How to Become a Professional Speaker
If you have a passion for oratory and want to motivate people to create change and fulfil their potential, you would do well to consider a career as a public speaker. Professional speakers get to spend their days inspiring people to follow their passion, whether that be returning to school, starting a new business, or moving to a far-flung country. In essence, professional speakers help people become what they’ve always wanted to be.
Here are five tips to get you started.
Identify Your Focus
The most important step you need to take is to decide what you want to speak about! This should be a topic that you care about deeply, have a long interest in and on which you are an expert.
Being an expert doesn’t mean you have to have a PhD in the subject – though that won’t hurt! It might also be the case that you’ve learned a lot from a transformational experience in your life. Or it could be a philosophy or ideology you’ve studied deeply or even a skill you’ve developed over the years. The main thing is that you can demonstrate your expertise – you want your audience to trust you.
Find Your Audience
A professional speaker doesn’t just give talks to empty rooms. If you want to earn a living speaking publically, you need to identify your target audience. Who is interested in hearing what you have to say? Where do they live? What kinds of events are they likely to attend? And how are will they learn about your events?
Plan and Promote Your First Event
Things move quickly. You don’t have to plan for years and years before you can start public speaking – in fact, the sooner you can get started the better. Don’t wait for someone to ask you to speak at their event. Find a space, whether it’s a room in a college, a function hall or even a church; book the area; prepare your presentation and get ready for your first public speaking engagement! You won’t get paid for it, but it’s a great way to move on to the next step.
Marketing is arguably as important as the content of your talks. What is the point of a great speech if you’re addressing an empty room? Set up a website for your business and write a blog about your topic. Get your social media channels up and running. You may also want to do face-to-face and local outreach for each particular event. The point is you want people to be able to find you and be interested in what you have to say.
Now Earn Some Money!
Some experts say you need to speak five hundred times before you will get paid for public speaking; others say it’s only about one hundred. Whatever the number is, eventually you will feel confident enough to begin offering your talks to paying clients. When that day arrives, decide on your market value and don’t be afraid to ask for your worth.
And that’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve started your career as a professional public speaker.