This blog post is inspired by a question I received from Mike, thank you Mike!
Mike writes, “Bottom line: I’m a newbie and still honing my craft and trying to figure out how to make a go of this. I’ve been speaking, as an amateur, for a long time but have decided to put more effort into this. I belong to the local Toastmasters, just for the practice, and have been attending National Speakers Association meetings in NY and NJ as a paying non-member. I’m looking for guidance and direction.”
“I belong to the local Toastmasters, just for the practice, and have been attending National Speakers Association meetings in NY and NJ as a paying non-member. I’m looking for guidance and direction.”
The practice with Toastmasters, with the NSA, these are terrific!
That’s helping to take care of your speaking skills and develop comfort getting in front of a crowd.
Now you need to concentrate on what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for.
You can’t skip from learning how to speak to being paid to speak without some homework between.
I’m going to assume that you would have mentioned your specialty area and target if you already had the answer to that.
I always stress being very specialized and fine-tuning your offerings.
I do not recommend being a “general” speaker and throwing yourself to the mercy of the world.
In other words, the secret to speaking success is to be a very specialized speaker with a tight offering of presentations based around related topics you have perfected, all of which appeal to a single very specific type of audience.
Once you have a specialized area, it’s time to build your brand and a strong platform around your specialization and expertise in the area.
Become an authority on the topic through being a guest on podcasts, writing guest blog posts, etc.
Use this as an opportunity to build a following and email list, and then start reaching out to your target market with information of interest to them and specific offerings.
This will make it much easier to find groups who can hire you, and help you build relationships with others who serve the same target audience.
Relationship building is huge in any business so make it a top priority daily.
Take it in baby steps, and don’t try to skip any steps. If you skip steps, you will be leaving money on the table.
Here’s a recap of the steps I usually tell to newbies:
- Focus on who you want to serve or are meant to serve.
- Create 1-2 tightly related topics as your signature topics and what you will become known for.
- Build your speaker platform: a speaker website (with a speaker onesheet), additional marketing material. Also prepare to capture an email list at this point.
- Write articles, be a guest on podcast and blogs, radio, TV, publications, write a book or e-book, create programs and courses and so forth to help build your brand, platform, and credibility. This will also give you more visibility.
- Grow a strong following on all your social media platforms, network and connect with people. This is a daily practice of building and maintaining your network.
- Keep your brand strong and always be consistent, this builds integrity and credibility.
- Continue to educate yourself as much as possible with organizations and programs or courses and stay up-to-date with technology and all the changes we face every year, good and bad. Tweak your presentations accordingly, with new anecdotes, facts, stories or up-to-date information.
Most important be yourself; be genuine because this will draw the people you are meant to serve to you!
Remember: if you have an important message for the right audience, they don’t care whether you’re nervous, or if you’re not as polished as the next person (so long as you’re not putting them to sleep).
However, the most polished and comfortable presenter in front of the wrong audience with the wrong message leaves everyone unhappy.
Do you feel: lost, going in circles, spending hard-earned dollars and only ending back up at square one, disheartened, confused as to where to start? Wendi can, and will, help you
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