I’m a professional Speaker. I’ve been an NSA (National Speakers Association) Member since 1993. I’m also a consultant. Before that I was CEO of an ad agency.
When people are looking to get into speaking, they get referred to me so they can, “pick my brain.”
Here’s what I tell them:
- This ain’t no picnic. When you see a great platform performance it looks so easy. You just stand up and “let ‘er rip. It’s not that way Bunkie. What you don’t see is the years of preparation to get to the level of expertise needed to really craft winning remarks. What you don’t see is the hours spent rehearsing and the days spent marketing to get those few brief shining moments.
- Go with your passion. Every Successful speaker I know is not only an expert in some area, they are passionate about it. Most have been known to speak on the topic even when they are not being paid. Their zeal comes through in a simple conversation or in a packed auditorium. It is the reason a meeting planner or program chair selects one speaker over another. It is obvious in a video a webinar or a phone call.
- Practice shameless self promotion. This is the hardest for most beginners and even some of the old pros. Until your speaking business (Yes it is a business) reaches a sustainable level you will probably be on your own. You won’t have an office manager to handle booking phone calls. You won’t have a full time marketing person. You will be the manager of sales, PR, Advertising and the Grand Poobah of all promotions. So you have to suck it up and do it yourself. The best advice I can offer is to emulate as much of the form of promotion used by successful speakers as you can. And never be afraid to ask them what works for them now as well as how they did it getting started.
- Maintain your expertise. Each day I check a full array of marketing information resources to see what is new, what is being commented on and what, if anything, is being injected into the conversation from the periphery. I look for hard data—-surveys, analytic summaries, data compilations, analyses, research reports and any non-statistical data cited as “proof of process” or standard practice. Then I step back to see how the new data fits with what I know. If a contrarian approach is warranted, I may blog about it or fit it into a speech.
- Never stop believing. Today a young man (an Army Officer) who wants to be a speaker was looking for advice. He noted that in the military he had been training people from the time he started as a private. He trained people at every rank he held as he rose from the ranks to be selected for Officer Candidate School. I told him his abilities would stand him in good stead as he moved toward a speaking career. In addition, I pointed out that the leadership skills he had developed and demonstrated would give him first hand knowledge and experience he could draw on in speaking about his passion: the impressive capabilities and practical skills that vets have to bring to industry. And I told him to never stop believing in himself, his comrades in arms, and the men and women of the companies and associations he will serve with pride as he has served his country.\
Jerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.
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