Public speaking is my passion. It’s the one thing that I never get tired of. Knowing that I’m making a difference in the lives of others turns me on. For years I spoke for free. I never looked at speaking as a business although it is a huge business. More than 100 billion dollars is spent each year on speakers. I remember the first time I got paid to speak for a small group. Even though it was only $50.00, I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do something that I loved doing. Since then I have gone on to make more than $25,000.00 for a 20 minute presentation. This is when the light came on for me.
I had always heard “do what you love and the money will follow.” It’s true. However, there are two things that should be added. “Do what you love and become excellent at it, and be willing to work your face off, and the money will follow. I put years of hard work into building Circle of Champions Seminars. “ I decided then that public speaking was the one thing that I wanted to master and become the best at. It’s now my fulltime business and I love it.
The Perfect Business The speaking business can be done part time or full time. You don’t have to quit your job and you can run your speaking business from a small area of your home with virtually no overhead. You can travel if you want AND the client pays the bill, or you can stay in your home area and sleep in your own bed every night. . . . The choice is yours.
Here are a few tips to jump-start your speaking business.
1. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Passion is essential to public speaking. I purpose never to speak on subjects that I am not passionate about. Trust me, it will show. You are your first audience. If you are not fired up about your message, no one else will be. When selecting your topic you can choose a subject that has wide appeal such as how to lose weight and keep it off or how to manage your money. Or you can choose a niche topic such as “How to make it big in real estate foreclosures” or “How to start your own publishing company.” Sometimes, the tighter the niche, the easier it is to get rich. Make sure that you LOVE your topic and have a passion to learn everything you can to become the “go to expert” in your niche.
2. Develop a 20-40 minute presentation on your niche topic. I have learned that one 20 minute speech in front of the right group can open doors of opportunity to you that are closed to 90% of the population. Once I was speaking for a group of about 75 new and current business owners. A lady walked in on the last 7 minutes of my presentation and liked my message. Afterwards she came to the back of the room and bought several of my teaching products. She then asked if I would be willing to give my presentation in London England. After 10 seconds of prayer, I agreed. I went to London several months later, (all expenses paid) for five full days. Oh, and did I mention that I got paid to give the speech. A free speech got me an all-expense paid trip to London. This brings me to my next tip.
3. Speak for FREE first. This is how you develop your craft. People often say to me that I speak so fluently. What they don’t realize is that I have given thousands of presentations since I started my speaking career, most of them for free. Speaking for free has several benefits. First, you get platform time which gives you the opportunity to perfect your delivery. Practicing in the bathroom mirror is not how you become a world class speaker; At least it didn’t work for me. You need to feel the pressure of a live audience and step into it. You need to make mistakes and self-correct. You need to flop every once in a while to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s best to make your mistakes when people aren’t paying for them. “Nobody can ask for their money back.” Also, when speaking for free, record yourself. This is how I developed my first product. This brings me to my next tip.
4. Create product. Having a supporting line of teaching and training products is the most powerful and lucrative part of the speaking business. More that 50% of a speaker’s income usually comes from back of the room sales. I remember when creating my first marketable product was my goal. At the time I just wanted to have my first cassette tape. Remember those days? Finally I created my first cassette and then my second. Eventually I had a six cassette series. I learned that if people liked my presentation, they would probably like my products. I was right. Today, I have more than 50 different audios, MP3’s and videos in my product line. My message is being heard daily by people that I don’t even know or may never meet. Creating products is the double-edged sword that turned my life and business around. There are three reasons I recommend that you create products. One, it can earn you a small or large fortune. Secondly, it increases your credibility and positions you as the expert. And three, it gives you tremendous leverage to touch the lives of thousands, perhaps millions while you go about your daily life. This is by far one of the things I love most about this business.
5. Speak often. Repetition is the mother of skill. There is a level of mastery that only comes from practice and repetition. Today, I seem to do what I do effortlessly. I no longer have fears of public speaking. The words come to me when I take the stage. I stay ready. But it wasn’t always that way. I have had many flops, fumbles, disasters and nights when the flow just wasn’t there. It comes with the territory. But the more you speak, the better you get. The more you speak, the more confidence you build. I advise you to take advantage of every opportunity to speak that fits your message. Don’t worry about getting paid. If they pay you, fine. If not, that’s fine also. Every time you get to practice your message, you get a little better. I spoke for organizations that couldn’t pay me, but there was someone listening in the audience who could. This is a secret I discovered: When I speak and add value to others, good things happen. It’s just the way it works. Do it for the love of it. I have often said I love speaking so much, if people didn’t pay me to talk, I’d pay them to listen. Follow these simple tips and you too can begin to enjoy the wonderful benefits of public speaking.
Article written by Robert M. Yates
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