Mic Drop

Crystal Balls & Frankenstein (ft. Gail Davis)

Episode Summary

In a wide-ranging interview, this week’s episode of Mic Drop covers everything from deep insights into the speaker industry, to a hypothetical “Frankenstein” creation of the perfect speaker. You don’t want to miss this.

Episode Notes

Crystal Balls & Frankenstein (ft. Gail Davis)

Get ready for one of our most eclectic Mic Drops ever


“The chairman put his arm around me and said, "You know what, kid, you should retire." And I'm like, "I'm not even 40 years old." And he was like, "Well, I don't know if you'll ever outdo this."”

-Gail Davis


Gail Davis is the founder and CEO of GDA, one of the most prominent and well-respected speaker bureaus on the planet. Before she launched her bureau 23 years ago, Gail hired dozens of speakers as a corporate-meeting planner for a Fortune 100 company. 



[10:03] - Speaker Bureaus: Myths and Facts

An inside look from a true insider

Despite some horror stories, the truth is that speaking bureaus are by and large trustworthy, respectful, and genuinely passionate about making the careers of speakers of all backgrounds. That said, Gail has advice for navigating bureaus— ask the right questions. Generally, they’re eager to help you in any way they can, not stand as an obstacle between you and your client.

[19:37] - How to Make Bureaus Love You

What they look for in emerging speakers

Want to make your bureau representative love you? Be available, but not aggressive. The way Gail puts it: “Every minute that I’m reading another email telling me about your new this or that is a minute I’m not out there talking to somebody that might be interested in you.” Be responsive and engaged with communications with your agent, and otherwise let them do their work. 

[21:47] - Rewriting History

What Gail would do differently from her early days

Despite having few regrets from the early stage of her career, Gail does admire those who invested in good people early in their career. There’s something to be said for the wisdom of investing in good people, paying them what they’re worth, and keeping them with you for the long haul.

[26:44] - Gail’s Frankenstein Speaker

Creating the perfect speaker from scratch

What traits would Gail include in the perfect speaker? Responsiveness, which fuels the speaker-bureau relationship. Clear on content, because your crowds and your clients need to know what you’re about. Humble & generous, because those are the people who create truly lasting and meaningful careers.

[34:16] -  Chasing Goosebumps

How to create moments of true inspiration onstage

Gail leaves us with a powerful message about what speaking is all about. “I look down and I have goosebumps. Why is that? Because she delivers her message with such poignancy and the words are just the perfect words.” Remember that a speaker is not only the facts they can share, but the inspiration and moments of joy they can create onstage. Those are the moments that inspire people to transform their lives.


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Brought to you by eSpeakers, hear from the world’s top thought leaders and experts, sharing tipping point moments, strategies, and approaches that led to their speaking career success. Throughout each episode, host Josh Linkner, #1 Innovation keynote speaker in the world, deconstructs guests’ Mic Drop moments and provides tactical tools and takeaways that can be applied to any speaking business, no matter it’s starting point. You'll enjoy hearing from some of the top keynote speakers in the industry including: Ryan Estis, Alison Levine, Peter Sheahan, Seth Mattison, Cassandra Worthy, and many more. Mic Drop is produced and presented by eSpeakers; sponsored by ImpactEleven.

Learn more at: MicDropPodcast.com


Josh Linkner is a Creative Troublemaker. He believes passionately that all human beings have incredible creative capacity, and he’s on a mission to unlock inventive thinking and creative problem solving to help leaders, individuals, and communities soar. 

Josh has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million and is the author of four books including the New York Times Bestsellers, Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention. He has invested in and/or mentored over 100 startups and is the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners.

Today, Josh serves as Chairman and Co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, training, and consulting firm. He has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is the recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award. 

Josh is also a passionate Detroiter, the father of four, is a professional-level jazz guitarist, and has a slightly odd obsession with greasy pizza. 

Learn more about Josh: JoshLinkner.com


When the perfect speaker is in front of the right audience, a kind of magic happens where organizations and individuals improve in substantial, long-term ways. eSpeakers exists to make this happen more often. 

eSpeakers is where the speaking industry does business on the web. Speakers, speaker managers, associations, and bureaus use our tools to organize, promote and grow successful businesses. Event organizers think of eSpeakers first when they want to hire speakers for their meetings or events.

The eSpeakers Marketplace technology lets us and our partner directories help meeting professionals all over the world connect directly with speakers for great engagements. 

Thousands of successful speakers, trainers, and coaches use eSpeakers to build their businesses and manage their calendars. Thousands of event organizers use our directories every day to find and hire speakers. Our tools are built for speakers, by speakers, to do things that only purpose-built systems can.

Learn more at: eSpeakers.com


Make a bigger impact, faster. ImpactEleven is a speaker training, development and accelerator community, working to transform individual lives and the world around us so that each of us can rise to reach our full potential on the speaking platform.

Learn more at: ImpactEleven.com


In Detroit, history was made when Barry Gordy opened Motown Records back in 1960. More than just discovering great talent, Gordy built a systematic approach to launching superstars. His rigorous processes, technology, and development methods were the secret sauce behind legendary acts such as The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

As a nod to the past, Detroit Podcast Studios leverages modern versions of Motown’s processes to launch today’s most compelling podcasts. What Motown was to musical artists, Detroit Podcast Studios is to podcast artists today. With over 75 combined years of experience in content development, audio production, music scoring, storytelling, and digital marketing, Detroit Podcast Studios provides full-service development, training, and production capabilities to take podcasts from messy ideas to finely tuned hits. 

Here’s to making (podcast) history together.

Learn more at: DetroitPodcastStudios.com