Some people fear public speaking more than spiders, snakes or needles combined. While others called to public speaking find they love speaking in front of groups of all sizes. Becoming a public speaker provides many rewards for those who take on its challenges. Many professional speakers started speaking for free at local community and professional groups. As they built their reputations, they started speaking at larger venues and in front of more people, often earning significant incomes while doing so.
Find Your Message
Discover what you will share. Everyone brings unique experiences with them to the podium. Your audience wants to hear what you have to say. Your story is why they listen, so make it your own. This is your niche, it’s the reason the company or organization invites you to speak. Your message must provide value and meaning to your audience. If you do not provide value, they will not recommend you to others or ask you to return in the future.
Write Your Message
Write your speech. This doesn’t mean you read your speech to your audience, it means you fully know your content. If you you are unable to write your own speech, hire a speechwriter. Many writers provide this service for a fee. Once you write your speech, practice the speech. Part of people's fear of speaking includes forgetting what to say while onstage or behind the podium. A well-rehearsed speaker knows the speech well enough to improvise if needed without the audience knowing its improvisation.
Share Your Message
Find local organizations where you can share your message. It’s not often that a large corporation asks a new public speaker to speak at a national conference. Many professional speakers begin speaking at civic clubs, such as Rotary or Lions Club, small business groups or anywhere else people gather who would like a speaker. Often speakers speak for free but earn money by selling books or other items related to the talk after the meeting.
Many organizations provide training and certification for professional speakers. Toastmasters International offers meeting and groups throughout the world for people who speak in front of groups. Members attend meetings and practice speaking in front of other people who often speak to groups. The National Speakers Association (NSA) provides certification for professional speakers. This certification demonstrates the speaker’s association with the NSA and proves they developed professional platform skills, business management and education relating to speaking professionally. Earning this designation requires a five-year commitment and hundreds of speeches during that time.