There is no question that speaking from the stage is a great way to market your business. It has been an essential part of how I have attracted clients to my since 2005 and one of the ways I have built my personal visibility and reputation.
Each and every time I speak I review how I performed and look for how to further enhance my presentation. I have also invested in my skills as a speaker – in fact you could say that my Mum was the first to invest in me when she enrolled me for dance and dramea lessons at the age of 5. The experience I received in learning to manage my presence on stage started there – but speaking professionally is very different.
Over the years I have presented to groups and organisations across the globe from the stage, through webinars and Google Hangouts but the transition from speaking at events and inside the enterprise as an executive leader is very different to when you are paid to speak professionally.
Each time I attend a conference I also take note not only of the content other speakers share, but I observe and analyse what they do to engage their audience.
These ideas I use in my own practice to refine my personal style and also when I teach my own clients about their presence in the media, through webinars, podcasts, live streaming event and speaking and presenting from stage – some of my clients and people I have worked with over the years have included are already authorties on topics including marketing, public speaking and personal branding.
If you are looking to get started in developing your career as a professional speaker here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Try out Toastmasters – A good resource for those people nervous about public speaking is to attend your local Toastmasters – you might not realise they are located near you, for example the Dublin Toastmasters was established over 55 years ago
2. Attend a training programme – Check out the opportunity to attend a public training programme to help you build your confidence in public speaking from where you can then transition to develop a career as a professional speaker. For example if you are in Dublin you might want to check out the programmes delivered by Public Speaking Ireland (I have not personally attended their workshops)
3. Invest in reading books, listening to podcasts and watch webinars and live streaming events – When I decided to become a professional speaker there were few others taking this approach so I invested initially in my personal development through by own self directed learning and virtual programmes. Increasingly there are new resources including this book published by one of my clients recently – you can read my review here.
4. Look for events hosted by the National Speakers Association or the Professional Speakers Association – If you are in the US or the UK there are some great chapters of the NSA and PSA. Over the years I have attended events hosted by the Professional Speakers Association in Ireland but unfortunately the quality of the guest speakers and the lack of experience and ambition of attendees and members meant their events did not meet my professional needs. However it is good to see that they have reinvigorated their programme and they have interesting speakers including some from the UK and US attending their next meeting in May. I have not had much success finding out about forthcoming events by subscribing on their website but they do have a Facebook Page where they post upcoming events so it is worth checking that out.
5. Advance your skills with private training and mentoring – If you are ready to truly invest in using professional speaking to help you attract more business, then I highly recommend finding a mentor – that is what I have done since 2005 and it is also a service I provide my clients. With the easy of access of podcasting, webinars and live streaming through Google Hangouts making it easy to ‘be the media’. But unfortunately many people are focusing on the technology not their personal presence, the quality and relevance of their content and visual presentation.
Delivering a training programme is very different from speaking from the stage, which in turn is different to speaking using new emerging virtual media. But what ever the platform, as a professional speaker it is essential you deliver value and express your personal brand to differentiate yourself from others in your industry if you want to use your speaking platform to accelerate your business success.
If you do decide to invest in working with someone on a one to one basis to develop your skills as a professional speaker and express your personal brand, I recommend you make sure that you work with someone who has experience of using all these platforms to support their clients if you truly want to be successful as a professional speaker today. Would you trust a Doctor who has not practiced medicine? Why then trust a professional speaking coach or trainer who has no significant track record of speaking professionally themselves!
If you enjoyed this article please do share it with your network – just Click To Tweet.