Farewell to the Speaker’s One-Sheet

   We gather here today to mourn the passing of the speaker’s best friend. For centuries, this friend has served as the single most important way to book speeches and promote appearances to audiences. The primary marketing method used in the speaking business for the last 400 years.

   Gone. Kaput. Yet nary a mention of its sudden and unexpected demise. 

   No cover story in Speaker magazine. No seminar at the National Speakers Association convention. Not even a solemn funeral where those of us who love it could say proper goodbyes.

   I’m talking about someone you know well, someone who frustrated you at times, but who required the best you had to give, so much so that when you were done your brain hurt.

   Alas, I refer to our late departed friend, the one-sheet promotional flyer.


   Yes, that glossy, two-sided one-sheet, full color, with your best staged photos, front and back, your website, your books’ names, awards, topic titles, indeed, your entire life summed up on two sides of a single sheet of paper.

   Your catch phrase. Your benefits. Oh, and, of course, two versions — bureau-friendly, and the other, ego-friendly.

   Your head hurt because the benefits were so hard to write. The photos made you a nervous wreck. And all the people you had to hire! Photographer. Graphic designer. Writer. Printer. Distributor.

   How many to print? (You always printed too many.) Where to send? How many envelopes to stuff?

   Now they sit in a folder, stacked up, over there in the corner, waiting for the call to duty. But the call never comes anymore.

   Now everybody wants something else. Amazing videos. Plenty of social engagement. A large following. Likes. Shares. Pins. Tweets. SEO. Google juice, baby!

   So with the one-sheet’s sudden demise, what should you, the speaker, focus on instead as a modern-day substitute? Aside from those all-important amazing videos, of course?

   Dear old one-sheet. Rest in peace.

   But now that the friend is gone, what’s next for you to get yourself out in front of the world?

# #

Watch motivational speaker Dave Lieber's comedy TED talk.

Dave Lieber portrait TEDx 2013


Dave Lieber is the national-award winning Watchdog investigative columnist for The Dallas Morning News and a much sought after motivational speaker. Dave is one of America’s top storytelling experts. He uses comedy to show businesses and associations how to improve their storytelling marketing skills in sales training and presentation skills. The author of five books, Dave won the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award as the U.S. newspaper columnist whose works produced positive effects on the lives of others.
To Book Dave Lieber:
Call 1-800-557-8166

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  1. Well, you nailed it, Dave. For a while all motivational speakers were going through EXACTLY what you describe. It's all a'changin', isn't it.  Oh, and those extra ones that you have on your shelf – just wad them up and use them as stuffing when you mail packages.

  2. I buried the one sheet a while back. It was a tearless funeral, as I never really fell in love with mine. It was always changing, that two-faced piece of sheet. But I don't think it really died. I think it is reincarnated in the form of a website. That's all people need. That's all they want. A place to go and see everything in one place. Now this is our hook – this is our brand – this is our way to stand out – our emotional connectional with the potential buyer. And we should put just as much energy into this as we did the one-sheet. And the cool thing about this new one-sheet reincarnate, is that is has power. The one-sheet was always at the mercy of where you sent it. Not now. It takes on a life of its own. And instead of us having to send it out – it draws people to us – in ways bigger than we could ever imagine. 

  3. Guess that obituary has not made itself known to every event planner and decision maker yet! At my booking agency the first things I am asked for is a one sheet online or if I am meeting in person one in hand, and a YouTube clip! I am keeping our website current as I agree they are also the link to bookings. In government contracting, however, the one sheet is still a key to the complete package. Even though one sheets have changed over the years, to a one sided impact, not ready to tell our professionals to toss them just yet! Of course, I still use a telephone call and a hand written note, as extinct as they are, because they are personal and tend to shock the "BROCA" of most people! "Just sayin."

  4. what a great storyteller! Laughed my way through — and I've saved each reincarnated version along the way.

  5. So, when I posted this on National Speakers Association Facebook, one speaker commented this way. (I thought it was kinda funny since she unintentionally proved my point. The one-sheet is dead, especially if you're talking about adding another zillion pages to your packet! LOL.)

    "I'm presuming this was a tongue-in-cheek piece? Because…I don't see "one-sheet's" as dead, nor their longer versions (with expanded topic sheets, client lists, testimonial letters, fee schedule/travel/AV requirements, etc., or whatever would be appropriate). They've just evolved into an eco-friendly version known as a PDF."

  6. I'm like Colette – I have all of my versions. I hate throwing stuff away, but alas, it's time to say goodbye!

  7. How relieved am I that I came aboard this wacky Speaker's Bus after the One Sheet fact!!  But I dare say, with all the anxiety of producing that 2 sided piece of paper, can it compare with the expense and hairpulling of getting a few seconds of decent video??

  8. Like Polly, I got on board after the rise and fall of the One Sheet.  I do still stress over PDFs and I am in desperate need of a new website – so I guess it is same stress different day… but at least it all feels like a journey – and we are all on the bus together… and what a fun bus it is : ) 

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