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Hot Topics in Speaking with Michelle Joyce

Hot Topics in Speaking with Jane Atkinson and Michelle Joyce
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Quote: “I wake up blessed to do what I love every day!” Michelle Joyce

How is your speaking business doing? Is your calendar jam-packed, or are you finding gaps that you would love to fill? Are you speaking on a topic that is relevant, or could you use a refresh on your keynote and offerings? On this episode of The Wealthy Speaker Show, I am thrilled to welcome my long-time friend and Speaker Management Agency owner Michelle Joyce to share some insight as to what’s trending in topics and what will get you booked more often.

Fueled by her passion for managing and coaching professional speakers, Michelle created the company in 2015. With an unconditional love for the professional speaking industry and more than two decades of speaker management experience, Michelle effectively connects audiences and speakers, resulting in a memorable experience every time. Recognized by Forbes as a Speaker Industry Expert, Michelle is a proven, trusted professional and is often called on to share her knowledge.


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00:00:01.430 --> 00:00:11.789
Jane Atkinson: Well welcome everyone to the wealthy speaker. Podcast. I'm. Excited to have a long time. Industry, Friend Michelle Joyce on the show. Welcome, Michelle!

00:00:11.800 --> 00:00:31.360
Michelle Joyce: Thanks so much for having me now. You Ah! You and I know each other since our agenting days, which you know you're still kind of doing, and we'll talk about that here in a second. But you are working with Jeffrey Ginnamar, and that is when we were first introduced. I don't know if I was working for one speaker at the time. Maybe this descent,

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Michelle Joyce: or the Speakers Bureau, but we have been a part of each other's worlds now for probably over twenty years. Right?

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, it's It's hard to imagine that it's been that long

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talk a little bit about you first entered the industry. And where you are today.

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, I came to work for Jeffrey Ginmer right out of college. It's a funny thing. I'm actually one of the only people I know that actually uses my degree. So my degree in college was interpersonal communication and marketing. So public speaking. Basically and I came to Jeffrey right out of college, and I worked for him for seventeen years,

00:01:10.510 --> 00:01:23.660
Michelle Joyce: and it was such a fantastic place to not only learn the speaking industry, but also sales and customer service, because that's what his expertise is in. So I got the best of both worlds.

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Jane Atkinson: A little red book of selling is my favorite book. What's your favorite book of his. If you wanted to learn how to sell, we'll put in a plug, for

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Michelle Joyce: if you want to learn how to sell it's hard to beat that, or in the Sales Bible, which is the first one I do love the Sales Bible. Also I devoured his books. He's so balanced. Okay, So seventeen years. This is like an amazing internship,

00:01:49.320 --> 00:02:07.689
Jane Atkinson: the feet of the Sales Guru. So then, after that you're like, Okay, I've run my course here. Good for you. I probably had a lifespan of, you know, three to five years with anyone given the speaker so good for you for doing that. Where? Where did you go next.

00:02:07.700 --> 00:02:15.389
Michelle Joyce: So I launched my own company. I did I? You know I'm a mom of two, and I wanted to have the flexibility to

00:02:15.400 --> 00:02:28.090
Michelle Joyce: kind of be in charge of myself, you know. And so when I first started my company seven and a half years ago, it was sort of equal bucket of speaker, coaching, speaker, management, and speaker consulting,

00:02:28.100 --> 00:02:39.519
Michelle Joyce: and those were all the things that I love, you know, and I had the the privilege of doing all of those things while I was at Gitamer, and so I was like Well, i'm going to just take all my passions and start my own company.

00:02:39.530 --> 00:03:08.940
Michelle Joyce: Um, and I had a good friend who, early on said, You just watch one of those one of those is going to take off, and you're going to want to sort of drop the other two, and she was right. And now we are all speaker management all the time, and it's it's fantastic. I wake up less to do what I love every day. Wonderful! I love hearing that, because, you know, when you're passionate about your work, it really isn't work, is it? It's fun. And so okay.

00:03:08.950 --> 00:03:16.750
Michelle Joyce: So you run. And I'm going to say a Speaker agency, What do you talk about the difference?

00:03:16.860 --> 00:03:45.729
Michelle Joyce: Because the management piece is a part of running an agency. Correct, right? So I would call myself a Speaker Management agency um, which is very different than a Speaker's bureau, right? So i'll tell everybody what the difference is in your opinion. Yeah, And that's a great question. I think there's a lot of There's a disconnect, especially some heroes these days also have an exclusive management arm. So I have ten papers that I exclusively

00:03:45.740 --> 00:03:51.380
represent on my roster. So I am essentially their director of events.

00:03:51.390 --> 00:04:16.690
Michelle Joyce: All of their needs come to me, I only promote them all. Hero inquiries come to me. Heroes are my industry partners in this scenario, but i'm really managing their entire speaking business, but only those, Ted. The difference is that if a client, let's say a client needs a leadership speaker, they have a twenty thousand dollar budget. They need someone. On this date. They might call a Speaker Bureau and say, Who do you recommend?

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Michelle Joyce: And a Speaker Bureau would access a variety of speakers. They may not be exclusive to that bureau. They might be access to that bureau.

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Michelle Joyce: Um, but I am sort of like an extension and an on staff person for my speakers. You work for the bureau or for the speaker themselves, and you represent them in a way that they want to be represented incredibly, professionally knowing kind of how they think and what they want, and Don't want, and the bureau would be calling you so. A speaker's bureau might have

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Jane Atkinson: ten or twenty thousand speakers in their database. But you're really only pitching ten

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Michelle Joyce: right. That's correct, and people is what you? And then, working with the bureau's becomes a very important piece of that puzzle, because guess what they already have. All the great clients you don't need to reinvent the wheel. How much are you doing in direct business with your speakers?

00:05:17.710 --> 00:05:20.989
Jane Atkinson: Work out like, What What are your ratios?

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Michelle Joyce: That's a great question. It varies a little by seeker. Um. But I would say, if I had to sort of give a blanket statement, I would say about

00:05:31.540 --> 00:05:51.029
Michelle Joyce: sixty to seventy percent direct. Um thirty to forty bureau. They have some speakers that are more kind of half and half, and then some speakers who really don't do a lot of euro work. Um! But i'm really fortunate. I work with some. Really, you know, top notch speakers who have all direct incoming. I mean they really are established.

00:05:51.040 --> 00:06:20.580
Michelle Joyce: They people know who they are. So Um! I like to hire you to be their salesman. Let's talk through what you might look for in order to bring a speaker in-house with your agency, and we're going to get to. We're going to talk here in a minute about what topics I don't even know if I talked about this at the very beginning. We're going to talk about what topics are hot in the speaking industry. But if somebody was like,

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oh, she sounds amazing. I want to work with her

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Jane Atkinson: Number one. They need to be established in the speaking industry. What would you say? Your minimum fee might be a fee above a certain level. Is that something that you look for?

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Michelle Joyce: It is, Yeah. Most of our speakers on our roster start about that twenty thousand dollars range and go up from there.

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, they are established speakers. They are thought leaders in the industry. So a lot of them have real skins in the game, right? They might own a Pr firm or a consulting firm on top of speaking. So they're sort of noted authorities.

00:06:54.090 --> 00:07:07.789
Jane Atkinson: Okay, awesome. Well, that, I think gives people a little bit to go on, and if they're not at twenty K. Yet, then they can keep you out in their mind. And will you ever go beyond ten. Do you think, or is that like the perfect number?

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Michelle Joyce: You know, It's the million dollar question every day in my mind it really is. I've kept it at that number, because

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Michelle Joyce: I have a responsibility. Deliver service to the client and the speaker. And right now that's very manageable, and I have a fantastic team that lets me do that. Um! If we were to expand I probably would need another meet, you know, or a junior me, or something like that I right now. I'm very comfortable with the amount of business to do, and I am the number one sales agent on the team. Gotcha.

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Jane Atkinson: Okay, that makes sense. Okay. So moving into what's hot and speaking, I love this topic. I love to talk about this topic. What would you say has been kind of like

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Jane Atkinson: a topic that you've seen from the beginning of your career until now. It's kind of been like a tried and to true topic that doesn't seem to want to go away.

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, that's a great question. I would answer that by saying all of those

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Michelle Joyce: high-level top of the funnel top of the bucket. Um. Topics are always going to remain true in our industry. Things like leadership sales, marketing, customer service, those really really high level topics. We still get tons of information

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Michelle Joyce: from clients that that's still relevant. I think the difference these days are the nuances that that those topics take. So, for example, when I was growing up in the business customer. Experience really wasn't a buzzword. It was all about customer, service or customer loyalty. Now, Cx is a huge topic for everyone.

00:08:47.320 --> 00:08:51.190
Michelle Joyce: Um, you know, leadership takes on a variety of different forms.

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Michelle Joyce: We're hearing things like burnout resilience and emotional intelligence, right? That falls under the bucket.

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, and all the cultural things, you know. So for sure, through that whole leadership element as well. Yeah, everything is kind of evolving towards let's talk about motivational speaking for a second, because I think that there was a while there

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Michelle Joyce: during yours in my ten year that motivational speakers were in style, and they were out of style, and now they're back.

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But what's the difference between what? What have you seen in terms of an evolution on that front?

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Michelle Joyce: Yeah, that's an interesting one, and it's funny. That term is really interesting to me. Motivational. I don't really love it. I would call them inspirational

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Michelle Joyce: right? Um! But what's interesting to me is, I work with very high content Speakers

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Michelle Joyce: right? So these are people who have published several books. They're thought leaders in their own right. So we tend to attract clients that are looking for content actionable takeaways. I don't really have a true motivational speaker on my roster.

00:10:02.230 --> 00:10:07.450
Jane Atkinson: There's still a need for them. I definitely know people that are that are doing a lot of business.

00:10:07.460 --> 00:10:15.289
Michelle Joyce: I tend to want to put those people on an agenda where it's a little bit lighter. Maybe it's. An after dinner talk or an after lunch talk,

00:10:15.300 --> 00:10:35.499
Michelle Joyce: whereas a high content speaker is going to open first thing in the morning, or close up for everyone in the afternoon. Um, But I think you know you talk about the evolution. That's interesting, because when you and I were just starting there. Wasn't a lot of speakers. Really, it was sort of this this fun subculture. And now especially with the addition of Ted Talk.

00:10:35.560 --> 00:10:56.090
Michelle Joyce: Yes, there's a lot. It's a very saturated competitive market out there for speakers. And I think that's important for for newspapers to understand as well. Yeah, they need to find their place. And and just because we mention that there's a hot topic over here doesn't mean that you go and deliver that

00:10:56.100 --> 00:11:25.939
Jane Atkinson: you really need to be a legitimate expert on the topic of your choosing. We talk a lot over here at the wealthy Speaker School about picking a lane, and now I've even talked a lot about like even drilling down even further on your lane, and being an expert at solving one problem rather than being more of a generalist who, you know, like the whole leadership aspect. Let's just have this one aspect of leadership in your face,

00:11:25.950 --> 00:11:39.279
Michelle Joyce: right? And And what makes you uniquely qualified to deliver that particular topic. But I love that. You said that because I want my speakers to be known for stuff right? When you hear the word customer experience.

00:11:39.290 --> 00:11:47.090
Michelle Joyce: I want you to immediately think of J. Bear, Joey Coleman like. I want the words to be synonymous, right? It's. It's sort of

00:11:47.100 --> 00:11:53.790
Jane Atkinson: the Fred factor is what I think of when I think of Mark Sambourne. Who was he? The newest one to come into your?

00:11:53.800 --> 00:11:57.890
Michelle Joyce: It's the newest addition, although he's not a new speaker by any means. Right?

00:11:57.900 --> 00:12:08.520
Jane Atkinson: Yeah, He's been as long as I've been in the business. Mark Sanborn's been in the business, and I think of him for the front factor. But what's he specializing in today?

00:12:08.530 --> 00:12:16.290
Michelle Joyce: Yeah. So I always think of the threat factor, too, because it's phenomenal. But that's more of a service book. It's more of a customer experience customer service book

00:12:16.300 --> 00:12:19.990
Michelle Joyce: these days. He is really heavy into the leadership space.

00:12:20.000 --> 00:12:26.700
Michelle Joyce: Yeah. Especially because Mark did this fantastic research study during Covid

00:12:26.710 --> 00:12:34.590
Michelle Joyce: that really dialed in what leaders were facing in today's market, because it had changed so drastically, so quickly

00:12:34.600 --> 00:12:38.290
Michelle Joyce: and so his new keynote is leading the future workforce. Now,

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Michelle Joyce: basically

00:12:39.400 --> 00:12:46.790
Michelle Joyce: it's here right like it was going to happen anyway. But it is here now, and I love that because it's rooted in such facts.

00:12:46.800 --> 00:12:55.070
Jane Atkinson: Yeah, Anything that can help people kind of move in the right direction, based on an uncertain economy

00:12:55.080 --> 00:13:18.790
Michelle Joyce: that is so timely and so perfect. So I've watched him evolve through a lot of different iterations of himself. Leadership has always been kind of at the core of his message, though, and I think that that's very interesting, that he kind of planted a flag in that state. But then he's gone more and more and more narrow love that top title.

00:13:18.800 --> 00:13:23.819
Jane Atkinson: So good. So good. Okay, Maybe I should ask you the questions that are on.

00:13:24.020 --> 00:13:37.999
Michelle Joyce: Okay. So speaking of what we just were talking about actually was what topics you kind of see coming down the pike. So say that name of that speech again that mark's doing.

00:13:38.010 --> 00:13:43.290
Oh, sure, it's leading the workforce now the few i'm sorry leading the future workforce now

00:13:43.300 --> 00:13:50.490
Jane Atkinson: now. So anything future-related let's say that we see that coming down the pike, I think that's probably a given right?

00:13:50.500 --> 00:14:07.589
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that applies to not over meet the leadership side like Mark's delivering. But technology, innovation. Um Shama hider on our roster does a great talk about the future of technology and what that looks like for businesses.

00:14:07.600 --> 00:14:27.529
Michelle Joyce: You know what what tools and apps are they using? What does What does the workforce look like for them? What does that look like on your website in a time of self-service? People just want to go to the website, and they want to get what they get right like It's It's a very interesting time. I get a message which I did from my local. Ah,

00:14:27.540 --> 00:14:31.220
Michelle Joyce: cia i'm trying to. I think it's like Aaa in the United States

00:14:31.260 --> 00:14:39.190
Jane Atkinson: that we take five to seven business days to get back to you. I'm like, What!

00:14:39.200 --> 00:14:52.289
Who are you living in this? Seems twenty-two. It's my Bro. I only ever use twitter to complain like on Twitter. But talk about the Dei space, the eip space.

00:14:52.300 --> 00:14:54.489
Michelle Joyce: Yes, huge right now,

00:14:54.500 --> 00:15:11.650
Michelle Joyce: and it has taken on a variety of forms. Right? So we talk about again the evolution of topics and speakers and clients needs um, you know, culture and diversity doesn't just mean gender or race anymore. In the workplace. It's employee preferences.

00:15:11.660 --> 00:15:30.420
Michelle Joyce: It's four generations in the workplace right? It's so much. Anton gun on my roster is one of the leading authorities on that, and I always tell him he's going to love this, but I always joke with him. I should have a bracelet that said, What would Anton do right? And he's such an amazing resource?

00:15:30.430 --> 00:15:40.489
Michelle Joyce: Um! And he gets a lot of clients that say we don't know how to talk about this, or it's uncomfortable, and we don't know what we're doing, and he always just has the right answers for people.

00:15:40.500 --> 00:15:59.509
Jane Atkinson: People with disabilities are not being represented, or weren't being represented at the beginning of the whole diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging space that i'm learning so much about all of these things. And I

00:15:59.760 --> 00:16:19.560
Michelle Joyce: i'm thinking you know what critical thinking somebody. Just we were talking at breakfast the other day about how critical thinking should be taught in school, because just learning how to learn by being exposed to new ideas, I look

00:16:19.570 --> 00:16:26.389
Jane Atkinson: at a picture that somebody took at a conference of the judges of a thing. It is like four middle-aged white guys.

00:16:26.400 --> 00:16:43.989
Michelle Joyce: I see that completely differently as I would than I would have, you know, five or six years ago. It's very interesting to me how we just learned how to think in different ways, and that's what all the speakers need to be provided.

00:16:44.000 --> 00:16:57.790
Michelle Joyce: Well, aunt, at the rate at which it has happened so quickly, right? I mean, if you look at history. Yes, it just feels like everything these days is happening so quickly and so clients are struggling to keep up, and

00:16:57.800 --> 00:17:15.650
Michelle Joyce: you know, bless them, because sometimes they're like, I don't know what i'm allowed to say, but i'm not allowed to say. It changes by the week like I think I understand this, and then I realized. I can't say it. It's It's just a lot. And and the advice there is just to continue to learn. Continue to be open. Continue to have conversations about it.

00:17:15.800 --> 00:17:27.889
Jane Atkinson: Well, I talk about some of the interesting bookings that you've seen. Come down the pipe lately. What are some things that you thought? Oh, I never expected to ever see that.

00:17:27.900 --> 00:17:40.939
Michelle Joyce: Oh, that's a great question. I just got one a couple days ago, which was super interesting. Um! A client asks one of my speakers to spend an entire week in Costa Rica. It's a rough life, I know,

00:17:40.950 --> 00:17:48.010
Michelle Joyce: because high-performing leaders need to come together and to be able to experience the

00:17:48.020 --> 00:18:14.250
Michelle Joyce: different activities that further pushes them. So they they benefit from content, like my speaker's going to deliver, but they're going to challenge themselves to like, learn how to surf or go in a really difficult height or something, and it was a way to sort of take them out of their business for a week and center them and encourage them and give them a chance to come together in network. So that was an interesting thing. We're still around

00:18:14.260 --> 00:18:22.389
Michelle Joyce: burnout and resilience and things like that. Nice! I was saying. High ropes through the Amazon could be very, very interesting.

00:18:22.500 --> 00:18:25.489
Michelle Joyce: Oh, how cool is that? That one was a new one.

00:18:25.500 --> 00:18:51.819
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, and um, when it comes to recession we've been hearing the word recession a lot lately, and I put out a little post on Facebook. Not that long ago that said, you know, hey? I'm hearing this, but i'm not seeing evidence of it in my own world. What are you all experiencing, and it was all just good news. Good news, good news, good news. Yeah.

00:18:52.020 --> 00:18:59.320
Jane Atkinson: And so in terms of your own world, what are you seeing with regards to what's to come.

00:18:59.330 --> 00:19:13.390
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, that's a great question. I I've not seen a lot directly of that per se. Right now. I'm seeing more inflation right, or the the cost of doing business has definitely gone up. Um,

00:19:13.400 --> 00:19:37.210
Michelle Joyce: Air Travel has become a significant challenge. Flights are not only more expensive. There are fewer options, and so that has been something we've we've kind of been hit with recently. Um, I used to. I used to be able to book a speaker on the West Coast no problem, knowing that if they were done by noon I could get them to the east coast for the following day.

00:19:37.220 --> 00:19:44.089
Michelle Joyce: We're having to literally check flights before we book every event these days because they're just not available like they were before.

00:19:44.100 --> 00:19:45.989
Michelle Joyce: That's been an interesting trend.

00:19:46.000 --> 00:20:01.989
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, for sure, and the costs of everything. You're right. Have gone up, and you do have to wonder if people are going to pull back as a result of that. Have you seen any companies laying off or hearing about? Have you heard of anybody laying off?

00:20:02.000 --> 00:20:06.619
Michelle Joyce: It was an interesting conversation during when Covid first happened, you know, when Covid First

00:20:06.630 --> 00:20:35.399
Michelle Joyce: there was a lot of that, and then we saw them immediately higher back, which I always thought was interesting. You know It was like this weird circle, because now what we're learning is they're having a sales meeting and thirty percent of that salesforce hasn't met anyone yet, right if they're coming together for the first time. They're new. They were hired during Covid when everyone was virtual. So that's been really interesting. But I think you know there's always in this business, and you you notice more than anyone as well about this this

00:20:35.410 --> 00:20:52.269
Michelle Joyce: cyclical effect. Right? We're always going to go through these haired times where there's mergers and acquisitions and companies, we're out of business, and I think you know the best advice for a speaker is to be aware of those changes we see Nimble be able to speak to that when clients need that.

00:20:52.280 --> 00:21:08.640
Jane Atkinson: And I love the idea of a topic that says, You know how to sell during a recession, or whatever it might be. You know we really want to be able to see what's coming, and then figure out. How do I provide value based on that?

00:21:08.650 --> 00:21:34.849
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, We had a lot of speakers over here who did amazingly well. Best years ever of their speaking business, because, especially Meredith,

00:21:34.860 --> 00:21:47.190
Jane Atkinson: that wasn't with a big intention of booking business. It was just how can I serve and ended up having her best here ever in the first year of Covid. So we know it's possible.

00:21:47.200 --> 00:21:50.489
Michelle Joyce: Yeah. Well, especially when you come from a place of service.

00:21:50.500 --> 00:21:54.089
Michelle Joyce: You know, I have always looked at sales as service

00:21:54.100 --> 00:22:09.889
Michelle Joyce: and people have needs, and my job is to help them. Um! So I think if people can always maintain that mindset, they will always be. That's a great frame on it for anybody who's a little anxious about picking up the phone. I'm: here to serve.

00:22:09.900 --> 00:22:10.490
Michelle Joyce: Yeah,

00:22:10.500 --> 00:22:20.359
Michelle Joyce: have something that's valuable. Do you need it. Or if you don't, That's okay. I'm on to the next person. So that's a terrific way to look at it. Michelle,

00:22:20.370 --> 00:22:34.690
Jane Atkinson: I love watching you on social media. I wish I got to get with you a little bit more often, maybe give you a big hug. I do hope that we're gonna be able to do that some soon, hey? If people want to get in touch with you, how should they do that?

00:22:34.700 --> 00:22:42.539
Michelle Joyce: Yeah, My website is simply my name Michelle Joyce Com. And my email is Michelle at Michelle Joyce. Com.

00:22:42.550 --> 00:23:11.589
Michelle Joyce: I'm: pretty easy to find. Okay, And I want to put in a plug. I did a a session, a podcast not too long ago. It was a master's class, and we liked it so much. We ended up putting it in the podcast with Karen Harris, one of your colleagues. Yeah, yeah, my speakers. And then we got into the nitty gritty. Where do I find an agent? And so on. So just so, you know. If this is a topic that's if you're not at twenty thousand yet ready for Michelle,

00:23:11.600 --> 00:23:25.560
Jane Atkinson: you know that we do have another podcast. You can search Karen Harris and make sure that you fill in some of the blanks from today, Michelle, Thank you so much for your time. You can tell your family they can make some noise now.

00:23:26.730 --> 00:23:29.390
Well, thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

00:23:29.400 --> 00:23:33.669
Michelle Joyce: I'll see you soon, Wealthy speakers bye, for now everyone. Bye, bye,

Highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Where Michelle got her start. [1:00]
  • Bureau vs management agency. [4:00]
  • What an agency looks for. [7:00]
  • Topics that won’t go away. [8:00]
  • What’s hot today? [14:00]
  • How topics are changing. [16:30]
  • Unexpected speaking topics. [18:00]
  • How can you serve your clients? [21:00]

When she’s not managing speakers, Michelle can be found cooking and baking for one of her famous parties, travelling and seeking new adventures, or spending time on the lake with her beautiful family and their spoiled-rotten labradoodle.

If you would like some great ideas to give your speaking topic a refresh, you simply can’t afford to miss this episode!

I hope you’ll download and learn.


Michelle’s website
Michelle’s email
The Little Red Book of Selling:  US    Canada
The Sales Bible:  US    Canada
Karen Harris podcast
Michelle’s LinkedIn profile
Jane’s LinkedIn profile
The Wealthy Speaker School
The Acceleration Academy – New Program Starting Soon!
Jane’s Private Coaching Options

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