7 Tips for Becoming a Professional Speaker
You have a great message to share. So you decide to become a professional speaker.
If you’re like many people I’ve talked to lately, you might ask, “How do I become a professional/motivator speaker?”
I define professional speaker as someone who makes money from speaking, practices a lot, and commits to share stories, lessons and strategies that allow audiences to live better. You’re in it for your audience, not yourself.
I believe everyone has a story to tell and that everyone has a right to tell their story. In fact, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years is that silence is a disservice to others. Sharing experiences provides hope, healing and inspiration to others.
If you decide you want to become a professional speaker, below are a few tips I heard when I first started. These certainly aren’t the final word, but they will get you started.
Join Toastmasters. Toastmasters provides a supportive space to practice your skills and content. Go, join, now.
Develop your message. What is the story you want to tell and will anyone else care? The key is to develop a story that others will care about. (Note: Toastmasters is a great place to test your material!)
Identify your audience. Now that you know the message, who will best relate to your story? Corporate audiences? Students? Women? A combination? This will help your marketing and speech content development efforts.
Practice speaking. You might have a great message, but if you’re not an effective speaker, your message won’t sink in. Practice at home, practice with friends or colleagues, or join Toastmasters (really, you think I wasn’t going to sneak that in?)
Tell People You’re a Speaker. When I decided I wanted to speak professionally I asked, “How?” I was told, “Tell people you speak.” It sounds so simple and perhaps impossible, especially if you’ve never addressed a group. Guess what? It worked.
Network. Network not with the intention of getting a gig but of developing relationships. You never know who knows who. Be helpful first, stay in touch, follow up, stay top of mind.
Create marketing materials. Know how much you want to make and the type of speaking program you offer. Next, share that information through a blog, website and other marketing materials. You can start a blog for free at wordpress.com. You might also want to buy a domain name (your name, perhaps) for when you’re ready to create a more formal website in the future.
Your turn: What tips do you have for someone getting started as a speaker? What tips were shared with you when you started?