What’s the New Normal in Speaking?

While traveling to Kansas City this past week, I noticed a new normal in air travel.coolhotelroom

We pay extra for checked bags, we pay extra for carry on, we pay extra for aisle seats, we pay extra for snacks.

The new normal in air travel is “we might give you a cheap ticket but we’ll squeeze you everywhere else”.

In hotels it’s the opposite. Before, some hotels were nice and modern. Now many, if not most, boast awesome beds and sheets, flat screen tv’s and upgraded rooms. More and more have free wireless.

The new normal in hotels is that you have to be updated just to be average.

So what’s the new normal in speaking?

Before: Standing on a stage with good presentation skills and an engaging style was enough.

Now: Today’s audiences demand fresh, relevant content and WIIFM. If you haven’t taken the time to make it about them, you’ll lose them.

Before: Fees were on the rise and client’s pockets were deep.

Now: Clients are nervous about spending. You must demonstrate return on investment and value. And even then, you might still need to negotiate to win the business. (see my article “The Fee Factor” in Speaker Magazine for more on this). https://speakerlauncher.com/about.html

Before: Being great was a bonus for the client.

Now: If you’re not great, your audience will Tweet their boredom while sitting right in front of you. You need to combine solid content with powerful, engaging stories.

The new normal in speaking is that we have to stay sharp, we have to be unique, and our content must be moulded to the needs of our audience.

How do you measure up to the new normal?

Feel free to comment below…..

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

  • Wow – Great insight & info. I am going to send this to my Linkedin groups.

  • Very good post, Jane.

    While each of your points is important, it today business climate I believe it is essential that speaker address the risk factor. As you mentioned, people are nervous about spending so it is up to speakers to determine the risk each client is experiencing as they consider hiring a speaker. All speakers MUST be able to answer, “What’s my return on investment?”

    Keep up the great work!

  • Very interesting post and observations. I agree that being great in front of the room is just not enough any more. However, I must say that the “new normal” of people tweeting their boredom during events (of any kind) says a lot about the “new normal” of what is considered polite and not just a reflection on the speaking industry. It can be an uphill climb for any speaker when the audience doesn’t fulfill their side of the bargain–paying attention or at least not being obviously rude.

  • I agree with you wholeheartedly, Jane, that people listening in the audience need to quickly be able to see what’s in it for them. I speak on a very sensitive issue…sexual intimacy in marriage…with my niche audience being Christian women. The women I meet want to feel less alone in what has become an incredible struggle in their marriages. They don’t want a canned pep talk…they want someone who will stand up there and be able to identify and offer relevant solutions and compassion. Plus, they want someone who doesn’t shy away from tough questions and is able to adapt a talk to a specific group (i.e., when I talk to young mothers, my bent is different than when I talk to women who have been married a long time, etc). As a speaker, I connect through being prepared and being authentic. Makes a big difference.

    Thanks for the great post… I learn a lot from you!

  • Great post Jane. I’d add that one more “normal” in the speaking business today is an informative web site where the potential client can find all the information they need before they call you. It doesn’t need to be the flashiest design, but it needs to demonstrate your expertise so that they are convinced that you will be able to deliver the return on investment. Use of video, blogs, etc. goes a long way to showing the world the depth of your expertise.


  • Great insight into today’s ‘normal’ – but that landscape is always changing as the market becomes more and more challenging and competitive. My niche is helping small businesses get ahead with email marketing – business’s turn to email marketing from print happened because this market is so tight and funds are simply not available but email marketing is a great leveler, allowing the small businesses to compete with the big guys – I get to help and encourage them to embrace the Power of Email Marketing but what will happen when the economy turns? What is the next ‘normal’?

  • Yes, it’s harder to gt away with being mediocre these days. When people tweet in front of you that they hate you, it’s quite eye-opening.