Do you even need a demo to get gigs?

Patti asked,

“I would like to do speaking but I don’t have a demo video and I’m not sure how to get one with an audience unless I do something for free? Any idea’s on this?”

So how do you create a speaker demo video when you don’t have any gigs lined up?

It’s crucial that you learn to solve problems as an entrepreneur because 99% of what you’re going to do in the future is problem-solving.

So lets reframe this…

It’s not about getting a demo video, it’s about communicating you’re worth paying for. I’m going to tell you what to do about your videos in just a second, but if you don’t have footage for a demo, you need to do things a little differently….

Use pictures instead of video

If you seriously don’t have ANY video footage, then you have to work with what yo mama gave ya. And that means, you are being downgraded to photos only.

Do you have ANY photos of you on a stage (if not, we will talk about that in a second)? If so, your entire website should consist of photos rather than videos you don’t have.

You want to demonstrate what people should expect when they hire you to speak. If your presentation is interactive, show it in a picture. If your presentations are funny, show it in a picture.

What if you don’t have photos of you on stage? Go into empty rooms at hotels and take pictures…of you on stage

If you don’t have photos then there are a couple things you can do. You can go to any hotel and just walk into an event room. Seriously…don’t be scurred! Just walk into a room and take pictures. You can take pictures of an empty room or pictures of an event that’s going on. Like this…

Or you can take a picture of you standing on the stage/podium with an empty room in front of you (I don’t have a photo of an empty room…but imagine a similar shot to this, except it would be a bunch of chairs instead of people)

Buy Stock Photos

It can take time to get these photos yourself so you can buy stock photos to speed up the process.

If you want my stock photos (from real events I’ve been at) then CLICK HERE and get 40 photos for $49

Combine empty stage pics with cool pics of you 

Now, you can combine all of these ’empty room’ and ‘audience photos’ to create great graphics. Sprinkle your creativity all over your website…like this…

Now lets think logically. If you don’t have video footage of you on stage, then you can’t magically conjure up some footage. So instead of getting footage of you on stage, you should get a different type of footage…

Get video testimonials

You can get video testimonials from people who have seen you in the past. You can beg and plead with them…telling them that you need it for your business. Get down on one knee and give them a diamond ring if you have to. Just get those video testimonials.

I’ll let you in on a secret of how I got my first testimonials. My first testimonials came from people I knew. My mom, my friends, my college professors. I asked anyone and everyone. And I didn’t even have to give away a diamond ring. Win-win.

Sprinkle your website with video testimonials instead of video footage of you speaking on a stage.

Have a one-page website

Remember the quote,

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. -Abraham Lincoln

If you don’t have a ton of video footage, you don’t want to draw attention to it, because it will only prove that you’re a rookie.

So instead of having a complete website, you should only have a one-page website that includes images and testimonials, not a full-blown website with lots of navigation (home, about, topics, etc).

Notice my website in the picture below (I tried to stitch it together). It’s not a one-page site…but it easily can be one-page if I removed the header. It has:

  • one header image
  • one ‘main video’ (it could be a testimonial video)
  • a background photo collage of people
  • 4 videos (they could be testimonial videos)
  • a big picture of me (damn I look good)
  • footer picture

That’s 4 images total, and 5 videos/testimonials total. That’s all you need.

Also, take a look at a SpeakPro Academy Member’s website, Karim. He has a header, a background image of people (for reviews), and 2 videos. His site looks nice. Sometimes, a one-page website is all you need.


Pay to get on a stage for the sole purpose of recording it

If you have to, pay to get on a stage. Several speakers think they’re ‘above’ paying to get on a stage because they can’t think long term. Your goal in the beginning isn’t to get paid, it’s to get marketing materials.

In the beginning, you not only have to speak for free, but you should pay to get on a stage so you can get the video footage faster.

Nobody will pay you, nor should they, until you can demonstrate what you can do.

Present at smaller events & get the recording

In the beginning, you don’t want to contact bigger events because they’re all going to say no. They don’t want to look bad by hiring someone with no video footage, so you have to contact smaller events that will take a chance on you.

These can be meetups, a high school classroom, a 10-person room filled with your friends. Heck…ANYTHING.

And don’t feel bad about it in the beginning. Your photos, your videos, your website, etc, aren’t going to stay that way. You just need SOMETHING to showcase for now. And when you get something better, replace the small crowd pictures with the bigger ones.

Create a ‘story demo’ that uses b-roll & stock footage to tell a story (ex: Americas Got Talent)

America’s Got Talent does a GREAT job at creating stories with b-roll footage for the contestants. Just take a page from their playbook and instead of creating a cool demo video with footage of you on a stage, create a demo that tells your story.

Your demo can have you sitting in a chair, like a documentary-style movie, and you’re telling your story. As you tell your story, clips can pop up from time to time.

Imagine you’re telling a story about the time you were in a car crash, and just as you mention it, people watching the video hear a loud ‘crashing’ noise and you show stock-footage of a car crash. Etc.

Your camera guy can story-board this out for you. Just tell your story and he will bring it to life.

Don’t make a demo, just have one video clip follow the next

This is what I did when I didn’t have the money to pay someone for a demo.

Instead of creating a full-blown demo video, I took clips of me on stage, and put one after the other. No editing, no fancy moves, no nothing. Just clip 1, clip 2, clip 3, that’s it.

Here’s an example of an older video…

(notice how it only has clips, then a couple testimonials, and that’s it. No fancy editing)

The reality = it’s going to take time

Unfortunately, there’s no way around this, you have to get creative in the beginning and understand that it’s going to take you longer to get what you need so you can charge high fees and get booked consistently.

The key is to get creative and do things that others aren’t willing to do.

btw…if you don’t have pictures and you want them, you can purchase 40 photos HERE for $49