Episode 024 How to Get Paid Speaking Gigs as a Dietitian with Sonja Stetzler

More About Sonja

Sonja Stetzler is the founder of Effective Connecting, a practice that develops clients’ communication skills to ensure their success in the workplace. 

Sonja has several decades’ worth of experience in management, sales, education, and executive coaching. Her teaching style is unique, utilizing improvisation techniques to deepen her clients’ engagement and foster the ability to develop their communication skills.

She’s been trained by Second City in their Applied Improvisation program and in Medical Improv at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Connect With Sonja

Sonja’s 7 Tips to Engaging Presentations

Episode 024 Show Notes

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Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income stream. We’ll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.

What to Expect From This Episode

Have you ever thought about doing more public speaking in your business? Have you seen dietitians speaking on stage at conferences, events, or even virtually on webinars and wondered how the heck they got those opportunities?

Well, today on the podcast we have Sonja Stetzler, communications expert and dietitian, who’s here today to teach us all about becoming a public speaker.

We talk about different places that dietitians could get hired to speak, the benefits of doing more public speaking, the first steps a dietitian should take if they’re interested in public speaking, how to stand out, how to overcome that fear of speaking in front of a crowd, some of the most common struggles that new public speakers face and more.

It’s a really helpful episode. It’s kind of an insight into a whole new world and a whole new avenue or way to promote and market yourself and reach more people that I think a lot of dietitians just haven’t even scratched the surface on.

So I hope you enjoy this episode. It’s a great conversation. So let’s dive in.

Introduction to Sonja Stetzler

Erica: Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. You have such a unique area of expertise to share with us, and I am so excited and grateful to have you as a guest. So, um, thank you for being here.

Sonja: Thank you, Erica, for having me on. I’m excited to be here as well.

Erica: Yeah. Um, can you tell us more about what you specialize in and how you help dietitians?

Sonja: Yes. I’m an executive communications coach. I work with healthcare and business professionals to level up their speaking presentation skills as well as conversational skills so that they inform their audience, they influence their audience and they can inspire their audience.

Erica: Amazing. Um, I feel like I probably need mega help in that arena. Okay. So, how did you get into that? Like what led you to pivot your career to focus on business communication and public speaking and that type of thing?

Sonja: Well, was this a long and circuitous zig-zag. People say when everybody zigs I zag, but I, I think the roots of this started when I was a dietetic intern.

And back in the day, the internship was incorporated into to your four year degree. It was called the CUP program. And I’m not quite sure if that, that still exists today, but I was doing my last rotation in the food service department and the food service director had asked me to do an inservice. I thought, well, great.

I, at that point had decided that I liked teaching. And then he gave me my topic, personal hygiene, and I about died. I’m thinking, Oh, no. How do you deliver an inservice around personal hygiene to people who are old enough to be your mother? Because if you’d been in food service, you know that in the hospital food service, majority of the workers are female. They were middle-aged. And then some of them were old enough to be my grandmother.

And I’m like, Oh, how do you tell those people to wash their hands and wear clean uniforms and no hoopy earrings and no nail polish. And I didn’t sleep for three days.

And then I had an idea. I decided I would go down to the uniform shop that was a couple of blocks from the hospital after work one day. I talked the manager into letting me borrow five new uniforms. I rounded up five informal leaders in the food service department. They became my models and I produced the first ever food service fashion show.

So where I had my employees walk up this, uh, runway and I was able to talk about personal hygiene within the context of food safety. And it was a huge hit. The employees buzzed about it for days afterwards. And the food service department had called me into the office and he said, you know, you need to incorporate public speaking into your career path.

So I took that in the back of my brain. Really never thinking anything of it at that time. But fast forward as I finished my degree, I started in food service, which was, well, I say diabetics for me was an oops degree because after I got it, I was like, I’m not clinically oriented. And there were only three paths at that point in time, wellness wasn’t even a thing yet. So you either went into clinical, food service, or public health. Now I’m dating myself with all this information but there’s a purpose for this.

So I decided to go into management, which was at that point in time, more lucrative. I could make more money and there was a certain career path that I could see myself following. Um, but after about six years, I got burned out and said, nah, this is not for me.

And I got into sales, which I loved. And I found myself delivering presentations, if not once, but two, three, four times a day. And plus I would leverage my company. They would pay me to do these large group meetings within a hospital. I was speaking at dietetic association meetings for the states that I represented. I was doing dietary manager’s meetings. I was at administrators’ meetings. I found myself speaking quite a bit.

And that’s really where I remember that little kernel, that little seed that the food service director had planted many years prior. And now it was coming to fruition.

Erica: I feel like speaking is such an art and it sounds like you’ve always sort of had like an inherent knack for it, Which is amazing. Um, did you, I mean, is this just something that just comes to you? Like how did you learn about it?

Sonja: Well, when I was in the hospital, I realized that, you know, towards the end, my, this is my second hospital. I was in management and I realized that I needed to get out of the kitchen. I don’t know. I was looking for a way to get out of the kitchen. And one of the ways I found to do that was to get on the hospitals speaker’s Bureau, where I would go out and do community presentations.

And I equated really speaking with sales and that enabled me to land my sales job. But I equated speaking with teaching, which I learned during my internship that, you know what, I really like this teaching thing. I love watching the light bulb go on in other people’s heads. And then, you know, you’ve got them, you know, that whatever you’re conveying it’s magic when they can see it and they can like, yeah. Uh huh.

Erica: Totally. I feel, I relate a lot to that. Thinking back to my internship, I had to also give a presentation to the food service staff. And I did something where I was, I think, I don’t remember what I was talking about. Something about different types of fats, I think. And I made pipe cleaner triglycerides, the straight fatty acid chains and the bent ones to like show how they like stack together and form a solid versus like they don’t, you know?

I relate to that thought of like, Oh no, like how am I going to make this topic interesting? But yeah.

How Public Speaking Can Boost Your Career

Erica: So in terms of public speaking for dietitians, um, can you give us some examples of like places that dietitians could be hired or asked to speak at? Like how could we incorporate that into our career?

Sonja: Oh, absolutely. It’s one of the best ways to market yourself. And there’s a couple of reasons for this and I call it the four L’s.

Um, first of all, when you get on stage, when you are delivering a presentation, you are perceived as a leader, you are perceived as an expert, whether you believe that in yourself or not, because we tend to always have a little bit of an imposter syndrome, but you are perceived as the expert when you get on stage.

So the other facet of this is likability. When people see you on stage, or I call it a stage, it doesn’t have to be a stage. It could be just a conference room table, but people in order to work with them, they want to get to know you. They’ve got to get to know you like you and trust you. And this enables them to see what, who you are, and what it might be like to work with you. So that’s another piece of that.

Um, secondly, it’s leverage, it’s a lot easier to approach the one to many versus doing a one to one. So you’re leveraging your time when you are speaking.

And lastly, I call it links. When you deliver a presentation with a group of likeminded people, we all know that when people are together and this goes to neuroscience, when people like minded people come together, when they’re able to connect with one another, you’ve provided the impetus for them to be there. And that’s a positive thing. So people remember that.

So yes, speaking in front of a group is a great way to market yourself and you can also get paid. But I would say that I wouldn’t, depending on the audience, if it’s an audience of your ideal clients and you’re certain that this is the type of client that you want to work with, I would not, um, necessarily have to get paid for every single speaking engagement.

How to Find Public Speaking Opportunities

Erica: And how do people even find a speaking engagement? Like, are they going out and pitching themselves? Are you just waiting for people to come to you?

Sonja: No, it’s part of the platform. It’s part, part of being a paid speaker. There are three ingredients.

Number one, you’ve got to be known.

And I’m going to just back this up a little bit because in order to be known, what I find, especially with my coaching clients is that they want to speak on everything. You can’t speak on diabetes, cardio, wellness, eating disorders, you can’t do it all because it confuses your audience. It confuses the purchaser.

So you really want to pick a lane. What do you want to be known for?

So for years after I, my sales career, I needed to, to make a pivot because my company got bought and I needed to kind of, that’s where the pivot really occurred. I needed to make a decision. Was I going to speak on nutrition topics?

Or I, at that point in time, I had gone back to get my master’s in organizational communications. So who was I? Was I a nutritionist dietitian? Or was I a communication expert? I couldn’t straddle to being both because it confused the buyer. So I decided I’m going to become a communications expert. The flood gates opened, and I don’t speak on nutrition topics I speak, when people hire me to speak it’s going to be on a communication topic.

That’s rule number one. And I can’t stress that enough. And yes, it’s might be painful to only choose one, but you’re only going to choose it for perhaps maybe a year or two. And if you don’t like that topic then switch, but you gotta stick with one topic.

So getting back to the ingredients, number one, be known for a particular topic. Two, dive deep into that expertise. Because if talking about something that’s just general that somebody can just Google, well, why do they need you as a speaker?

And number three at your stage skills, you really have to know how to command the stage and own the room.

So those are the three ingredients to being a successful paid speake.

Erica: okay, let’s say you’ve picked your, your area of expertise. You feel like you really do know what you’re talking about and you’re like ready to go. Like where, how do you see dietitians getting these gigs? Like, are they, um, connecting on social media? Are they calling people emailing, like getting connections? What’s the best way to go about that?

Sonja: All three. Okay. Let me, let me go, go into a little more detail about how you get the gig. So companies and organizations don’t hire speakers. Let me get that, make that clear. They hire solutions to problems.

So once you have your lane, once you are really deep in your expertise, what problem do you solve?

Let’s say right now, we’re in lockdown in our house because of coronavirus. What is the solution that you can solve for people? Is it not, um, I love that little Debbie meme, is it not gaining 50 pounds by the time coronavirus stay at home is lifted? Maybe you’re the solution to that problem. Maybe you’re the solution with many people being furloughed and losing jobs. And maybe you’re the solution to people living on $10 a day for meals. What solution are you a problem?

Right now, I find myself in the middle of teaching, how to deliver virtual presentations so that people can connect with their audience. That’s huge right now because so many speaking engagements have been canceled and so many people are having to work virtually.

And how do you get your audience to engage with you?

Erica: Yeah, I feel like there’s, um, a lot of different ways that you could speak to your audience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be like you getting hired to speak at a conference. Like you can also take charge yourself and make your own presentations like in webinars and things like that.

So yeah, I, I totally think I agree that yes, you should make connections and hopefully get out there and work with other people, but you don’t have to wait for that to happen either. You can, you can make your own opportunities.

Sonja: Absolutely. I’m going through my, because I’ve had speaking engagements in the spring that have not all of them, haven’t been totally canceled. They’re being postponed due sometime in the fall. I don’t know when in the fall they given me a date yet. However, I reached out to LinkedIn and not close-networked people, but people who are on the fringe, because that’s where you’re going to find the gold. You know, Hey, I know we haven’t connected in a while.

I just wanted to catch up and check in to see how you’re doing. Just wanted to let you know that I am delivering webinars on how to connect to a virtual audience. Would you know of someone who might need this type of presentation? Bingo.

So I have a colleague who, on LinkedIn, she’s a speech language pathologist. She works with a group of, or as a member of a group of speech language pathologists who work in the corporate setting. Ooh, I have a paid webinar in about a week. So, um, you know, reaching out, you’ve got to do a little bit of both. And once you find that your platform grows, people will start reaching out to you, but you’ve got to initiate at least some connection.

Should you put a public speaking tab on your website?

Erica: Do you recommend if you like public speaking and you really want to make that something you do often, do you recommend maybe even putting something on your website to make it clear that you are available for speaking gigs?

Sonja: Absolutely. One thing I would, if you really want to make this a part of your practice, which I highly recommend that you do, because it can be a source of income is that you don’t bury it on page four. If you’re a speaker, you need to have a page dedicated to your speaking, what you speak on and make it.

Maybe you have three topics. They could actually be the same speech, but you changed the title and you need to have an image of you speaking to the types of audiences that you want to speak to.

Now, you might not get a picture of you on the stage with thousands of people, you know, shot from behind, that’s the money shot. However, if you want to speak to smaller groups, maybe have a image of you speaking to a group at say a conference in a conference room or maybe a classroom. So you want the image to portray the type of audiences that you’d like to speak to.

Erica: Yeah. And I love that advice too, about being clear about what you’re prepared to speak on. Cause I don’t remember where I was reading this or listening to this, but basically people are busy. So like the people who are out there trying to fill maybe like a conference schedule or something, they don’t really have the time to like, guess what you might be able to help with.

Like they just want to be able to go and be like, okay, cool. This person can speak on this and like pencil you in, you know?

Sonja: Absolutely. Meeting planners want to know, they need to know, what do you speak on? Because often times they’re looking for something very specific. Uh, can you speak on tiger lilies and why they’re important to the environment?

I don’t know something that’s really the more specific you are, the better chance you have a becoming chosen because specificity kills ambiguity.

How much can you earn from speaking gigs?

Erica: So good. All right. So I’m, I’m sure there’s a huge range of what you could get compensated for speaking, but just to give people a ballpark, like what’s the range that you could expect for different types of speaking gigs.

Sonja: Wow. That is wide open. So I can tell you that keynoting is the pinnacle. You’ll get paid more to do a keynote that you will a break out session. However, keynotes are usually reserved to a) the people that have a platform and b) they have a specific expertise and they have awesome stage presence.

So if you want to be the keynote, yes, I would say the range for a keynote, it can be anywhere from five grand to on up. You know, I take somebody like maybe Brene Brown. So, um, there could be some dietitians out there that aspire to be, or maybe they’re already at that level. She can command tens of thousands of dollars to be on stage.

You know, Michelle Obama. Yeah. She can walk off with a hundred fifty thousand, four hundred thousand dollar keynote. Great.

So what if you’re not at that level yet? Um, breakouts, typically it ranges from no cost to perhaps a couple hundred dollars, depending on again, budgets and so forth. You can always negotiate.

How to leverage unpaid speaking gigs.

Sonja: And I want to talk about that in just a minute, because I say you never speak for free, but there are things that you can leverage.

Um, if you’re doing a small meeting, say a local, uh, I’ve been on those boards. I know that yes, oftentimes there isn’t the money, but what could you leverage? So this is where you really need to be smart. I say, yes, you can speak for no money, however never speak without getting something in return.

What does a speaker need?

Good photography. I need good photographs. And if you can get a professional photographer, if you can write that into your agreement.

We also need a video. I had agreed to do a conference, uh, Midwestern regional conference. And I knew up front that you know what, they’re not going to pay. However they did offer professional video. Bingo. Do you know how much a videographer costs? A lot. I’ve spent about five grand for video at one point in time. So, uh, raw footage to get professional photography or video with raw footage that’s worth it to me.

Yeah. Um, what else could a speaker use? Testimonials always collect testimonials because that’s social proof of who you are, what you do, what you speak on, never leave without a testimonial.

What else could you ask for? I mean, ask the sky’s the limit? What do you need?

Erica: I’ve even seen people where they’re like, Hey, if you like this, they use some sort of technology where they’re like, text this word to this number and like, you’ll get something, you know what I mean? And then they’re on their list.

Sonja: Yeah. Yes, I do that frequently. I do. I use a service called talk book, talkbook.co, and I give a handout and returned from, for an email address. That’s very, very common. Very popular. Yes. I always leave with a slew of email addresses. Absolutely.

Erica: That’s like gold, honestly. Especially if you already have like sales funnels and stuff kind of built-in.

Sonja: Absolutely. Absolutely. So don’t fear. I know people think that, Oh, I have to get paid for everything I do. Well, yes to a oint, but again, I’m going back to, you gotta be known. If you’re not known, you’re not going to get bookings.

You got to have expertise and you have to have stage skills. So if you don’t have say the stage skills, this is the time maybe you have a new topic. Maybe you want to pivot to a new topic. That’s more interesting than what you’ve been doing. This is the time to do a free talk. And by free, I don’t mean just free in compensation. You ask for something in return for that.

Erica: Yeah. I’m thinking back. I haven’t done like a ton of public speaking, but the stuff that I have done, first one, I made my own opportunity. I emailed a bunch of yoga studios and I wanted to give a talk and one of them hit me back and we set it up and I got paid and it was great.

Um, and then another one, a conference organizer reached out to me. I think she found me through like either Health Profs or just like Google maps, like looking for a dietitian in the area. Um, I can’t remember, but they reached out to me and it was unpaid. But at this point I just really wanted to say that I spoke at a conference.

So I did it. And I, it was, I really like speaking actually. Um, so it was really enjoyable and people were like, Oh, was it worth doing for free? And I didn’t get any clients like immediately, but with, Oh, I would say maybe like three months later, a few people called me like, Hey, I heard about you from blah, blah, blah, who was at this conference. So eventually I did. Um, so yeah, it was a really good experience.

Have patience with the returns on your time

Sonja: Awesome. So, yeah, and sometimes the returns don’t come right away. I spoke at a conference last spring and someone connected with me. He’s a CEO with an organization he saw or had heard my name from a year ago. And now we are connected. And now he’s a CEO who is bringing me in to other organizations based on the topic. And this was a whole year ago.

Erica: Right? So patience, persistence. It does add up. Especially if you keep going.

Don’t reinvent the wheel every time

Sonja: Absolutely. And here’s another, I would say tip that I’d like to offer, because oftentimes when I see on the listserv, you know, Oh, it took me so much time to build this presentation. When you choose a lane and you have a topic and you have an expertise, you only have one speech. You’re not recreating the wheel every time you go out to speak.

Erica: Oh my gosh, that is the best advice ever. I totally agree.

Sonja: So you’re not reinventing the wheel. You’re just tweaking it. Because I also, I really encourage people to do your research on the organization, the audience, because you’ve gotta be very audience-centered. I might interview you, the people who will be in the audience to get them to describe to me the problem, why do they need this solution?

And when people hear their name or when people know, and I asked permission, of course, to tell their story, if that’s what it entails, but people are, are so they love being recognized by a speaker the way it’s. Yeah. Anytime you can do that within a presentation, it’s it really brings you closer to the audience.

Erica: Yeah. That’s a really good creative tip.

How to go above and beyond as a speaker

Erica: I have a couple questions. Is there anything that you think on just like on the professional end, as a speaker, maybe working with the conference organizer or something, is there anything you can do to kind of like go above and beyond to make yourself kind of like stand out? So they want to work with you again?

Sonaj: Absolutely. I am so glad you asked that question.

#1: Don’t be a diva

Sonja: Yes. Be easy to work with. Don’t be a diva. We’ve all heard the stories of, I forget what band it was that, and this is this band. Um, this person really did it. I think I forget who it was. Maybe Bon Jovi. He always asks for a jar of, um, m&m’s, but no green ones or something to that effect.

He just wanted to see if people actually read, read the contract. So, but don’t be a diva. Be easy to work with. Number one.

#2: Follow up

Sonja: And number two is the aftercare. Oftentimes after you leave the conference, boom, you know, you get your check. You’re out.

Set up a call with the meeting planner after the event to find out what worked, what went well, how could things have been improved? And I started carrying, bringing a thank you card inside my day planner so that after I leave the conference, I can just jot my thank you note while I’m waiting for the plane or before I finally land home. So I can put it in the mail as I’m leaving the hotel. How many people thank the meeting planner after the event?

So you can get the address and that thank you card is waiting for them on their desk when they return home or whenever they get back from the conference.

Erica: Yeah. That’s really good. I bet almost no one does that, Right? Yeah, yeah.

Sonja: Yeah. So that makes you stand out. And the other piece I’d like to add to this is speakers get speakers jobs.

For instance, an organization that might hire me this year probably won’t have me back next year because I’ve already spoken to that group. And oftentimes more than not, you don’t speak to the same group year after year after year after year. Now there are some top speakers like Patricia Fripp who has had solid relationship with the organization. So she goes back in year after year after year, but she is like the hundred thousand dollar speaker.

So help the meeting planner out, you know? What kind of speakers are you looking good for? What kind of topics? Ah, you know what? I have a recommendation. I have a friend who speaks on that topic. Can I make an introduction? Meeting planners appreciate that and your colleagues appreciate the opportunity.

So this is how this networking event, this is how this all works.

Erica: That’s so insightful. I mean, it’s so like, as you’re saying it, I’m like, Oh yeah, duh, like, of course that makes sense. But I don’t know if I would think to do that, you know, but for sure I can see how that would make you stand out, which is exactly what I was asking. So thank you.

Sonja: Sure, sure. That works for the meeting planner. It works, it’s a win, win all the way around. It works for your colleagues and then you look good at the same time because your colleague is going to reciprocate, the meeting planner will also reciprocate. Yeah. It’s a win, win, win.

Erica: Yeah. Kind of going back to the thing that you were talking about earlier about having kind of like your core presentation topics, um, just in the last year or so. One thing that’s really helped me that, I don’t know, I’m just saying this step for anyone who’s listening, who might be trying to wrap their brain about around how they can come up with their signature topics.

Um, I have like online courses that I sell and then before the cart opens, I do a webinar, um, to teach on the topic. And so I’ve sort of developed three different webinars that I give to my audience, but that’s also helped me then book speaking gigs because people are attending the webinar and they’re like, wow, this is so helpful. I wish you could give this information to my group of people and that’s led to some opportunities with other like dietetic associations and things like that. Um, so you just never know, you know? Like even just doing a webinar can become kind of like your, your signature talk.

Sonja: Absolutely. As well as being on a podcast.

Erica: Yeah, yeah. You’re right. Totally.

How to get better at public speaking

Erica: Um, so let’s see what if somebody thinks that they might want to start public speaking, but they are a little unconfident in their stage presence or their ability to give a presentation. Do you have any tips on getting better at it or developing that skill?

Sonja: Yes. The more you do it, the better you get. Now I am a communications coach. I do public speaking coaching, and I also run a speaker success mastermind for dietitians. And I’m expanding that because I think the speech pathologist sounded interesting or sounded interested. So it’s a very small group.

Uh, I’ve had a group that I have been working with for about perhaps two years now. I started this two years ago and I’m looking to bring in a new RDs who are interested.

So on my website, there is a, an application form because I want to understand a, what you’re looking for to make sure this is the right fit. Um, after if people are interested in with like to join a mastermind, certainly apply. And then we go through the application process and then an interview. So that I’m clear on the goals that you’ve set for yourself as far as how you want to move forward.

Um, so that would be what I’d recommend and just practice. It’s undervalued. Um, I teach public speaking. I have for over a decade at a local private university. And they asked me back in December to teach, I had retired from that, but they said, can you come back? I said, sure.

Rehearsing is probably the one part of the process that most clients and students do not put enough time into. So I would say that I see presentation skills is really three components:

A) is your content development. That’s one component you’ve got to develop your content in a particular way that allows you to reach the goal that you’re trying to achieve and your audience’s goal. What do they want out of what you’ve got to say?

Secondly, it’s into rehearsal, the practice, the convey for what are some techniques that make your delivery even better.

And thirdly is the connection piece because if you’re not making a connection with your audience, they’re not going to get the message. So that’s my three-pronged approach.

Erica: Yes. Uh, when, if someone wanted to join your mastermind, how, what exactly, what’s the structure of that? Like what are they learning? What are they going to get out of it? And how, how would it help them with speaking?

Sonja: A couple of things. Number one, choosing the lane. That’s the first and most important part. Secondly, How to develop the content. Most of us have a maybe a specific pattern, but let’s look at it from several different approaches. What do you want to get out of this delivery? And then three, a colleague of mine puts together on a weekly basis, a hundred leads to speak. So they will have access after they’ve gotten their lane and content, let’s start marketing. How do you put yourself out there?

How do you write that email letter to the meeting planner? Because it takes, you know, it’s just like, as you, if you do a webinar, you know, that the conversion rate is only about 2%. So let’s start building relationships with your LinkedIn network, with meeting planners and with the conference producers.

Erica: That sounds really, really valuable. Yeah. Do they, is it like you meet in a group together?

Sonja: Uh, yes. Yes. So we meet every other week and there’s content as well as, or everyone has a hot seat, every meeting, what are you working on? What do you need help with? And the group really bonds and pushes each other to get to that next level.

That’s awesome. And I don’t know if maybe I’m just not tapped into it, but I don’t know of anyone else offering anything like that. So I think that’s really unique and valuable, and I’m sure there’s people out there who want to get better at speaking and want to build that into their business. So thank you for creating that opportunity for people.

Sonja: Sure. It’s been a lot of fun. I enjoy doing facilitating.

The most common strggles for new speakers

Erica Yeah. Having done that, are there any common threads, like common struggles that you see people go through? Um, maybe in the beginning stages?

Sonja: I think once you get past your lane, it’s the marketing piece. How do you market? How do you know, who do you approach? Where can I find speaking engagements? There’s so many places there is the, for instance, the college and university market, there’s a whole area around getting into college and universities getting on that circuit, um, organizations, how do you get into an organization? How do you navigate that? Associations. Uh, there’s an association of association executives, which is interesting.

So if you speak to associations, the beauty of that, oftentimes it doesn’t pay initially. You don’t get paid perhaps with a check. However, if you’ve got the stage skills in those meetings, these are the the presidents or meeting planners for hundreds of organizations and associations. So they can pull you into their organization to speak and that’s where you get paid.

So it’s these types of, of, I think insights that a lot of people aren’t aware of. I surely wasn’t aware of it until I was became a member of the National Speakers Association, which you have to join hoops. It’s not like you just pay your money and you go, you have to do X amount of speeches paid speeches per year, or you have to get paid at a certain level annually in order to be a member of the national speakers association.

Erica: Oh, that’s so cool. It’s like a whole nother world. It’s just so fun to learn about.

Sonja: If I had known this right after, uh, my sales job, I would have dived right in at that point, but it took some trial and error to figure this out myself. So yeah. I like to grease the skids here.

Erica: Yeah. And I, I think there’s probably way more opportunity for dietitians to speak than we’re like currently capitalizing on. So I think the more we can put ourselves out there and participate, the better it is for obviously yourself as a speaker, but also like for our whole industry. I hate to say it, but not a lot of laypeople even really know what a dietitian is.

So, you know, the more we can get out there, the better, the better off we all are.

Sonja: Absolutely elevates the profession. All boats rise is what I say.

Erica: Yeah, definitely. All right. So I think that was pretty much everything I wanted to go over. Is there anything else, like any helpful tips or anything that you wanted to share before we close this interview?

How to keep in touch with Sonja

Sonja: Uh, I think we’ve covered pretty much everything, um, that you had initially asked. And again, please visit my website at sonjastetzler.com. Um, Sonja spelled with a J not a Y or an I. And there, you’ll see. Um, I do write a blog post. Um, please connect with me on social media.

I would have to say, I say that LinkedIn is my playground. Um, I do get work from LinkedIn and I’d love to connect with any and all of the members of your audience.

Erica: Yeah, definitely. And I think you also have like some sort of free tip sheet on your website that people can download Absolutely seven steps to speaking success. It’s a tip sheet that actually I’ve had clients that have walked in when I meet with them, especially locally. I have, I meet with a lot of my clients virtually, but some of them are local and they’ll walk in with a tip sheet and I’m like, Oh, cool. You actually downloaded it. Fantastic.

Erica: Yeah. Awesome. Well, that’s really generous of you. And again, thank you for sharing all of your experience and wisdom that you’ve like put in the hard work to learn. Thank you for passing it on to us today. And I hope all the people interested rush to connect with you after this.

Sonja: This is so much fun to be on your podcast and I thank you so much for inviting me to be on here.

Erica: Yeah. Thank you.

Wasn’t that episode really helpful. If you want to catch the show notes for this week’s episode and get links to anything that we talked about, get easy access to Sonja’s freebie, just go to the unconventionalrd.com/episode024. And other than that, I’ll catch you guys next week.

And as always, if you like this episode or any other episode that you’ve been listening to, I always always appreciate and love any ratings or reviews that you feel called to give on iTunes. It’s very helpful to help this podcast reach more people, um, and just be of more service. So thank you again, and I will see you guys next week.

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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.