Five Things You Need to Do to Become a Professional Speaker

Whether you’re a novice or you’ve dabbed a bit in the speaking arena, you, too, can become an in-demand professional speaker. There are several things you should do to create the interest and the engagements that will lead to a successful speaking career. Let’s review the five most important ones.
1.         Write a book. Yes, write a book. Authoring a book makes you an authority (that’s where the word ‘author’ comes from!). A book immediately makes you an expert in your industry or field. Are you a relationship coach or a fitness guru? Having a book with your name and picture on the cover will immediately create interest in you and your message and will add credibility to the fact that you are the go-to source in your field. It gives you an advantage over someone who hasn’t authored a book.
2.         Create a speaker’s sheet. A speaker’s sheet is a one or two-page introduction to you. It reveals who you are, as well as your expertise and relevant experience and background. Make it professional, but keep it as brief and to the point as possible, while injecting some of your unique personality into it to give the reader a flavor of your style. Include a high-resolution photograph and a brief synopsis of the topics you are available to speak about.
3.         Join Toastmasters. The best speakers are those who are comfortable speaking in front of groups. Join Toastmasters or other local organizations that help you refine your speaking skills and gain that level of comfort and ease in front of an audience. You’ll also learn how to really connect with your audience, a trait great speakers have perfected. Practice makes perfect, and this is a fantastic way to get that experience and to network with others in the speaking industry.
4.         Start speaking! Start small. Volunteer to speak at local libraries and rotary clubs. Don’t overlook the possibility of being a guest speaker for a parents’ group, an advisory group, or even a writer’s association. There are many clubs and organizations in every community that are looking for valuable content for their audience. Send them a letter, along with your speaker’s sheet, and let them know that you’re available for their next monthly meeting. This builds up your speaking experience, as well as your resume. It also increases your exposure within your community. Before long, organizations will begin contacting you as the go-to expert in your field.
5.         Take it on the road. Now that you have a book in hand and you’ve established yourself as a valuable speaker in the community and your local media, take your show on the road. Attend relevant seminars and workshops in your industry and network with the attendees and the hosts. These are the people who will ultimately be looking for a speaker in your industry in the future. Promote yourself through professional speaking sites and organizations. Make sure you include positive feedback and testimonials you’ve received in the past. With your expertise, experience, promotional material (speaker’s sheet), and your book, you’ve got everything to offer the next time someone is looking for the perfect speaker for their next event.

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