When people hear someone say “I make a living as a speaker”, they automatically assume that he or she is a ‘motivational’ speaker – someone like Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey. Both Robbins and Winfrey aim to boost people’s morale and energy. But the truth is, there are other types of speakers.
You can be an educational speaker, a business speaker, a health and wellness speaker, a celebrity speaker – the list is endless. Speaking is a rewarding career, especially because speakers educate their audience and motivate them to take action.
While a lot of people find it hard to be in front of hundreds – if not thousands of people – there are those who treat the stage as a natural place where they can share their ideas, connect with audience members and exchange knowledge. And the best thing about becoming a public speaker is that it can be learned!
So, if you ever find yourself asking the question “Why would I start a speaking career?”, here are some of the reasons why you must:
1) Help People
We all have a deep need to help people and enable them to be better versions of themselves. Many speakers prefer to facilitate a small, intimate training session for 2-days than speak to 300 people over an hour at a conference because intimate sessions help the audience really get into the content and learn, practice, learn. But the truth is that not everyone can afford the time or the money to attend a long, intensive training.
And a bigger truth is that many people don’t want to learn everything you know, they just want a taste of that! Through keynote speaking, you can help people who in some cases, don’t even know they need your help with their personal and professional life!
2) Be the Expert
When you are in a position to speak about your area of interest, you establish yourself as a credible authority on that topic. If you haven’t worked out the best way to deliver your expertise in a simple, interesting, and memorable way, you’ll crash and burn. Speaking forces you to research, understand and fine-tune your message. Speaking actually results in you becoming the expert you’ve always wanted to be!
Not only that, public speaking allows you to create the change that you’d like to see happen. When numerous people are dealing with the same problem, they normally feel stuck and frustrated. As a public speaker, you can influence them to take actions or strategies that worked for you when you were facing the same problem. You actually become the expert that helps people avoid the same mistakes others committed. You become the problem-solver.
3) Lead Generation
When people see you are the expert in your field they are more likely to buy what you sell or book you for further consulting or advice. When people see you up on the stage as a subject matter expert, looking confident, sounding interesting, laughing and having a great time, they will want more of what you’ve got. They’d want to buy your books, download your podcasts and catch up one on one.
You can immediately set yourself apart from competitors through public speaking! You’re not just speaking to your audience through social media or through your website, but you’re actually engaging them and building their trust in you and your business as you get onto the stage and begin your speech. Public speaking allows you to put yourself and your brand into the world, and that helps you get more leads and clients.
4) Spread Your Unique Message
Speaking to large audiences is a fabulous way to spread your unique ‘take’ on your subject of choice to the world. And if you want to be good and booked often, you’ll find a special way to package and structure content (that often people have heard before) and spin it in your own special way so it’s memorable and helpful all at once.
A lot of public speakers speak not just for their business or career benefits, but they do so because they want to spread their unique message and fix something. Sometimes, social change happens because someone (in this case, a speaker) had the passion to speak about the problem and inspired people to take action.
5) Make Some Extra Money
If you’re already helping others for a fee, or maybe you’re helping people and you don’t yet charge a fee, a speaking career might enable you to help groups for a fee. For example, people would often ask, “How do you design memorable slides to accompany your presentations?”
As a speaker, you will spend a lot of your spare time answering this question and helping people even though they’re not paying you to do so. There’s a lot of opportunities for you to charge for your expertise instead of giving them away for free.
In this case, you can package up a speech on how to design great visuals and now speak about it for a fee. When you have a valuable asset that could help people in their business, career, or life in general, they would be willing to pay to learn it. After all, most people would not give value to what they’re getting for free. When they pay for something, this means they are holding themselves accountable and they are willing to actually apply what you’re teaching them.
6) Increase Your Client List and Contacts
A by-product of speaking is the fascinating people you get to speak with. You can meet famous celebrities, sporting champions and business people who have made millions. People would often come up to you at the end of your speech and they want to give you their business card and shake your hand or hug you. They want to subscribe to your newsletter. They want to stay in touch because of your powerful speech. Isn’t it that meaningful connection is what successful business is all about?
There’s a saying that entrepreneurs and public speaking go together like peanut butter and jelly. This means, when you’re an entrepreneur, you will need to develop your negotiation, persuasion, and public speaking skills in order to build your network and get more clients.
Public speaking opens doors for you to become more confident in approaching investors and delivering sales pitches.
7) Maximize Your Time
There is a lot of sense in speaking one time to 100 people instead of having one hundred individual meetings. If you’re trying to grow your own community, it could be time-consuming to speak to people within your community one at a time.
Public speaking also allows you to filter clients that are more likely to see your worth and the value that you bring.
As a business owner or professional, this means you no longer have to do cold calls!
8) Contribute to the Body of Knowledge
Speaking allows you to help take your profession further. When you assert your perspective from the stage it creates meaningful debate and stimulates conversations that might otherwise not have happened.
Speaking requires you to care deeply about your subject because when you truly care about something, you will be confident to share what you know and deliver effective speeches.
9) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – It’s Fun!
We all know that public speaking is a top fear for many. Deciding to become a speaker means you’ll have to face this fear head-on and jump right out of your comfort zone and love it! You’ll need to learn how to manage your fear, articulate your point of view, deliver your message with the right body movement and voice projection.
You’ll need to create beautiful visual aids and tell remarkable stories that help your audience remember your key messages. If you want to be really good you’ll also have to learn how to influence your feet, facilitate activity and discussion and add humor into your speech. Imagine the satisfaction of adding all these extra strings to your bow! Making up your mind to jump right out of your comfort zone and master the craft of speaking is actually fun!
Not only this, but you would also be forced to stay up to date with your chosen field and hone your skills. Remember, the key to surviving and thriving in the speaking world is making sure you know what’s happening around you.
10) Make a Difference
There are not many roles in life where you really impact someone the way you do as a speaker. Let me tell you a personal story. I was coming down in the lift at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne some months ago. In the lift was a gentleman who was, like me, going out for dinner. We chatted about where we were going and our hopes for a nice evening.
As we reached the ground floor, and the doors opened, I stepped out of the lift and I turned to him and said, “enjoy your dinner”. He replied, “Thank you, It’s Michelle isn’t it?” I said, ‘yes that’s my name, do I know you?’ He replied, “Yes, I’m xx. I did your training course 15 years ago when I was at Compuware and I still use the lessons you taught me.” I metaphorically ‘flew’ all the way to the restaurant! When you are remembered 15 years later it’s a unique and fabulous compliment.
Good luck with your journey. Happy presenting!