Being a professional speaker might just be the coolest job on earth!
For many it’s not a job, it’s a calling. Sounds weird, yet it’s true for many.
Often as the opening keynote speaker at corporate or association events, I am approached after by audience members wanting a career as a speaker (love that). If I have done my job well, I have made it look super easy.
If you are interested in being a professional speaker here’s several ideas to help you and you might also like to watch a video we created for you with even more details.
Join National Speakers Association (NSA) – this professional body made up of experts who speak, has local chapters, free resources, international affiliations and annual conferences. Find out more on this website.
Download the Voices of Experience App (VOE) – go back and listen to the 2013 editions, the year chaired by Theo Androus, that was my favorite year filled with business oriented interviews with a diverse range of guests.
Record yourself – on your iPhone and also on video. Always record video footage you might be able to use later for a speaker show reel (sometimes called a sizzle reel, is a compilation of video footage showing you and your audience interactions, and showcasing your expertise). Get audience shots, audience testimonials, a variety of stages, close ups and long distance shots to provide variety to your show reel.
Study masters – I have been blessed to be mentored by the greats that include Matt Church, Mark Sanborn, Connie Podesta, Scott McKain, Mark Scharenbroich, Michael Port, Lou Heckler… the list is long. Check out each one of these brilliant speakers, they truly are exceptional at what they do.
Read well – highly recommended books include Steal the Show (I also love the podcast by the same name) and also Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, Thought Leadership and also Sell Your Thoughts by Matt Church, Million Dollar Consulting and also Value Based Fees by Alan Weiss. The authors are thought leaders in their fields and these are my fave books for this profession.
Read this article on what to QUIT if you want to be a great speaker by Connie Podesta – it’s pure genius.
Check out the great videos by Scott McKain for people wanting to enter the speaking industry.
Listen intently to others and then trust your gut – you will hear so much advice, wisdom and expertise from other professional speakers, all shared with the best of intentions for you. Make sure you filter it all and determine what is best for you.
Don’t buy everything – take 24 hours to decide before buying a book, a course, webinar… whatever it is. One of my many mistakes early in my career was wasting many dollars and hours on anything that was recommended to me, don’t do it. Save your money. Do your due diligence.
Invest in yourself – this profession is easy to get into … and hard to stay in. Invest time and dollars to seek out the best coaches, the best resources and the best use of your time. Remember start with the free resources, watch videos, study diligently and then determine where you can best direct your investment and attention.
So where do you start?
Start where you are. Join a local meeting of NSA, download the free apps, read the magazines, buy the books, and watch other speakers – this is one of the most incredible industries you will ever be part of.
Speakers are all about service and some of the most generous, committed people I have met in this industry, and I hope that’s your experience too.
Good luck on your speaking journey.