In the speaking industry, anything can happen at the last minute. It’s rare for a professional speaker to simply not show up. That tends to happen more when the speaker isn’t getting paid. But even a paid professional may find themselves in a position where flight delays, extreme illness, or family emergencies occur. I had to deliver a keynote the day my mom died. It was incredibly difficult, but the show must go on. It was also to a group of hospice workers so they more than understood. I was able to keep it together without crying until the end.
I’ve gotten a couple of jobs at the last minute because of my location and topic. How do you prepare and set yourself up for those opportunities to step in as a last minute speaker? Here are some speakers who have done it:

Last minute speaker

I’ve been a last minute speaker several times. I start by finding out everything I can about the organization with my standard questionnaire. I try to find several people I can interview about them beyond that. Then I plug the information into my presentation on the subject I’m speaking on, tailoring the presentation for what I’ve found.

We actively promoted me as a last minute speaker for a while, then decided that those gigs were so infrequent, it wasn’t worth the effort. But we did spread the word around and satisfied customers led to other clients.

Speaker and author, Barry Maher has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS, CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week and USA Today.

His books include Filling the Glass, which has been cited as “[One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books,” by Today’s Librarian along with books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The One Minute Manager.

Tik Tok follower

This has happened to me and I was actually a last-minute speaker this past Wednesday!
I was contacted at 3:15 on Tuesday to talk on zoom about the Spendthrift Trust to a real estate investment group.
I teach 1099 Income Earners and Investors how to save Federal Taxes with a Spendthrift Trust.
The zoom happened 1 pm EST and I told them on Tuesday I had a hard stop at 2 pm.
From that meeting I have had 4 appointments and sold a Trust today!
The investor has a wholesale deal closing May 31, 2023, and with the Trust they will save $15,470 in Capital Gains.
My advice to any speaker is know your talk inside out so you can step in very easily and answer questions on the fly.
I was asked to speak because one of the organizers follows me on TikTok and knew the investors needed to hear my information.
Sally Gimon
623 693 1382

Last minute tech speaker

One morning, I was enjoying my usual routine of coffee and news when my phone rang. It was an old friend, now a high-profile event organizer, and she sounded pretty flustered. The keynote speaker for a major tech conference she was organizing had suddenly fallen ill. She was in quite a predicament with the event just a day away.Despite the unexpectedness and my initial hesitation, I agreed to step in. Over the next 24 hours, I immersed myself in preparation. Having spoken on various tech-related subjects before, I was familiar with the terrain, but the short notice was a challenge. I focused on three key things: understanding the audience, reviewing the topic, and structuring my speech to be informative yet engaging.The day of the event arrived. As I stood on the stage, facing hundreds of expectant faces, I felt nervous but took a deep breath and began. Drawing on my experience and passion for the subject, I delivered a well-received talk. The initial nerves soon gave way to confidence and satisfaction, and I remember feeling immense accomplishment when I finished.

Some quick tips

As for advice to those finding themselves in a similar situation, I’d say preparation is crucial. Try to understand the audience’s needs and expectations. Prepare an outline, even if it’s rough, and structure your speech so that it has a logical flow. Remember to stay flexible as well, as you may need to adapt your speech on the spot based on audience reactions. Most importantly, bring your authenticity to the table. People connect with real stories and genuine emotions.Networking is essential to let people know you’re available for such opportunities. Engage with event organizers, join relevant professional groups, and participate in industry forums and conferences. Regularly update your professional profiles on platforms like LinkedIn and let your connections know you are open to speaking engagements.Remember, being a last-minute speaker can be nerve-wracking but also an opportunity to showcase your expertise and adaptability. Embrace the challenge, prepare well, and deliver your speech with confidence and authenticity.

Garrett Yamasaki, founder of WeLoveDoodles and a tech entrepreneur with many years of experience working for Google, Texas Instruments, and BroadcomThe Accidental Speaker

I’ve had the misfortune of being in a situation where I was asked to step in as a guest speaker at the last minute. Here is how I handled the situation:

I had to step in as a last-minute speaker during an event about utilizing online job marketplaces to earn money online. It was organized by a forum that was interested in helping students find the right direction when it comes to earning money online. Back then, earning money from the comfort of your home was a new concept. People were making money by creating CDs, books and other resources on this topic but very few of them were actually helpful. This eagerness of trying to earn money online led to a lot of people falling for scams. It also didn’t help that people were clueless about where to begin. The event was designed to educate these interested people.Although I was there as a friend of one of the organizers, I also had some decent experience as a freelance writer. My friend was aware of my activities and wanted me to meet the speaker. As the guest speaker didn’t show up, he requested me to take the stage.

Amateur speaker

Everyone was quite aware of the fact that the actual guest speaker didn’t show up. They didn’t mind seeing an amateur speaker taking the stage. Even though I am more comfortable writing stuff than speaking publicly, it was my knowledge of the topic that gave me confidence. The familiarity with the topic helped me stay calm and assemble my thoughts quickly around the key points. I wove a narrative that included both personal experiences and practical advice. My journey as a freelancer became a backdrop to the insights I was sharing which gave my speech credibility and relatability.It was the response from the audience that gave me the strength to deliver a meaningful and impactful talk. Their nods of understanding and thoughtful questions that followed my statements served as a confirmation that my message was resonating with them. This interaction didn’t just help me navigate this unexpected public speaking venture but also turned the session into a dynamic dialogue. Although it could have turned into a disaster, it was that event that sparked my newfound passion for public speaking. I loved the satisfaction of not only sharing my knowledge but also potentially making a meaningful difference in someone’s life.Every moment of that day remains etched in my memory, each second a vivid testament to a transformative experience.

Tim LeeFounder of Tims CoffeeWebsite:

Being a last minute speaker can be a great opportunity to help a meeting planner save the day. But being prepared and well-versed in your topic is important to make sure you make the most of that opportunity. Or as one meeting planner told me, “If a speaker doesn’t show up, there’s always Bingo”. Don’t lose out to Bingo!




We’re happy to welcome Sue Falcone of Simply Sue Speaks to Speaker Sponsor. Sue knows both sides of the speaking industry and will be giving us some insight into what she looks for in a speaker to represent.

Here is the transcription:


Julie Austin: Hi, Sue.

Sue Falcone: Hi, Julie!

Julie Austin: Welcome to Speaker Sponsor.

Sue Falcone: Thank you so much for inviting me. Happy Tuesday!

Julie Austin: Same to you. We’re going to talk a little bit about your speaker bureau, “Simply” Sue Speaks. First of all, can you just give us a little bit of information about your background?

Sue Falcone: I’ll be glad to, Julie. My name is Sue Falcone, and I come from a varied background into what I do now. I’m a former AT&T executive, small business owner, published author and professional speaker, who then found out speakers out there needed some help. So this is why I established a different and unique form of a company for speakers, because I’m not your normal speakers bureau. I’m a global booking agency, which is a little different. We’ll get into that, but that’s where I’ve come from.I have over 40 years experience, and I love what I do and who I get to do it with.

Julie Austin: How has the speaking industry — how is it different today than when you first started?

Sue Falcone: Well, of course, I started in corporate America, but I was always this entrepreneur person. AT&T let me be that, but I remember what we really thought back then, even on serving our customers as a company, not just in the speaking realm, that we thought we knew what they needed, so that’s what we provided. Overally, generally, that’s how speakers and trainers and all did. We decided what you needed and how you needed to hear it, and we did it. (more…)

Speaker Sponsor will be highlighting professional speakers on the Speaker Spotlight. If you’re new to public speaking, you’ll get a glimpse into the life of a professional speaker and what it takes to make it in the industry. If you’re a seasoned speaker you still may learn a thing or two.

Our first speaker is Michael Solomon. Michael’s background reads like a political thriller. He was assigned as the intelligence officer to the U.S. State Department and while in the intelligence division, he was assigned to protect the Shah of Iran and Madame Chang of Tawain.

He was also an NYPD special investigator and survived a double murder attempt on his life.

When he entered the private sector he started working for various charities and was cited by both houses of the NY State Legislature in Senate and Assembly Resolutions as Humanitarian of the Year. He continues his philanthropic work and even speaks on the topic of the importance of giving back.

He’s also the author of two bestselling books, “Success by Default – The Depersonalization of Corporate America”, and “Where Did My America Go?”.

Why did you decide to become a speaker?

After my book was listed as number 22 on the Amazon Bestseller list. I realized I had a message to convey. My motivational business message has helped many new and existing entrepreneurs learn how to take their businesses beyond the next level.

Do you remember your first speaking engagement? How have you changed as a speaker since then?

My first public talk was in 1997 to a group of college freshmen about how to succeed in school and beyond. My passion for my subject had shown through and since then I have spoken to over 500 audiences, some as large as 20,000. My talks get better each time as my passion for my subject intensifies. I use a lot of humorous anecdotes, which keeps my audiences engaged, laughing and begging for more.

Do you consider speaking your primary job?

Yes, I do. It’s my passion and my profession.

What is your idea of a great speaking engagement?

Looking out into my audience, seeing everyone awake and on the edge of their seats. The Q & A and comments afterwards, which for the most part, are positive, are inspiring to me. I get as much from my audiences as they get from me.

Since this site is about speaker sponsorship, which kind of companies would be a perfect sponsor for you?

Anyone who has a product or service to sell and wants to promote their message.

Where do you expect your speaking career to be 5 years from now?

Hopefully beyond the next level. I would like to become a household name.

What’s the best advice you would give to someone who is just entering the speaking business?

Be yourself. Don’t try to become someone different than you are. Your audience will see right through you. don’t be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve. If you have a message to impart, go for it. Just tell it like it is.