Before one strives for professionalism, he or she must have been familiar and confident with the basics of speaking itself. Just as you can’t bake a three-tiered cake without the knowledge of a one-layered cake, same way professionalism works. Therefore, I believe whoever is reading this now already has a ground knowledge on how to be a speaker, and not just a speaker but a good and diligent one.
The word professionalism comes with class, uniqueness, dignity. There always come a time when a speaker strives to be better, strives for professionalism. At that point, he or she wants to become a professional speaker. It might seem complicated, but on the contrary, with the right strategies, it becomes easier to start making your money through professional speaking at events.
However, first, there are things you must put in place. Before you can become a professional speaker, you first have to be an expert at speaking. You must be confident about what you are offering. Know the field you are good at and the audience you are targeting. Are you better at addressing businesspeople, youths, Graduates, couples, salespeople and other experts, or are you versatile in all areas? To become a professional speaker, you must be confident in your field.
The first thing event planners look for in a speaker before hiring is value. Is your work worth it? Do you really know what you are doing? As a professional speaker, your work must speak value. Value brings recommendations and recommendations bring higher pay. Moreover, how do to intend to create value in your work? I will be explaining succinctly on how you achieve this.
10 Things You should do to become a Professional Speaker
With that taken care of and noted, the next step is spreading your roots. The following are ways in which you can work towards becoming a professional speaker:
- (1) Creating written contents will help in preparing you for events and gigs. Chris Widener said he wrote 450 articles and gave them out for free and this was before he became a professional speaker.
(2) Keep writing contents; now, I am not saying you should give it out for free, that is your personal choice. However, keep writing, and one day, you will definitely need it one way or the other.
However, if you are to become a professional speaker, waiting for events to come to you is a sore way to become a professional speaker. Get up, and (3) start developing your own brand. Get your message out there by uploading your social media networks, the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, and LinkedIn are perfect mediums in which you can make yourself known. Treat your profile as you would any other business, open a webpage, list out your services in which speaking will be included.
The (4) offering of training sessions to clients is another way in which you can be viewed as a professional. Upload this on your websites, define your brand, and look the part. Keep up with the current trend in the industries to develop your brand. Your network will share its needs, which will open doors to gigs. Include video content to your offerings. Most times, people will want to see and hear your work, let your videos speak for it.
(5) Show your skills through your videos, open a YouTube account where a series of your videos will be showcased. Being recognized as a trending expert helps you become a sought-after professional speaker. Create videos of yourself providing instructions, answering questions, and speaking to your audience. Also, ascertain that the quality of your videos is attractive. Which means you have to make use of a good camera which will attract the audience to view your videos and see your skills.
A professional speaker can also (6) hire a branding coach who will be able to scrutinize his or her work to tell why he or she will be accepted for speaking gigs. Once this is established he or she can then become a sought-after speaker. As a thoughtful professional speaker, this should be followed up by publishing your written articles, videos, and works on social media sites and probably on LinkedIn, which deals more on professionalism. Discovering your brand and bringing it out is the foundation.
One of the challenges a speaker faces, when he wants to become a professional speaker, is getting an audience who are ready to hear your message, especially if you are a speaker who specializes in a specific field. To become a professional speaker, you should learn to (7) target relevant industries and trade associations be it through social media tags, or going to them with your proposals. It also has to be members and associations who will benefit from your skills.
It is a win-win situation, their business provides value, the members gain inspiration, and there is a considerable chance that If your work was carried out with all professionalism, you could get booked for months an recommended to other people and associations. The more recommended you are, the more sought after you become.
Another factor a professional speaker has to do is (8) consider the billing price. Of course, when you are being called for gigs, you all have to discuss prices. As easy as it seems, this is a sensitive part that could either affect more gigs coming in negatively or positively. As a professional speaker, you are to research on other competitors, check their price rates, so you don’t end up chasing away your clients with overbilling. Also, make sure you don’t under bill them as most people could see you as cheap, and that could undermine the value you have as a professional speaker. Just stay in between, not too low or too high.
The job of a professional speaker involves going to places, and (9) traveling to different places to perform. This could also be another form of challenge for a professional speaker as it involves many expenses, especially one that involves traveling to speak live and even lodging temporarily. This expenses can both be absorbed by either the speaker himself or the businesses that invited him or her over.
Since the organizers can also complain about overall travel and accommodation costs, web-based seminars are recommended for professional speakers in some cases. A way of dealing with that, reducing the costs and still serving the audience is (10) presenting your topic through a Webinar for interested customers. They can participate remotely, and everyone can save themselves from spending extra cash.
BONUS: 5 Pieces of Advice for you on your way to become a professional speaker
1. Start Telling people that you are a professional speaker
The very first step towards becoming a professional speaker is telling people. I remember when I went about telling anyone I met at events that I wanted to be a speaker. I was laughed at by some, but I never relented, and in the long run, someone remembered me. You can also do likewise, look around for people you feel you can tell and tell someone today!
A big advantage of spreading the word about the fact that you became or want to become a professional speaker is that it puts pressure on yourself to keep honing your skills to be up to the task when one or more of the people whom you spoke to about it connects you to a speaking gig opportunity.
2. Work on the way you Talk – Find Your style
As a Professional speaker, you have to work on the way you talk. Your speech is your selling point, and so is the manner, or style in which you conduct it. Just think about Les Brown’s energetic and inspirational speeches, and how people react to his speeches.
Beware of trying to copy famous speakers’ style, if you study them long enough, you can easily understand why their speeches are so crowded, and people spend a high fee to get them on stage. They are natural and have been polishing their speaking skills day in and day out, turning them into the top paying professionals in their field. Find that ‘rhythm’ that ‘style’ that matches your personality, your message, your passion, and add Value to people’s lives, if you can do that, then the sky is the limit for you.
3. Build Experience on your way to become a professional speaker
When trying to grow your experience as a speaker, you should humble yourself and look for available slots for presenters and lecturers on nearby speaking event places; this could be a great start in helping you boost your confidence on stage and speaking well. If no speaking gigs are available, then it could be a good idea to start by Mceeing events.
You can also take on small speaking roles (even if there’s no pay) at events you already attended, have those sessions recorded which you can watch later and correct mistakes. Get in touch with the event coordinators regularly for more gigs to come.
4. Be humble and Learn from your Mistakes – Nobody is Perfect
Another step towards becoming a professional speaker is also learning from your mistakes. Have your performance recorded in order to correct issues that you feel would irritate or displease the audience, points in which you think you didn’t explain well could be written down and pointed out to be averted next time.
5. Make sure you know how to Start your Speech with a Bang!
For a professional speaker, your introduction is critical; it shows you know what you are doing, that is the point in which you can captivate your audience. Hence, if you aren’t so great with introductions, you can write and memorize a couple of great introductory lines that could help you. There are several ways you can start your speech and mesmerize the audience (check out these awesome tips on how to start your speech with a bang).
You also have to sound natural when speaking and not speak like you spend the previous night memorizing it, that would make your audience lose interest. The more natural you sound, the more you gain the trust of your audience.
It isn’t mandatory, but, effectively, you make the audience participate once in a while to draw their interest further in your speaking. As a professional speaker, you need to create slides and visuals to help boost your work’s value. Sometimes visuals help you explain less and get to your audience quicker.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
Amy Morin. How to Become a Motivational Speaker. https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/how-to-become-a-successful-motivational-speaker.html . Accessed on 07/07/2019.
Abdullahi Muhammed. How to become a Professional Speaker in 7 easy steps. https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2018/05/10/how-to-become-a-professional-speaker-in-7-easy-steps/#51fea9a17211 . Accessed on 07/07/2019.
JackanField. How to become a Professional Speaker and Trainer. https://www.jackcanfield.com/blog/how-to-become-professional-speaker-trainer/ . Accessed on 07/07/2019.
Jessica Ekstrom. 10 Ways to become a paid speaker. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248821 . Accessed on 07/07/2019.