How to Launch Your Public Speaking Career

Many businesspeople and entrepreneurs accrue a wealth of knowledge throughout the course of their careers. For this reason, people who have been successful in business begin to get the itch to spread their expertise and knowledge to other people through a public speaking career.

How to Launch Your Public Speaking Career

While having a great knowledge base is definitely a good place to start, there is indeed a lot more to public speaking engagements than just knowing your subject matter. Individuals need to have a personable and engaging speaking style, in addition to knowing how to market and sell their speaking engagements.

CEOs and prominent executives, such as CSX Executive and railroad industry leader Clarence Gooden, make phenomenal side income as public speakers. But it’s important to remember that it’s a learned skill like any other.

Even if you have no experience commanding a stage, you can enter the world of public speaking. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you’re beginning your career as a motivational speaker.

Do Your Research and Your Homework

Talking in front of an audience seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world. Get on stage, crack a few jokes, discuss your material and then take your bow. While it sounds simple in theory, if you ask any stand-up comedian, actor or stage performer, they’ll tell you that there is a great deal more that goes into it than that.

One of the best ways to get started is by watching as many online clips as possible of motivational and public speakers. TedTalks offers videos of excellent speakers on almost any topic. Many start their public speaking career with just one speaking opportunity.

Find individuals who discuss similar material to what you plan on presenting onstage. Your goal isn’t to end up “ripping them off,” but rather to get a sense of how to time your material, what inflection to use, and how to structure your speech. One of the best ways to get better at anything is to study those who are excelling in said field.

Begin Writing Down Your Material

You might have a lot of great ideas floating around in your head, but they won’t be of much use to you unless you can write them down and organize them. A speech doesn’t have all that different of a flow than a written article. Both need logical introductions, a main idea and a satisfying conclusion. However, unlike a written article, a speech needs to have beats and a natural rhythm that keeps the audience interested. It needs to be lively and compelling.

You don’t have to sit down and just start writing your speech. Instead, just jot down some ideas on index cards. As you write them down, you can start to organize them in a way that has a natural flow. Over time, you’ll be able to write a great speech.

Find Opportunities to “Rehearse”

You won’t be charging hundreds of dollars for your speaking skills right out of the gate. Instead, you’ll need to find opportunities to practice your skills as a speaker. Offer your services at events at your own company. Or contact the leaders of industry and business event planners and inquire about speaking for no appearance fee. Not only is this a great way to hone your skills, but it’s a wonderful way to network and find potential paying clients.

Market Yourself

Once you have a few of these free speeches under your belt, you can begin to market your services. Network as much as possible. If you’re already active in the business world, you may already have connections who can recommend you. Or you can use online event sites to research quarterly and annual events. Eventbrite is the most popular of these.

In addition to using the networking resources that you already have at your disposal, social media is a fantastic way to advertise your services. Create a blog where you post motivational, inspirational and educational posts that are related to your speeches. Many motivational speakers choose to publish books or e-books, as this is a great way of establishing yourself as an authority figure.

Additionally, social media is a great tool for reaching a wider audience and expanding your brand as a motivational speaker. If you can maintain a Twitter and Facebook account and update both frequently with worthwhile and enriching content, you’ll gradually begin to find an audience, which can lead to some wonderful speaking engagements.

Always Improve

Once you’ve found a speech and a specific topic that works for you, don’t think that the work is all done. You should always be improving on your speech content and adding new things as you learn them. Treat your speech content like a living thing that is always growing and evolving, instead of a document that is permanent and set in stone.

Read your new speech out loud, then practice it in front of a mirror from memory. Work on your presentation, then draft volunteers to be your audience. Cut out parts that your audiences don’t seem to respond to and ask them for their feedback for further improvement.

If you have a wealth of business skill and knowledge, a career in public speaking can be an amazing way to get your message out to a large audience. It takes a bit of work, but the more you speak, the better you’ll become. You’ll find that enriching the lives of others and sharing your knowledge with them is incredibly fulfilling.

Written by
Gail Gardner
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