4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic Designers

I haven’t always been a public speaker, but when I started in the graphic design world, I realized that public speaking is not just about being confident. There are many tips and tricks to public speaking for graphic designers that have helped me become a better speaker. I want to help you take the first step and get over your fear of public speaking because it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if nobody can hear you speak.

Public Speaking for Graphic Designers Is Important

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersIt’s never too early to start planning your next event. I’ve been doing it for years and have learned a lot along the way. Looking back, there isn’t much that I would change about my experience with events. In fact, the most lucrative thing I’ve ever done was reach out to people at speaking events and networking at speaking events; it has a big impact. Today, I’m going to teach you how important public speaking for graphic designers can be.

It’s not about what you’re going to accomplish at speaking events; it’s how you may really benefit from networking and speaking events in your business with your clients, as well as how it’s really useful for you. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the speaking business and similar events like conferences are worth $1.9 billion today and are anticipated to reach $2.3 billion by 2020. So, the speaking event industry is huge, and all you have to do is capitalize on it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to get comfortable in the driver’s seat.

Public Speaking for Graphic Designers: How I Got Started

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersThe first type of event that was a networking occasion that I ever started attending was in the early years of my career. They had an enormous influence on my business began my career, and they were nightclub events. It’s the last place you’d think to start a business or build one, but it was back in 2005 through 2007.

I started out by doing advertising for other bars and clubs in Las Vegas, where I’m from. When it comes to producing events, I felt like it was something that could be done at home with a lot more success because you’re able to plan much better, as opposed to finding last-minute sponsors or putting up flyers on every street corner. It’s also a lot easier because you can pull off large cash moves without having the bank account getting clogged up.

So that was my first taste of events when I first started networking with other business owners who owned bars and nightclubs and restaurants who were putting on these parties at their locations and that was kind of how things started.

My Evolution

In 2017, after being asked to speak at an event by the name of Eric Lafold, I had never spoken on stage before and was extremely nervous; in fact, I even went out and hired a speech coach. His name was Gary Zaleski, and he changed my life.

He drastically altered how I looked at speaking, how I approached it, and he was there for me during my very first speaking event when he said to me, “Adrian you’ve got it. You’ve got what it takes.” So it’s been a practice; it’s been a process. I’ve learned and developed as a result of public speaking engagements, but how does this apply to you? That’s probably what you’re wondering right now. After that first public speaking engagement, I acquired this taste for doing more of them. I was hooked.

The Results

I ended up landing a business partnership and co-founded a speaking event company called Tag Talks Live. At our very first event, we brought out a speaker named Tom Bilyeu who’s really well known for his class on nutrition and billion-dollar founder. I started speaking on stages. I got to go to Hollywood; I spoke in Hollywood and met Richard Dreyfuss and Brian Tracy, and many other popular celebrities. That same year that I started speaking on stages-which was 2019-my income literally went up by 150 thousand dollars from one client. My income for that year actually doubled as a result.

I doubled the income that I had ever made and I was astounded. There’s something really powerful about standing on a stage or standing at the front of a room when you’re speaking and teaching and giving people knowledge and giving that kind of value back. I wasn’t even paid for any of this stuff so I really began to understand that speaking positions you as an authority. That is a big deal, which we’re going to dive into today. Speaking helped get a lot more money on the table, and it really led me to do these YouTube videos. But there’s a dark side.

Four Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic Designers

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersWhen it comes to speaking, you should realize that most people are afraid of speaking in public; I’m being genuine. They’re actually terrified of public speaking, and it ranks as the number one fear for individuals, not just a few of them. 75% of individuals have their number one fear is public speaking, which is a significant figure. It shows you that now 75 percent of people will almost certainly never be your competition if you want to become a speaker. Becoming a speaker isn’t easy; it’s really unpleasant.

I remember the first time I went up there, it was kind of like this video’s beginning when I was just like, “Hello everyone, my name is Adrian,” and I did a presentation with my papers in front of me. I had a podium; to be honest, it was rather terrible but my speaking coach noticed me and said that I’d done an excellent job. So since then, I’ve been practicing more and more often getting on stage. I spoke recently, at Disney World, so things have been coming together for my speaking career. It’s critical that you step out of your comfort zone if you want to improve your skills as a public speaker. It’s going to really take you pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone because you’re probably in that 75%, especially if you’re creative.

Finally, if you want to connect with other people and produce innovative things, you’ll need some presence. Many creative individuals struggle with being extroverted because they are introverts who don’t want to be in the limelight. If you’re not outgoing enough to speak on stage and get involved and teach it’s mind-blowing to consider that public speaking would be scarier than death – which is a real statistic I’m not making this stuff up – you may actually go look this up for yourself. Public speaking is more feared than death, according to certain analyses.

You Will Suck (Not Forever, But For A While)

If you’re not going to be good at first, it’s unavoidable. I didn’t do a fantastic job my first time speaking because I didn’t understand how to hold my hands or any NLP techniques. Since then, I’ve learned how to keep my hands still. I’ve also learned how to connect with the crowd and get away from my notes in order to start truly being present with the audience – getting off the stage, touching people on their shoulders, and so on. There’s been a lot of things I’ve done that haven’t stuck; there just have to be many reps put in over a long time in order for them to improve.

You Will Forget Things

The second issue I really struggled with as I continued to improve my speaking profession was forgetting parts of my speech. The hard part is that I didn’t recognize this until later when I got stuck. In my second talk ever, I lost nearly 15 seconds because I forgot a significant chunk of my speech. But the fact is that after the event, I realized no one knew that I had forgotten that portion of my speech. It’s just going to happen again, so keep going. You’re going to forget parts of your speech and that’s okay.

The truth is I haven’t done a lot of practicing for these talks before I speak. I just go up there and share my heart and share my story. One of the things I’m working on now is really getting out and practicing before the event. I run through my entire talk over and over again to become the best speaker that I can be. That’s part of why I do these YouTube videos is because I want to become a better speaker.

You Will Have to Pay to Play

The third unpleasant truth about public speaking is that, unless you’re a celebrity or highly paid speaker like Sir Laurence Olivier, there’s going to be a fee. You’re going to have to pay to go to these events and you’re going to have to invest in yourself. This isn’t just an expense but it is an investment. 

It gives you the opportunity to make a commitment so the higher the commitment you make, the less likely you’re going to be back out, right? So the bigger cost you spend to be a part of these events like Ad World and Traffic and Funnels and Roof Calling, and Disney World; all those different things that I’ve paid for–I’ve paid for sponsorships of those events, that’s what got me on these stages. Until you become a huge well-known celebrity or a household name, you’re not going to get paid to be on stage.

Understand that unless you’re a household name like Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank or Kevin Harrington from The Secret, you won’t make much money just by receiving payment to speak. Selling from the stage is where the money is. Those events are really good ways to make money and actually be able to pull in clients from. So these are the big things. This is a hard truth you have to understand you’re going to have to pay to play in the beginning. Build up your webinar start getting those reps in, and start to learn how to become a great speaker. Then, eventually, people are going to seek you out and want you to speak on their stage and they’ll pay you to do that.

The Events Will Suck

The worst ugly truth I’d want to convey with you guys is that there are going to be some of these events where things will suck; not every event is wonderful. A lot of these events may have low turnouts, especially since we’ve been dealing with the pandemic; a lot of terrible things have been happening in events that have had to be canceled. Venue capacities are limited, and a lot of states aren’t allowing large gatherings at all.

You’ve got masks and vaccinations, all sorts of things that are going on at these events. It can be overwhelming, so if you want to get really comfortable speaking and doing events, I would highly advise you to start with a virtual event. These are major opportunities for you to benefit from speaking without having to go anywhere.

Opportunities for Public Speaking for Graphic Designers

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersThere are a lot of public speaking opportunities for graphic designers. Networking is more than just a way to meet people, it is the root of getting your way in with the elites and truly leveling up. As graphic designers, it’s key that we not only get the job done right, but we make a great impression doing so. It is incredibly important that you know how to engage in public speaking for graphic designers. Learning which events are most beneficial can help you achieve your goals.

Network Events

The first type of event that I want to talk about is a networking event. Now there are a few different types of networking events. Mixers are very popular especially in local communities for you to network with local business owners. I’ve done lots and lots of these over the years. That’s probably one of the original networking events that I started going to aside from nightclubs.

You have formal dinners, as well, typically with affluent businesses that offer professional services. All of these professionals, including tax planners and financial advisors, host dinners to help you develop connections with some wealthier individuals. This is a fantastic approach to creating relationships with people who are more affluent. The next one is really common in the chamber of commerce world and those are luncheons. They do lunch and learn what your local Chamber of Commerce will do for them if they decide to join. This is a big deal and something that I used to build my business in the very beginning. I started joining all these Chambers of Commerce for where my business was, and I started to meet a lot of local business owners and get a lot of referrals. So, mixers and luncheons and dinners, these are all great places.

The last one in terms of networking events is pitch events, which are very similar to shark tank competitions. I’ve been to a few in the Bay Area and here locally; there’s a guy named Mark Haney who hosts them locally but who calls it the Mark Tank. This is where businesses can stand up at the front of the room and pitch what they do to everyone in attendance. These offer a chance to practice your elevator pitch and sharpen up on it if you haven’t already, as well as a fantastic place to practice and perfect your elevator pitch.

Trade Shows

The second type of event is trade shows. Trade shows are a big deal. You have the home and garden shows, you have the electronics show, you have SEMA, you have all these different industries. Whether you love cars or technology or computers or advertising or marketing or video, these are really great events to go to because you can meet people in that industry who are at the top of their game and you can listen to speakers at these shows.

One of the secrets that I’ll share with you is that by attending these and investing into these, you’re investing in yourself but you’re also investing in the relationships of the people that are actually putting these things together. That’s why if you go to those consistently, start becoming known at them by networking with those decision-makers and the creators of those events and the promoters of those events. Then you can end up getting on those stages and that’s how I’ve done it with a lot of the speaking events that I’ve done as well.


The third type of speaking event is conferences. I go to a lot of conferences which is probably what I do the most of. There’s a lot of different conferences out there and a lot of these are really well known and kind of have a bad name around them as being pitch fests because they’re just pitching product after product after product, but some of these are not like that and so going to a conference you can one sponsor these conferences and you can buy VIP tickets where you do meet and greets with celebrities, take pictures with them, do behind the scenes, and do book signings. Some of the most well-known people in your field generally attend these events.

Community Events

The last category of events that I’ve done a lot of is community gatherings. I really urge you to go out and support these events by sponsoring them attending, and encouraging participation in local leadership in your area. Whether it’s the City Council or the Chambers of Commerce leaders, you should rub whatever elbows need rubbing; and going to automobile shows, farmers’ markets, fairs, are all examples of attending and participating.

There are so many different ways to network and grow your reputation and name in the industry by going to community events the chambers of commerce in your area will throw yearly events big ones we’ll do them at big community centers, and things like that. Community events are a really good way to build your local presence. I’ve done sponsored fireworks shows, I put a lot of money into local events it’s just a really good way to get connected with other business owners in your area.

Benefits of Public Speaking for Graphic Designers

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersNow that we’ve covered the dark side of public speaking for graphic designers, let’s talk about the plus sides. There are four key benefits to public speaking that translate to more business, and more money, for a graphic designer or an agency like mine.


The first one is practicing speaking, whether it’s one-to-one or one-to-many, who just said that communicating effectively is really key and understanding how to tell stories, capture an audience, and actually lead them to a certain action you want from the conversation. It will help you become a better communicator by calling attention to it. The next step for you is putting in the reps and becoming a better communicator.

Brand Positioning

The second advantage of actually speaking or being on stage is that your brand instantly establishes you as an authority in the room once you have stepped on that stage. Remember, 75% of those in the crowd would rather die than be up on that stage. You’re doing something courageous, brave, intellectually challenging, and skilled by getting up in front of a room and telling your story. Anything at all you’re doing at the forefront of a room, even if it’s just accepting an award, is hard work and it’s impressive.

It’s critical that you understand that you’re positioning yourself as an authority not just as a vendor. If you go to these events and just buy a booth, you can still establish some authority by being there with a booth, but nothing surpasses standing up in front of one hundred or a thousand people or more and telling your story, and providing the value and knowledge the world needs.

Connecting With A Large Audience

The third way is connecting with a big audience and being able to offer more deals for more money to more people. There’s no mystery regarding public speaking events; there are pitches, and the most usual amount is somewhere in the thousands of dollars. Because of the individuals that attend events, you can’t just walk someone into your business or go to someone else’s business and pitch something for thousands of dollars because they’re hungry, driven, passionate, coachable, looking for a change, or seeking a breakthrough in their life.

It’s critical to recognize that when you show up at these gatherings in front of a large crowd of people, you’ll be able to request more money for more individuals at the same time, as well as pitch several prospects simultaneously. Webinars and internet events aren’t very helpful in this case because they don’t allow you to do it, but this is a fantastic opportunity for you to make a lot more money by being able to network with a huge group of individuals. One of my favorite advantages of speaking is that I can get away with doing so. This is why I’m going after it the way I am.


The fourth benefit to speaking and networking events is learning, and you must be prepared to learn rather than simply ready to give. I adore the giver’s heart, mentality, and go-getter inside of each one of you! Understand that there’s a lot of talent, and you should surround yourself with it. There’s an idiom that says iron sharpens iron, and it’s absolutely true.

The other people who are investing in being in these events, whether they’re in the booth or on stage or putting the events together, they’re hungry, they’re motivated, they’re passionate, they’re coachable, they’re going after it. That’s the reason why they made the investment to go to the event—whether they paid nothing for or paid a lot of money or got paid. You’ve got to keep your eyes and ears open, and pay attention. You need to write down these events, make sure you’re recording everything that happens at those events because it’s information you can take and apply to your business that will have a big influence on you.

So, it’s not just about being a brand authority. It’s also about learning from authorities and forming partnerships with them, as well as finding valuable ways to start conversations with people after the event is over by connecting with all of the speakers that were there. Since I want to build relationships with individuals who are pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone, even if they’re fantastic speakers, this is important for me. They’ve done it thousands of times; it’s still a process, and they can teach you.

Costs of Public Speaking for Graphic Designers

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersSo, let’s just jump right over to the price because you’re undoubtedly curious about this point at this time. This is an open issue that I could speak on for days, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll keep it simple. They can range from zero dollars to as much as $25,000. That high ticket price is because you’re going to be able to have an intimate conversation and build relationships with these amazing people who are also in attendance or speaking.

Imagine getting to sit down with Rob Dyrdek. He’s one of my heroes; he’s an entrepreneur, he’s a pro skateboarder, he’s a renaissance man. Imagine getting to sit down at an event with him and actually have a one-on-one conversation. When you’re investing twenty thousand dollars into an event like that, you’re paying for the proximity and that cost is nothing. Imagine if Rob Dyrdek showed up and said, “I’d love to sponsor your show. Let’s help kids start their first businesses!” Imagine what a beneficial relationship between us could be worth to me. It would be well over twenty thousand dollars.

So it’s really worth it sometimes to spend a lot of money to attend these events. I’ve spent over fifteen thousand dollars just this year on speaking events alone. I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s really led me to a lot of life-changing and business-changing breakthroughs in my career. As I said, they cost anything from zero dollars to $25,000. These events can get very, very expensive but you’ve got to understand the type of audience and the people that are there and how to monetize it. If you don’t know how you’re going to monetize it, I wouldn’t recommend doing it yet.

Final Thoughts

4 Ugly Truths About Public Speaking for Graphic DesignersI want each and every reader here to succeed. That’s why I’ve put together this list of things you need to know about public speaking for graphic designers, the good and the bad. I know it may be a lot to take in, but that’s what I’ve got for you today on speech and networking events. Thank you so much for reading; I’ll see you again on Thursday. I’m Adrian Boysel, and as always, keep looking up!