If you’ve climbed a mountain or rowed an ocean, served in the army or lost your sight, we need to know why you want to tell your story, and how you make it relevant to a corporate audience, which has likely seen an array of motivational speakers at its past few annual conferences. We can’t sell you to clients if we don’t believe in you! Here are the top three ways to get our attention;
1) Send us footage of you doing a motivational speech. If you haven’t ever done one, get some practice by approaching schools and local business groups.
2) Don’t just send us a link to your website, direct us to specific videos, testimonials, points in your biography that are relevant.
3) Don’t use cliché. It’s the quickest way to turn us off!