I have been asked how I got started with my “public speaking career” a few times in the past few weeks so I thought I would share some insights here.
I don’t see myself as a professional speaker. I see speaking as another opportunity to promote my expertise and increase my visibility in a highly competititve market.
Speaking is a very powerful way of promoting your business. Its one of the 7 steps outlines in my book How to become an expert in 7 simple steps: Build a business around what you already know and get highly paid for it,
so I highly recommend speaking as a way of promoting you and your business.
A good well-executed speaking opportunity can lead to more sales and future bookings without the extra marketing and advertising expense. Speaking is so powerful that, you can get paid to promote your expertise and that for me makes it a no-brainer decision.
Speaking can be used to sell both products and services. Just watch the tele-shopping tv channels to get some ideas on what you can do if you sell products. Or better still watch Steve Jobs’ Apple product launches.
I won’t go back to the very beginning because I wrote about how I got started in a blog post I wrote for the wonderful Ian Brodie on How I gained instant credibility and enhanced my visibility whilst gaining new clients. [Just click on the link and that should take you to the article]
I have done many presentations over the years – from university presentations to working in large corporates and then facilitating training sessions within the organisation. My style just evolved with time but the goal is always to be as much of myself as positive. This is how I stand out.
Training to become a public speaker
I did train as a facilitator and trainer in my last corporate role and since starting to speak “professionally”, I’ve also worked with a presentation coach Amanda Farrell of Present with Confidence whose great tip to start with my personal story has been a great help because it’s one of the things people comment on about my speaking and presentations. It’s really helped with building rapport and connecting with people. Have a look at her site and let her know I sent you her way :).
You can also join toastmasters. I have heard great stories about them but I’ve not used them myself.
How did you start getting booked to speak as a public speaker?
I started off speaking for free. Building on that, I was able to progress to paid speaking when I’ve been approached based on PR features.
Other ways I get bookings are from referrals from people in the audience and clients referrals. You can also join some speaker agencies and contact event organisers – they need speakers and you are a solution to their speaker problems!
As with anything in business, you have to start off being proactive about what you want and do most of the asking initially but as you build and establish your reputation, the tables will turn and you’ll be asked more than you have to ask.
Be prepared and ready for any last minute public speaking opportunities!
Preparation is very important. You have to have at least 1-3 signature talks that you can quickly present if you are asked at the last minute to fill a speaker spot. There are other things you could have in place but these will get you closer to your goal of speaking to promote your business.
Hope you found this article useful. If you did, like and share it using the social media buttons.
If you ever need a speaker to provoke your audience into action – just drop an email to email@example.com :).