The Business of Speaking 'Everyone Has Something to Share
I receive inquiry calls everyday from people who have a story to tell, inspiration to spread, and lessons to teach. In our knowledge hungry society, there are many opportunities for individuals to do just that. How does one begin a career as a speaker?
Fourteen months ago, I decided I wanted to go back to working from home and answered an ad for a Speaker Coordinator. I now work with dozens of motivational speakers, authors, and musicians to assist them in finding speaking engagements as well as promoting their message and products through the media. Through trial and error I have learned what it takes not only to promote great speakers, but also how to prepare aspiring new speakers for the trade.
My client, Executive Coach and Author, Dr. Russell Beale (www.russcoaches.com), states the beginning steps perfectly: "Number one, answer the question 'What do you speak on?'; number two, identify who you want to speak to; and number three, identify your comfort zone and honor it". Until you discover the above, you can't go any further nor can someone like myself promote you. Once you know what you are going to speak about and have a clear message and target audience, get it on paper. This will be your first step in creating a "speaker one-sheet".
A "speaker one-sheet" consists of your biography and presentation descriptions. Have friends and colleagues read it over. Ask them.'Would you hire me to speak for your group?" and "Are you clear on what my speaking topics are?"
Once your one-sheet is perfected, have your presentations set and ready to be offered to the public. My favorite advice on this subject came from "The Extreme Abundance Coach", Jeanna Gabellini (www.masterpeacecoaching.com). Jeanna says "not to try to be 'professional' - be TOTALLY authentic. That included my being eccentric and quirky. Now I have full permission to be me and I'm more relaxed as well as more engaging and powerful with my audience." No one is going to take you or your message seriously if you are not authentic. Just be you! If you can't be just you, then you should not be up there speaking. Your audience will not be fooled. And on that same note' Astrologer, Janet Bowman Johnson (www.astro-insights.com), suggests "One of the most important lessons of my speaking career came through something called "Speaking Circles". Mr. Lee Glickstein, founder of Speaking Circles, has found a wondrous way of helping speakers find their own unique "presence" on stage. He teaches one how to be authentic as a speaker. This experience is so powerful it makes all the difference between truly memorable speakers and those that are technically good, but lacking that special something."
The next step is perfectly stated by Motivational Speaker / Founder of People Skills International, Ida Greene, Ph.D., (800-767-LOVE) Ida says "create a plan of action on how you will develop and promote yourself as a speaker and stick to the plan. Stay focused on developing your speaking skills and yourself. When you do not have a paid speaking engagement, it seems like everyone is booked. Everyone and every business run in cycles of low to high and high to low. If you persist, you will eventually win at anything." Whether you have someone like myself assist you with this step or your have a go at it yourself, create an intention for this new profession and know that with persistence, a positive attitude, and faith in the universe, you will succeed.
The two most effective ways I have found to land speaking engagements are through networking and the web. My clients who do the most networking have the jam-packed speaking schedules that others dream of. Attend local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and Lions Club meetings. After you attend a few of these meetings, present your one-sheet to the meeting coordinator. There are many opportunities right in your 'own backyard'. These organizations will usually not pay any big speaking fees'usually these engagements do not pay at all. One of the most important things I have learned is not to be greedy, especially if you are just starting out. More than likely the reason you wanted to get out and speak in the first place was to inspire, not profit. If you do keep that important fact in mind, paid engagements will follow. The internet is a vast and infinite source of leads. It's as easy as doing a search on your target audience and contacting organizations you feel could benefit from your expertise. There are also websites that contain complete listings of conferences throughout the world on any and every subject. Spend some time doing the research and make the calls.
Most importantly, promote yourself. Public Relations Master Strategist, Jill Lublin (www.promisingpromotion.com), says it perfectly "it's not who you know, it's who knows you". Jill's advice for an upcoming speaker is "to create the ooh-aah syndrome. You have to find ways to express who you are with an expertise and unusual way to say who you are. The point is to get your name in as many places as possible - people listings in your local business journal, articles written by and about you, your college alumni, your local chamber of commerce - the possibilities are endless."
In conclusion, author of the Top 10 Traits of Silicon Valley Dynamos, Joan Clout-Kruse (www.cloutpower.com), states, "You can read all the good books in the world on public speaking, and I have. You can attend workshops by all the great leaders in the speaking field, and I have. Yet, everything you learned means nothing until you actually get out there and do it. That is the real learning experience." We learn the most by doing, by just getting out there and taking the chance. So if you feel you have something to say that will contribute to the lives of others, just get out there and share your message with the world.
About the Author
Jennifer Geronimo is a Speaker Coordinator / Public Relations Contractor located in Northern California. Her clients include musicians, authors, and motivational speakers throughout the United States. She works with clients she feels inspire others, which is why she has named her business, Life Enlightenment. You can contact Jennifer at (415) 444-0401 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.