A career as a professional speaker can be fun and rewarding. You get to travel, meet interesting people, and share your opinions and ideas with the world. Of course, there are preliminary steps you must take before anyone is going to pay you to give a presentation. As with any career goal, you need to put in a considerable amount of time and effort to make your dream a reality. Here are some tips to help you start your journey towards becoming a professional public speaker.
Decide on a Niche Topic
The first step is to identify a narrow topic of expertise. Just like any other business, you need to create a brand. The difference is that the product and service are both you. Your first instinct may be to select a broad topic so you can reach the most people. However, honing in on a niche is actually a more effective approach. For example, if you decide you want to speak about sales tactics on a professional level, it’s going to be hard to stand out from the competition. If you focus on sales techniques for small retail businesses, you’re going to find that booking speaking engagements is much easier.
Now that you’ve decided on a topic, it’s time to write your talk. While you don’t want to write your presentation, memorize it, and recite it word-for-word, you do want to have a general outline to follow. You may want to split your talk into sections to make it easier to maintain your train of thought on stage. You can also memorize key words, phrases, facts, and anecdotes that you can pepper into the talk.
Rehearse Your Talk
Once you have a solid idea for your talk, it’s time to bring it to life. Use a smartphone or video camera to record your rehearsals. Go back and watch the footage after, and take notes. You may find that you need to improve your body language, cut filler, or make other changes. When you’re feeling confident with your presentation, you can try performing in front of friends and family members. You may also want to try giving a presentation to a small audience for free, just to get your feet wet. Every single speaking engagement is a chance to learn, improve, and become a stronger public speaker.
Create Promotional Materials
You have a solid presentation ready to go; now you need to market yourself. In order to land paying gigs, you need to prove that you’re an expert and that you provide value to the audience. One of the most important tools in your kit is a professional website. Your website should include your mission statement, past performances, high-quality photos, and, ideally, videos of you speaking about your topic. You may want to look into search engine optimization so that people see results when they search for your name online. Create social media accounts, and update them regularly with high-quality, relevant content. For example, a motivational speaker could post daily motivational quotes or inspiring videos encouraging people to follow their passions.
Contact Relevant Organizations
The last step is to reach out to relevant organizations that would be interested in what you have to say. If you’re giving a presentation on sales techniques for small retail businesses, you could contact small retail businesses in the area. As a novice, don’t expect too much as far as compensation. Once you gain a larger following, you can request higher pay. At first, do it for the experience and exposure. Keep at it, and as with any skill, improvement comes naturally. Becoming a public speaker requires an incredible amount of drive, determination, and perseverance, and rejection comes with the territory. Maintain a positive attitude and keep working at it to eventually find your voice and audience.