5 Cool Ideas for Becoming a Professional Speaker


Professional speaking is a rarified occupation. In what other line of work can one get paid to travel, create your own work schedule, and be treated like royalty at every engagement? It’s like being a rock star without the drugs. Through the years, I’ve helped many people get started in the speaking business. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for becoming a public speaker.

1.  Every gathering is a speaking opportunity.

Start speaking now. Speak everywhere. Speak in your doctor’s waiting room and on crowded elevators. Don’t be weird about this. Just get used to engaging people in a variety of settings. Be the voice that offers a toast, and be the first person to ask questions in a group setting.

2.  Learn to enjoy the willies.

Are you nervous when speaking? Dale Carnegie said that the only way to get used to something is to do it often. After a while, your system will adjust and speaking won’t be so challenging. The willies might never go away, but you can eventually get used to them.

3.  Listen to lots of good speakers.

Attend speeches and analyze them. Pay attention to personal styles and techniques that seem to work. Adapt your own style and content by studying the masters in person and on video. I recommend Zig Ziglar, Terry Sjodin, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Ali Brown, and Roger Dawson. Listen for tone, cadence, volume, pitch, words, and the space between the words.

4.  Live for networking.

Get your name out there in every possible way.  Start a data base. Collect business cards from everyone you meet.  Develop a “hit list” of influential people that you want to know and people that should want to know you.  Do the same with the big shots in the speaking business. Use your database to send periodic messages that offer value-added information about how your speaking skills can serve them.

5.  Three revenue streams are available to you.

Start thinking ahead. Good speakers are good because they have something worth saying.  Most things worth saying are worth writing, and some things worth writing are worth publishing. Speakers who are published authors have more credibility, and in general, get paid more for their speeches. Dottie Walters, author of Triple Your Income, recommends speaking to sell your writing and writing to sell your speaking. She also suggests that you use your speaking and writing to sell your consulting services.