As an inventor who has been through the entire process of inventing a product and getting it on the market, I think the best education for future inventors and entrepreneurs is watching Shark Tank. I love the fact that the sharks are all bootstrapping entrepreneurs, so they have already been through the learning curve.

Entrepreneurial speaker

I’ve put together 5 pieces of valuable business advice from Mark Cuban that could also help you as a speaker. Because these days, if you’re not an entrepreneurial speaker, making a living at it will be tough.

  • Don’t be afraid of failure – Speaking is a performing art. It’s not something you can learn by reading a book. You simply have to get out there and do it. To become good at it you need to constantly be doing it. And in the beginning you probably won’t be very good at it. But by taping every performance and getting feedback you learn how to improve. If you’re afraid of failing you’ll never even take that first step.
  • Work harder than everyone else – This is one of Cuban’s biggest tips for entrepreneurs who want to become successful. As a speaker no one is going to do it for you. Not an agent, not a speaker bureau, not a manager, no one. Being on the other side and working with speakers and artists, this is the one thing I see all the time. Most speakers and artists want someone to get them the paid jobs so that they can focus on the creative side. If you happen to be lucky enough to have someone to do that for you, great! But that’s not the way it works for most speakers and artists. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Learn how to sell – Cuban first learned to sell as a 12 year old when he asked his dad for money to buy new shoes. His dad said if he wanted them he would have to work for them. So at 12 he got his first job selling garbage bags door to door. He learned how to connect with people and solve their problems, so it would be a win-win for everyone. If you know how to sell, you can do anything. As Cuban says “every no gets you closer to a yes”. That’s the way it is with speaking and also with sponsorship. It’s simply a numbers game, so get used to selling and learn to love it.
  • Love what you do – If you love what you do, selling should be easy. I’ve never been able to sell anything I didn’t like or believe in. I know what you’re thinking. “I love speaking, but I hate selling”. Well, if you really believe you have a message that needs to be heard and you have proven that it’s valuable to other people, then just think of it as communicating your passion to someone else. Which leads me to my last point.
  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – A meeting planner’s job can be stressful, and they are usually having to please everyone, sometimes on a limited budget. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about how you could help them. Find out what they need and offer to lend your support in the best way possible.

Today, being an entrepreneurial speaker is a necessity. But if you follow Mark Cuban’s advice, you’ll see that opportunities to make money as a speaker are everywhere.




Hard skills are those skills that are teachable, based in fact, and can be defined and measured. Some examples would include time management, sales training, social media, copywriting, and accounting.

Soft skills are less tangible, often associated with personal traits and character, and are harder to quantify. Some examples would include communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and conflict resolution.

With more companies focused on the bottom line, I asked speakers, meeting planners and speaker bureaus if they were seeing more requests for hard skill topics or soft skill topics in the speaking industry today. Here are their answers:

“Soft skills is the most commonly requested presentation with content, content, content, content.  If you have a dynamic, humorous way of presenting the content you will be chosen hands down over the trainer type with content. You want to be motivation with content versus a content motivator.”

Wilene Dunn

Global Speakers Agency


“Conferences in the digital marketing industry always state that they are

looking for experts on the given topic of an event, session or panel —

they say want people who have the hard skills and “know their stuff.” But

what they rarely state — and what they may not even realize consciously

that they want — is that they also want someone with the soft skills that

will enthrall the audience.


People attend conferences because they want to experience something amazing. They want to be star-struck when meeting the celebrities in their field. They want to reconnect with old friends. They want to leave talks with their mouths agape while thinking, “Oh. My. God.” If someone wants “just the facts,” then he or she can read a blog post or watch a webinar.

People go to conferences for the emotional high.The best speakers have both hard and soft skills. A great speaker without substance is fluff, and a renowned expert can be extremely boring.

Personally, this is where I have been seeing conferences going. Conferences

first check that a speaker is knowledgeable and credible and will be

presenting something original.


However, more and more conferences are also insisting on previewing videos or even traveling to see a prospective speaker give a presentation elsewhere. At any serious conference, hard skills and knowledge among the speakers are absolutely necessary first and foremost. But soft skills and the ability to amaze an audience are a very close second.”


Samuel Scott

SEO and Internet marketing speaker


“Actually, we’re experiencing just the opposite. More than ever companies realize that there’s a direct link from employees’ abilities to the bottom line and they seek us out to learn how to traverse that path. There are many studies and lots of data to support tangible results when hard and soft skills are addressed as a symbiotic relationship in successful organizations.

Marian Thier

Listening Impact


So, it seems that both hard skills and soft skills are needed today, and the speakers who can integrate both, while delivering the information in an entertaining way, will be more in demand.


What do you think? Are you seeing more requests for hard skills or soft skills as a speaker, meeting planner, or speaker bureau?

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…)