Episode 59 – Coffee N. 5 – Public Speaking

Making money in the public speaking industry can seem like an insurmountable goal. So, many factors are involved with finding the right topic, expertise, and audience. Ashley Kirkwood is an accomplished public speaker who has cracked the code to making money in this competitive industry. Ashley explains her ground-breaking framework and valuable lessons in confidence. From her beginnings as a corporate attorney to starting her own firm to reaching exceptional success as a speaker with her new Speak Your Way To Cash® speaker training organization, Ashley has branded herself as one of the industry’s leading experts in paid public speaking. Ashley explains every step in the process of building your own framework to become a public speaker, how to begin a career in public speaking, and essential tools every speaker needs to get themselves out there in front of any target audience, from colleges to major corporations.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Ashley Kirkwood’s explanation of her speaker training organization, Speak Your Way to Cash.
  • How to form a framework for becoming a paid public speaker.
  • The skills and tools needed for the job. 
  • What every speech or presentation needs to be successful and engaging. 
  • How to be prepared for various scenarios in public speaking. 
  • Advice for finding the perfect target audience based on your unique expertise. 

If you want to learn more about Ashley or Speak Your Way to Cash, check her website, Speak Your Way to Cash’s site, or her social media pages!


Facebook: TheAshleyNicoleShow

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LinkedIn: ashleynkirkwood

Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caZ9fK6aZZ4

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Lara Schmoisman, CEO & Founder of The Darl and Marketing Simplificado

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Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

LinkedIn: @laraschmoisman

Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

 The Secret to Making Money with Public Speaking, with Ashley Kirkwood


Lara Schmoisman  00:05

This is coffee N5 I’m your host, Laura Schmoisman. Hi, everyone, thank you so much for being back on coffee N5. And today, you know, you know me, I need to know the 60x. And and you also know that, for me was a challenge to get over myself and to start speaking and say everything I have to say, but in a different language. And the funny thing is now, I cannot even say what I want to say in Spanish is like, I did a complete lifelong server crossover. And today, actually, I wanted someone that I feel like, it’s gonna give us a lot of information. And we’re gonna teach us a thing or two right there, because that’s what she does. And, and you know, how important is to be a good speaker, since we’re kids, we need to go to school, and we need to give presentations. And then we need to wear at work. And we always need to present ourselves, and we need to explain our work. So it’s really important that you’re going to be able to express what you really want to express and give the intention in the voice, and also the right message. But for that, as always said, we say well, you need to know also your audience. So today, we have Ashley Kirkwood, that she is incredible. And I will of course, as always, we’re gonna put all her buyer information on where to find her, because I’m sure after this talk, you’re gonna want to find her. But welcome, Ashley.


Ashley Kirkwook  01:39

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me excited to be here.


Lara Schmoisman  01:42

But it’s great to have you here. So speak your way to cash. Let’s talk about that. Because that’s got me hooked speaker, why to cash? What’s all that about?


Ashley Kirkwook  01:56

Yeah, absolutely. So speaking to cash is a speaking training company that teaches professionals, consultants, coaches, marketers, like you and many people in your audience how to get paid from sharing their message, and specifically sharing their expertise.


Lara Schmoisman  02:12

Okay, so what’s the first thing of a good speaker need to know?


Ashley Kirkwook  02:19

Yeah, so I guess there’s two avenues with which I’ve worked with speakers. And some people are, you know, they’re speakers, they have a message, they have a story. But if you’re a speaker looking to get paid to speak, then the first thing you need to know is how to market and sell your topic, and how well your your framework and how your story really should be your brand story, and help people to understand why you’re talking about the topics that you’re talking about.


Lara Schmoisman  02:46

Okay, so how can you make a topic exciting?


Ashley Kirkwook  02:51

Yes, I believe one of the things that you can do is have a framework, a way that you help your audience to achieve the result that they want. And I think of it a little bit like a formula. And this is something that I’ve written about in the speaking rate of cash book that’s coming out, is you want to have a formula for teaching your audience, whatever it is that you’re trying to teach them. So for me, I talk a lot about overcoming imposter syndrome and increasing your competence. And by formula for competence is mindset plus beliefs, equal actions, and your actions lead to competence, you don’t get competence from just thinking about things, you have to go from thinking the right thoughts, to forming the right beliefs to doing the right things. And if you have that formula together, then your confidence will increase over time. So that’s my formula. And I weave in a lot of stories about how I grew up and where this confidence developed from and why it’s so important to have it. So for your audience, and for those who are listening to this who want to share their story. sharing your story can be therapeutic for you, but people will pay you to share your story. If you can make it fantastic for your audience.


Lara Schmoisman  04:00

That’s amazing. But let’s talk a little bit about the narrative of how to tell a story. Because of course, you need to say it in a compelling way that people want to listen. Do you have any formulas for that, too?


Ashley Kirkwook  04:14

Yeah, so I think the first thing you want to do is map out your brand story. So you want to map out how it is that you’ve gotten to be where you are. That’s really important. And then when you think about that, who are all the or what are all the characters in your story that you want to make sure you highlight or you talk about, that’s going to be really, really, really important. So the first step is like, okay, when I’m telling this particular story, because everyone has several stories that they could tell. But when you think about the one story you’re going to tell in a particular presentation, how do you who are the key players in that particular story? And then when you think about those key players, how, how do they all work together? And what do you want your audience to feel at each point of the story that’s really important for storytelling. So what do you want them to feel in the beginning of the story? What do you want them to feel in the middle of the story? What about the end of the story? And then you want to weave in some engagement throughout that as well?


Lara Schmoisman  05:13

What do you mean by engagement?


Ashley Kirkwook  05:16

So engagement would mean you want to figure out a way to get your audience to talk back to you or interact with your particular story.


Lara Schmoisman  05:27

So you’re what are you saying that in the middle of you’re telling your story to get paid just to interact with your audience?


Ashley Kirkwook  05:35

Yes, you want to interact with your audience. So like, right now, if I could, I’m not, I applied to be in the group, but I’m not in the group just yet. But I know we’re alive in the group. Yes. If we were engaging, and if there’s anyone watching live, the way that you would engage would be okay, you know, drop in the chat, the first time that you thought about being a professional speaker, and then they would drop it in the chat, and that dropping it in the chat would be considered engagement. And so I’m going to pull up my phone to see if I can see who’s participating or who’s live right now, we actually have quite a few people live. So if you guys have live, you can ask questions. Yeah. And that’s, that’s essentially how engagement works is you would tell people, how you you engage with them, you literally engage with them. So you’re gonna say, drop something in the chat. Or if you’re live, you may say, raise your hand. So there’s a lot of different ways for you to figure out for you to engage with your audience, and you want to make sure that you’re utilizing those ways, so that you can have a really informative speech that’s impactful as well.


Lara Schmoisman  06:39

That’s awesome. On what about moral? Do you want every every story every speech to have a morale?


Ashley Kirkwook  06:51

Yes. So the moral of the story, yes. So you would want every single speech? to have it, everything needs to have a purpose. So this goes back to your formula, your framework, why are you telling a story? Why are you speaking? Who are you speaking about? So whenever you speak, you want to make sure you’re clear about why it is that you’re speaking? That’s very, very, very important. And once you know why you’re speaking, then you can go through and say, Okay, what are the lessons I want people to learn from this particular speech? So my question is, because there’s so many times that you tell a story. And it’s how clear you really need to make this message. You can, can you make it like, oh, if they understand that good for them? If they don’t, they don’t really want to be in places and put it like in black and white, this is a message do you need to clarify it? Yeah, so clarity is really important. So here’s what I say to all speakers who are looking to there’s two different types of people that may be watching or listening to this right now, one group or people who are like, I’m interested in companies and colleges paying me to get up on stage, the other group is like, I just want to become a better storyteller. For my day to day life. In any event, if you’re using speaking, as a way to make additional money, or to develop more clarity, then you have to know what your end goal is for that audience. Do you want them to learn something? Do you want them to feel motivated? Do you want them to hire you at the end of your speech? That objective is the starting point to figuring out what stories you’re going to tell and how you’re going to specifically tell them so you don’t you don’t you don’t speak haphazardly, if you’re doing it to leverage your business, you want to speak in a way that’s like, okay, I want everyone in the audience to do what at the end of the speech, you have to start with that, because that’s where you’re going to craft your speech from. But if you have what I call a framework, a way a formula for how you get people from point A to point B, then it’s very easy to tell a clear story. And I’ll give you an example. One of the things that we teach in speak your way to cash, the coaching program is the paid methodology. So our formula for getting paid to speak is simple p A ID That’s it. That is what it breaks down to right. So one you want to get press for your business, it helps you to get in front of your ideal audience to you want to assemble a six figure corporate speaking offer that you can sell again and again. And again, three, you want to consistently invite people to work with you to buy your speaking and consulting services, and D, you have to deliver an incredible top backed by really good customer service. So that’s the formula for building out a really profitable speaking business. Now, if I were to give a speech on that, my stories would be in alignment with that. So we would say hey, for press, for instance, the story that I’m going to tell underneath the press section is like within the past year, I have done over 25 Media appearance. Between podcasts, television and radio, but one time I went on air and forgot everything I was supposed to say. They asked me a question and I froze, I looked to the host. And thankfully, I had a note card that I carry with me just for emergencies that I looked down at. And it jogged my memory. I was so scared in that moment, but because I prepared, I was able to come out of it unscathed. How are you preparing to land your next big contract? Are you using the media? Are you ready for that? So that was a story. And it was clear, but I wanted you to learn how press can help, you know, elevate your brand, but you have to be prepared. So that’s how you want to use storytelling strategically, with your framework to get people from point A, all the way to point z, or maybe see, point client like working with you.


Lara Schmoisman  10:49

I have a question for you. Let’s Let’s I always use myself as an example. Because I don’t know anyone as well as I know myself. And let’s say that I want to get paid for speaking. What am I reading a press? What’s my next step? How do I approach these people that they want to? I want them to pay me?


Ashley Kirkwook  11:12

Well, the first step is figuring out who your audience is. That’s going to be your first step. After you figure out who you want your audience to be, you have to know what your topic is. What are you trying to get paid for? So that that is very, very important. So like, let’s say you’re like, Okay, I am. I feel like I want to speak to colleges. Okay, great. What do colleges currently pay for? What do colleges currently give people money to speak about? You can go to any speaker’s bureau website and look up the different topics that colleges are currently paying speakers to speak about. After you have that you’re like, Okay, based on these topics, what can I speak about what am i uniquely qualified to speak about? And we tell speakers, you know, if you’re trying to figure out your topic, you need to one of the methodologies that we talked about in the speaking ready cash book is the same method. What do friends and family say about you? What audience has a budget to pay you? What are the ways that you’re going to monetize your speech? And then II? What does your education or experience qualify you to talk about? So it’s not just how to get paid to speak? How do I do this? Like, it’s a everything. For me, everything has a process. And it has a process because I teach people how to do it. Now, when you’re thinking about Who do you want to work with to teach you how to speak, you want to work with someone that has a process because they can say, Alright, step one, who do you want to speak to? Step two, one of those audience paid for? Out of all those topics? Which one? Are you uniquely qualified to talk about? Okay, maybe it’s leadership. Now? What’s your formula? What’s your framework for leadership? So that can be just some tips to kind of get you started. But you definitely want to go into it with the mindset of this is a business and how am I going to leverage this in my business?


Lara Schmoisman  13:05

That sounds so good. But I have a question for you. So let’s say that I have all that information, then, what’s next how I approach those colleges.


Ashley Kirkwook  13:16

That’s all right. Number one thing you need to do is market research, you’re going to need to figure out, and this is something that we talk about in the book, we give scripts and templates for our coaching programs and things like that. But it’s a bit premature to start selling when you don’t know the language of your audience. So let me ask you this, if you want to speak on any topic, what would it be?


Lara Schmoisman  13:38

Um, oh, you caught me off guard. Something that I work is team culture and, and teamwork.


Ashley Kirkwook  13:47

Teamwork is excellent.


Lara Schmoisman  13:49

Because we have at my company, we have a very unique work culture.


Ashley Kirkwook  13:54

Yeah, so that’s, that’s phenomenal. So if you wanted to, if you could figure out how you all have such a great work culture and what you did to kind of spearhead that initiative, do you think you’d be able to come up with like a formula for that? Yeah, absolutely. I always say that my work culture was done by design that I decided before I started hiring people. I love that. Okay. You thought about your work culture before you hired your first employee. Is that right? Yes. So then that’s totally unique. And if you decided, like, Okay, I’m gonna teach people about work culture, and I want to show them how I thought about my work culture before you hire your first employee. That’s different. Everyone doesn’t do that. People. It’s hard for people to think about their culture when it’s just them. But the fact that you flip that notion on its head can be something that you have thought leadership in. So then you have to figure out okay, of all the companies in the world who’s struggling with work culture, and then from there, you narrow it down even further. Okay, well, which companies? Am I nearby? What types of companies do I want to work with? What’s the size of those companies? Who will be the person who will pay me for that? So there’s a lot of considerations. And you’d likely if you want to take it, you know, super seriously and go full on about work culture and build out six figure proposals, you’d probably want to work with, work with us to develop out a plan for you to do that. But that’s also something recovering at the speaker at cash live event for people like you who have an expertise and just want to figure out how do I package it? And how do I pitch it, unfortunately, speaking, isn’t something that you can just, you know, learn in 20 minutes?


Lara Schmoisman  15:37

Absolutely not.


Ashley Kirkwook  15:39

Yeah, but it but it is something that you can start thinking about? Because the question you would ask yourself at this stage is, what’s my formula for excellent workplace culture? And what audiences could utilize that formula in order to reach success? And then the question is just how do you who like, get a list of people that you can actually sell that formula to? And from there, you’re, you’re reaching out directly and asking them to have calls with you. So you can learn more about their business?


Lara Schmoisman  16:07

Or you just will call call them? That’s what I will recommend just to get them in LinkedIn. How do you because that’s a selling process also, and it’s a hard one, because you need to sell yourself, I always say that selling myself is harder than selling anything else. I can go to, or do things for anyone else, I can go and decide things for my clients left and right really fast. But when it’s about my own brand, it’s harder. Because you need to deal with the rejection. That is about yourself.


Ashley Kirkwook  16:40

Yeah, no, definitely. And one thing I would say is that you don’t necessarily you, you aren’t necessarily selling yourself, if you have a proprietary framework, you’re selling your framework. And that’s why it’s important to have a really clear formula, that really is the first step. After you do some market research and you talk to 15 or 20 people who could potentially be in your ideal audience, then you’re figuring out Okay, great, I talked to so and so who’s the HR director of a company, they said, they hire training and development in January. So that’s what I need to reach out. I realized that that may be those may be my clients, HR directors, it may be operations directors, who within these companies is responsible for the development and the progression of team members. Once you start looking at all that and actually having conversations with people, then it changes we I mean, there’s like there’s, there’s countless different ways that you can sell. But you have to first know what your product is, before you decide what you’re going to how you’re going to sell the products.


Lara Schmoisman  17:45

That’s That’s such a valid information. But something that I want to mention also is that then you need to craft your speech, your message and also ready for your audience. So you need to do research of how your how to address your address, because you’re not going to be addressing a fortune 500 executives the same way that you’re going to be addressing college students?


Ashley Kirkwook  18:15

Well, that’s very true. So in my experience, because we’ve spoken to colleges all over the country, and corporations all over the country, and some international corporate audiences are more interested in the information than the theatrical. But if you have a healthy mix of the two, then you’ll be fine in either market. Colleges, really, I think college students appreciate high energy speakers. So you want to figure out, you know, where do you fall on that? on that spectrum, so that you know exactly what you need to do.


Lara Schmoisman  18:45

And, but wait, because I as you guys know, I’m I speak internationally, normally all over the world, and I that was international rains. Hi, what I was saying is that what is really important is that you can give the same story, the same message and only tell it differently. The information can be the same how you relate it is the difference.


Ashley Kirkwook  19:12

Yeah, so we have I do the currency of confidence speech. That’s my signature speech. And I’ve done in a lot of different places. And typically for different clients, what we switch out would be like the statistics or the stories, but the core message about mindset beliefs and actions and their correlation to one another will stay the same. So that’s a really good point. You’re not reinventing the wheel. If you have a formula like you really do want to make sure you have a way to get people from where they’re at to where they want to be within your talk or your workshop presentation.


Lara Schmoisman  19:44

I always say when my kids were little that you have to treat them like they act like when my kid was was Stan and was acting like a five years old. I will treat him like a five years old, but when he was acting mature, I will treat him maturely. And I think that that happens with every audience. If you want to get to them, you need to treat them how their target audience is at that moment, not what you expect that they’re going to be at the future.


Ashley Kirkwook  20:15

Yeah, uh huh. Yep, I totally agree. Yeah. And so Ashley, before I let it go, as I always ask everyone that comes here to coffee number five is three tips to become a better speaker. Yeah, absolutely. One serve first. So think every speech that you do should be based on what your audience needs to hear, to speak to the audience in front of you. Um, sometimes I think as a speaker, you get so caught up in everything that’s going on in your nodes and how you’ve prepped and how you’ve planned that you’re not speaking to the audience that’s in front of you. And then three, prepare, prepare, prepare, as if you will not have any notes, prepare as if the lights may go out during the speech, prepare as if the mic may go out, like prepare for all the scenarios, and be 100% confident in your material. So that when you’re on stage, if you do go off script, it’s okay. Because you’ve prepared so thoroughly that nothing can rocky when you’re up there.


Lara Schmoisman  21:15

Yeah, be always expecting the unexpected, right?


Ashley Kirkwook  21:20

Yes, for sure.


Lara Schmoisman  21:21

Well, Ashley, thank you so much for being here. And coffee N5 amazing tapes and people I want to be hearing about the speaker and I want to be hearing about when is the next time you want to speak? What do you want to speak about? So drop us lines, put messages in our Facebook group or just send us an email, we would love to hear from you.


Ashley Kirkwook  21:47

Yeah, and thank you so much for having me. And if anyone wants to reach out to me, you can find me on Facebook and The Speaker Ways to Catch Facebook group or at www.speakerwaytocatch.com. We have some free resources on our podcast and on our website there but you can go and check out anytime.


Lara Schmoisman  22:03

Thank you so much. was so good to have you here today. See you next time. catch you on the flip side. Ciao ciao.


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