How To Become A Professional Speaker

by drjim on November 13, 2018

Tony Robbins is a very successful professional public speaker

Tony Robbins is a very successful professional public speaker
Image Credit: Scott Beale

After you’ve been giving speeches for a while and you understand the importance of public speaking, you may run into someone who tells you that you are really good. In fact, they may say that instead of just speaking for free, you really should go pro. Just like all of those famous professional speakers out there like Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, etc. you could get paid a lot to go to the effort of doing what you are already doing! This brings up a very good question. Just exactly how hard is it to make a living doing the professional speaking thing?

Getting Gigs

If you want to be a professional speaker, then you are going to need to be able to get people to agree to pay you to come and speak. You know how good of a speaker you are, but they don’t and that’s why they may not be calling you. I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of National Speaker’s Association (NSA) meetings and I was surprised that this is the topic that the professional speakers there spend the most time talking about.

The reality of life is that if you want to get booked as a professional speaker you are going to have to submit proposals. A lot of proposals Each of these proposals is going to have a lot of paperwork associated with it and that means that it’s going to end up taking a big chunk of your time. In order to get noticed and invited to apply to speak at an event, you are going to have to write articles for newsletters and magazines, appear on TV, and generally become well known in the circles in which you want to speak.

Professional Speaking Takes Time

Just deciding to become a professional public speaker does not mean that all of sudden the offers to speak are going to come rolling in. Instead, what is going to happen is that you’ll submit a proposal one month, three months later you’ll be informed that you’ve been selected to speak in four months and then after you are done speaking you’ll end up getting paid a month later.

What you are going to have to realize is that it can take several years before you are going to be able to get enough paid speeches that will allow you to generate a decent living. Yes, there are always those stories about professional speakers who go from zero to hero overnight. However, in your case it is much more likely that it’s going to take time before you will be able to develop the momentum that you are going to need in order to turn this into a career.

It’s All About Your Fee

Speaking professionally means that you are going to get people to pay you to come and give a speech. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to determine just exactly how much you are going to be charging for one of your speeches. Something to keep in mind is that that different speeches should have different prices: a keynote is not a general purpose speech is not a training session speech. You are going to need to create multiple fees.

The other thing that you are going to have to realize about your speaking fees is that the people who pay for speakers are always going to be trying to talk you down. You are going to have to be careful what you agree to. The world of paid speeches is actually quite small and if you agree to lower your prices for one event, then everyone else is going to find out and will want the same deal.

A Professional Speech Is A Long Speech

Finally, something that can be a bit too easy to overlook is the fact that a paid professional speech can be a lengthy affair. You are probably not just looking at a single 45 to 60 minute speech. Instead, meeting planners often like to have professional speakers give multiple speeches or run workshops after their speech is over. This allows them to fill their event with speakers and reduces the amount of airfares that they have to pay.

A key question that you are going to have to be able to answer is if you have enough material to support a professional speaking career. Your keynotes will probably consist of you delivering a speech with the help of some PowerPoint slides However, if you are running a workshop then that will probably require you to create questions and answers, perhaps a skit, and some role playing opportunities. You are going to have to get creative and make sure that you can fill the time that you’ve been paid to fill.

What All Of This Means For You

For some of us, not all of us, after we have been speaking for a while we may get bit by the professional speaking bug. What this means is that we are confident in our speaking ability and we’d like to venture out and find out if people who understand the benefits of public speaking would be willing to pay us to come and talk to their organization. While this might represent a great opportunity, we need to make sure that we have the answers to some questions before we do this.

The first thing that we need to make sure that we can do is to get booked to deliver paid speeches. This is going to involve filling out lots and lots of forms. We also have to understand that the time line for giving speeches may be stretched out and not line up with how we’d like things to be going. When you offer to give a professional speech you are going to have to know what your speaking fee is. Be careful because the people who book speakers will be trying to talk you down to a lower fee. The speeches that you’ll be booked to give will turn out to be long speeches and you may be asked to give multiple speeches at one event. Make sure that you have enough content to pull this off!

The good news is that there are a lot of people out there who do make a living as a professional speaker. However, this is not an easy path to take. You will be running a business and you will have a single product that you are trying to sell – yourself! Keep what we’ve discussed in mind and who knows, you could find yourself sharing the stage with Tony Robbins!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you became a professional speaker, do you think that you should focus on one topic to speak about or have multiple topics?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations – you’ve been asked to give a speech! As you sit down to use the importance of public speaking to pull this speech together, you decide that what this audience needs is one of your rousing “I overcame a mountain of obstacles” speech. Who doesn’t like that? They will be impressed with how successful you have been and will listen to your every word. Or will they? In all honesty, this “I’m so great” type of speech is that same speech that we’ve all been hearing for quite some time now. No matter if it is how someone climbed Mount Everest or how they brought a struggling company back from the grave, we’ve all heard it before. What you need is something different, but what?

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How Speakers Can Avoid Plagiarism

by drjim on November 6, 2018

Plagiarism is bad, but how can we avoid it?

Plagiarism is bad, but how can we avoid it?
Image Credit: jobadge

When you are creating a speech, how do you go about coming up with what you want to say? If you are like most of us, you spend some time looking things up, you might consult a book or two, and then you get busy writing your speech. However, this is where things can start to get a bit tricky. When you are writing that speech, are the words that are flowing out of you yours or do they really belong to someone else?

What Is Plagiarism?

So let’s keep this nice and simple. The simplest way to go about defining what plagiarism is would be to say that it is the act of using someone else’s words or ideas as your own and not giving them the proper attribution that they deserve. If this was all that there was, then it would be pretty simple to determine if someone had committed an act of plagiarism while sharing the importance of public speaking. However, it turns out that there is actually a great deal of grey area when it comes to plagiarism. It’s even possible that someone could be committing plagiarism and not even know it!

One of the most important things that we need to realize is that different cultures view plagiarism differently. In fact, today’s modern online plagiarism checkers have been taught to detect up to 10 different unique types of plagiarism. One of the tricky issues that shows up when you start to talk about plagiarism is just exactly who “owns” words. In the Western world, we tend to view the words that we say or write as being a part of our intellectual property and so we own them and others should not use them.

As speakers, we need to take a step back and think about what we are doing when we are creating a new speech. What we’d like to be able to do is to communicate with our audience using our own voice. We’d like to be able to use the skills that we have developed in order to establish a connection with our audience. We’d like to avoid committing plagiarism because if it happens, then all of sudden we are not presenting our true selves to our audience. Instead, we are trying to come across as someone else and that really is not fair to our audience. If we choose to borrow someone else’s material, we’re going to have to make some judgement calls as to just exactly how much of it we are borrowing and if we need to give credit to the person who created it.

How Can Speakers Avoid Plagiarism?

If we can agree that plagiarism in public speaking is a bad thing, then we need to spend some time thinking about how we can prevent ourselves from using other people’s material. Assuming that we are not deliberately trying to copy what someone else has said or written, then we’re facing the challenge that we could make a mistake and use too much of their material inadvertently.

One of the easiest ways to make sure that we are avoiding plagiarism is to create a speech that just contains our own personal stories. If it’s our story, then there is no way that we can be copying from anyone else. The good news is that every audience enjoys it when you tell a good story. The fact that it’s your story will help you to establish a deeper relationship with your audience. If you do choose to include someone else’s work in your speech or in one of your stories, then make sure that when you do you give them credit for their content.

One of the most important things that you can do when you are researching a new speech is to take notes. These notes will serve as the raw material that you use when you start to pick the words that you’ll use to create your speech. However, you can quickly run into problems if you take a look at your notes and you can’t tell if what you’ve written that is your own original content and what is copied from someone else’s material. What you are going to have to do in order to prevent problems from showing up is to become a very good note taker. Make sure that anytime you take notes, you very carefully cite the source that they come from.

There are times that we want to invite someone else’s words to play a role in a speech that we are giving. We do this by quoting them. However, quotes can be tricky beasts – it’s important that we get the quote correct. If you decide to quote someone, don’t try to do it from your memory. Instead, take the time to find an original source for the quote so that you’ll know that you’ve got it correct. Likewise, make sure that you are 100% sure who you should be crediting for this quote. Feel free to use the internet to check any clever phrases that you think that you’ve thought up all by yourself – often it turns out that we’re just thinking about something that someone else has already said!

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we prize originality in all of our speeches. Our audience has shown up to hear us speak and get the benefits of public speaking from us, not someone else. What this means is that we want to be able to deliver to them original content in our speech. This means that we need to be very careful to not plagiarize. Sure, we all know what we need to not do, but it turns out that in the right circumstances we can end up accidently committing plagiarism.

Plagiarism occurs when we use someone else’s words or ideas and we present them as our own. The problem with plagiarism is that there is a lot of gray area when it comes to what is permitted and what is not. Our upbringing, our culture, and how we personally view intellectual property can all play a role in where we draw the line when it comes to plagiarism. If we want to avoid plagiarizing someone, we can include a lot of personal stories in our next speech. These are our stories and will prevent us from using other people’s material. Additionally, when we are researching a speech, we need to take the time to take very careful notes. We wouldn’t want to make a mistake and include someone else’s material thinking that it was our own original content. Finally, if you are going to quote someone, make sure that your double check the quote to make sure that you get it right and that you attribute it to the right person.

Creating a new speech is hard work. As all of those ideas flow though our heads, we need to be very careful to make sure that we are able to determine which ones are unique and which ones are ones that we’ve heard other people say. Plagiarism is a fine line and we want to stay on the correct side of it. Take the time to carefully collect the information for your next speech and make sure you give credit where it is due!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should get someone else to read over your next speech in order to detect any plagiarism?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

After you’ve been giving speeches for a while and you understand the importance of public speaking, you may run into someone who tells you that you are really good. In fact, they may say that instead of just speaking for free, you really should go pro. Just like all of those famous professional speakers out there like Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, etc. you could get paid a lot to go to the effort of doing what you are already doing! This brings up a very good question. Just exactly how hard is it to make a living doing the professional speaking thing?

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What Role Should Slang Play In Your Next Speech?

October 30, 2018

So when you sit down to put a speech together, what language do you use? I’m not talking about English vs Spanish vs French here. Rather, I’m talking about the use of slang. You know what I’m talking about, slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as […]

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The Power Of Adding Poetry To A Speech

October 23, 2018

How did your last speech go? Did your audience hang on your every word? Did they seem eager to hear what you were going to tell them next? Did they seem to be a bit disappointed when your speech was over – they really wanted you to keep on talking? If you are like most […]

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Problems With Modern Speeches

October 16, 2018

When we talk about giving speeches, we spend a lot of our time talking about how we can become better because we understand the importance of public speaking. We look at things like body language, what words we use, and how we go about building the speeches that we give. However, one thing that we […]

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Creating A Clear Message For Your Next Speech

October 9, 2018

If you are going to be willing to go to the effort of creating, practicing, and then delivering a speech, you may as well make sure that your audience experiences the importance of public speaking and understands you. What’s it going to take in order to make this happen? For one thing, the speech that […]

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What To Do When Your Speech Has Been Written For You

October 2, 2018

When we think about what makes a speech a good speech, I think that we can all agree that our ability to interject some life into a speech can go a long way to capturing our audience’s attention and allowing us to show the importance of public speaking. This is why when we are practicing […]

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How Do You Introduce Yourself In A Speech?

September 25, 2018

How often when you get up in front of an audience do you find yourself addressing a room full of people that you don’t know. For that matter, the people that you are talking to probably don’t know you. It sure seems like one of the first things that you need to be doing as […]

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Getting Your Speech The Attention That It Deserves

September 18, 2018

When we create a speech that we’ll be giving, we work hard to make it the best speech possible. We spend time thinking about what points we want to communicate to our audience, we pick the words that we’ll use with care, and we then practice just exactly how we’re going to go about delivering […]

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Grab Your Audience From The Beginning

September 11, 2018

So what makes a speech a good speech? I think that we can all agree that one of the most important things that we need to be able to do is both capture and hold on to our audience’s attention in order to show them the importance of public speaking. Although this may sound like […]

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