The Framework To Landing Speaking Opportunities At The World Biggest Companies

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In just 5 months, Chris Baldwin was named the fastest growing speaker in 2018 and the #1 in the top 10 speakers in the Netherlands. He now charges upwards of $15,000 for each keynote engagement and has been the speaker of choice for Google, Microsoft, and many other Fortune 500 companies. Chris shares the mindset and steps he took along this journey to become a top keynote speaker.

Get in touch with Chris Baldwin

Victor Ahipene: Speaking nation. Welcome to another episode of public speaking secrets. I’m your host, Victor Ahipene and as always, super excited to have you here so you can take your speaking to a whole another level and make a bigger impact on the world. And I’ve got somebody here who has been doing it. He’s out on the beat out on stages making a big impacts. His name’s Chris Baldwin. He is a bit of everything. And what I mean by that, he was born in Vanuatu, grew up in Australia where I am based and is now in the Netherlands and he was named one of the fastest growing speakers in 2018 and the number one speaker in the Netherlands and he charges up to an excess of $15,000 for each key note engagement. So we’re going to tell into that and a whole lot more because he’s been the speaker of course for places like Google and Microsoft and a lot of other fortune 500 companies. And we’re going to also have a and an insight into the mindset that it takes to be able to grow that fast. And also be an effective speaker to your audience. So with all that being said, welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Baldwin: Thanks Victor. Thanks for having me.

Victor Ahipene: So lit. Let’s get a bit of a, as a slight background into you, you’ve obviously grown massively in you and you’re speaking at space last year and this year. What are, what are you speaking about? And I guess what gives you the credibility to speak to different audiences?

Chris Baldwin: So speaking as being something that I took on recently, like I’ve only really been speaking professionally for a year and, and speaking for two years, and the first year was actually within my organization. It was within IPG, which is one of the big five media companies in the world. IPG Mediabrands specifically. And, uh, and I started, um, actually we’re, where it all started was I was tasked as a strategy director. I was tasked with giving, with actually building the new mission vision for the agency, like the next chapter. And I had to, um, to communicate this internally. So I started speaking internally and, and one of the requirements I gave to people is that they needed to present this themselves. Okay. And, uh, and a lot of people had trouble presenting it. And so I started to train people to speak internally within my organization to present the mission, vision themselves so that they could bring this up in pitches, client pitches, and then just one thing led to another. And all of a sudden I started being tagged as the speaker within my agency and I started being asked to go into industry podiums and actually present on digital marketing. And, um, and then that’s how it all started. And what I did was, um, I built a model, cool, meaningful connections. I made it up. I literally made it up. I literally, I woke up at 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning and within 40 minutes I had this model written out. It’s, it’s basically, uh, the steps on how to build customer happiness. And it’s a four step process and it’s a model that describes sort of the digital ecosystem we’re in and how to build relationships through the digital ecosystem. And I call it meaningful connections. You know, in a hyper connected well, people would seek out the meaningful connections. And so what I did, I actually made something up that nobody else had. And that actually was a ticket to the podium because all of a sudden like companies like Facebook who are all about meaningful social interactions, they don’t want to put in the work connections in there because they don’t want to be responsible for you connecting. They bring you closer together. And uh, but also Google and Microsoft, Microsoft played a big role in getting me to the states because the first one I did for Microsoft back in 2016 where I talked about meaningful connections, I made them look good from the stage without being salesy and they loved it. And since then I’ve got invited back at least 15 times by Microsoft to speak on, on stages. So that’s how it’s all it all started from within my organization.

Victor Ahipene: and talk about, you Ha, you’ve obviously hit a record, a record growths side of your speaking, you know, over the last 18 months. How did you, I guess Microsoft as a awesome name to have, you know, I’ve presented to them and you know, they’ve given me rave reviews. How were you able to leverage and how have you been able to grow yourself as a speaker and a brand?

Chris Baldwin: So you know, there’s a lot of different things I can say on this question. I think looking back now, looking back at the last couple of years, especially the last year and what helped me to grow so quickly at the core of it, it’s the ability to communicate through digital, the ability to leverage video video. Like literally when you give, when you give content from the stage, unless you record it in some form, it disappears and as soon as you put it into a video or an into an audio and you share it on your social profiles like Linkedin, Dane and Facebook and Instagram, people start to recognize you as a speaker and that they might not care too much for the keynote, but it builds your brand as a speaker. It tags you as a speaker and all these people, your followers, your friends, your colleagues are within organizations and these organizations, they organize events, they sponsor events. And so when you can sort of brand yourself as a speaker, then all of a sudden you become top of mind for them. When the question pops up, who should we invite to speak at this event? Bam. And then they reach out to you on social media and, and I think at the core, the ability to put it into video and to share it with your social a following that that is at the core of how to grow quickly in [inaudible] this ecosystem. Now we’re all hyper connected. We’re all consuming from social media into m and, T. Yeah. To create opportunities for yourself.

Victor Ahipene: Yeah. I, I imagine it at times it’s an invisible ROI like it stat. Yeah. You’re putting these out here and then you’re not necessarily cold calling or cold reaching out to these different organizations to speak. I’m sure there’s, yeah, there’s times that you may or may not, but with that, have you been able to pinpoint like a few or to 80, 20 you as social media platform that you were getting the best results on? Is that linkedin because there’s the professionals, is it Instagram because videos getting eaten up? Is it youtube like do or is it just get them out to all of them?

Chris Baldwin: Um, so in the beginning I had no idea. Now I do know, and I can tell you that it’s Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram, those are the three platforms and they perform equally well. Linkedin is much more a professional platform. All the people from my past organizations are there with Facebook. The differences is that there’s a lot of people there that don’t know you and, and a lot of family and friends are there so they’ll support you as well. And the funny thing is with Instagram is that I have like the people that look at stuff and likes stuff and comment on stuff. They are sometimes like the [inaudible] the exact people I need to be communicating with. And then Ma, it’s top of funnel. They might not invite you for a Gig then, but they know what you’re doing and you’re inspiring them and it’s, and this is, it’s top of feed top of mind. This is what I call it. Like you need to be engaging with them, chatting with them. As soon as you chat with someone on any of these platforms, Bam, you’re in their feet for the next three days or seven days depending. So you need to be engaging with them in a, in a valuable way and appearing in their feets and um, and that, that’s, I think they’re all good. The only one that’s really dying is Twitter. Like I, unless you’re in an event and you’re using the Hashtag and Twitter’s only relevant when you’re in the event. I haven’t been able to leverage Twitter successfully are outside of events.

Victor Ahipene: Yeah, no, I agree. It’s that seven minutes and then it’s never to be seen again and yeah, to, to horrible place. So we’ll, we’ll leave that in the burning heat when it comes to your speaking events. So, you know, you’re obviously spoken at Google and Microsoft and, and these, you know, these large companies. A lot of the guests that we’ve had on here, uh, yeah, some of them are running the awares and speaking at stage after stage. And then I, I feel like the ones that have best leveraged themselves stuff found a way to be able to transform keynote presentations and to customers or into, you know, something off the back of it, whether that be some sort of consulting to their organization after the fact, whether it be a, you know, high level training to this c level executives, uh, licensing courses, whatever it may be. Have you managed to find a way with these larger corporations and have you gained any insights if you have?

Chris Baldwin: Absolutely. So I always work my way backwards out when I’m designing a keynote, I stopped with the end in mind. Like what, what’s my strategic objectives? Like what do I want to get out of this? Like it’s not just about turning up and checking the box. I’ve spoken, it’s about why am I speaking in the first place? Like, what is the goal? What do I want to achieve from the hour that I’m going to be on stage? And on the one side, it’s a message you’re delivering, right? You’re like, I speak a lot on digital transformation. It’s a very relevant topic. Now a lot of organizations need to transform and, and really, yeah. Again, the ability to communicate more effectively through a digital ecosystem. That’s the meaningful connection story. That’s fine. I’ll inspire them with that. But that’s not, that’s not, that’s one of the reasons I’m there.It’s not the only reason I’m there. The other reason I’m there is that maybe I want to be rebooked for another event. Maybe I want to speak at their global summit for that particular company. Maybe I want, um, I want to be a trainer in communication for them. Maybe I want to help them craft and deliver better pitchers. Uh, maybe I want, I want them to buy my book because I’m writing a book which is going to come out later this year. So all these things, these are all goals and ambitions that you have. And when you work your way backwards, you start with his strategic objectives. And then when you’re crafting your keynote, which is basically just a bunch of stories, a bunch of stories that are making points and, and these stories and points add up to the message or the messages you you’ll be sending to the audience. And so when you select your stories and when you drop your points, you’re actually in line with your strategic objectives. So one of the one, one nice example is Accenture, you know, one of the biggest management consulting companies in the world, 500,000 people globally. They invited me to, to do a keynote for them at one of their QBR quarterly business reviews. There were about 70 high level consultants in the Netherlands. The managing director of Accenture was in the room. It was in the room watching. And I delivered a a 30 minute keynote of those 70 people, 40 people came up to me afterwards saying thank you, shaking my hand them I got to spend the last two hours at the event with the managing director cause he liked the keynote. It was meaningful connections. And, and at the end they invited me to, um, to present at the global summit because that’s one of the things I wanted. They have a global seminar AI later this year. But what was really interesting is that I built in two or three very personal stories into my keynote, which got people quite emotional. And, and then so two months later, what did they do? They reached out to me asking me to w would I be their storytelling trainer? It was a strategic objective. I want to try and Accenture and their clients in, in being able to, to speak to through a effective storytelling and compelling storytelling. Because through stories you’re able to arouse emotion. And that’s how people remember through emotions. And uh, and so that’s one of the things like just what your way backwards, figuring out what do you want out of this event, what do you want out of this organization? And build those, those strategic objectives into your keynote and then, and then you can’t control the outcome. All you can control is the process. So deliver. If you don’t like the outcome you get, we’ll change the process. Just iterate for the next time. But what you’ll see is very quickly after a few iterations, you’ll start to get what you want. You’ll start these things that you’re trying to achieve will start to come back to you because you’re building them into your keynotes.

Victor Ahipene: Yeah, I think that’s a, yeah, it, the, the biggest message I personally took out of that as if you’re not getting the result that you want. It’s all right. Like, yeah, start with the end in mind. It makes perfect sense. Yeah. You can see how many other avenues you can potentially go down. And particularly with these big companies that do have these, you know, it doesn’t have to be a, you know, a big company. You can still be a small one. Hey, I’m going to give a, you know, I’ve been invited to personally speak at and at insurance company in New Zealand to their team. Um, and you know, again, my, my outcome, my objective is so then be invited back to all the hubs to train their teams on how they can present to groups rather than, you know, one-to-one, one-to-one sales. And that’s the end outcome that I intend to make off this off the SPEC and different Dev. It happens. It happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But if it doesn’t, I’m going to be going, okay, what could I have done potentially differently to bring that outcome? And so I appreciate that from a, from a learning perspective.

Chris Baldwin: let me go a little bit deeper there because I’ve got a couple of tips, a that really will make the difference for most speakers speaking within, within corporations. Um, and, and it’s something that, that generally you don’t think about. You know, when you’re negotiating a deal with a corporate, sometimes they’ll pay you, sometimes they won’t. Like sometimes I’ll say this, say this is an opportunity for us to get to hear your message come and deliver it. If we like it, well, we may work together and y’all would say, yes, we’ll, I’ll gladly give it for free. Yup. Or you’ll say, well, listen, I’m a professional speaker. Generally I speak for, you know, six, 7,000 a podium. Uh, in this particular case, I want to build a relationship with you. I’m willing to discount and come in a cost 1500. However, um, and then so if they agree, oh, we’ll take you in at 1500, that’s okay. We have a budget for that and they’re getting you at a severe discount. Now you’ve got leverage, you’ve got leverage and what you need to do is always building value, um, for that leverage. And that is, for example, understand. So what do you want out of that organization and who are the key stakeholders? Who are the decision makers within the organization and asked to have coffee with them, asked to have lunch with them as to have dinner with them. Like literally go in for the ass. He say, I’ll speak for 1500 if I can have lunch with the head of HR, if I can have lunch with the head of learning and development, if I can have a dinner with your head of innovation, which is, these are all things that I’ve done. So tomorrow for example, I’m flying to Luxembourg and I am the, the, the, the speaker coach for 200 people in Luxembourg for the largest law firm in the Bain. Luke’s and I did a keynote for them last year. I was the planner, keynote speaker, mainstays 1200 people. It was a global summit in Amsterdam, rockstar podium. And um, and I happened to come across the head of HR, uh, during the event. And so I sat next to her and we had lunch together and in French, cause I’m also French. And so that we’ve got a really special bond. And then within four weeks she reached out to me saying, Hey, let’s talk where we wanting to upgrade our learning and development program for presentation skills. Will you help us with that? And so now I build learning and development programs for this law firm, a both for presentation skills and client communications. And um, and so identify the key stakeholders that you need to influence and make sure that when you’re talking to the event manager, make sure you build those into the contracts that you have.
Victor Ahipene: And when it comes to outreach, so obviously sitting with these key stakeholders as is, you know, the, the best outcome you can possibly have when, yeah. Rather than sending this cold email out to them going, hey, do you remember me from a few weeks ago when I spoke on a stage? Yeah. Or, Hey, I spoke at a different company stage a few weeks ago and I’d love to share something to your team. What does that look like for you now for reaching out to companies versus nurturing the current relationships from the stages that you’ve already spoken from?

Chris Baldwin: So this may come as a surprise, but I’ve done no outreach. I don’t do it. Um, I’ve done no outreach. So within, within, um, within, in my fourth month of speaking, I was fully booked, uh, booked over 20,000 in revenue. And in the fifth month I was the fastest growing speaker in the Netherlands. And on month, in month six, I was number one on the top 10 lists for the Netherlands and I never did any outreach. And, um, what I did was I did get an agent and my second mindset is make your speaker rate in a successful as possible. My whole goal was to actually make him as successful as possible. Everything I did was his investment, his in his best interest. And that build trust because what happens, so you’ve got to realize as a starting, you know, you might be a thought leader within an organization.
You have a powerful message, you have a mission to, to, to fulfill and you have a purpose to fulfill and it’s all ready. All you need is now the audience to deliver it to. And you’re thinking about the stage as a platform to deliver that. Okay? Now your organization can get you to the stage. Um, maybe if your recognize within your industry you’ll be able to speak within that industry. Not everyone has that fortune. If you can be, if you’re a good speaker, if you can get your speech on video, a speech, good enough to inspire an agent to take you on. They have a network that is a hundred times bigger than yours and they have a network that actually, so speakers get sick, flights get delayed, speakers don’t turn up. And, and the event managers need really quickly a speaker and often the next day. And so they reached out to agents because agents have a repertoire of speakers, so you need an and but the agent, we’ll also have like 10 speakers to pick from. Why should they pick you? This is a question you need to ask yourself and this second mindset I had as a speaker was make my speaker agent as successful as possible. I want it to always be top of mind for him so that when he’s presents three speakers, which is pretty well the maximum an agent will present here, here’s your choice of three. You need to be in that list. How are you going to make it to that list? And so I leveraged an agent in order to to get to the podium, pay podiums agents, we’ll get you paid gigs, your network, you’ll be speaking for free in the beginning. You’ll be speaking for free because it’s friends, it’s colleagues, it’s like you. I’ll do you a favor. You do me a favor until you become in high demand. And then what you’ll find is even your friends and your colleagues and your network, or say, Chris, I’d love you to speak at our next event. You know, we can’t pay the fees that you’re asking. Can you do something special for us? And that is when you come in with, I’ll do it for 1500 for 2000 but I want lunch with this person. I want dinner with this person and I want coffee with this person, with an agent. They’ll, they have no interest selling you in at 1500 they’ll send you in at seven thousand ten thousand because they, they, they operate off commission. Let them do that work. And um, and so, so I didn’t know outreach.

Victor Ahipene: No. So it’s a, it’s a awesome insight because I mean, you’re getting on these stages, you’re having great success. And again, I’d say 80 20, it’s how can you do what you’re best at, which is speaking and obviously creating these meaningful connections in person and leveraging off someone who’s already made a lot of these meaningful connections throughout. As a speaking agency when you’re saying, and it really caught my interest. You yeah. You want to say make your speaking agent as successful as possible. You want to, yeah. So that if there’s that last minute thing or that last minute event that needs a filling that gonna put you forward Have you had any situations where like a s a speaker has had been pulled, pulled or uh, hasn’t been able to make it or whatever from, uh, any type of, of it?

Chris Baldwin: All the time. All the time. Most of my gigs have come because someone else couldn’t make it. So this is, um, my, um, my third mindset as a speaker. So I’ve got seven mindsets. This is a decision making framework for me. It helps me make decisions quickly and that helps me move quickly. And my third mindset is always have a no problems attitude. And because what happens, events, the event managers are full of problems. There’s problems all over the place. People complaining, speakers going over time, speakers not turning up technology not working when you can be the note problem speaker your, your pleasure to work with. Oh my God, crystal, nope. You know, Chris spoke this morning, a speaker is not turning up. It’s more this afternoon. Chris, could you do a second keynote like and talk about something different. I’ll say no problem. And I’ll get on stage. You know when, um, so when you have this no problems attitude, what happens is that event managers start to reach out to you because they want to work with you again. And, and same as your agent. When you have a no problems attitude. Like it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, they contact you in the morning. Can you do a keynote this afternoon? Like someone’s like desperate, no problem. And you just turn up and you deliver compelling keynote cause you’re prepared for that. You already had these keynotes ready and um, and then so, so you become the no problem speaker and, and a lot of these, the beauty about stepping in at the last minute is that you can charge a premium. So if you’re booking three months ahead of time, six months ahead of time, they are considering other speakers and they’ll often do a price, um, consideration. But if you have to speak the next day, man, you can chose to three times as much and the agent knows that and the event manager hasn’t got a choice. And so that it’s a great place to be. Um, last minute speaker. And it’s basically one of the reasons why we so quickly last year, one of the examples is my ted talk. So I told my agent, I want to do a Ted talk, a Tedx talk. Ultimately I want to do a Ted talk, but that’s why I’m calling it ted talk instead of Tedx because it’s just a manifestation of what I will do later. Um, but it wasn’t Tedx. I just come back from a speaking trip in, in Miami and Vienna and I, I fell ill and I was sicking dead on the Monday, on the Tuesday. And on the Wednesday my agent calls me, would you like to do a Ted talk? And I’ll go, yeah, great. When? And he goes tomorrow. And, um, and I had to move really quickly now because two speakers at the Tedx University of Amsterdam were sick. They had a speaker lineup, two speakers with sick and people buy tickets to these things. So they needed to fill the spots that otherwise people aren’t getting the value that they’re expecting. And um, and I was one of those considerations, but I had to move really quickly. So within 20 minutes I had to decide and say, yes, I remember I was sick, I had my voice was at 60%. I had aches in my joints. I literally had the flu and a and a throat infection. Um, but I said, no problem. And when I call the event manager, they said, um, I’m just giving you the shorter version of this story. They said the theme was crossing borders. And I speak about technology and relationships. And so I went to bed without a story. Like I’m thinking, oh my God, how am I going to talk within the theme of crossing borders? So I set my alarm the next morning at 5:00 AM and by 7:00 AM I had, I had my story. It was all crafted out in my speech map and basically I thought technology, what better, what better topic to talk about then technology, I mean technology disrespects, borders, it dematerializes them. It makes them irrelevant in most cases only to the level of the regulation you impose upon the technology or the rurals. You code into it. Hmm. And it was a perfect topic for crossing borders. And so I delivered that keynote, I prepared it in the morning, I delivered it in the afternoon, I went on Youtube, it went viral. And that has been one of the, um, catalysts for me. Most of my gigs now are coming through my tedtalk. You know, sometimes you just one talk away from your next opportunity, like your one talk away from changing everything in your speaking career. However, if you don’t put it on video, no one’s going to remember. Yeah. And then your, you’re your own. You’ve only reached a linear audience and that’s the people you spoke to on that day. When you put it on video, you keep speaking to other people forever. As long as it’s online.
Victor Ahipene: And it comes back to the first point you made today is video. Yeah, it is. Yeah. It’s the way that you grew. You grew your speaking and then you know you, if you’re not doing, if you’re not getting these engagements onto video, then yeah. Like you say, the linear audience, you’ve got this chance to even yeah. Have these bite size snippets that people can relate to and go, oh well that was 15 seconds or 30 seconds out of a, uh, yeah, what looks like a very long presentation. The 30, 60 90 minute presentation. Wow. This person must know what they’re talking about and yeah, I’d be interested to hear more. Um, so yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed that. But Chris, we’ve got to wrap up today, but I would love to jump on again and have a chat about these seven different mindsets because it’s something that we haven’t necessarily approached in the podcast and I think for a lot of people we’re looking to transition and live with Japanese speaking. It could be a super valuable. So I want to leave it there and for everybody who is hooked like I am today, then be sure to jump over to public speaking grab all of the show notes, everything we’ve talked about, all these tips and tricks as well as some links where you can find Chris a, which we’ll discuss a bit more in the next step. So would, you’re not going to miss it cause we’re going to talk about where’s the seven mindsets to become a successful and sought after speaker. So thanks for this and I’ll chat to you very, very shortly. Okay,

Chris Baldwin: thanks Victor. Thanks for having me on and speak to you next time.