Public Speaking Articles

Do professional speakers need to worry about the ChatGPT AI? Maybe.

This post is written 99% by me, Dave Reed, and 1% by an artificial intelligence. 

Disclaimers like the one above are going to become more common in the future. Or maybe not; whether it is necessary (or even good manners) to attribute an artificial intelligence that created a work is a question without a consensus. As of this writing. 

“As of this writing” – that’s another phrase you’ll see a lot in relation to artificial intelligence because the rate of change right now (April 2023) is asymptotic. There are several companies making breakthroughs in AI, but the one getting the most attention is OpenAI. Founded in 2015 by several visionaries (including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel), initially as a non-profit, OpenAI has made major advances in software that can understand requests in plain language and create new content in words or images. You may have heard of  “GPT-3”, “GPT-4” or “ChatGPT”. These are products of OpenAI that have been made available to the public ( for amusement, business, and — in some cases — fear.

As I’ve demonstrated to friends and family what this AI can do, I’ve prefaced the reveal with, “Now don’t forget that what you’re about to see is not a search result. This is not a computer finding something that was written or drawn by a human. This is a computer creating something brand new just for us, right now.”

If you haven’t had a nerdy friend like me perform a ChatGPT parlor trick for you, here are a couple of examples for my speaker friends.

I typed this request into ChatGPT (exactly like this, no coding involved):

> write a limerick about the difficulties of being a professional speaker.

ChatGPT paused (thought?) for about 1 second and then produced this little jewel, which, I remind you, never existed until ChatGPT created it:

Being a pro speaker's no joke,
You must keep the crowd from a choke,
You need wit and charm,
To prevent any harm,
Or you'll end up completely broke.

Here’s another prompt that I typed into ChatGPT:

> in 2 sentences, explain why good public speakers will survive the AI apocalypse.

And the AI’s answer:

Good public speakers will survive the AI apocalypse because they possess the ability to connect with their audience on a human level through their tone, emotion, and authenticity, something that AI cannot replicate. Additionally, their adaptability and continuous learning will enable them to stay relevant and overcome any challenges posed by technological advancements.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Again again — that’s not a search result. The AI created that, just for me, right when I asked for it.

Impressed yet? 

A little worried?

How will AI affect professional speakers?

AI with this kind of capacity will have a significant impact on the professional speaking industry. The good professional speakers that I know are all experts, content creators, and teachers. The content creator part of that mix will be the first to be affected, followed by expert and, finally, teacher.

Imagine an AI that has been fed the entirety of written human knowledge. We’re not quite there yet, but it won’t be long. Open AI’s GPT-3 model was trained on 45 terabytes of written data, which is about the same amount as 11 million copies of the encyclopedia Britannica. The average American reads fewer than 20 books per year. We’re not going to be able to compete on knowledge.

And the current models are already fantastic at taking what they’ve been trained on and distilling it, extracting meaningful information, and synthesizing new ideas. Sounds a lot like what a content creator does, doesn’t it? And the machine can do it accurately and faster than you can.

Here’s an example of how insightful the machine can be. I gave it this prompt:

> write 1000 words about the value of accountability in corporations.

The response was 9 paragraphs that included “thoughts” like these two:

... Organizations that are transparent and accountable in their operations are more likely to attract customers, investors, and other stakeholders who value ethical and socially responsible behavior. This, in turn, can lead to increased profitability and growth for the organization, as well as a positive impact on society and the environment.

... This is because accountability requires a cultural and behavioral shift within organizations, which can be difficult to achieve without the right leadership, incentives, and support systems.

Think about that next time you dash off a blog post or pen a chapter in your next book. Remember that these aren’t search results. What kind of value can your cheeseburger-powered brain provide that a solar-powered one can’t? 

Those are the things that great speakers already focus on: the leaps that the human brain is (so far) uniquely able to make and the emotional connections that really make the lesson sink in. Speakers who want to survive as content creators will need to focus on the kinds of things they can write, draw or imagine that leverage those emotional abilities to do the job better than an AI. It’s going to take more work.

Lazy writing will rapidly be replaced with AI-generated content. In fact, if you’re going to do some lazy writing yourself, having an AI generate it for you is a good strategy.

What will happen to your consulting hours when your client can ask the machine questions, in natural language, and get back a “perfect” answer?

What will happen when a deepfake video (, a convincing synthesized voice (, and AI-generated content ( get together and have a baby? There’s probably a 14 year-old somewhere in Latvia who already knows. The real question is whether an audience watching that baby over Zoom will be able to tell that it’s not real. Or maybe the real question is whether that audience will care when they do?

Movin’ on up

In the 1800’s, a farmer worked a small field with hand tools or, if they were lucky, an animal like an ox or a mule to pull a version of that hand tool that tilled two or three rows instead of just one. One family could manage about 100 acres of food-producing land.

In the 1870s, self-propelled steam engines started helping with the wheat harvest. The farmers of the day likely felt enthusiasm for the new tool rather than fear they would lose their jobs. When tractors became popular in the 1920s, they sold like hotcakes to farmers who wanted to farm more land with less effort. Advances in pesticides and fertilizers similarly expanded the farmer’s reach so that the average farm size now is more than four times what it was 200 years ago.

Like a farmer, a smart speaker won’t be scared by new machines that can “do their job”. Instead, they’ll move up the food chain and expand their reach by focusing their time on things machines don’t do well, and by using the machines for things at which machines are more efficient.

How professional speakers will leverage AI

In the early nineties, ideas for new ways to use the nascent “world wide web” grew like wildflowers (or weeds, take your pick). In the coming months and years, clever speakers, trainers, and coaches will make use of AI tools in all kinds of creative ways that no one has yet thought of. Companies will add value to AIs and bring new services to the public.

In a year, the suggestions below will seem pedestrian. 

Writer’s Hurdler

Suffering from writer’s block? Hurdle over it by asking an AI to write about your subject. Use what the AI produces as inspiration or counter-inspiration.

> write the outline of a book for school administrators that will teach them how to improve student outcomes for those with short attention spans.

Sales Copy

Writing sales email and proposals is a task that should be easy to turn over to an assistant, including an artificial one. Try a prompt like:

> write a short, compelling message to the event organizer for paste URL for conference here about why they should hire your name to be their keynote speaker. Include information about how your name will further the specific goals of the conference.

Grammar Nazi

When it comes to grammar, AIs can top even your third grade teacher, Mrs. Williams. After you’ve written a few paragraphs, have the AI check it over and maybe tighten it up:

> act as an editor for the following text, pointing out grammatical errors and any sentences that are difficult to read: paste your paragraph/s here


Looking for a title for your blog post, book chapter, or article? Pull out the relevant keywords (or just use the whole thing if it’s less than a page) and ask for some title options:

> give me 3 good titles for the LinkedIn post about these keywords. Make the titles compel clicks. Here are the keywords: tiktok challenge, marketing, techniques, success

Sticky situations

If you’ve backed yourself into a social corner and need a way out, just ask for some advice:

> You have ignored an email from an important colleague for more than 20 days. Now they are asking again for your response and you are embarrassed to admit that you forgot to reply to them. What would you say to them to let them know you respect them even though you neglected their request for so long?

Because ChatGPT can keep a conversation going (at least for a little while), you can ask for followup refinements on the answers you get back. After typing any prompt and getting back a response, try any of the following:

> make it longer

> make it shorter

> make it funny

> make it more compelling

> write that in the style of the King James Bible

> translate that to latin american spanish

There are so many useful things that ChatGPT (and others) can do for you right now. As professional speakers, trainers and coaches, we deal in the spoken word. But the spoken word usually starts as the written word.

Imagine meeting a speaker from 1970 who was plunking away at an IBM Selectric (look it up, youngster) to write their content, and you effusively describe to them your world with word processors, collaborative word processors like Google Docs, researching on the Internet, Zoom, and all the tools we now assume for our trade. 

Now you’ve got another to add to the list.

Should professional speakers be worried?

At the same time you are making use of AI as an assistant, be aware that the bar has been raised for content. If your thinking / writing / speaking isn’t better for your customers than an AI, why should they pay you?

Lazy speakers who are unwilling to put in the hours and the effort to make it personal will, eventually, find their customers using AI instead of them.

Good speakers already customize their content for each customer’s needs. Good speakers already use their insight and intuition to turn their experience into unique and compelling content.

Perhaps, most importantly, audiences connect with a human experience. Your stories, more than anything else, have the potential to evoke an emotional response from your audience. To make them feel connected to you. 

Like ChatGPT advised us at the start:

Good public speakers will survive the AI apocalypse because they possess the ability to connect with their audience on a human level through their tone, emotion, and authenticity, something that AI cannot replicate.

Virtual Master Presenter

Great presenters get feedback from other advanced presenters to work on the subtleties of their presentations. When was the last time you worked on refining your virtual presentation skills? You’ll get refinements in the eSpeakers’ Virtual Master Presenter live virtual course and designation facilitated by me. It starts on February 6, 2023. Register:

GigOS is the integration between eSpeakers EventCX and SpeakerFlow CRM.

We’ve been cooking up something BIG with the team over at SpeakerFlow. And after over a year of development, we’re excited to introduce GigOS.

It combines everything you need to run your speaking business in one place: custom CRM for speakers, EventCX specialized calendaring and automation platform, marketing exposure through the eSpeakers directory network, access to eSpeakers Lead Center, and 40+ other tools to run your business end-to-end. And they’re all integrated!

7 Tips to Save Money When You’re Planning an Event

Event planning has always been a tough industry. And now with our ever more competitive economy and smaller and smaller budgets, planning an event is more challenging than ever. 

Gone are the days of sky’s the limit budgets. Now, clients are expecting their planners to pull off the same events they always have but at greatly reduced budgets. 

Everyone is trying to save money. And if you want to succeed in today’s planning industry, this means you, too.

How To Book a Celebrity: Ten Things You Need to Know to Bag a Big Name

Hiring a speaker is a challenge in itself. Hiring a celebrity speaker is a whole different ballgame!

A celebrity speaker will drive lots of traffic and attention to your event; the free buzz that this person will create for you can pay for itself, it’s true. 

If you decide you want to book a celebrity for an upcoming event, you need to consider that there are two sides to this coin. 

But if you book a celebrity, you also need to be on a level of professionalism that you may not have achieved before. You have to have all your ducks in a row before you even consider contacting a celebrity to appear at your event.

Bring your “A” game.

If you appear in any way unprepared when you reach out to a celebrity’s PR team, they will not even consider your proposal because it will smell like a “waste of time”.

Celebrities don’t have time to waste. They also have their public reputations to consider. Most of them won’t appear at an event that won’t make them look good. If you come off as unprofessional at the get-go, they won’t sign on. 

The way to successfully book a celebrity is to approach their PR person with all the information they need in a concise document that allows them to assess your event, what it has to offer and make a quick yes or no decision. If your proposal is incomplete or messy, it will much more likely be a “no”. 

You don’t want that.

For them, time is money, so you need to have all your expectations set and ready to present up-front. With that in mind, we put together a list to help you present a strong proposal. 

How to book a celebrity: Ten things you need to know to bag a big name.

Your budget. 

Big surprise: celebrities cost a lot. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $50,000 all the way up to a six-figure number. 

Why you want to book a celebrity.

Don’t just choose celebrities at random, just for the sake of having a big name. Your celebrity’s presence at your event should make sense. So know the purpose and theme of your event, and choose a celebrity who fits in with that idea. An appropriate person will have a much stronger effect than someone who is there just for the sake of their celebrity status. 

How you want your celebrity to fit into your event.

Curate your celebrity speaker into your event for the greatest effect. Consider who they are and what they have to offer your attendees—would a full 60 or 90-minute keynote speech be appropriate, or a moderated Q & A session? Every speaker brings something unique to an event, even celebrities. Remember that when you are proposing your event to them.

Your event location.

The location of your event will affect which celebrity you will be able to book, because of two factors: 

  • Flying a celebrity from afar will cost more on your end.
  • You will need more time to book a celebrity speaker the farther you are from where they live. 

Your speaker may not want to fly thousands of miles. So the farther you are from city centers, allow more time to find someone who can.

Your timeline.

You need to know the exact dates and times that your celebrity will be speaking, down to the minute, before you contact them with your proposal. Most celebrities want to spend as little time as possible at your event (no offense, it’s a time thing) so they will arrive shortly before their allotted time and leave shortly afterward. Provide this information upfront.

Your team.

Your celebrity needs to know that there is a solid team ready to receive them. If they don’t know who to contact or your team seems to change on a daily basis, you will seem unprofessional and they won’t want to be involved. Make it clear who on your team does what, and how they should contact them.

Your speakers bureau.

Using a speakers bureau can cut down on a lot of back-and-forth and guesswork for you. It is a speakers bureau’s business to know which celebrities are available for speaking engagements, what they charge, and what their special expectations are. Engaging a speakers bureau to do all this legwork for you can save you a ton of time.

Not sure where to start? Check out our directory of celebrity speakers!

Who they are speaking to.

It’s important to know who your audience is, so your celebrity can know what to expect if they accept your offer. Also, they can curate their speech appropriately so they can have a greater impact, which is better for them and for your audience.

Your marketing plan.

All of your promotional material will need to be okayed by the celebrity’s PR team before it is distributed. To avoid wasted resources when they reject something you’ve already paid for, make sure you know how you plan to promote the event so you can get their approval as soon as possible.

Your Plan B.

This doesn’t go on your proposal. But it’s important to have a strong Plan B, because most celebrities will have a cancellation clause written into their contracts in case they are offered a film or other such engagement and need to back out suddenly. If this happens, you need to be ready to deploy your second-best speaker at a moment’s notice!

This list will help you get everything you need in line to book a celebrity for your event. We hope you enjoyed it. If you think we missed anything important, let us know!

Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:

Corporate event planning: ten tips to make it unforgettable!

Four amazing tips to turn you into a powerful public speaker.

Developing the breakthrough mindset and succeeding.

How and When to Manage Audience Q&A

Questions from the audience can enrich a panel discussion or derail it, so decide ahead of time when and how you will manage questions. You can:

  • Take Questions As You Go. Allow questions to percolate from the audience at any time.
  • Stop Periodically and Ask For Questions. For example, stop for questions after each panelist presentation, key topical discussion or stop every 20 minutes to take questions.
  • Dedicate a time for Q&A. Create a specific time to take questions from the audience, usually held at the end of the program and before the final summary.

How technology is changing the way speakers get booked

Would you like to know how speakers will be booked in the (very near) future?

In this presentation by eSpeakers’ own Dave Reed to the Mountain West chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA) teaches, he teaches the audience:

  1. The new third way that getting hired
  2. How to have a potent presence that pulls in buyers