How to be a speaker during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Brad Burton, UK’s #1 Motivational Business Speaker and Business Expert

Wow what a year! We’ve all really had to fight to keep our heads above water, financially, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. It’s been a draining few months. But listen, that’s the past. We survived. The future – that’s where all our focus needs to be. Crisis creates breakthroughs.

Being a speaker… it’s a strange profession. One where you have to walk into a room full of strangers and win them over instantly. As the UK’s #1 Motivational Business Speaker, for over a decade I’ve spoken over 2,000 times in public – allowing me the title of a professional business speaker. In 2020 it has become an even stranger profession – as now, I have to sit at my desk, teleport into an online meeting and win strangers over! Hitting them with the same energy I once did from stage.

As a speaker, I’m going to share the things that have helped me get booked but also win through in 2020. My biggest tip is ‘be you’ – that’s not changed from the old off-line stuff.

Everyone has a unique story

Whatever your current level of ability in public speaking is; nervous starter or seasoned pro… it’s always good to revisit your unique story and discover hidden nuggets that can help to propel your inner speaker to new levels on the big stages, with a compelling, entertaining story that you will feel comfortable delivering and your audience will love to hear. Rehearse and repeat it.

Find your voice and using it to build a reputation

Once you build up your reputation that is when you will get booked. Recognise that these things take time. It’s important that you build up relationships and relationships take time. Let me ask you this question – would you pass a lead, referral, job, contact, speaking opportunity to someone you don’t know, like or trust yet? Of course not – so on that basis, the reason people pass you; leads, referrals, jobs, contacts, speaking opps… is because people like you, know you, trust you – so, don’t expect us to forgo the same checks you’re doing, it’s going to take time.

There is more to being a pro speaker, than just what you say

It’s how you say it! Your body language, tonality, your use of pausing… eye contact and most importantly moving with purpose. If you think back to any time you’ve ever seen an amazing speaker, what was it specifically that made them so amazing? It’s the confidence and the stage presence. This is hard won and hard earned.

Do it

Professional speaking is a contact sport, the only way you can learn how to do it, is by doing it. Start small, if you want to be BIG! In the same way that dying on stage is all part of the speaking journey. The way you learn how not to die as a speaker, is by dying. Nerves, EVERY speaker gets nerves, until the point you don’t get nerves. Every speaker has at some point doubted their own material – until they reach a point where that doubt has fallen away. You can’t skip the steps. So many people have approached me over the years asking, “how can I get the big stages like you because I have a message that needs to be heard?” – The reality is (and people don’t want this response) you need to do more small stages. You can’t skip the steps. My last gig I did in 2019 was in front of 3,000 accountants. As tempting as it would have been to get to that stage early on, I wasn’t ready for it. I would have convinced myself I was. But I just wasn’t. The moment would have broken me. Never be in a hurry to lose. Take your time. What’s the rush? Build up a reputation, and your skill at the same rate. You can’t fast forward experience.

Show and Biz

As a speaker you are entering into the show-biz world. Two separate things; Show & Biz. Which do you need to concentrate on? Don’t tell me you’re a comedian. Make me laugh. Don’t tell me you’ve got an inspirational story. Show me.

What type of speaker are YOU?

How are you fundamentally different as a speaker? Me – I start by saying; “I have a shaved head, tattoos, jeans and trainers, but “I’m not a drug dealer! Anymore! We can all change!” I play into what I was advised to do, as most would see as a negative, I flip it into a positive. It makes me, my approach totally unique. If a booker wants a suited and booted speaker who has a story about how they scaled a mountain, they go elsewhere. If they want an average guy who has managed to change his entire life around to turn it into something spectacular and how he can do the same with audiences, they turn to me. You can’t appeal to everyone. So don’t try. You’ll never be the market leader, copying the market leader. Be you.


Never underestimate someone or overestimate someone – it’s not about the car they’re driving or the suit they’re wearing – is about treating everyone the same with respect – this also applies online – remember, it’s not just the person you’re talking to that you make in impact with – it’s everybody they know too…   remember every big opportunity started as a small conversation.

About the expert

Motivational Business Speaker and Business Expert, Brad Burton is a £million business owner, from starting his business whilst delivering pizza and in £25,000 debt with no qualifications. Brad is the Founder of 4Networking and – the largest joined up business network in the UK – he’s the Author of four highest rated and 5* reviewed business books on Amazon and the UK’s #1 Motivational Business Speaker. He works with the likes of Costa, ScrewFix, NHS, Bentley, JCB and has shared stages with legends such as Tim Peake. He’s featured in the Top 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs alongside the likes of Richard Branson and Simon Cowell.

For more information about Brad, please visit www.BradBurton.Biz

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