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Professional Speaking

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- 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

- 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

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

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

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

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

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

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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