How To Start a Public Speaking Career
If you’ve spent time becoming an expert in your field, you enjoy talking with the public, and you feel like you have good information to share, launching a public speaking career may be an incredible way to diversify your income streams and share your knowledge with others in your industry. But how do you get started?
Build a Platform
The very heart of marketing has changed as the Internet has expanded and developed in the early years of the 21st century. Customers no longer passively wait and absorb marketing before they make a product choice, if they ever did. Now, you can expect that any customer who approaches you for information on your product has done a significant amount of research, knows what questions they have remaining, and is at least considering closing the deal.
For artists and other professionals like public speakers, what this means is that they need to put their information out into the world in a way that potential customers can find it. This may mean building a vibrant social media presence on at least two or three platforms, developing additional revenue streams like ebooks and subscription video availability, and ongoing learning to show that they are staying up to date in their field.
Start a Website
Ten years ago, speakers connected with college campuses, events, conventions, and professional organizations by sending out packets of information to event coordinators. While public speakers may still find some leads through these sorts of cold sale techniques, the most successful speakers are using website to offer up information to their potential clients.
Websites can contain information in a wide variety of formats, from blog entries to videos of your most recent live event to series of online workshops that clients can access if they can’t travel to your talk location.
You can also use your website to book events, minimizing your need for a personal/virtual assistant, or maintaining booking paperwork yourself. Using a service like Events Planner can help you focus your time on developing the best talks possible.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
When you discover a new passion, it’s natural to want to devote all of your time and energy to making it into the cornerstone of your new life. With artistic pursuits like public speaking, however, leaving your day job too soon can make your new business endeavor less likely to succeed. In fact, you may be better off staying at your day job for much longer than you initially assumed would be necessary.
By staying at your day job, you gain the benefits of all your current compensation, as well as things like health insurance, a retirement plan, and a steady income. When you become an entrepreneur, these are all things you suddenly need to manage on your own, on top of all the work that goes into actually making money on a regular basis.
If your public speaking topic is also within the field of your day job, you may be sacrificing contacts and connections by walking away from your current position. For example, if you have a day job in the field of IT, your work may pay for you to attend learning programs to continue to develop your skills. You can then use this information in your talks and programs on the topic. If you leave your job, however, you might need to pay for your learning on your own, and that can get expensive fast.
Develop Your Skills
If you can offer a presentation to your current employer, you may think that it will be easy to transfer your skills and hold a room of conference attendees, or to make a stellar blog that addresses your topic. These are actually all very different skills, and if you want to build a career as a public speaker, it’s important that you spend time developing them.
Many public speakers use both vocal and movement coaches to make sure that they have the right amount of control over their appearance and presentation to offer a top notch talk that will spark interest and build your audience.
Another benefit of working with coaches is that it can help you connect with others in your field, get in with event coordinators and other conference professionals, and start to build a network of contacts in your new field.
Public speaking is a fun way to bring a new dimension to your knowledge. If you’re in a niche where there aren’t a lot of dynamic speakers, you may be able to change the conversation by providing a new, exciting perspective on the topic.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a public speaker?