Almost every week I get asked how to become a successful speaker and make enough money to live a great lifestyle. Maybe you don’t want to make a career of it, but you would still like to be asked to speak and getting a little extra money would be awesome. Here are a few tips:
1. Starting today, get as many free speaking opportunities as possible. In your company, your church, at the Rotary Club, etc. Dad told me once that he gave over 3000 free speeches before he ever got paid.
2. Join Toastmasters.
3. Learn from the best – listen to great speakers every day, study them, and when possible see them live.
4. Never copy another speaker! It is fine to quote them, but don’t change their story and make it yours, and if you do use their story, give them credit.
5. Use your own stories and examples as much as possible.
6. Be real. Talk about your wins and your losses.
7. Take your ego out of it. You are there for the people in the room, not yourself! If you don’t do this, people will see right through you.
8. Create a marketing plan, and work on it every day.
What is a good marketing plan? I am sure there are hundreds that would work, but if it were me this is what I would do. This plan does not take a lot of money, but it does take commitment and time!
1. Create an e-newsletter. Write a short newsletter sharing what you are passionate about and what you also speak about. Keep it short, and make it weekly if at all possible. This way you can stay in touch automatically and give your audience value for free.
2. Record a speech and give it away. Make it a free download.
3. Write a blog. The best thing about blogs is you get comments. Comments allow you to sharpen your thoughts – nothing like feedback to make you better!
4. Write a book. Think about it; if you write a newsletter and a blog, pretty soon you will have enough content for a short e-book. When you have a couple of e-books, you have enough for a traditional book. This gives you credibility for sure.
5. Film a video. Most companies want to see you in action before they will ever book you. In the beginning, people will ask you to speak at their event because they saw you somewhere else. If they haven’t seen you, or if they need to sell someone else in their company on you, they will want to see you on video.
6. A simple but up-to-date website. Most people spend too much time on their website and not enough on steps 1 – 5!
This is how it comes together. People hear you speak and you inspire them. They check out your website and the first thing they see is your free newsletter, which, when they sign up, also gets them a free download of your best speech (no more than an hour long). Now you have permission to talk to them every week! They can also check you out on video on the site so they can show their friends or their boss. Your newsletter will keep them informed of your new programs, your blog, and any special offers you have just for newsletter subscribers – like your e-book, which is free to subscribers.
With this simple approach you can build your speaking career while you are earning a living in your primary job. Best of all, just think of the growth you will have as a person if you do these things! It will be worth it, even if your speaking career never takes off like you had hoped. If this seems overwhelming, just START with the newsletter. In fact, even if it doesn’t seem overwhelming, the newsletter is where I would spend all of my initial energy. It is the best way to reach your audience on a consistent basis.