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When the game isn't working, change the rules

Speaking is a winner-take-all game, and most speakers are left fighting for the few speaking opportun
Standing oration
When the game isn't working, change the rules
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #34 • View online
Speaking is a winner-take-all game, and most speakers are left fighting for the few speaking opportunities left for them.
When the game isn’t working for most, I think we should change the rules.
Here’s how I imagine we do that.

In the town where I was born, something terrible happened on the 8th of July 1959. A boat caught fire, panic ensued, and many drowned.
What’s hard to understand is that the water is so shallow there that most could easily stand on the bottom of the lake. But in the throwes of panic, they never found out.
It seems extreme, but it is not uncommon. There is even such a thing as a Black Friday Death Counter that keeps track of shopping-related deaths and injuries in the US.
Competition and scarcity can be gruesome masters.
To a lesser degree (fortunately), the mindset of scarcity and competition creates the same panicked feeling. As speakers, most know that firsthand. That is not a beautiful thing to have in your life.
TravelToSpeak is a way to leave this way of being a speaker.
Hello, abundance mindset.
Recycle for success
Speaking is not like most other businesses. While most companies will try to establish a long-term relationship with a client, a speaker is lucky to be brought back once. Most clients want new ideas.
And that is the rub. It is a small battle to retain a client, and an enormous struggle to win a client in the first place. Speakers are doomed to only fight the latter battle.
And that is why it is so hard for so many. It is also how we are going to win.
As collaboration becomes the mindset, the rules of the game change.
Mechanics of collaboration
One hundred twenty speakers have already taken the leap to work with us. But what does it mean to collaborate with people you haven’t necessarily met?
It will mean whatever we make it mean. But here’s some of the functionality available to members.
Adding stages:
Adding a stage.
Adding a stage.
Members add stages to the shared database. This means that wherever you go in the world, you can find associations that hire speakers. The network rewards members with karma points (more on that later) for adding stages.
And yes, all stages are tagged, so we know if they are for business speakers, motivational speakers, or maybe in the culinary niche.
Whatever is your area of expertise, we will find a way.
Get a foot in the door:
Connect with your peers and find out when they know who you should talk to.
Connect with your peers and find out when they know who you should talk to.
The endless prospecting and cold-calling are behind us if when we know which organizations hire speakers. If a connection of yours has spoken there already, we will let you know. And we will only suggest stages that are relevant to you.
Share notes:
These notes are fictional. The European Milk Board is a real organization in Brussels.
These notes are fictional. The European Milk Board is a real organization in Brussels.
You can leave a note on any stage. Members vote on most useful notes. The more useful the comment, the more significant karma rewards will be given to the member who wrote the note.
Track your progress
Get an automatically populated lead-board.
Get an automatically populated lead-board.
The system automatically generates an overview of where you should try to get on stage when your network is active. The bigger your in-app network, the bigger are your chances for getting ‘warm leads.’ In other words, you invest in your network - our system makes sure it translates into ideas for places to speak.
Our system makes sure that only people you have connected with can see where you have spoken, and collaborate with you.
Karma and kryptonite
We can achieve anything through collaboration. But going all-in on collaboration exposes our flanks to abuse. Some people will eat at our table, without bringing anything themselves.
Karma points are how our system handles this.
Go on trips, meet great people, grow your karma.
Go on trips, meet great people, grow your karma.
While we are still building out this functionality and testing use cases, karma is already a way to see if people have contributed to the network.
The more karma you have, the more powers will be unlocked in the system (but we’re still building that).
Dragonslaying
When I talk to speakers and mention the idea of collaboration, I’m sometimes met with disbelief. I can’t blame them. The idea that competition is the nature of all things is our dragon, and I assume that if you live around dragons long enough, they kind of become no stranger than a refrigerator or a doorknob.
But we’re now 121 speakers who can imagine a world without the dragon. And you should join us too.
The cost to join is $49.5 US per year for people who join now and become a founding member. For early adopters, the price will never change.
The coupon earlyadopter gets you your founding-member price.
(I expect prices to rise to $190/year or $19/month in 2020.)
Next week we will be back with a more traditional newsletter about one of the many facets of working and living as a speaker. If you want those right now, find what you need in the archive.
Keep sharing your ideas,
Kristian
Also, a special welcome to the new members from last week. They’re in:
Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, US)
2 x San Diego (California, US)
Portland (Oregon, US)
Athens (Greece)
Detroit (Michigan, US)
And Boca Raton (Florida, US)
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kristian from Speakers Loft

Standing oration is a bonfire for public speakers. Huddle around with the rest of us, as we talk about living and working as a public speaker. We're also creating www.speakersloft.com.

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