What Makes a Great Professional Speaker? People think that you have to have all this skill and talent to become a professional speaker, however, there are other important factors that determine your success. Technically, you can say and do all the right things. You can have the right information and present it in an organized format, but your true success will be found in your ability to connect with your audience rather than presenting a speech well. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care! Here are your real tools that you'll need to have that will spur you on to success! Making a mistake at the podium doesn't mean failure. Your biggest mistake is not reaching your audience with the message you have! 1. Your attitude speaks through and through. Why are you presenting this information? Are you here because it's a job requirement or a way to make money? The attitude you take concerning the material you present will show through in your presentation. 2. Your passion communicates more than you'll ever say! Passion brings a professional speaker's material to life for their audience. Your audience will know if you are passionate about what you're speaking about or not. Moreover, they will need to draw on your passion to move them into taking action. 3. Your ability to empathize with the needs and wants of your audience will make you a success! You must have an ability to respond in a split second to the needs of your audience. In order to do this, you have to start interacting with your audience to get a feel for where their hearts and minds are concerning your message. You'll have to think quickly on your feet and be able to adjust your message and you'll have to become sensitive to "feeling" out your audience. 4. Your ability to make your message easy to understand and implement will help you reach more people! The easier your solution is, the easier it will be for your audience to take the action you're recommending in your presentation. 5. Your physical energy communicates the passion and life in your message. Excitement is contagious. So is monotony. You've got to get your audience excited about what you'll be presenting. This requires having the physical energy to rev up your audience as you speak excitedly, move about the room excitedly and present your material in an exciting manner. 6. You must love in order to become a success. This is the heart and soul of true charisma. A general love for what you do, the topics you speak on and the people you're speaking to are needed elements to your speaking career. This love will pass on even when you are talking about the latest theory in quantum mechanics! These little talked about characteristics will be the true foundation of your success! More than technical skill, these soft skills are the real tools you'll need to get bigger paid speaking jobs. These tools are the elements that will draw your audience to you. If you take the time to work on building these skills, your success will be inevitable. Do You Have the Ability to Draw People as a Professional Speaker? A speaker's ability to motivate is the hidden treasure in any presentation. Without it, many presentations fail no matter how good they might be. Lackluster speaking skills and unpolished scripts can still be presented well when motivation and passion shines through in the delivery! How do you measure up? 95% of your speaking engagement requires engaging an audience who may or may not want to be there and it is up to you to draw them into your presentation. Engaging your audience requires the professional speaker to make solid connections with every single person in the room. While addressing the masses, the speaker is able to relate individually to each person and speak into their hearts and minds. A real change is made in the audience as they receive the information they have been given. External influences impact the success of engaging your audience in your presentation. Your tone of voice should clearly communicate your passion and excitement about the topic you're speaking on. Your attire should communicate a relatable degree of professionalism. Additionally, it should also establish you as a leader or subject matter expert. Your body language should not contradict your excitement, but should exude confidence and power as you address your audience. People are drawn in to your message when you add the personal touch to your presentation. Here are some things you can do to add the personal touch to your presentation. 1. Appeal to the emotional aspect of the problem you present. What drives someone to feel that they have to attend your speaking engagement? Address the fear, the fulfillment of reaching dreams and goals and also the pain that comes when setbacks occur. 2. Get your audience to talk about themselves. Have them talk about their experiences. Have them share the way they feel about problems and issues they have concerning your topic. 3. Talk about real life experiences. Talk about what you or others went through in dealing with your subject (i.e. -- the chaotic experiences of managing lifestyle, problems faced when dealing with implementing your solutions, etc.) 4. Make eye contact with as many audience members as possible. Your audience needs to feel like you're speaking directly to them. Eye contact is one of those subtle one-on-one connections that cannot be bypassed. 5. Be a resource for your audience. Don't be afraid to give more information than your presentation allows. Answer all questions that are asked. Ensure that the solutions you present are simple to implement in anyone's lifestyle. Drawing people into your presentation will ensure that you are able to connect with your audience. By making your audience a part of your presentation, they will be more attentive to what you have to say and will be more likely to take action on what you've discussed. Motivation comes as a result of making an individual connection with your audience. Not only will your information pass to your audience, but so will your passion for the topic you're speaking pass on as well. You can be a powerful speaker that gets results! Start today to practice drawing people into your presentation! 10 Tips for Professional Speakers Put your best foot forward every time! One of the reasons that many people fear taking the podium is because they are afraid of being the focal point of everyone's attention and they don't want to make a fool of themselves. There are several things you can do to "fool-proof" your speaking event so that you present well every single time! 1. Take the time to prepare well for your presentation. Preparation enhances your confidence and it's also an opportunity to refine any weak areas in your presentation. 2. Begin and end your presentation on time. Arriving late to your presentation is simply unprofessional; not to mention that it won't win you any points with your crowd. Also speaking over time shows your audience that you don't value their time. 3. Know your audience. The only way you can really relate your audience is if you know who they are. Profile your audience. Are they male or female? What income bracket are they in? Why would they attend your presentation? 4. Dress appropriately for your audience. Not all speaking engagements require a business suit! There are many places where business casual attire has become the norm. Before your audience even hears your message, they are already sizing you up and this is impacting whether or not they are hearing what you have to say! 5. Have a backup plan for visual aids used in your presentation. You've selected to use visual aids because you thought they would be helpful in getting your message across. What happens when laptops fail or the room cannot accommodate presentation equipment? Create a plan on how you would handle a situation like that. 6. Tone down information overload. Yes, you can overload your audience with too much information and if you're not careful, you'll lose them. They'll mentally check out. As a speaker, you'll want to present enough information that hooks them into getting more information from you! 7. Don't use inappropriate humor. Humor can be a tricky thing working for you or against you. You will really have to know your audience in order to use jokes or humor appropriately. 8. Vary your speech tones. The monotonous speaker will lose their audience within the first 15 minutes. It's okay to be animated during your presentation and in fact, doing so will transmit flair and passion that keeps people engaged in your message. 9. Relate your topic back to your audience. Basically, stop talking about yourself! Your audience might want to hear a testimony or two, but mostly, they'll want to hear about them and how your presentation can help them! 10. Solidify your message. Support your ideas with data and evidence and build a solid case for your viewpoints. You can use statistics, testimonies, demonstrations, pictures and more! Your presentation can be fool proof if you take the time to minimize mistakes. By going through these key points, you can assure yourself that you are well prepared for any challenge that might come your way and you will experience the success you've always dreamed of! Professional Speakers Polish their Message One key to delivering a successful message is polishing the message you already have. You will find that your audience can better understand what you have to say when you message targets specific key points rather than vague generalities. Since your audience is looking for information that will benefit them, they will need the specifics on how your topic can be used in their lives! Here are some ways to polish the great message you already have! 1. Make it interesting. As simple as this sounds many beginning professional speakers fail to engage their audiences simply because their message is not interesting. This doesn't mean that what they had to say had no value, but rather the message did not inspire anyone to take a sincere interest. 2. Stay on track. Even the best professional speakers can get off track in their delivery. This adds confusion to the basic message they were trying to communicate and could hinder anyone receiving the message at all. 3. Make your message clear and concise. You can overload your audience with detailed facts. While you do want to be precise and give accurate information, too much information will literally boggle their minds! If you have a lot of details that you want them to have, use a separate handout and refer to that. Doing so will make it easier on your audience to digest the wonderful news you have to share. 4. Make your message effective. Do you have a goal with your presentation? What actions do you want your audience members to take once they are done hearing you? Your presentation should lead your audience down a path to take action on the things you want them to do. Consider yourself to be a tour guide leading them to key highlights of information within your presentation. Your presentation should always conclude with an action step whether it means taking a test or buying reference products and materials. 5. Make your message personal. While you speak to a group of people, your message is tailored to each and every single person in your audience. You can connect with them individually by relaying personal situations they might find themselves in. You can connect with them by bringing in the emotional aspect (i.e. -- fear, inspiration, dreams) into your presentation. The bottom line of your presentation is to connect with your audience one on one while addressing the entire group. 6. Check the "political correctness" of your message. You can lose or offend your audience if you don't pay attention to the political correctness of your message. Talking about sensitive subjects like money, culture, and even type of language used requires you to exert sensitivity concerning your audience. Delivering the best message comes with the diligent attention and care to the details of your presentation. Take time to refine and hone your message so that you can have confidence that you've presented your information well and on target. Be specific about what you say and engage your audience to ensure that you are the answer to their problems! Professional speakers take the time to polish their message! 6 Questions that Professional Speakers Answer In any presentation, there are basic pieces of information that an audience should receive from their presenter. You are the problem solver presenting a solution that will benefit your audience. Even if you are just blessing the newly weds at your best friend's wedding, you will still have questions that must be answered. The presentation should answer who, what, when, where, why and how regarding your topic. In giving that information, your presentation will have clarity and will be on track to give the detail necessary to your audience. 1. Who -- Who is your target audience? What would they like to know about regarding your presentation? Do they have any preconceived notions about your material? What are their concerns? Are you addressing the "who" you targeted in your research? When you address the "who" of your message, you are better able to relate with your audience. They will feel like you are speaking directly to them. They will give you their attention because they feel like their needs are being addressed. 2. What -- What is the message you want to communicate? What are the issues? What are the solutions? The "what" in your message is the backbone of your presentation. It is your purpose of your message and the reason you are speaking. It is also the reason why people come to hear you. 3. When -- When is the recommended time to take action? Is there a sense of urgency in your presentation? Stressing the "when" aspect of your message is especially important when you want your audience to take action immediately following the presentation -- i.e. -- sign up for a class, sell promotional materials, implement what was learned) 4. Where -- Where is the problem located? Where can your audience find the help they need? "Where" signifies direction. This leads your audience somewhere in your presentation. Where would you like to take them? Common "where" statements include "across America today", "in college campuses nationwide", "in the construction industry", and "in families in California". 5. Why -- Why should they take action? What are the motivating factors in prompting your audience to take action? The main focus here is inspiration and motivation to take action. Not only do you want them to listen to you, but you want your audience to take action on what you've said. You want to somehow improve their lives and honing your message on the "why" is a critical necessity. 6. How -- How can they respond to your message? How can they take action based on what they've heard? This is the learning and teaching portion of your message. This can be the "how-to" section telling them how they can easily improve their lives. This section often incorporates steps to follow. There are still many more questions that your presentation should answer. As you piece all of these bits of information together, you'll be giving your audience the detailed answers they are looking for. You also present yourself as the credible source of information you want to present yourself to be! Where to Find Professional Speaking Jobs You've got your engine running and you're ready to get out there and find some professional speaking engagements. The only problem is that you haven't got a clue as to where you can find jobs! One of the first steps as you launch your professional speaking career is to get good at what you do. You'll find that you'll need to speak for free. Gain experience and build your client database. In doing so, you'll be able to go after higher paying jobs as you can demonstrate your professionalism, credibility as a speaker and your ability to draw large crowds. - There are a number of places that hire professional speakers and many of them are in your neighborhoods. Places like universities, colleges, your local Toastmasters organization, speaker bureaus, non-profit organizations, businesses, and libraries are just a few of the places that have a need for professional speakers. Make contacts with people in these organizations and offer your services. - You can also do an online search for the keyword term "calls for speakers" or "speakers wanted". You'll obtain a listing of organizations and meetings that are requesting professional speakers. - Search speaker's forums for paid jobs. While this place does not have a lot of paid jobs, you might be able to find one that suits your niche. - Review conference schedules of various associations related to your topic. Many associations hold annual conferences and they will post a call for speakers. This call will be placed about 6 -- 8 months in advance of the speaking engagement. - Work as a trainer with training companies. Places like Fred Pryor hires contract speakers for many different topics. This is a paid job that requires travel and often times, a hectic schedule, but the flip side is that paid speakers can make over $75,000 annually. - Research the NTPA (National Trade and Professional Associations) Directory. You can purchase it for about $150. Issued in February each year, it gives you the information you'll need to begin making contacts in the association market. - Research the meeting planner's directory. The Directory of Association Meeting Planners costs $550 and is available every March in a CD format. There is another directory called the Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners. This second directory costs approximately $450 and is available every March in a hard copy format. - Network with peers and potential clients in your industry. Word of mouth referrals are by far the most popular way that meeting planners find speakers for their events. With that in mind, it'll definitely be worth your time to network! These are places where you can find jobs, however, you will need to also put together a promotional kit. Start with a simple letter and build your promotional kit up. You'll also have to develop a marketing strategy to build and maintain a potential client listing. Using this listing, you can use direct mail or make phone calls to promote yourself as a professional speaker for hire. Now that you know where to look, you'll be able to start going after speaking engagements and gaining experience! Ten Sources of Income in Professional Speaking One of the best features of having a career in professional speaking is that you can benefit from multiple streams of income. You don't only have to rely on your paid public speaking career to bring in the cash. You can sell other products and services. You can work other areas that require using professional speakers. The key is to leverage your skills and talent to produce an ongoing stream of income that can withstand the drought seasons in your public speaking career. 1. Sell your knowledge via books and articles. You can self-publish for maximum profit or you can seek out a publisher and get paid royalties. Your articles can be highly sought after by trade publications especially if you are a well-noted person in the industry. 2. Sell your knowledge via a training system package. Create a training system using CDs, DVDs, a training manual and any other parts that you'll need. Package the system and sell it for a profit. 3. Get sponsored by a company. Get other companies to sponsor your speaking fee for being mentioned in your presentation. Sort of like advertising, this partnerships has ongoing, long-term benefits for every speaker that makes use of them. 4. Get paid as a speaker. As simplistic as this sounds, at some point in your career, you've got to get out and make an attempt to get higher paying gigs. Don't lose the "free" aspect of your career because they do go a long way. The more famous you get, doing good Samaritan efforts such as speaking for free make great news items for press releases. 5. Get paid as a speaker through speaker bureaus. Speaker bureaus help to connect speaker with meeting planners. Get listed with these bureaus to help promote your professional speaking career. 6. Get paid for the use of your "voice". Do voice overs or recorded speeches or advertisements as a source of income. 7. Get paid for telephone seminars. Many people are doing live webinars or telephone seminars in their businesses. Make contacts with people in the businesses that do them. It's the same thing as doing a speech except that it's on the telephone. 8. Get paid by creating a paying podcast. Podcasting is a new form of media that is quickly gaining popularity. Podcasting is like hosting your own speech online in an MP3 file so your audience can listen over and over again. 9. Work for training companies. Companies like Fred Pryor can be great interim sources of income that help you gain confidence as a speaker. 10. Get paid via your website. Add complementary affiliate programs as well as Google AdSense to your website or blog. All of these sources of income represent ways to spread the word about your professional marketing career. Additionally, they also can represent ways that bring in income when your career isn't where you want it to be. You can start adding these sources one by one to your revenue stream. You'll see first hand the benefits that each one has as well as what works for your business and what doesn't. How to Deal with a Negative Audience in Professional Speaking At one time or another, you will have to deal with a negative audience member or group. How do should you handle that kind of situation and still keep a professional appearance? The first goal to keep in mind is that you have a message to communicate and that is your job! Your goal is to bring information to the rest of the group whether or not they want to receive your message. The mindset you should have is that you are well able to communicate that message and you're going to do it in a professional way. Here are some tips to keep you on track as you deal with a negative audience. 1. Know your stuff. Knowledge is power and so is preparation. Do you know your subject matter well enough to answer impromptu questions? If not, you should. Review the material and ask yourself potential questions that might come up. Look for inconsistencies in information within your presentation and then remove them. Prepare answers to potential questions. 2. Don't react to negative comments or questions. You are the professional and you are the "guru" of information concerning the topic you're speaking on. Reacting negatively destroys any positive images that your audience has of you. Believe it or not, your audience is not thinking "Oh poor speaker being heckled by audience member Joe!" Don't give in to emotion because that's not part of your equation. Stick to the topic at hand and take the stance that you are the information "guru" regarding the subject matter! 3. Always answer all questions. Avoiding difficult questions also questions you're validity as a subject matter expert. One of your goals as a speaker is to gain the support of your audience. You want them jumping on the bandwagon idea that you're pitching to them. In the process, you'll want to eliminate anything that will cause you to lose your credibility. 4. Maintain your control. Responding to your negative audience with the same negative emotion will cause you to lose control of your topic. Focus on the topic at hand. Train your mind to deliver the message you were hired to deliver instead of letting emotional antics get in the way. A developed speaker is one who has control over his/her emotions. 5. Be prepared for the next potential negative encounter. Having one negative speaking experience certainly prepares you for the next. Instead of focusing on the negative situation, take a step back and begin to learn from what happened. Perform a self-evaluation. What did you learn? 6. Engage your negative audience member or group. A negative audience or member is one who is disconnected with your presentation. It should be your goal to connect with as many people as possible and to make your subject come alive in their minds that what you present is possible. Train yourself to react professionally. In doing so, you'll be establishing yourself as a leader and as a subject matter expert. Don't let negative questioning override what you have to communicate -- look at it as being just a learning experience. When you do that, you'll be well on your way to becoming a top-notch professional speaker! How Free Professional Speaking Gigs Help You One of the primary reasons people get into this business is because they want to earn some serious cash. With dreams of stardom and hopes of owning the Mercedes and the million dollar home, they set off in pursuit of getting highly paid gigs only to get knocked down by rejection after rejection. After doing some research they find that most of their starting events will be free speaking events. What? If "free" is a horrendous four letter word in your career vocabulary, you'll need to learn the importance and value that "free" can really provide. There are tremendous benefits that come with speaking for free including having the ability to promote your back of the room products where you can actually profit. You'll be gaining new experiences and building your clientele list. 1. "Free" still gets your name out there. The more people who hear you speak, the more people there will be to purchase your product and refer you to other people are looking for professional speakers. For example, speaking for free for an organization like a Rotary Club or Elks Club can lead to paying jobs because many of the members who belong to this organization have businesses of their own or are in positions in their careers where they are the decision makers to "hire" speakers. 2. You can still have the opportunity to sell your products at these free speaking engagements. Statistics show that back of the room products account for over 50% of professional speaking profits. Promote your business and promote your products in the same place! At the very least, you will be able to refer them to your website for more information or additionally, to purchase products and books. The more people that hear you, the more opportunities you'll have. 3. Free speaking opportunities are still opportunities where you can create a video tape of yourself. Many speaker bureaus and meeting planners will not hire you without seeing a video tape of your presentation. On top of that, many organizations like the Rotary Club or Elks Club have people who can help you create your video. Can you trade services? 4. Free speaking engagements are a great place to network. Hopefully by now you understand that you have to get your name out there. In order to get your name out there, you'll have to be out there. You can still mingle with your audience as well as network with meeting planners for the function. 5. A free speaking event is still a great reason to send out a press release. If you're looking for a reason to send out press releases about yourself or your career, use free speaking engagements. Submit them to local newspapers and various online sites that have a "to-do in your area" section. This is just another way to get the word out about your business. Speaking for free has its benefits. What you'll need to learn next is how to leverage these free events into referrals and product sales. As you do this, more people will know about you and your business will be well on its way to success! Handling Questions and Answers in Your Professional Speaking Career Handling questions in your presentation can be a scary time for professional speakers. The fear that someone will ask a question that they can't answer makes this sections one of the most dreaded sections of the speech. This fear is so real that presenters will often cut this area short or avoid it all together to get past this section. Here are some tips that will help you to handle this section effectively. 1. Be a great listener. After spending the entire time talking, now is your chance to respond and interact with your audience. Listen to your audience's questions completely before starting to answer. If you don't, you may respond inappropriately not answering what the person was really asking. 2. Give yourself time to think. Listen to the entire question. Repeat the question to give you some time to respond. You can also add filler phrases like "that's a good question", "that's a popular question" or "that's an interesting question". 3. Acknowledge your audience member for asking the question. People appreciate acknowledgement and starts to create a personal bond between you and the audience. They start to feel appreciated for participation in your presentation and they warm up to your speech. 4. Answer the question. Stay on track and be honest. If you do not know the answer at the time, let them you that you will find out and get back to them. This is an especially great opportunity if your goal is to develop a long term relationship with your audience. Just remember to get back to them as you say you would. 5. Create clean transitions between questions by creating "bridges" to the next question. Ask your audience another question such as "Does that answer your question?" Stay on the question until it has been answered appropriately. Here are some tips to interact better with your audience during the question and answer period. 1. Ask your audience member to stand when they have a question. One of the primary reasons for doing this is to help the rest of the room hear the question more clearly as well. Additionally, you are also able to establish a line of sight eye connection with the person asking the question. 2. Ask your audience to write their questions down on paper. They can either submit this to you or read from their paper at a designated time. 3. If your audience member is shy and does not want to ask their question, create alternative times that you will be available. You're goal is to help them understand the points you are trying to make. 4. Have a paper and pencil for yourself to write down questions that you can't answer. Jot the question down as well as contact information of the person asking the question so you can get back to them. The question and answer period is a great time to interact with your audience. Many people and instructors like will also say that they learn from this time more than any other section in the presentation. You will also be able to see what exactly your audience has picked up during your presentation. Don't avoid this section any longer! Get Rid of Distracting Body Movements Your body movement during your presentation has the ability to strengthen the impact of your message or it can seriously be a distraction. One of your goals as a speaker is to look so natural with your movements and with what you say that no one even notices that you are using intonation and inflection or body movement as a means of emphasizing the points of your speech. What kinds of mannerisms are distracting? - Swaying to and fro in front of the audience - Hanging on to the podium - Finger tapping - Licking your lips or biting your lips - Fidgeting with clothes, pockets or jewelry - Frowning - Fussing with hair - Bobbing your head - Flailing arms at inappropriate times The movements you make in your speech should be planned or at least controlled by you. Any movement that is not planned could potentially be distracting. Many of the above mentioned mannerisms stem from being nervous about being on stage. Additionally, they could also come just because you don't know you are doing them. Either way, you'll need to minimize and eliminate as many of these movements as possible. 1. Make a video tape of yourself. Do you even know that you are making these movements? Probably not. A video will help you identify which distracting movements you'll need to work on eliminating. 2. Review your video tape for places where you make distracting mannerisms. Make a list of the mannerisms you have and thoughtfully practice your speech without those mannerisms. Rerecord yourself and keep reviewing your tapes until you a satisfied that all the mannerisms are gone. 3. Work on feeling comfortable with delivering your speech. You should feel natural as you speak about your topic. You should feel like you are sharing information with a long time friend. This will come when you've spent many hours practicing, reworking and revising your speech. This will also come because you speak from your heart and let others know the way you feel about your subject. 4. Work on eliminating nervousness when delivering your speech. This will come as you get more familiar with your material. This will also come as you take the time to focus on delivering your message instead of focusing on the feelings of fear and anxiety. 5. You can also review your video tapes for place in your speech that you need to add body movements into your presentation that will make it more interesting. Let your movements show the way you feel. These movements should be natural and can work in your favor as you emphasize specific points in your presentation. 6. Consider this when deciding which body movements to incorporate into your presentation. Body movements should look natural. You can use facial expressions and make eye contact with your audience for maximum effects. Every movement should be planned during your presentation. You can easily lose your audience with distracting movements because your audience's focus and attention will be turned to these movements instead of what you have to say! Easy Ways to Remember Your Material One of the most common reasons people fear public speaking is that they blank out and forget their entire speech. You can practice and practice and practice and when the moment comes that you need to remember your presentation, everything goes blank! There are ways that you can fool proof your message so that the parts you actually have to memorize are minimal if at all. This means that you incorporate the use of triggers in your presentation. These triggers can be things like power point slides, props, and story telling that you'll scatter throughout your speech. What the triggers do is prompt you to talk about the next point your trying to make. The triggers can also serve as a trigger to help you remember what to say next. There are four primary ways to remember your presentation. 1. The first one is memorizing. This can work for presentations less than an hour, but if you're teaching a six hour seminar course, you're going to have to find some other way other than memorizing. This is actually one of the worst ways to remember your presentation because there are no safe guards that protect you once you forget. 2. The next way to remember your presentation is to read a full written version. People write out their speeches, but reading from the full written text can cause you to sound stiff and unnatural. Most commonly occurring in business settings (i.e. -- at board meetings or company meetings), reading your speech may be necessary. If you have to read your speech, there are things you can do to help you sound natural. Keep in mind the business tone may be necessary, but there may also be parts in your presentation that require the monotony to be broken! 3. The third way to remember your presentation is to use notes -- a condensed outline form of your presentation. Have your notes on a single page sheet or on note cards. Highlight key points to make in a way that you can easily understand the emphasis that the points need. Having notes does not mean that you do not need to work with your presentation! 4. The last way to remember your presentation is to use visual aids (props) as your notes. Let your visuals and images prompt you to speak. Tell your audience a story about the image you're showing. You can also let your visuals and images do the talking for you. You can post your outline on the screen and say that it's because it will help your audience stay on track with you! Work with creating mental images of the points you are trying to make. This will help you sound more natural and more "impromptu" with your audience. When you sound natural, you sound genuine. Utilize one or more of these ways to remember your presentation. Use various ways to "trigger" your memory to say what needs to be said. Use overheads to lead you through your speech as you place keywords on the screen. Create Your Professional Speaking Portfolio All professional speakers will need a promotional kit in order to market themselves effectively and obtain more and higher paying jobs. Speakers fail to achieve the desired incomes because they fail to properly market their skills and talents. No more failure! Reach the income you've heard and dreamt about by using a promotional kit! Speaker bureaus and meeting planners expect to see certain pieces of information in order to see if you are the professional speaker they are looking for. These pieces of information include a content sheet highlighting the material you'll be presenting, a speaker biography, testimonials/reviews, a list of the services you provide including educational materials and fee schedule, a sample client list, a demo video and a business card with contact information. You can also include a letter on a personalized letterhead stating your interest in the event and why you feel they should choose you. 1. Content sheet -- include a general outline of the presentation you'll be making. Your material should relate to the theme of the convention or seminar being hosted. 2. Speaker biography (bio) -- highlight certifications and qualifications in your 2 -3 paragraph narrative. Each paragraph should be about 2-3 sentences long and should tell give bureaus and planners an idea of who you are and what you're about. This bio may also be used as part of the advertisement of the speaking engagement and may be shortened to a short paragraph. You should also send a picture of yourself. 3. Testimonials/Reviews -- This information helps to build your credibility as a speaker because it tells what others are saying about you. In order to build this area effectively, you should also consider requesting feedback after each speaking engagement whether they are free or for fee. 4. List of services and products -- This section of information includes a price list of books, CDs or videos that you produce related to your speaking topic. This section can also include other types of speaking engagements that you do along with the respective prices that you will charge. 5. List of the clients you've worked for -- you can combine this with your testimonial and review sections however, keep in mind that not everyone will respond to your request for feedback. Either you didn't ask for a review or they didn't take the time to fill out your review sheet. You can still keep a running list of the people who have used your services. 6. Demo video -- This should be on the subject you are being asked to speak on. It gives your prospective planners an idea of what they will be getting should they choose to hire you. This should also be professionally done. 7. Contact information -- include information on the various ways that speaker bureaus and meeting planners can get in touch with you should they decide to hire you. Successful marketing ensures that you are on the path to becoming a successful professional speaker. It also presents you as a professional and an established leader in your field. Create your portfolio and get to marketing yourself today!
Achieving Success in Professional Speaking The real success of every presentation is leaving your audience with something of value. What do they get out of spending time in your presentation? Many people believe that they need natural brilliance in speaking well and presenting well. The believe that they need to be polished, smart, witty and charming all before they actually start to build a speech. Those attributes can come naturally, but most often, they come as a result of passion, knowledge and practice of the speaker's material. One of the most important factors in having a successful presentation is serving the needs of your audience. Going back to the idea that you need to leave your audience with something of value, caring for your audience's needs doesn't require perfection. You can make mistakes with speaking and it's going to be okay. The projector equipment can fail and it's still going to be okay. You don't have to include humor in order to be a success. With that in mind, real perfection is more like being successful at reaching your audience. Give your audience two or three gold nuggets of information. No one expects you to be a walking encyclopedia concerning your subject matter. No one expects you to speak for hours on end about your topic. It's too much for you and for your audience to handle. Find two or three heavy hitting points to make and work with those points so that they become exciting to hear. To give your audience something of value, focus on them not on you. Telling your personal testimony is great, but eventually during your presentation, you've got to find a way to relate your presentation back to your audience. One rule of thumb concerning this area is to use 10 "you's" for every one "I". That means you'll talk less about yourself and talk more about your audience. Realize you don't have to control every situation in your audience. You don't have to emerge as the victor over negative audience members. The audio/video equipment does not have to be perfectly functioning. You simply don't have enough time to combat situations in your audiences (I.e. -- like them falling asleep, talking or cell phones ringing) and still communicate your message effectively. Remember that your whole goal is to give your audience something of value. Give your audience something of value by becoming their friend. Sometimes you may need to stop thinking of yourself as a professional speaker and start thinking of yourself a close personal friend of the audience member. You'll teach them something and give them advice. You'll sound more natural in our speech and you'll be more relatable to your audience. People often associate those on stage as automatically having knowledge and wisdom on the topic covered. While this thought is great to establish you as a leader, the points you make in your presentation may be better received if you came across from a more personal standpoint. Your whole goal as a professional speaker is to leave your audience with something of value. This means creating a solid bond between your audience and your material. This means you think about the needs of your audience. Give your audience something of value today! A Professional Speaker Sets the Tone for the Message As a professional speaker, everything you do the minute you walk into the room sets the tone for your message. Without even speaking one word, you can determine just how many people you will reach because their engagement to your message depends on you; not on them. You can have a great topic to speak on and great presentation skills, but without communication the passion you have about your topic, none of it really matters! Go before your audience expecting to make an impact! People aren't interested in what you know. They want your information for themselves and passion is like the "grease" that lubricates that passage of information! Do you expect that your audience will receive what you have to say? Do you communicate that you're excited to be there and you're also excited that they are there as well? Be mindful of the needs of your audience. As a professional speaker, we can get caught up with our message because you know it's what your audience needs. The problem with that train of thought is that it leaves one key person out of the equation -- your audience member. Prepare yourself beforehand to figure out what your audience may want to know or needs to know and then deliver that message. Change things up for maximum impact! There are going to be times when you can't stay stuck to your outline. Learn to improvise and adjust to the needs of your audience. Find ways to engage them as you proceed throughout your message. Do you remember in school that one teacher you had that you could never seem to connect with? Students were falling asleep in class and the teacher still plodded on with their message! How effective is that? Change your presentation and tailor it to engage your audience no matter where they might be! Don't stay stuck in a routine! Relate to your audience. Relating to your audience goes beyond just speaking to them. It encompasses everything from the greeting you give, the way you dress and your tone of voice you use to address them. Part of relating to your audience means knowing who they are and what appeals to them. You'll have to research beforehand who your audience members are. If you do this, you'll be positioning yourself to be more relatable to them. Passion is the key that opens their hearts and minds to receive what you have to say! If you're passionate about your topic, that will come across in your speech by default. Conversely, if you lack passion about your topic, that too will also come across. Do you really believe in what you're talking about? Do you see the value that you and your message have to offer your audience? When you practice your speech, do you motivate yourself? Just about every professional speaker starts off practicing by looking at themselves in the mirror! Try doing that and take a good look at what you see! You are the key to a successful delivery of your message. If you want to see results, understand that you set the tone in your meeting and it's up to you to maintain control of that tone! Practice Makes Perfect! Professional speakers rehearse their material. Killer presentations don't just fall out of the sky! They're worked on and fine tuned and honed to perfection right up until the time that they are delivered into the hands of audience members. As a result, presentations like these are effective at reaching many people! Rehearsing your presentation is your key to delivering a successful presentation. Even if you've been doing the same presentation for years, you'll want to practice the different aspects of your delivery in the fine tuning process of rehearsing. Here's what you can do to have successful practice that will make your delivery a success every time. The first step is to write out your speech word for word. Write it as you would say it or would intend to say it. Include every piece of information including what you would say about your visual or audio aids. Every word you put on paper will impact what your audience picks up in your presentation. Read your written speech out loud. Tape record yourself to get some idea of what your presentation sounds like. Note the length of your presentation and also if the points you want to emphasize are actually the ones being emphasized. Refine and retune your message until you are confident the message you are sending is the one you want to send. Also, practice speaking your presentation the way you would want to say it -- with passion and enthusiasm. Yes, enthusiasm does have to be practiced. Condense your written speech into outline form. Once you've created your written speech and you've taken the time to revise it, the next step is to turn your written speech into a condensed outline with notes. You don't want to read your speech to your audience. You want to speak spontaneously and make your presentation flow. The key is to have notes that are easy to read. Remember to also make notes about the flow of your enthusiasm levels during the presentation. Once you've created your notes, tape your spontaneous speech. In this recording, review the timing of your presentation. Listen for the number of times you've said filler words like "umm", "er" and "ah". Work on eliminating these words and re-record yourself until you speak smoothly and confidently. Also work on presenting your speech with the emphasis and passion that you intend to deliver it. Working the emotions of your audience will help them feel more connected with you and your material. Practice your presentation in front of a practice audience. The primary goal of this section is to get constructive feedback. You will want to find out if you made your points clearly and accurately. You will also want to know if you were speaking too fast or too slow. You'll also want to know if there were too many of those distracting words in your presentation. A secondary goal is to gain more confidence and feel more comfortable in making your presentation. Rehearsal is the key to your success as a professional speaker! Practicing more than just your topical information, you'll need to practice the method of delivery you choose. Here's to your success! Organizing Your Professional Speaking Presentation You may have just been asked to make a presentation by your boss or maybe, you're starting on a new professional speaking career. Whatever the case may be, starting your presentation means you'll have a ton of details to organize into a relatable format for your audience. Here are some tips on how to do just that. One of the most difficult aspects of making your presentation is getting started. You may be feeling overwhelmed even if you've been working with your materials for years. Maybe you're looking for a way to simplify your research process. In any case, the first step is to jump in there and get started. 1. Research your material. Collect and read as much information as possible. Make some notes and also look at the validity of the information you are collecting. Is the information outdated? Is it relevant to the actual subject you are going to talk about? Start taking notes and highlighting potentially key points of your presentation. 2. Once you feel you've gathered enough information to present, review your notes and select the information you are going to present. Look for key ideas that support the purpose of your talk. Decide how deep you will go when presenting your information? Consider your audience. What do they need to know to take action on your subject? How much detail do they actually need? Consider also, the length of the time you'll have for your presentation. 3. Organize your key ideas into an outline form. Start with the key points you will make and add two to three supporting elements to it. When you speak, you will be leading your audience from point A to point B. You're taking them somewhere even if it's only in their minds. Does your outline show a path to take? Is it relevant? Adjust your key points until you do lead your audience to where you want them to go. 4. Decide how you will present your organized information in your presentation. What visual aids can you use to strengthen your points? Is there data or research that you can bring into your presentation? How can you vary the delivery of your message? Your presentation will be more interesting if you do more than just talk. People can easily tune out of your message especially if it's during a meal or immediately following one. 5. Organize your presentation outline to incorporate your visuals and method of delivery in your presentation. Review what it looks like on paper. Your outline is like your map for success. Is your map clearly defining the information you want to say? Are there any weak points were the information is not as strong as you'd like it to be? If it's not, revise and review and keep doing this until you get your map the way you want it to be. Organizing the material for your presentation is a process. As you take your audience from lack of knowledge to having knowledge, your background work is to create an outline map of your journey. This map is the key to your success and the only way to be successful is to have a plan of action. Start today in creating your map of success! How to Tell a Story in Your Professional Speaking Presentation Telling stories is a fun way to humanize your topic. The story brings the "real-life" element into your topic making it more relatable to your audience. Telling stories are also a great way to change the pace of your presentation. Here are some tips to help you incorporate story telling into your presentations. - Stories serve many purposes in your presentation. They can by used to highlight and clarify a specific point you want to address in your presentation. Stories can also reemphasize those points in your message to stress their importance. - Stories should be relevant to your topic. The stories should also match the audience's needs and wants in terms of intelligence levels, experiences, and other demographic data such as age and occupation. The stories should be relatable to your audience and easy to understand. - Telling a story can change the pace of your message. Stories can serve as a mental break for your audience so they can process the information they've been given. - Humorous stories are great presentation openers and can set the tone of your message. Tell about problems and errors that you've made. Audiences like self-effacing humor because they can see themselves making the same mistakes or having the same issues. - Get rid of unnecessary details of your story in your presentation. You can potentially lose your audience with all those details and if they serve no purpose, then get rid of them. - Use short humorous stories in your presentation. If your story is too long or you take too long in getting to the punch line, your audience could tune you out. - Tell where your story happened. Give your audience concrete information to think about and draw their own mental image in their mind. - Use things that your audience is well associated with in your story. Your audience should be familiar with all the details of your story to they can remain hooked into it, however, only be as detailed as is common knowledge. Specific knowledge or "insider information" will not be relatable to most people since only a few people know about it. - Let your words work for you. Emphasize adjectives and verbs so that they are more interesting to your audience. - Get the emotions involved in your storytelling. Hook your audience into your story by playing on their emotions. Storytelling is not a difficult element to add to your professional speaking presentation. By practicing, you will be able to add more stories to your presentation to liven it up and change the pace. You will find that your audience will become more engaged in what you're saying because they can mentally relate better to your information. As you tell your stories, they will have mental images playing in their minds. They will also see themselves in the stories you tell and have it relate better to them. Start by adding one short story and then grow your story telling abilities from there. How to Market Yourself as a Professional Speaker The ability to market yourself as a professional speaker is undoubtedly the key to your success. Marketing means that you must advertise your skills and talents. Since many people don't do that, they end up leaving their career to the wind by default. You have to get your name out there. You have to find ways to connect with people who can and will hire you. 1. Network in speaking organizations. If you're not networking, you're not working. Building relationships with your peers and prospective clients is a must do if you're really serious about your career as a professional speaker. 2. Have a business card. As you take time to network and build relationships with people, you'll want to give them something to remember you by -- your contact information. Your business card should have a professional look to it. Since it will be the way people remember you, what do you want them to remember? 3. Create your marketing portfolio. Also known as your promotional kit or your media kit, this portfolio will have everything that speaker bureaus and meeting planners need to determine if you are the speaker for them or not. Your portfolio consists of the following elements: a content sheet, a demo video of previous speaking engagement, your bio, testimonials from previous engagements, a price list of your products and resource materials you sell, a sample client list, and your fee schedule. 4. Develop a website. With so many people and businesses flocking to the internet for information, you'll want to have this as a means to market yourself. You don't have to have a website with all the bells and whistles. While your website should look professional, you can still get a started website with low to no monthly costs. Use your website to be an additional location where you sell your resource materials as well as offer information about your topic. 5. Use online social networks such as LinkedIn and MySpace to begin making connections with your industry peers. You can also use speaker forums as a place for additional resources, sharing speaking tips and tricks as well as getting to know other people in your field. 6. Create and use a direct marketing strategy. Send mailers and postcards to past clients as well as prospective future clients. While many speakers aren't hired as a result of their mailers, they are still an easy way to keep your customers in touch with your business. Additionally, direct mail pieces are relatively inexpensive to create and send and as a result, they are a great way to canvass organizations and get the word out that you are available for hire. 7. Market yourself through articles and product materials. Using other resources as a means for getting your name out will help to spread your name like wild fire! Think of it this way, you create the article one and include a short 2 -- 3 sentence bio and you'll have that work for you for as long as it's available! The way you market yourself will determine whether you will have a great career or not. Start using these avenues of getting your name out there and start to get noticed by meeting planners and speaker bureaus. Start marketing yourself today! How to Feel Confident in Front of Your Audience The fear of public speaking is one of the top fears that people have. Statistics show that over 41% of people have some level of fear or anxiety with regards to speaking in front of an audience. This fear often manifests as excessive sweating, sweaty palms, increased heart rates, blanking out (memory loss), nausea and sometimes difficulty breathing. There are many speakers who have been in front of audiences for years and they still deal with anxiety to some degree. Since having this fear often has no bearing on whether you have to do a presentation or not, you'll have to find some ways to overcome your anxiety. The first step is to know that you are not alone and that you can prepare in advance so that the level of fear you feel is significantly reduced. Here are some other interesting statistics. - Proper presentation and rehearsal of your message can reduce your fear by about 75%. - Utilizing breathing techniques can reduce your anxiety by another 15%. - Preparing for your mental state can reduce your fear the remaining 10%. With these statistics in mind, here are some preparation tips to help you relax and reduce how you feel before going in front of your audience. 1. Know the environment you will speak in. Become familiar with the area by arriving early and walking around. Know how much space you have and the physical distance between you and your audience. As you acclimate yourself to your stage, you will find yourself feeling more comfortable. 2. Know your audience. You should find out who comprises your audience and do some research to find out their likes and dislikes. When they enter the room, greet them and take time to get to know some faces. 3. Know your presentation inside and out. If you don't know what you'll be presenting how can you expect yourself to feel fearless? 4. Implement breathing techniques to help you relax. Breathing techniques have been scientifically proven to invigorate the body and help you get rid of nervousness. 5. See yourself on stage before you actually get there. Replay images of your successful presentation in your mind. If you visual success, you'll find it. 6. Know that your audience wants you to succeed. Your success means they get what they want and need. If they've paid money to attend your presentation, they have a personal stake in your success. If you're providing training, they have a personal stake in your success. If you're delivering a graduation speech at a local university, the graduating class has a personal stake. Get the idea? Your audience wants you to succeed. 7. Don't draw attention to your being nervous. Many people won't even realize that you are nervous. Most times you will find that while you have your audience's attention, they are really thinking about themselves. They are absorbing what you say and processing that into how that relates to them. 8. Know that there is a purpose to your message. You have a message to deliver. Sometimes it's a cause that you are passionate about. Other times, it may be training that your company needs you to give. Preparation is the key to your success! Through preparation, you can also overcome most if not all of the feelings of fear that you might have so prepare, prepare, prepare! The Real Message that Professional Speakers Send Are you really communicating what you think you are? There are two basic messages that are included in any speaking engagement -- the verbal message and the visual message. As a professional speaker, your message should be effectively communicated in all aspects of both these areas. Whether you are a novice speaker or have years of experience, you'll want to find out about what you're actually saying and adjust your delivery for best results. In doing so, you'll deliver winning presentations every time! The first message type is the verbal message. First off, your verbal message should be clear and concise. Your discussion points should be detailed and well supported by data, testimonials and perhaps even visual aids. Discussion and transition points should flow and lead your audience from point A to point B. Supporting this verbal message is the message you send with using the tone of voice. The tone of voice has the ability to liven up your topic. Emphasize highlighted points with excitement and enthusiasm. A quiet, somber tone of voice can bring seriousness to identifying problems you present when you present your solution. A loud, booming voice can emphasize definitive statements. The second type of message is the visual message. These messages (along with the message you send using your tone of voice) are often inferred messages that aren't directly spoken but they still have lots to say about you as a leader and the message you bring. The environment that you hold your presentation in impacts your message as well. The room itself can be a distraction and you can lose your focus and worse yet, you can lose the attention of your audience. Details like the room temperature (too cold, too warm) or noisy traffic (beeping horns and emergency vehicle sirens) may seem like they are out of your control, but you do have some control. Other environmental considerations include the appearance of the room. Is it professional? Is it warm and cozy? Does it enhance the message you want to convey or does it take away from it? It behooves you to minimize as much as possible all of these types of distractions from your presentation. Another visual presentation you make is the one with your personal appearance and attire. Your audience doesn't know you. If you say that you are a professional, do you look like it? You don't have to have the Armani suits or the Dolce & Gabbana dress, but you should at least look like the professional you claim to be. Men speaker should avoid loud colored shirts. Leave those shirts at home for the night out. Women should dress conservatively. You don't have to be wearing a burlap sack, but low-cut blouses and high skirts don't belong here. Your goal is to create credibility as a professional. There are many other messages that your audience picks up during the course of your presentation. They know exactly how you're feeling about the topic you present by the enthusiasm in your voice. They already make assumptions regarding your credibility as a true professional. Don't take chances and send the wrong message! Successful Transitions for your Presentation Having a smoothly flowing presentation relies on having successful transitions as you proceed from point to point. Even your transitions do need some level of planning. As your audience processes the information you present in their minds, jerky transitions become hard to follow and comprehend. You could potentially lose your audience in a transition without even realizing it and by the time they catch up to you, they'll have missed 2/3 of the next point you're trying to make. Here are some examples you can easily implement into your presentation to make it a success! - Use bridge words or phrases. These are words like "finally", "however", "in addition", "moreover" and "meanwhile". This bridge helps your audience to stay connected with your message. These words or phrases represent linkages between the points you make. - Use the same word or idea twice. You can say, "A similar idea is that..." or "this is what people see... this is what people think...". - Ask a question. Engage your audience and emphasize the points you are trying to make. "Was there ever a time when..." "How many of you..." - Refer back to information previously stated in your presentation. "Remember when I told you earlier..." - Review the points you'll be making or the point you've made. Itemize them one by one. You can say, "There are 5 important concepts to know..." - Use a visual. Use a prop to finalize your point or even introduce the next point you are going to make. Insert a humorous cartoon or image for your audience to focus on. - Use a pause. Give your audience a moment to think about what you just said. You can also introduce a dramatic pause for evoking emotions. - Use physical movement or a change in the tone of your voice. Walk to different parts of the stage. Use different gestures or postures to emphasize what you mean. Change your tone of voice as you are speaking. - Use testimonials or a personal story. Let your audience know what other people are saying about what you're talking about. Make your points more relatable by telling your audience how you or someone else handled the issue or problem. One of the most common mistakes that professional speakers make is that they don't use transitions in their presentation. You could potentially lose your audience because they aren't processing your information as quickly as you want them to. Another common mistake is that the transitions used are too short. Transitions are processing times for your audience. It gives them a chance to catch up to where you are at in delivering your message. The last most common mistake made with using transitions are that the same transition is used over and over again in a presentation. Vary your transitions and your presentation become more interesting. While only representing a small portion of your presentation, transitions are powerful tools you can use to keep your audience tuned in to what you have to say. If you're not seeing the success you'd like to see with your audience, consider working on improving your transitions. Using Props in Your Professional Speaking Presentation People learn and retain information in different ways. As a professional speaker, you must also learn to incorporate as many different ways of engaging your audience in order to reach as many people as possible. In fact, you have an obligation to use anything and everything it takes so that more people can relate your message to their life. This means at one point in your career, you'll have to use props as part of your message. A "prop" is any object that is handled or used while you are on stage. Props can be many different things such as flip charts, demonstrations, overhead projections -- images, photos, and videos, and even other people. These props enhance the message you are trying to convey to your audience and can also help people connect with your ideas. Props help your audience to get engaged in your presentation. They help to warm your audience and draws attention to the points your making in your presentation. They are visual illustrations that often are better able to convey the message than your spoken word can. It's one thing to hear a new idea, but when people see your idea visually, they can develop a mental image in their mind and become visually oriented with what you are trying to say. Visual presentations often make your points interesting and it breaks up the monotony of only hearing you speak. For this reason, props can be used to add variety to your presentation. Prizes and giveaways make excellent opening props. Often done with large audience presentations such as in large arenas, props are a great way to open your audience. It fires up your audience bringing excitement and anticipation for what you are going to speak about. The prizes may or may not be related to your message. You can use them as icebreakers or even as a way to draw excitement and attention to your support material sales at the back of the room. Props can often be used as the "impromptu" portion of your presentation. When used correctly, your props can have your audience sitting on the edge of their chair as they strive to see what you are doing at the front of the room. As you talk about your props, your audience won't feel like you are reading a speech, which brings us to the next point. They can also be a substitute for notes since they automatically prompt you to describe the reason for introducing the prop in the first place. You can essentially go through an entire presentation just using props! Props have a valuable role in your presentation. Visual images are more easily remembered than the words you speak. On top of that, showing your audience the points you are trying to make can say more than telling your audience those same points. You know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words! Props can also help to invoke excitement and rev up your audience as you warm them up for your presentation! Begin to use props in your presentations and see how engaged your audience becomes! Using Humor in Your Professional Speaking Gig If using humor in your professional speaking presentation, understand this. People will pay more to be entertained than they will to be informed. Look around you and you will see that the top industry is the entertainment industry. Encompassing sports events, comic acts, movies, television and music, the entertainment industry steadily received trillions of dollars worldwide. Humor accomplishes many things in your presentation. Here are some things that humor can do for you! 1. Humor helps you connect with your audience. Make yourself more relatable with your audience as they begin to see that it's not all about the information. Humor draws your audience to you because people are naturally drawn to positive things. 2. Humor makes you more approachable and likeable as a speaker. Your audience will see you as being more down to earth and again, relatable. 3. Humor creates interest in your topic as well as yourself. Humor just makes things interesting to follow. People like to laugh. 4. Humor helps to keep the attention of your audience. Your audience tunes out because they get lost in your presentation. By using humor, it'll be harder for your audience to tune out because they will want to hear your humorous story. 5. Humor strengthens point and ideas you want to highlight in your presentation. Funny stories are memorable and can strengthen the point of your message. Television sitcoms are famous for taking real life situations and presenting them in a humorous fashion. 6. Humor removes hostility in your presentation. If there were any ill feelings towards you or your message, humor lightens the mood of your audiences and disarms negative emotions. 7. Humor helps connects pieces of information in your topic. Work humor into the transition points of your presentation. In that way they will be the bridge that connects the points of your message together. 8. Humor helps paint mental images in the minds of your audience. Self-effacing humor is often relatable to your audience because they can see themselves having those same situations. 9. Humor makes your presentation more memorable. People remember when they laugh. They'll remember funny stories or funny instance during your presentation. 10. Humor lightens a heavy topic. People can only take so much of heavy topics. You don't want to make your audience feel depressed even if your topic discusses a very grave matter. 11. Humor can bring in better evaluations and more product sales. Humor warms your audience up to you. In doing so, your audience will be more open to purchasing your back of the room products as well as give you a better review. 12. Humor will make people happy. People want to enjoy your seminar. They want to have a good time and they want to be happy. Humor helps you achieve that. Humor can add so much variety to an otherwise dull, information only presentation. Helping to connect you with your audience, humor is a great addition that can bring you better speaker reviews and increased revenue. Add some spice to your message by incorporating humor! What Does the First Year of Professional Speaking Look Like? Unless you're already a celebrity, you'll have to work through building your professional speaking career from the ground up. This does mean work, but if the topics you plan to be speaking on are your passion, this will not be a chore to do! Also, depending upon how fast you are able to build connections and establish your reputation as a speaker will determine how fast you pass through this phase of career building. The first phase of building your career is filled with getting the word out that you are available for hire as a professional speaker. You'll also gain experience as you speak for free. Yes, that's right -- free. Your goal is build a database of clients and testimonials concerning your work before you hit the big time. One resource stated that you should plan on speaking for free for at least 200 hundred times to build a successful reputation and foundation of experience. The reason for all of this is that many speaker bureaus and meeting planners want speakers with experience and an established reputation in the field they're in. As of now, you are working on creating your future success! Here are some things you can do as you begin your professional speaking career. 1) List the topics you can speak on. Join a social network like LinkedIn (known as the social network for professionals) or forum and list those topics there. 2) Write some articles on these topics and post them on the free article websites. You can also post articles on your own website and add them to social bookmark sites. Whoever reads your article will see your bio at the bottom of each article and you'll promote yourself as a speaker for these topics! 3) Get as many free speaking engagements as possible. Check with your local library or the Chamber of Commerce. Get feedback from your free speaking engagements and start compiling a list of these. 4) Take a professional picture of yourself. People want to feel connected to you and personalizing your website by adding your picture to it is just one of the ways. Additionally, you'll need a professional photo for your portfolio 5) If you're an expert in a trade, write articles for your industry's trade publications. Sometimes these publications will ask for a short (1-2 sentence bio) where you can list "professional speaker" as part of your career listing. One benefit is that you can also get paid writing. 6) Get online and create a blog or website about the topics that you cover. Utilize social networking to build relationships with potential clients as well as peers in your industry. Promote yourself as a professional speaker and a thought leader in your industry. 7) Add a tagline to your email signature. Whoever gets your emails will see that you are a professional speaker for hire. 8) Research the industry for pay rates and start developing a fee schedule for your speaking engagements. We mentioned earlier that you should expect to speak for free, however, speaking for free could easily turn into a paying job for you. What would you charge? 9) Create a demo video of a speaking event you've done. You can use clips from several of your speaking jobs (including the free ones). During this first phase, you're basically building your professional speaking portfolio. You'll need this portfolio to go after higher paying jobs with speaker bureaus and meeting planners. You're already working towards your future success!
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