Corey Poirier on The Speaking Program | PoP 435

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Corey Poirier on The Speaking Program | PoP 435

What is a good story made up of? How do you level up through speaking and how much can you charge? Are you looking to brush up on your public speaking skills?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Corey Poirier about public speaking, how to use it build an audience and he shares some tips that you can start using today!

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Meet Corey Poirier

Corey Poirier

Corey Poirier is a multiple-time TEDx, and sought-after Keynote, Speaker. He has spoken on MoMonday’s and PMx stages, has shared the bill with everyone from John C. Maxwell to Deepak Chopra to Stephen MR Covey to General Hillier and has presented to hundreds of thousands of attendees since he began his speaking journey.

Host of the top-rated ‘Conversations with PASSION’ Radio Show, For The Love Of Speaking Show, and the founder of The Speaking Program, he has been featured in multiple television specials, and he has been featured in/on CBS, CTV, NBC, ABC, and is one of the few leaders featured twice on the popular Entrepreneur on Fire show.

Visit Corey’s website and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

In This Podcast


  • Advice for speakers
  • What a good story is made up of
  • Memorizing a talk
  • How to level up through speaking
  • What to charge

Advice for speakers

People are scared of the unknown, more than they are scared of the rejection.

Corey points out that people are scared of the unknown and suggests the following for someone who is just starting out:

  • Know your talk inside and out – practice, practice, practice
  • Make sure it is a topic that you are passionate about
  • Figure out what could go wrong and then prepare what you’re going to do if it does
  • Go to a Toastmasters as a guest, watch people conquer their fear

For someone who has a bit of experience:

  • Make sure you’re really good at the craft of storytelling
  • Be sure to start with the 2nd strongest story you are going to tell
  • Finish with your strongest point
  • Share only a maximum of 3 major points in the middle if your talk is 45mins or less

What a good story is made up of

Make sure that your story has a strong hero and a strong villain. It can be a person but more likely it will be a situation. Once again make sure that you work around 3 points don’t try to litter it with too many points that people will forget.

Memorizing a talk

It’s easier to remember a true story that happened to you than it is to remember different points you want to share.

  • Work with sound bites – have triggers

How to level up through speaking

Evaluation form

Get people to complete these forms so that you can get feedback. You can specifically craft this so that one of the most important questions will help with driving more speaking engagements. An example of this would be: do you know of others (businesses, associations, etc) that would benefit from any of the material I presented today or a similar talk?

In this way, you will be able to gather testimonials and add people to your newsletter.

What to charge

$3000 is the high end of the first 2-3 years.

If you are brand new you are going to have to do some no fee talks, but the company/association bringing you in should see enough value in you that they pay for your travel and accommodation (unless it’s a charity).

Corey suggests that you have at least 20-30 talks under your belt before you start charging.

Download a copy of Corey’s book ‘The Book of Public Speaking’ for free here!

Watch Corey’s TedX Talks below:

Books by Corey Poirier


Other books mentioned in this episode


Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 435. Everyone loves payday, but loving a payroll provider, that’s a little weird. Still, private practices across the country love running payroll with Gusto. Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes. It’s super easy to use and you can add benefits and management tools to help take care of your team and keep the business safe. It’s loyal, it’s modern, you might fall in love yourself. Listeners get three months free when they run their first payroll. Try a demo and test it out at It’s what I use. That’s
Welcome to the podcast today. You know, no matter whether you’re just starting a practice, you’re scaling it, maybe you’re doing podcasting, you got to know how to do public speaking. We’re going to be doing the next three podcasts all about public speaking and today Corey is going to take us through a number of kind of points from his speaking program. Next, we have Grant Baldwin and then we have Holley, so three really killer speakers that are going to be walking us through really important ways to think about speaking. Speaking can make or break your business. If you are local and you just want more clients to be able to speak to a PTA meeting or to be able to tell good stories that impact people, it’s so important to be able to do.
I remember I was speaking at this charter school and I structured it out where each of my main points, I’d introduce the point, then I would tell a story, then I would have them talk to somebody close to them, sitting by them about some aspect of that point. And then I’d have a couple of people report out and then I would do the next point and do the same format. And people loved it because it was engaging, it made my point in the form of a story, talked about a little research and I had brought all of my clinicians with me as experts and said, “If you have questions about teens, go talk to Sarah, if you have questions about kind of co-parenting, go talk to Steve if you have questions about women in transition, such as divorce or changes in career, go talk to Nicole.” And it was a great way to put a spotlight on my clinicians rather than just on me because I wasn’t wanting to see more clients. I wanted to fill them up and it’s a great way to do it locally.
And you know, having done keynotes for the Alabama Counseling Association, Illinois Counseling Association, Minnesota Counseling Association, speaking at [inaudible 00:02:45] or other places, speaking really opens doors for you. And it’s one of those things that the more you do it, the easier it gets. But honestly, it’s still nerve-wracking. You know, the night before, I had a really big keynote, like Alabama Counseling Association, I think had 2000 people or so. That is nerve wracking. Because it’s important. You want to do a good job and so you’re on your game and it’s really smart to do that kind of practice ahead of time. So, we talked about techniques. We’re going to talk about this over the next three episodes. So, without any further ado, here is Corey.
[JOE]: Well today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Corey Poirier. He is a multi-time TEDx speaker, MoMonday’s MPx speaker. He is also the host of the top-rated Conversations with Passion Radio Show, founder of The Speaking Program, and he’s been featured in multiple television specials. Corey, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[COREY]: Awesome. Thank you so much Joe. So happy to be here. Really excited.
[JOE]: Yes. Well one thing I want to start with is, so you’re a dad, I’m a dad and it’s always fun to see how dads navigate podcast interviews and your son is home from daycare in the background somewhere. What are some, maybe just things around being a dad and an entrepreneur that you value because, you know, yes, we do all these things for work and to make money, but also, having a family, you know, you just got back from a big road trip. What are some things around being a dad that you value as a business owner too?
[COREY]: So, I guess, I’m going to say as a dad and a business owner for me, yes, I really, so I’m a new business, sorry. I’ll correct that. I’m a long-term business owner, new dad. And so I think for me, one of the things that I value about both parts of the world, the dipping into the two, because as you mentioned, the keyword Dadpreneur, one of the things I value is the fact that you get to, in my opinion, you get to set an example for this little person or these little people about how to live your life, how to actually, for most entrepreneurs I think they’re following their passion or their purpose. And so, you get to set an example. And so, what I value for me is being able to do that, to be able to set that example.
In my case for him, so he’s two years old. I my case, I love being able to set that example. And you know, it’s hard sometimes because I also value family time. It’s hard sometimes whenever he says “daddy working daddy working daddy working.” You know, and you feel guilty, but at the same time I want to set the example to him that, “You know, I’m doing this for the family, I’m doing this for us,” and so I want him to see that even though there’s times when daddy’s working, that also that he knows that there’s times when daddy’s with him.
[JOE]: Yes, I think that’s so important to have those times that you’re on and times that you’re off. So, we recently went away and we stayed at my in-laws’ cabin in Michigan’s upper peninsula, and it’s interesting how very quickly in just kind of hanging out by the water, I felt bored and, at first I’m like, “Oh, I should go on my phone. I should do some things.” And then I just said to myself, “No.” Like that’s kind of the point that in being bored my daughters and I ended up playing some games and doing a puzzle and just finding things to do. It’s almost like you have to work through those things because when you’re a business owner, there’s always something to do. Like, you’re never bored. And that’s not a good thing to stay in that all the time. And so that’s super cool that you pull out from that. I also noticed some nunchucks in the background there when we were on video.
[COREY]: Yes, I guess the connection to nunchucks is that I, and one thing you wouldn’t have noticed is I have two Bruce Lee tattoos. So that will probably start to explain the nunchucks side of things. But I grew up in a small little town, raised by a single mother, but when my mother and father were together, when I was really, really young, they were both big Bruce Lee fans. And my mother didn’t realize he only had three and a half movies. So, what’s the funniest to hear her say is, “Oh, I watched all his movies.” And I’m like, “Oh, all three and a half?’ And it’s funny they watched them over and over, but somehow it didn’t connect that we’re watching the same movie over and over again. And so from that end what was really cool is to see my mother and myself had the same interest in this same person who, for different reasons, she just enjoyed his movies and his presence, his charisma, whereas me, I really, over time I respected his discipline, the world of martial arts, what he taught and learned even though I never practice it.
So, the nunchucks to me are I guess a connection to him. And what you didn’t seem probably as well, Joe is that on those nunchucks are pictures of Bruce Lee [crosstalk] and I said I have two tattoos. One of them is the actual, it’s a claw on my upper right chest and it’s basically a tribute to the movie Under the Dragon where he got clawed by the villain who was wearing these almost Freddy Krueger type claws and calling him and drew blood and what have you. And so, it’s really intriguing, because that’s the tattoo everybody comments on. But most of them, it was done so well people think it’s like a bear claw. And when they finally realize it’s real, oh not real, they’ll say, “Oh, so is it Freddy Krueger?” or is it a, what’s the other one? Wolverine.
[JOE]: Oh yes.
[COREY]: Nobody ever, ever thinks Bruce Lee. So, that was a long answer to the nunchucks. It’s really a tribute to Bruce Lee, much like me deciding to wear some art on my body that signifies Bruce Lee.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s great. You know, it’s funny because there’s these stories that are kind of inside my brain that I totally forgot about. When I was younger and watching teenage mutant ninja turtles, I decided that I wanted to make some nunchucks. And I took some pieces of wood I found out in the basement and drilled holes in them and then took some rope. And as soon as I kind of finished this project, you know, as a, I don’t know, 10-year-old boy, took me hours to make, my mom took them away. And so, it feels like it’s always that kind of, that thing that I’ve never thought, “Oh well I should go buy my own now that I’m an adult.” I don’t know that I would need them, but it just, when I saw that, I thought we’re going to start there. Like forget jumping right into speaking. Let’s start with those connections. So, take us through, you’re a public speaker, you teach people how to speak, you’ve got a new book coming out, talk about maybe a couple of years ago, where you were at. Take us back to maybe a little bit of the things that you’ve learned in your speaking career for those people that are newer to speaking.
[COREY]: Wow. I mean, that’s such a wide question just because I’ve been doing this now for 18 years as a paid speaker. I wrote a book a couple of years ago on speaking. That’s how passionate I am about it. I’ve probably read 50 books by the top speakers in the world. You know, so like Carmine Gallo who wrote The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs or Alan Weiss wrote Million Dollar speaking, I watched TEDx talks for a while. I was watching at least one a day, and then I’ve been speaking on stages myself or again, as I said, almost 20 years, and that probably equates to about 3000 stages. And then on top of that, I’ve been training speakers for five years. So, —
[JOE]: Yes, so when I say go back a few years, you were just, you’ve been doing this for a really long time. So why don’t we just jump to, what advice do you have for new speakers? Because you’ve been doing it for so long.
[COREY]: Yes. And that’s why I say I could go to all, you know, it would almost be, I’d have to almost go to like a training course in the answer to cover all the grounds. But what I, advice I would give is a great starting point. Meaning if I was talking to somebody who’d said either A, “I want to get into speaking, what do I do?” Or B, “I’m already doing some speaking, how do I go next level?” I mean, that’s usually where I would start for people. So, and I’ll add in, there’s a caveat because sometimes the people saying, what do I do, where do I go haven’t gotten on a stage and are terrified of speaking. And so, my answer is going to be different for them, of course, than somebody who’s done it a few times; just doesn’t know where to go next.
So, if I start from the person, assuming, let’s say there could be somebody that wants to speak on behalf of their clinic, but they’re terrified. Let’s say they just had this crystallizing fear. As you probably heard, the number one fear in the world is public speaking and that’s above death. You know, as the joke goes, Jerry Seinfeld has said, and he said in one of his comedy DVDs that if you’re at a funeral, that means that the average person would rather be in the eulogy than, sorry, rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy. You know, so for the average person, if they had the choice, they’d rather be lying down in the casket dead than doing the eulogy. And I’ve done some eulogies and I’ll tell you, that’s even another level above speaking. But, if somebody came to me and said, “I have this fear but I want to do it,” here’s what I would tell them based on what I’ve seen after studying this world for, I mean literally thousands of hours because I’ve interviewed some of the top speakers on my show as well.
I would say what I’ve noticed is people are scared of the unknown more than they’re scared of the rejection. And that’s a really distinct difference because a lot of times people just think they’re scared of, “What if I bomb?” Let’s say, we’ll call that, that’s the word at standup comedy. “What if I fail on the stage?” What I’ve found is some people are even scared of, “What if I succeed?” They’re just scared of, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I’m used to being in control. I heard this wrestler recently talking about Vince McMahon, the guy who owns like the biggest wrestling company in the world. And they asked him what it was like working for him and what’s he like as a guy and the guy said, “So unique. He gets mad at himself when he sneezes because he can’t control it.”
[JOE]: Wow.
[COREY]: And so, that, what I would compare it to is that people can control most of the things in their life. They can’t control what happens when they get on stage. So, the scared of the unknown. So here lies, “What do you do to get rid of the unknown?” Well, first of all, know your talking side note. So, in other words, practice, practice, practice. Secondly, make sure it’s a topic you’re passionate about. In my experience, Joe, people that speak on something they’re passionate about, will always come across better than a speaker who’s maybe even more skilled but is not happy or passionate about the talk, let’s say.
So, I spoke one time when I was really young. One of my first talks, I turned shades of color. I don’t remember word of what I said. And at the end I asked a couple of people, “What did I say?” And the one of the guys said, “Well, I don’t know what you said, but you were so passionate about it, dude. You sold me.” And it always stuck with me because that’s the power of it; is that if you’re passionate about what you’re speaking on, people will forgive where you’re not as strong as a speaker. So, I would say speak on a topic you’re passionate about. Know it inside and out. So, study it. Know the nuances inside and out would be the second thing and practice it enough to make that happen. And then I would say the other thing, and this is the part where most people don’t go to this level, but I see the world class speakers do and I would recommend people go to this level is then figuring out what could go wrong and prepare for what you’re going to do if it does, because then all of a sudden you’ve basically controlled as much as you possibly can.
So as an example, let’s say I had an opening story I would tell to people about how I got on a stand-up comedy stage and told a bunch of jokes only to discover, it was my first time on a stage, only to discover I didn’t have the mic turned on. And at that point in the joke when I, like, and this is like a five-minute story and that’s the end of the story, and it usually gets great last because people realize here, I’m saying the materials bombing and all this, and I was covered in sweat. But the truth is I was so green, I didn’t even turn the mic on and it gets a big laugh. But what I did early on is in case that thing get a laugh, I built in a second one.
So, I built in a follow up. So, then I would say, “Now you’re probably wondering what happened when we got the mic turned on.” And then I tell the story about how I got the mic turned on and told the same jokes, and they bombed again. And I would say how you know, the only comic I know that’s bombed with the same material twice in 10 minutes. And so that became the backup. And it wouldn’t have been that, that one didn’t have to get a laugh. It could just be an, “Oh wow,” type of thing. So, what I did was I covered myself in case I didn’t get a laugh on the mic not being turned on part of the story. So that’s basically figuring out what are you going to do if the power goes out? What are you going to do if, and make a list of all the things that could go wrong?
Just like as a salesperson, you’d make a list of the objections you get and then figure out the responses. So, if you do those three things, whether you’re just starting in speaking or whether you’re terrified of speaking but want to get in, I would say those are amazing starting points. And then the second part if you’re terrified is go to a place like Toastmasters in front of a small group of people like eight or something like that. Go as a guest a few times, watch new people jump up and introduce themselves and conquer their fear. And I think you’ll find once you get used to that group, you’ll start being comfortable talking in front of them. And I will say, I got rid of my ums and uhs through Toastmasters even as a professional speaker. So, imagine what a person can do if they’re starting and starting from ground zero, how much they can grow in a group like Toastmasters.
So that’s the starting point for somebody who is brand new, just starting. And then the quicker version is for somebody who’s wanting to go world-class. Then I would say there’s a whole bunch of things but where I would start is making sure you’re really good at the craft of storytelling and making sure that you start with your second strongest thing you’re going to tell. So, make sure it’s the second strongest thing in your whole talk and then finish with your strongest and make sure you only share maximum of three major points in the middle if your talk is 45 minutes or less. That would be the starting point.
[JOE]: Now when you say get good at storytelling, I know that book, the Storyteller’s Secret walks through a bunch of this, but what are things that you teach that good story is made up of
[COREY]: Good story? You know, good, so, here’s something about story that I think a lot of people don’t do. Sometimes they do it by accident but it doesn’t happen as much as it should and it’s not usually as conscious as it should be. So, what I would say is the idea of having a hero and a villain in your story. And so, when I say that the hero and villain don’t have to be a person, because people right away think person or they can be a person. So, if you’re working on story, I would say make sure your story has a strong hero and a strong villain and sort of further that, can be a person, but more likely it’s probably going to be a situation. So, let’s give you a weird example. Not even weird really but an example is somebody who is, let’s say, I’ll use this one.
Somebody gets diagnosed with let’s say MS and when it first happens, they think everything’s over. You know, I mean, “My foreseeable future, everything I planned is done.” And they ultimately decide that they’re going to battle the set on and they explore different options and they find ways to eat and exercise and stuff that helps them recover to a large degree. Well, in that case, the villain could be MS or just even the, you know, that thing that’s over overhanging us, that thing that all of a sudden could impact our lives and be the obstacle of all the dreams we had. And then the hero could be our hope or could be our action that we take to start finding an answer. But when you were telling the story to understand who they hear on the villain is powerful.
One of our students, her name is Kelly Woodhouse, she’s a burn victim. And she had a documentary come out and I asked her who was the villain in the documentary. And most people would think that would be, of course, you know, whether it’s fire, whether it’s her being burned, what have you. She said actually what the villain was, was her self-talk, her self-sabotage. And the hero was the tools she finally learned and the hope she finally found to actually overcome that. So that was a long way to say that when it comes to storytelling, make sure you have a strong hero and a strong villain. And that’ll take you really far in the story. And I’ll go back and say once again, make sure you work around three points. Don’t try to litter with too many points and so many that people will forget.
[JOE]: Yes, and I think that that point you made earlier on about practicing, I know when I did my TEDx talk, I had it broken down minute by minute. So, I knew by minute one I needed to, because you have a timer with TED Talk. I knew by minute one I had to be at a certain point in my storytelling, minute two, I had to be kind of moving into the research, minute three like for, to be able to go through it with that kind of precision. When I got on stage, it was just automated and I was able to be in the moment, but also it wasn’t like I was just riffing, but it came across as much more natural because I knew it so well. And actually, what ended up happening was the video didn’t record it correctly. So, the actual TEDx Talk, I had to go back to the stage and do to an empty auditorium and then they spliced in pictures of the crowd. And so, it’s a good thing that I actually knew my talk that well that I could go back and do it from the stage like that.
[COREY]: Wow. I love that. And that brings up a good point because I have some people say to me that they can’t memorize. You know, they can’t, they struggle with memorization. So, to the point about practicing, they’re like, “No matter how many times I practice it, I can’t remember it,” or, you know, “How do I remember it?” And so, what I tell, I’ll give you a two-part answer to that, but I tell people: A, work with sound bites. And when I say soundbites, I don’t necessarily mean like interview soundbites, I mean have triggers. So, have soundbite triggers. So, for instance, when I used to do stand-up comedy for a number of years, what I would do is I would remember, “Okay, I’m going to tell a joke about this time I dated a girl that told me she had scurvy.” True story, by the way.
[JOE]: She happened to be a pirate?
You know what’s funny about that is what I say in the joke is my first thought because she asked, “How would you feel if I told you I head scurvy?” And I said, my first thought was you know, “Isn’t scurvy, a pirate’s disease?” So, my first thought was to go, “Yes, [inaudible 00:20:29]. And so, I, you know, they started out and so I, first thing I thought was pirate too, but I tell this, had this whole joke and it finished with this powerful punch to the whole thing. But the point of it was, is for me to remember that joke. All I had to remember was the words ‘scurvy girl.’ That’s all I needed to remember. And then I had another joke about taking a dog to the park and what goes through a dog’s mind when they’re on a walk, and I just called that, that joke ‘dog’s view.’.
So my point of this is in terms of memorization, as long as I knew the story, that’s why it’s important to work in stories because it’s easier to remember a true story that happened to you than it is to try to remember different points you want to share. So, I would say first of all, work with stories that you know, but then the trigger to remember the story in the order is now all I had to do; was remember five things. You know, maybe like I said it’s, scurvy girl,’ ‘dog’s view,’ ‘cocaine girl,’ a whole another story. But all I had to do is remember these five points and I could remember my whole talk. And so that’s what I’d say to people that struggle with memorization.
But then the second part, to your point, if you know the talk so well, let’s say your TEDx Talk is a great example. I’ve done three and I would say this is the case for all three. If you know your TEDx, let’s say so well and so inside out, what that allows you to do is now you can riff a bit. But you can’t riff if you don’t know your talk well, if that makes sense. So, for me, I wouldn’t go into my TEDx Talk if I didn’t know well enough and try to just wing it. But once you know it well enough, if something throws you off or something happens, you can go there and still get back on track because you know it so well. So, it’s like if you build the foundation of the house, then you can take a hammer to it. But if you haven’t built the foundation at all, it’s just paper mashay. If you take a hammer to it, it’s going to bust everything.
[JOE]: You know, that really resonates. I feel like the way that I kind of view it is that in the same way that a band has a set list. You know, they may know how to play, you know, 30, 40, 50 songs, but you know, a show they’ll have their 12 hits that they want to play for this tour. That for me having a certain kind of set list of stories, of research, of kind of main points and being able to rotate those in and out, but to know based on the crowd that I’m going to do this setlist tonight. Is that similar to maybe how you think through it where you have a certain maybe library of stories that you know you can throw in for a talk or do you just kind of have one talk that you do for a while?
[COREY]: No, that’s a great question. My personality is such that I need to be mixing it up all the time. So, I have core talks, but then I’m always adding to them, I’m always switching stories out, putting in a new one in. Sometimes a storyline, if I’m doing a talk on customer service, how to create a customer experience, on the way to the talk, I’ll have a bad experience or a good one, I might work that in and replace it with another story. So, to answer your question, I do have kind of, let’s say a setlist, you know, a pool of stories I can go to and sometimes I don’t plan to do it when I get there and it ends up just fitting the circumstance. So, I do have that and I do multiple talks. I don’t have one specific talk that I do for a while.
I do multiple talks that I do, but I still always want to freshen them up and even try to customize into an audience. So, if I’m dealing with an insurance group, I’m going to speak differently than if I’m dealing with a plumbing association. So, I have all of those things that are always at work. But something else you said that I think is important to mention because it’s something that I’ve been talking about for a while, but I think it’s different from anything I’ve ever heard or learned. I’ll put it that way. It’s, it came to me because of being a musician. So, this is why it’s interesting you ask about my music, but as a musician, I recognized when I was performing there was a certain way that setlists work best. And then I would go watch live audience, sorry, live bands in front of a live audience and I would watch how the big bands followed a similar setlist and order.
And I realized you can build your talk using the same process that a screenwriter uses to build a movie and director actually directs the movie using. So, in other words, the play of the movie or a stage play or as a concert setlist. So, I said earlier, for example, putting your second strongest story or bit or whatever you open with; second strongest thing first, strongest thing last. Well, what does a band do? Usually they open with a song that you know to pull you in. So, if it’s The Rolling Stones, they might open with a song like Angie or something that’s a popular song, but not their biggest. And then they might close with something like Satisfaction, which may be arguably the biggest song. So, they open with a strong, strong song, but they finish with the strongest, usually. That’s why the encore is always been the biggest part for people.
And so, having said that, that’s where I got that from my talk. Stand-up comedy, we do the same thing. You open with your second strongest joke, finish with your strongest. Why? Because you want to pull the person in. But the second thing is when they leave, you want them to remember you. And to do that, you have to do your strongest joke last. So, I kind of build it like I would suggest building a concert set list or a standup comedy bit or a movie. You know, movie, there’s three acts. So, I mentioned using three parts. So, I’m really saying have three acts in your talk now. You can do it that formal way and actually have three acts. I mean that’s a powerful way to deliver a talk or you can do what I mentioned earlier whereby you just have three main points.
So, they may not be in order of acts, they may not build the way an act does, but you at least have just, I’m going to say a maximum of three. Why do I say three by the way? It’s because they’ve scientifically proven that we learn fast in threes. And I had somebody on my show a while back, another TEDx speaker and I asked him if he could share some strategies on something. He said, “Yes, I’ll share three.” And he said, “Do you know why I say three?” And I said, “No.” He said, “Because there’s only four numbers in the world. One, two, three and too many.” And, that always stuck with me and you know, A, I know scientifically they’ve proven that we learn best in threes or less, especially as busy as we all are today. You know, at a time in history where they say our memories are short as a goldfish for the first time ever.
So, I think three is powerful that way, but secondly, think about all the powerful ways we learn and are entertained. They have a three-act structure in stand-up comedy, usually, if you’re doing a bit, let’s say pets, you’ll do three parts of the pet. So, you’ll like, you know, you’ll talk about maybe cats, dogs and birds and so everything’s in threes. So, I suggest in your talk again, unless it’s a workshop or a full day thing, if it’s a keynote or a 75-minute talk, I always recommend people stay with three or less. So, all of that stuff to answer your question really kind of connects back to basically building it like a setlist.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s so awesome. So, we’ve covered a lot of techniques and in this last week kind of part, I want to really talk about leveling up through speaking. So, you know, things like how to get a TEDx Talk, how to get, I mean like you mentioned insurance companies or plumbers or things like that. The therapists and counselors and coaches that listen to this podcast, they have a ton of skills that they’re using in individual work, but really those skills are applicable to almost any industry. So, if someone wants to start leveling up, if they want to really kind of get out nationally speaking, what are maybe three tips or so that you could give them that would help them move from where they’re at now, mostly doing maybe local talks to really getting to that next level?
[COREY]: There is a few that I would say. One, I would say next level stuff. You have to, it depends on what they’re wanting to do too. Like it depends if they’re wanting to get paid to speak or they’re wanting to just get in front of a lot of audiences because you know, that’s really two different things. You can mix the two, but mostly it’s two separate things. There’s actually multiple, but one, a person could want to sell from a stage and they are saying, “I have a program I want to sell, but I don’t actually have any speaking to sell,” if you will. There’s other people that say, “I want to speak in front of an audience to build my business or raise awareness about a course.” And then there’s people that say, “I want to get paid to speak.” Usually, —
[JOE]: Let’s see, let’s do paid to speak, because I think that’s the question, I get the most from folks. If they want to get paid to speak, let’s just stick with that one for today.
[COREY]: Okay. That works. So, my answer is, I’ll give you a game-changer for me. So, I’m going to give people something I wish I would’ve known in my first maybe year or two. This is a thing that in our program, it’s always a moment where people go, “Oh, why didn’t I ever hear this before?” And I’d taken, as I mentioned so many, I’ve taken sales courses, I’ve read so many books on speaking, I’ve taken so many speaking courses and I’ve never heard this. This is something that just was a happy accident. And, I’ll give a second tip that builds on this one and then I’ll give you, I’ll mention about the brand talks, like a TEDx. But the first part is the evaluation form. So, in this day and age typically the norm is when you go speak at an event, they want to do, sometimes they want to do an app evaluation for them or digital, which is the worst thing you could ever do. And I’m saying that from experience.
My experiences have been really good. Organizations get five or 10% back when they do it that way. Believe it or not, it’s one of the few places where still old school still works better. So handwritten, so works better. So, first of all, I tell clients that and help educate them that and when they go against it, they always come back and say, “I wish I would’ve listened.” So, it helps in that way because it makes me look like I have their best interests in mind. But secondly, what I do, and this ties into this tip, is, I’ll usually, when I get booked for a talk, I even make it one of the conditions that I want to be able to handle my own evaluation forums.
Now, I’m going to say 99% of the time, no issue. And if it’s that 1% of the time they just won’t let that happen but they want pay me to speak and everything else, I’ll accept it and try to find other workarounds. Like maybe I’ll tell people how they can connect with me on social media or grab a free book or something. So, I still getaway to connect with them. But 99% of the time they’ll let me handle my evaluation form. Now, this isn’t going to work in front of an audience of 5,000 or 10,000 but most of your talks are going to be probably 300 or less and it’ll work in that environment. So, what I get people to do is, handle your evaluation form. Now, mine is specifically crafted, I have one in front of me right now, so I’ll grab it.
Mine is specifically crafted. The questions have been designed over the long-term. Some of them I got from a book that I was reading that gave me some ideas and some I created on my own. But the most important question on here as far as driving more speaking engagements is a question that says, “Do you know about others? And in brackets, I have businesses, associations, et cetera, who would benefit from any of the material I presented today or similar talk? Second, follow up question on that is who might that be? And third is may we maybe contact you to follow up? And so, the first questions are like what basic messages you hear that you could use tomorrow? How will you use it to increase your productivity? And so, people love those questions because it tells them what they learned, it tells them it’s about learning that you made an impact on them, but also, it’s good for you because then you know they’re listening.
There are questions about what’s your opinion of the presentation. That’s really good because the next question I have is, can we use your comments and testimonials in association with our services? So, you probably see where this is going, Joe. I can now, if I go to a hundred people, it’s my first talk ever. So, you’re asking what would I recommend people start with? One, if it’s your first talk ever and you need testimonials for future talks, well, you ask that question. Go speak in front of a chamber group with a hundred different business owners, 80 fill out your evaluation form 70 say you can use their comments. Now you have 70 testimonials from your first talk you can put on your website. And if you ask their name now you can have like John Smith, you know, Dunkin Plumbing and I, this was the best talk I’ve ever had in my life.
You know, 70 of those talks from different people. If you do it in front of a group that represents multiple businesses. So that’s one thing that works on here. The second thing is it says, can we add you to our free course content newsletter? So now all of a sudden, I might have 60 people that sign up for my newsletter and I have permission from them right on the page. So now I build 60 people onto my newsletter from one talk. But that goes back to that most powerful question I mentioned; is the example of what I’m looking at right now. They actually listed a company. So, I said, “Do you know of others who would benefit from a similar talk?” They listed a company, email address, contact person. So now all of a sudden from one valuation form, I have a person that I can follow up with and potentially get a booking at it. I would say at this point I get 30% or 40% of my leads that way, and probably about 20% of my bookings from that one action.
[JOE]: Wow. Now for a beginning speaker, someone who’s just starting to level up, what’s a typical amount that they can charge? Say it’s, say they have to fly somewhere, you know, and so it’s not just, you know, within their state.
[COREY]: So, this is a great question because there are speakers right now somewhere in the world paying, and I’m not even making this stuff. There’s speaker somewhere right now paying $5,000 to speak on a stage. And that blows people’s minds who earn in the speaking business. But there are people that are paying to get on a stage. There are people paying more than that. But let’s just say there’s people paying $5,000 to speak on a stage somewhere right now in the world. And depending on who the speaker is, it’s a small number, but there’s a speaker somewhere in the world getting paid $1 million somewhere to speak. Maybe not today, but this week. So, put it in perspective. Bill Clinton gets paid $1 million to talk. Tony Robbins is in that range. Gary V who people might know is like, I think 125,000 and so on and so forth. So, there’s that big of a range.
So, this work is challenging, but what I’ll tell you, [coughs] excuse me, if somebody is brand new, here’s the two areas I would say that they probably should work at. I would say in a perfect world, if you’re new, you, you’re probably going to have to do some no-fee talks. And you notice I didn’t say free. I believe you should need to call them no-fee. And you need to look at them like that because there’s still value in no fee. It just means that you’re not getting a fee for this particular talk. So, what I would say is if you’re wanting to get into the business early on, you’re probably going to have to do some no-fee stuff. But here’s what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to be paying to fly there. So, you brought up a good point about travel.
So what I would recommend to people is they should, the company bringing you in, the association, what have you, unless it’s a charity thing, should be at least willing and see enough value in you to fly you there and pay for your hotel. So, and transportation to get there. So that, and that’s the norm. That’s sort of the expected. So, I would say at a minimum that should be where you’re at. If you’re leaving your, as you said, your state, if you could drive in the car for 20 minutes, then you make your own judgment call. Maybe you do it no-fee and you don’t charge anything, and just make sure it’s the right audience and that’s a whole another discussion. But make sure it’s the right fit for you. Then the second part is in terms of when you’re going to get paid and what you should be asking.
I would say just the, and I’m just throwing around number on this, but you should probably want to have 20 to 30 talks under your belt before you start charging in the thousands. Now that part is subjective. You know, the thousands, because it depends how quickly you develop and how strong you are and how niched you are and a whole bunch of other things. But I’d say you really, you want to at least have that many talks in because you need to at least know that you’re worth that and know that you have that value. What I did to help me decide when I felt that’d be at that range is, I actually used those evaluation forms I mentioned earlier. So, what I did was I said, what’s my approval rating? And my approval rating was when I started, it was at 60%. I said, “Okay, I’m not where I can charge people $2,000, 3,000 yet.”
But when my approval rating started getting around 80%, meaning eight out of every 10 forums, the person loved your talk, then I actually said, “Okay, now I’m ready to start charging in the thousands.” Another thing is what’s your credibility? So, have you written articles, books, et cetera, et cetera, because each one of those things you do increases your fee? So now to finish this whole answer off, what I would say is, so you, what you want to be when you’re probably in your first year or two is from a range of what they’re paying to get you there all the way to, maybe, I’m going to say it’s 3,000 to me is the high end of the first two or three years unless you just really Excel quickly or you have this unique talk that everybody wants access to or you’ve got some sort of national thing going on where you know you’re in the national news. So that answered the question?
[JOE]: Oh, that’s so awesome. Corey. The last question I always ask is if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[COREY]: If we’re talking on the speaking side, I would say I want them to know that they have more value to deliver on stages than they realize, and the power of doing that, meaning what you can do for an audience and another person goes way beyond what’s going to happen in terms of building your practice. That stuff should happen and there’s no better way to do that than on a stage in my experience. You know, building a business, there’s no better way to build an audience and network than on stage. I mean, you’re reaching 200, 500, a thousand people at one time. I mean, that’s certainly a lot better than going one by one. But as I said, the big thing to remember is even outside of any of that, the power of impacting somebody’s life to the tune that they say, “I was struggling to build my practice, or I was struggling with this with my health. Thank you for sharing this. You have no idea how this is going to change my life.” Or a year later they say, “I saw you talk one time and this is what it did for me.” Just to know what that’s worth, I would get out speaking even if it wasn’t going to build my practice. And then the nice news and good news is it’s also probably going to build your practice in ways you never imagined.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s so awesome. You know, Corey, I know we didn’t get too far into your new book. Maybe briefly tell us just a little bit about that book and then where they can find more information about you.
[COREY]: Yes, happy to do that. So, the book is called The Book of Why (and How). It’s coming out in bookstores on March 17th of 2020. So, depending on when you’re listening to this, it may or may not already be out, but it’s also right now available for preorders. And of course, we’re doing a nice little bonus that when people buy copies of the preorder, we have different bonuses that they get that won’t be available once it hits the stores. So, the book itself is essentially, it’s called The Book of Why for a reason. In the book, I’ll give you the short version. Basically, the first section is on helping people find their why and talking about why they should do it, why it needs to be them, and why it needs to be now. The second section is me sharing what it took me 5,000 interviews with the world’s highest achievers to learn.
So that’s called thriving, that section. And that’s what that’s about. So that’s the how. And then the third section is how to do this all in a conscious and enlightened way so you can sleep at night while you’re doing it. And then there’s a bonus section, which includes roughly 400 quotes that came, in original direct quotes that came from the thought leaders I interviewed, with their permission. So that’s the book in a nutshell. So, people want to figure out their why and then once they do figure out how to go next level with it, that’s kind of what the book is designed to do. And it’s the work. It’s really a culmination of about 10 years of my work and thousands of interviews and thousands of hours.
In terms of how to reach me to connect going forward, there’s a couple of ways. One, my main website is You go on there, it has all the social media links at the top so a person can go and connect with me there. The second option is if people want to have access to a free book, so it’s a different book than the one I just mentioned, but I’m happy to offer it up, especially where we’ve been talking about speaking today. It’s called The Book of Public Speaking and so people can actually grab it So easy to remember. It’s a full real deal book. It’s a digital version, but you can get it for free right now. You just go over to that page, grab your free copy and that’s a good way to connect with me going forward and also to be in the loop of all the things that we’re doing in the future.
[JOE]: Oh, so awesome, Corey. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[COREY]: Ah, it was my pleasure, Joe. Thank you so much for having me.
[JOE]: I just love these interviews because they give such practical tips for people like you that want to be better at speaking. And so, follow those show notes. Go over to the show notes, follow the directions that Corey gave us, keep working on your speaking. Grant Baldwin is going to be up next and he is just killer. I absolutely love his work and his podcast; The Speaker Lab is amazing as well. So, we’ve got three in a row, speakers.
Thank you so much to Gusto for being a sponsor., use promo code [JOE]. if you go to, that’ll give you three months for free. I love Gusto. I use Gusto. It has made my life so much easier, and you can have a bookkeeper just do it for you. It’s pretty amazing. Get them in there. They can set it all up for you. If you have a good bookkeeper, it’s awesome. So, head on over to
Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it and this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.