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Always wanted to do a TED Talk? 3 Steps to take today

By Admin

Woman standing on TED stage, face blurred

Woman standing on TED stage, face blurredWoman standing on TED stage, face blurred

You’ve heard of TED Talks right? Those things on the internet where famous people like Brene Brown and Jamie Oliver share articulate and inspiring ideas, gain millions of views, and open doors to higher speaking fees, book deals, and fame + fortune?

If standing up on that stage has always been a dream of yours but you assumed it was years away (once you’re “qualified”, a published book, have some magic number of speaking gigs under your belt, and happen to live in California), I’ve got some disappointing news. Or not. Appointing news? (Yes, I made up a word just then.)

Here it is: there are TED Talks events all around you. Just over 1000 per year, in fact. That dream you have that’s “far off?” It’s a lot easier to get than you’d think.

Even if you’ve heard of an event near you, you’ll want to read on. I’d bet I can show you at least 5 more.

Here’s how you can find each and every one of these TED Talks speaking opportunities:

Step 1: What not to do

Don’t rely on Google, word of mouth, or chance to find out about TED Talks events. This is what most people do. The problem here is you’re likely to find out about the event after they’ve already selected speakers (since speaker selection is done months in advance, and marketing efforts only ramp up a few months before the event). That’d be a bummer.

I’ll show you a better way.

Step 2: Find Events in the Future

Find TEDx event around the worldOk, now we’re getting actionable. First, go here:  

Now you’ve got a list of every single TEDx event in the world in the next 12 months. Neat huh? You can use filters to search for location, but I recommend you zoom in using the buttons on the corner.

Here’s where I recommend you look:

  • where you live now
  • where you come from (your home town, where you’ve lived in the past, where you went to university etc.)
  • where you visit often (because your family lives there, you go there for business etc.)

If you live in a rural area and there are few events in your area, don’t be afraid to record events that are a few hours away (or even further) if you’re willing to travel.

If we use the example of Atlanta, here’s what I see:

Map showing TEDx events around Atlanta, GANote that there are several in Atlanta, one near East Cobb, and one near Kennesaw (if we had used the “location” filter, we would have only seen those in Atlanta and missed the ones nearby…not good). Clicking on one of these little dots brings up more details as well (like the date, which is important).

Close up map showing TEDxPeachTree event

That little box that just showed up? If you click on the event title (“TEDxPeachtree), it’ll bring up even more info. Notice below, I can see the theme (“Together”), the website, and a nice little description.

Excerpt of TEDxPeachtree website

Now you know the event title, date, website, theme, and organizer info. Wow. Now all you’ve got to do is apply to speak (check out the full guide I put together on that too).

Step 3: (for even more) Find past events that’ll likely happen again

If step 1 found you events in the next 12 months…what about events in the next 13 months? So glad you asked.

Sometimes event organisers run an event and they plan to do another one, but it hasn’t been licensed by TED just yet (because they just finished the last one, or they took a break for a year). The event is still happening, and the audience for that event knows it, but they just haven’t gotten around to applying for a license renewal just yet. For example, many university events get their license in September when the new cohort of students arrives, whereas many standard TEDx events get the license soon after the previous event is done.

You can find these past events by clicking on “Past” at the bottom of the page, or by visiting

If you further add an event date filter for the current year (eg: if it’s currently 2016, you can add a filter for past events in 2016) this will give you an idea of what events are likely to occur again the following year, while keeping you from seeing every event since the beginning of time.

Continuing with our Atlanta example:

TEDx 6Not bad huh? Looks like we’ve found a few more events. Some of these are captured in our step 1 analysis, but you can click around and see if there’s anything new (eg: I found TEDxGeorgiaTech, which I’m guessing is a pretty big event!).

Your fame boosting assignment:

Use the strategies above to find future TEDx events and events in the past that may happen again (sneaky!), and record all you can about them. You can even use this handy spreadsheet to track everything.

If you’re ready to pursue your dream of doing a TED Talk, head on over to for specific strategies on how to put togeter a compelling pitch, find your TED-worthy topic, build relationships with the right people, and more.

Ryan Hildebrandt is a TEDx event founder with an engineering background (P.Eng). helping speakers, authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs with an important idea spread it by landing a TED Talk. He created the website in order to spread little-known secrets about how to successfully land a TED Talk.

Steal this Speaker Proposal Formula (+ win a free book!)

By Admin

Get Picked to Speak book giveaway

Get Picked to Speak book giveaway
Warning: I’m going hard on a book recommendation here. Seriously, if you have an itch to spread your message, market your practice or be seen as a leader and expert, you need to speak at conferences. It’s the shortcut to becoming famous in your field.

But speaking at conferences can be a different animal from other kinds of public speaking. For one thing, there’s a process. And for some potential speakers, the process feels daunting.

(What the heck is an abstract? How do I create learning objectives? And how can I deliver my message in a way that builds my business and gets me invited back?)

Friends, I’ve got your lifeline.

It’s a brand new book, Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating an Irresistible Speaker Proposal by Aurora Gregory and David Pitlik.

Get Picked to Speak book coverIn the book, Aurora and David share their wisdom, collected from having written scores of successful speaker submissions for conferences around the world.

Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan’s Treasury Services, Eileen Zicchino credits the Get Picked authors with securing coveted slots for J.P. Morgan’s subject matter experts.

And I agree 100% with her statement: “Crafting a proposal that secures a speaking slot is both art and science.”

Here are a few of the strategies and tactics you’ll find in Get Picked:

  • How to find conferences to pitch your expertise
  • How to make your idea a “hot topic”
  • What makes a great presentation title
  • How to use story-telling to sell your presentation idea
  • Making the most of the limited word counts most call-for-speakers allow
  • Ensuring your presentation deck works for you and not against you

Their material on how to structure your speaker submission alone is worth the two hours you’ll spend devouring the entire book.

[A little straight talk here, ’cause we’ve all noticed the trend. But let me assure you that this is not one of those books with an interesting concept that could be thoroughly explored in 20-30 pages, but instead is stated, restated and fluffed and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to eek out the 200+ pages that seem to be required for every New York Times Bestseller hopeful. Get Picked gets right to the point.]

Best of all, you can use this speaker submission framework for everything from formal conference submissions and informal pitches to event organizers to the topic descriptions on your website. With this formula, your conference speaking game is going to be so next level. Enjoy!

3 Simple Steps to Construct Your Session Story (excerpted from Get Picked)

Applying some basic storytelling principles can help you lay out the session description in a way that grabs attention, creates drama, and hopefully makes it irresistible to the committee or task force who will be making the conference speaker selections.

Step 1: In the beginning

Start by setting up the common challenges your potential session attendees face. These may include common headaches you share, things that keep you up at night, obstacles that you and your organization faced – all of which drove you to seek solutions.

Challenges can include everything from lack of know how, mindset issues, economic conditions, regulatory restrictions, process shortcomings, lack of technology, management hurdles, etc.

Be sure to keep your audience in mind when setting up the problem. The more they can relate to the situation you faced, the more likely they will want to hear how you addressed the problem. This sets the dramatic stage for the solution that follows.

Examples of setting up story drama:

“As baby boomers are rapidly aging-out of the workforce, human resource professionals are facing a tremendous brain drain in the senior ranks of their organizations, leading to increased pressure to cultivate the next generation of leaders.”


“With 25 percent of millennials putting off obtaining their driver’s licenses, the automotive marketplace is facing a potentially catastrophic loss of its future consumer base, leaving critical questions for the future of the industry.”

Step 2 – Building the yellow brick road

Now that you’ve briefly laid out the challenges, you’ll want to paint a compelling picture of how you addressed these problems and implemented solutions that delivered noteworthy results.

Stealing a little Wizard of Oz imagery, this is where you’ll describe how you built your yellow brick road to a successful outcome.

Once again, it’s important to keep your audience in mind as you lay out this part of your story. Think of it this way, if you could talk one-on-one with a peer who’s facing the same issue, what would you tell them? The middle of your story continues to build the drama by outlining the steps you have taken to overcome all of your challenges.

Some examples of these steps might include:

  • How you developed a new process for reaching your goals
  • How you worked with different departments to achieve success
  • Or how you innovated a new way to use technology

This is your opportunity to describe your best practices and explain why they were so important for your organization or your clients. Here you just need to hit the high notes, so you can whet the selection committee’s and your audience’s appetite. Get this right and you’ll be the wizard behind the curtain!

Get Picked gives examples of how to frame the heart of your presentation proposal:

“The 21st Century classroom is all about engaging students using the tools they already know and use, which are primarily technology-based. In this presentation, we will explore the use of technology in the classroom and how to ensure quality teacher practice. We will discuss balancing accountability with innovation and how these tools can be used to stimulate effective learning.”


“No marketing tool today has the impact video has on audiences. In this session, attendees will learn about the latest trends in marketing with mobile video, and hear from practitioners on how mobile web and apps can drive engagement, increase conversions and build brands.”

 Step 3 – The big payoff

Wrap up your session description with a brief explanation of what you achieved. This is the happy ending to your story – the part where you achieved your goal. It’s okay to toot your horn (a little bit.) Everyone loves a success story.

Things you might include as your ending could be:

  • A new process that saved your company millions of dollars
  • Your ability to cut the time it takes your staff to execute processes
by half
  • How you managed to grow your business by 200% in the first three years

One caveat: It’s vitally important to couch everything in your session in terms of what attendees will take away. A common mistake is to focus solely on your own accomplishments. It’s important to be crystal clear that attendees will come away with valuable insights that they can apply to their own life, organizations, classrooms, or workplace.

While it may seem like semantics, shifting the language from “here’s what we learned” or “here’s what I did” to “here’s what attendees will learn” can make a big difference in the eyes of the folks reviewing your submission. This simple trick can dramatically improve your odds of selection!

Now we’re at the big finish. Feel free to model one of these examples of how to wrap up your presentation: 

“We will share how technology improvements have led to significant efficiency gains in managing the supply chain, saving the organization $1 million a year and dramatically improving the bottom-line.”

“Attendees will learn how this government agency was able to implement process improvements that ultimately reduced costs by 60%, drove tremendous staff efficiency, and freed up vital resources to focus on the critical task of supporting constituents.”

“We will reveal how this simple design concept has turned the lighting industry on its ear, and how game-changing innovation from a garage-based company has exploded into a $500 million-a-year business.”

Like what you’ve seen so far? Want more juicy tips? Buy Get Picked to Speak on Amazon today:

Super exciting bonus alert!

I’m giving away two copies of Get Picked to two lucky readers. (Yep, my first-ever giveaway.)

To be entered into the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what you most want to know about getting picked to speak.<<

I’ve said it before, but never forget that you, my friend, are straight up swoon-worthy.

UPDATE: Huge congrats to the winners of Get Picked, Lisa R. and Randy W. Your books are on the way to you right now. Soon we’ll see YOUR names on those conference programs!

Niches: The Magic of Thinking Small

By Admin

Last week I met a business coach at a networking event. As we started chatting, I immediately called up my mental rolodex, ready to start the search for a good match. “What’s your specialty? Do you coach businesses or individuals?” I asked.

Him: “I coach everyone.”

Me: “Really? Any type of business? You don’t have a specialty?”

Him: “Yes. Any type.”

Me: “Any issue or goal?”

Him: “Yep. Anything. I coach everyone.”

And that’s when the lid snapped shut on my mental rolodex.

No one likes a generalist. Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons?

If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus. Develop marketing niches to target. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with clients outside the your selected niches, but it does mean that you concentrate your marketing efforts on a particular service, client type, issue or result. You give up the undefined, scattershot approach.

Business leaders frequently shun naming specific niches or specialties, fearing that it will drive away prospects who don’t fit the targeted niche, but reality is counter intuitive: when an organization or an individual becomes known as the best in class for a particular niche, it creates higher level of interest and desire among non-target profile prospects as well.

What niche marketing can do for you:

Sharpens your focus.
By concentrating your marketing resources on specific niches, you can spend less money reaching the specific prospects who need your services. You’ll devote your marketing time and dollars to the activities, events, and organizations that fit your niche.

Increases your effectiveness.
By trying to reach a narrowly defined target client, with a service or specialty just for them, your message will break through the clutter and speak directly to that person. When you target the masses as your client base, you have a hard time differentiating yourself from others in your field. When you’re considered an expert or thought leader in a particular niche, you have stronger recognition and more credibility. Clients will seek you out.

Increase your revenue.
People pay more for specialized information. Being considered a “specialist” in a particular client type or industry allows an individual or organization to command higher fees for the greater perceived value. Experts are sought after, they get paid more, attract more media attention and get better results for clients (which generates more referrals, too.)

Best of all, you can expand your niche strategy as your business grows. Start out targeting one or two niches that you wish to dominate, and as you achieve authority status in those, you can add new and complimentary niches.

Take Action
Here’s an exercise to get your brain flowing on possible niches:

On a piece of paper, make three columns. In the first column, list your services. (If your organization is large, list a subset of services. For example, an IT consulting firm may start with IT strategic planning.) In the middle column, think hard about your clients and prospects. What consistent problems or challenges are lots of people having that you know how to solve. In the third column, you’ll develop your special twist: what trends or new developments are emerging that affect these services or clients?

Once you’ve developed these three lists, spend some time thinking about ways that those three items – services, problems or challenges, and trends – intersect. What niches do you see?

In a future post, I’ll give you tips on developing authority in your chosen niches so that you can become Famous in Your Field.

Business Boosting Books: Never Eat Alone

By Admin

This week I want to share another book from my personal “Best of Business” list. It’s called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

Why do I love this book? For me, it takes the “work” out of “networking.” Never Eat Alone’s mantra is “relationships rule.” Instead of meeting people with the underlying goal to “get something” from them, your goal is to create real and lasting relationships.

Maybe this isn’t rocket science for you, but it was a lightning bolt for me. I spent 15 years in the corporate marketing and sales trenches, at dozens of sales training seminars. Nearly all of them treated networking like a zero-sum game. Either you used all the trainer’s techniques and you hooked ’em! Or you failed. (With the underlying message that it was because you didn’t use their techniques properly.)

Never Eat Alone changed that for me. Keith Ferrazzi’s message is all about shifting your mindset from the me-focused “what can I get from this person” desperation position to a cooler, more genuine (and much more fun!) approach. Ferrazzi shares his journey from Pennsylvania son of a steelworker father and cleaning woman mother, to Yale University and Harvard MBA and then youngest Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 500 company.

His success fuel? Relationships.

Ferrazzi believes in focusing on the entirety of the person – getting to know him or her on a deep level to create lasting human connections.

For me, this shift was the magic trick I needed. Focusing on the NEA mindset – and not on a networking notch on my belt – lets me indulge my rampant curiosity and fascination with people. I get to revel in discovery and connection, rather than feeling distracted and uncomfortable because of some unconscious agenda.

But Keith didn’t become a Harvard MBA grad and Fortune 500 executive solely on the strength of his smile. He’s also fiercely productive and systematic in his relationships.

Here is Ferrazzi’s four step process for relationship-building at events:

1. Meeting
As soon as you can during your initial conversation, move the conversation to the person’s deeper passions. Rock climbing, marathon running? KIVA? A Harley enthusiast who recently started breeding Yorkies? (No, that’s not a purposefully quirky example, that’s my uncle.) Get to know that person.

2. Follow Up. Immediately.
If you’re like most people, you wait until your back in your office, after quelching the 13 fires that have ignited in your absence. And then you know what happens…the stack of business cards gets shoved to the back of your pencil drawer until it feels awkward to “follow up.” Then, it’s like you never went to the event, never met those individuals who have the potential to make your life and your business infinitely richer.

Here’s what Keith does: he goes up to his room on a break or in the evening and fires off emails to each person he met. The messages are short. They include some pithy reference of the conversation to pique the recipient’s memory and they promise a follow up at a specified period of time.

3. Follow Up by Giving.
The next contact always involves Keith giving or sharing something with that individual. An introduction, an article, a resource.

4. Ping periodically.
It’s here that you really get to see that Ferrazzi is an guerrilla business operator, too, not just a nice guy (which he totally is.) He sets up a reminder to reach out to that person on a regular basis. And he does it.

Your fame building assignment:

Armed with this new approach and system, work on becoming a superconnector in your community or industry. This week, no matter where you are, make it your goal to have authentic conversations with the people around you. And then, follow up with them by giving.

Public speakers: the three-step formula to get booked solid

By Admin

Wanna speak more? Use the simple three step formula to get booked solid.

Wanna speak more? Use the simple three step formula to get booked solid.

Let’s start with a story.

I call it, “A Tale of Two Speakers.”

Let’s say that their names are Aidan and Steve.

Aidan is dynamic. Bold. Charismatic.

His speaking magnetism could out pull Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs and Oprah. (*Gasp*)

At the end of his talks, he’s mobbed by audience members wanting to buy his book and to schedule a (paid) coaching session with him. Each time that he speaks, at least three people in the audience recommend him as a speaker for future events.

It’s partly due to his message – it resonates with almost everyone and doesn’t apply only to a particular occupation or niche.

It’s mostly due to his charming, confident delivery and how he makes his audience members feel.

Then there’s Steve.

Steve is dynamic, too. Audiences also love his energy, empathy and wit. Each time he speaks, about 20% of audience members buy his book and a few sign up for his upcoming coaching event.

Who is the more successful public speaker?

Aidan speaks 5 or 6 times a year. (He wishes it were more, because that’s how he spreads his message and gets most of his clients.)

Steve? He speaks about 25 times a year.

What makes the difference between these two speakers? It all comes down to one thing – consistent marketing.

The best speakers, the most charismatic personalities get gigs without asking. But consistent marketing is the great leveler.

The speakers who get booked the most use a system to market their services, week in, week out. And so they speak, usually as often as they’d like.

A few months ago, a VIP List member named Ed, wrote in asking, “How easy is to break into public speaking?”

Well, Ed, it’s not hard, but to get booked for speaking opportunities before you’ve built your cult-like following, you gotta #werk!

There are three ingredients to create this Magical Mudslide of Speaking Opportunities cocktail:

  • Networking (online or in person)
  • Asking for the opportunity
  • Following up

Wanna make it easy on yourself? Create a system:

1. Research.

Schedule a certain day of the week, or time that you’ll research new opportunities and contacts. (Or give clear instructions to someone on your team to research new speaking opportunities each week.)

Steve tracks organizations and opportunities on spreadsheet. His college intern assistant updates the spreadsheet with new organizations or events and any new information about existing organizations.

Steve and his intern have a status update meeting each week. This keeps Steve up to date and keeps his speaking funnel full.

2. Reach out.

Call or send an email to these meeting organizers/event coordinators/new contacts and offer yourself as a speaker.

Include enough information to demonstrate your message’s fit with the audience and your skills.

To cover the consistent part, commit to doing it regularly. Once a week, every other week…you do you.

And set a number for yourself! “Each week, I will reach out to three new organizations or contacts.” Then, during your scheduled update meeting (even if the meeting is only with yourself), you can track your progress.

3. Follow up!

The fortune is in the follow up, my friend.

Anyone can send out a burst of emails to contacts and event organizers, but you’ll probably still be w-a-i-t-i-n-g for that reply while the Steves of the speaking world are getting booked.

Meeting planners, association staff and organization volunteers are BUSY. Help them pick you by staying in touch on the reg and showing that you’ve got exactly what their audience needs to improve their lives.

Here’s another genius nugget from Steve: during each of his speaking engagements, he asks the audience about other groups that could benefit from the information he shared. Then Steve’s assistant follows up with those people to book more gigs. Moneymaker.

Bam! Full speaking schedule leads to full client roster.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, set up your system to book speaking opportunities. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Schedule a regular recurring time slot on your calendar to research, reach out and follow up. If you believe in your ideas and your message, you owe it to us to get it out there.

“I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you’ve got.” Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Derek Halpern on what it takes to build a big online following today

By Admin

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. I scribbled my own versions of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys

ASPIRE Magazine. This guy is not Derek Halpern, founder of

mysteries, starring me and my intrepid band of cousins. I wrote plays and them forced those same cousins to perform them for our parents. (Yes, I am a bossy pants.)

I’m also very, very curious about people (less kind people might call me… “nosy.”) Understanding another person’s experiences and how those influence their thoughts and actions rocks my world.

So when the editor of ASPIRE magazine, a #1 iPad publication for entrepreneurs, asked me to interview and write about rising business leaders, I could not believe my luck!

**By the way, if you’ve got an iPad, you can try ASPIRE for free. Do it. You’ll be hooked.**

Last month’s interview was the pinnacle for me – Derek Halpern of Halpern is the leading authority on marketing and psychology for online selling.

You can click on the magazine cover to the right to read the article.

If you’re new to the world of Derek and Social Triggers, I want to give you a taste. Here are a few of my favorite “Halpern-isms” from the interview.

On the idea that social media is king and blogging is dead:

“Every business needs a blog. Hell, every person needs a blog.”

What you should definitely be doing with your website:

“If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot.”

Whether he worries about being polarizing:

“I take pleasure in banning people from my site. Every second you waste fretting over a hater is a second you could spend making a loyal customer happy.”

A few more topics that Derek takes on:

  • Why much of the advice about blogging today is wrong
  • The best place to get new ideas for your business
  • Why you don’t need unique ingredients to succeed online

Want to get more online marketing strategy from this guy? Step inside the world of

Click to get insights from Derek Halpern, founder of


Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, jump over to and sign up for Derek’s emails. You’ll get insights into marketing and psychology, along with crystal clear ideas on how to use them to drive traffic and sales to your website. It’ll be your online secret weapon.


Buzz Builder: Create an Event on LinkedIn

By Admin

Enjoy your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Wish there was an easy way to tell everyone you’re connected to about your upcoming speaking gig or workshop presentation? Oh, and wouldn’t it be awesome if you could also spread the word among your connection’s connections, too?

Say hello to my little friend: LinkedIn.

One of LinkedIn’s most powerful features is its Events tool. And it’s getting better all the time.

Just what’s so great about it? You can tap into LinkedIn’s 100 million + users to publicize and promote an event to everyone of your connections and potentially to your connection’s connections. Right there, you’ve just jumped from a few hundred people to tens of thousands who could potentially see your event and attend or become more aware of your and your business.

And don’t limit yourself to just the big headliners like conferences! You can publish any kind of event on LinkedIn: think seminars, roundtables, webinars, workshops, lunch & learns.

Creating an Event on LinkedIn is just four easy-peasy steps:

1. From your profile, click on the More menu at the top of your home page and then select Events.

2. Click the Add an Event tab.

3. Fill out the event information.

4. Click Publish Event.

Creating the event is simple, but taking a few extra minutes to promote your event can amp up your results.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Add some color to your event! Upload a logo to make your event stand out from the crowd.
  • Use a snappy title for your event. One that’s both results oriented and attention-getting.”MOXIE.MONEY.MEANING. Workshop for Women: Create the Career You Love and the Success You Deserve”
  • In your event description, include a strong call to action (that’s marketer speak for “tell people exactly what you want them to do next.”) Instruct viewers to  click the I’m Attending or Follow buttons so that their network connections will see it, too.

In another post, I’ll share more ideas to promote your event on LinkedIn.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Get on over to LinkedIn and check out the Events section. Create your own event for your business or industry and spread the word on it.