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How to be a professional speaker

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR A SPEAKING GIG

Part of the BeMen mission is to reach others to encourage, educate, and inspire them. While you have a powerful message, don’t fall prey to the temptation to just speak “off the cuff.”

If you’ve ever watched an impromptu presentation or YouTube video, it doesn’t take long to lose interest if they sound like they are just winging it. The headline may have sparked your interest, but then you realize that they don’t get to the meat of the matter very quickly, or they ramble so much you never clearly hear the message.

To stand out as a professional public speaker, you need to Prepare, Polish and Produce. Here’s how:

Prepare: Define your topic – the more narrow the topic, the more interesting it is. We tend to think everyone is our ideal audience but focusing on one particular segment helps you keep your message on point. For instance, if your specialty is money management many of your potential audience will self-eliminate because they assume they don’t have enough money to listen to an expert talk about it. However, if you present your topic as “Three ways to be a home-owner before you are 30” you now have an audience that will want to hear more. You can even narrow it down to “Three ways to be a home-owner before age 30 for returning service members.” When someone in your audience says, “Hey, that’s me he’s talking to!” you’ll have much better audience engagement and interest.

This is not to say you’ll never be able to speak to an audience other than those under 30 returning from active duty, but tailor your content to your audience.

Polish– Polish your presentation. If you took music lessons as a kid, you no doubt heard it over and over, “Go practice your piano” or trumpet, or whatever thing you were trying to master. If you played sports, you practiced many more times than you actually played a game. The same is true for speaking.

Practice your presentation, record yourself speaking – listen for places where your information gets confusing or you have difficulty expressing your point. Many times we are so excited to share all we know that we give too much information or gloss over points that we think everyone knows, yet your audience may not.

Practicing also helps you stay on point. Don’t always rely on note cards or PowerPoint, you very well could end up in a last-minute situation where there is no podium or no projector and you are expected to carry on like it’s no big deal. For the professional speaker it isn’t an issue, they know their content and won’t be tripped up by not being able to check their notes or rely on the next slide.

Present- It’s very tempting to put a big price tag on your presentation and start raking in the money right away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. While meeting and event planners have an established budget, they also will check to see if you have past clients, testimonials and samples of your live speaking presentations. Unless you are a big name like “Captain Sully” or another one of America’s latest heroes, you’ll need to start with lower budget gigs and increase as you go.

Prepare – Polish – Present. Go out there and make it happen.

For more information on how to start your career as one of BeMen’s featured speakers, complete the contact page and we’ll be in touch right away.