Provided by Neen James

Entering the speaking industry can be both daunting and exciting. For many speakers they may have enjoyed a successful corporate career, run their own business or become an industry expert, which has lead them to a professional career in speaking.

Here are 20 ideas I have used as ‘rising star’ speaker that may be helpful to you also.

  1. Find a buddy – make a friend with another speaker who is at a similar stage to you in their speaking career to be able to share ideas, questions, frustrations and wins with them.
  2. Get a mentor – seek out a speaker who is an expert in their field and is willing to share one hour a month with you for 6 months. Create an agenda for each meeting, set up your expectations before the mentoring begins and reward them with your honesty, loyalty and promote them to others whenever you have an opportunity.
  3. Create a mastermind group – find 3-4 other speakers who are new and willing to meet each month to brainstorm ideas, share learnings, provide tips and encourage each other on your path to become a successful professional speaker. You may schedule your meeting to occur before your monthly National Speakers Association meeting.
  4. Contact speakers you admire – email, phone or write to speakers you admire and let them know you are new and you would like to learn from them. Most people are willing to give you time, provide advice and share their information with you.
  5. Attend all NSA meetings – make this a priority in your month to attend these meetings that will develop your skills, expose you to accomplished speakers and build relationships with people in your industry.
  6. Attend a NSA convention – schedule an annual convention in your diary to expose yourself to the best in the speaking industry, build your skills and meet people who are achieving their speaking goals. You may like to combine this with a vacation to an overseas destination.
  7. Get involved in the NSA committee – volunteer to assist your local chapter with the meeting, greeting new members, accreditation programs or logistics. There are so many roles that could be suitable for you. It is a very rewarding experience.
  8. Attend toastmasters – find a good group and learn more about your craft.
  9. Borrow resources from other speakers – when you start out you may not have significant capital so borrow tapes, videos, books and resources from other speakers. When you become a well known, highly paid speaker you can do the same for new speakers.
  10. Subscribe to Professional Speaker Magazine and Voice of Experience Tapes – invest in your self-development with some of the best tools in the industry.
  11. Read Speaker Directories – learn what categories are available, check out what speakers call their presentations, review accreditation experience and read their testimonies – this will all inspire you.
  12. Review websites – make time each day to visit the National Speakers Association websites from all over the world. Investigate other speaker’s websites for tips, product information and ideas.
  13. Create a one-page overview of you and your topic – use this page for marketing and sending to Speakers Bureaus as a summary of what you speak on.
  14. Create a website – if you can’t afford a whole site to start; create a home page with your photo, contact information and what you speak about. Expand the site as your funding and profile grows.
  15. Meet Speakers Bureaus – introduce yourself as a ‘rising star’ and develop relationships with them. Make time to contact them regularly with your progress reports, new marketing information, promotional videos, DVDs or CDs and invite them to see you present. These people are one of the most valuable resources in your industry.
  16. Speak at interest groups for free – there are many groups who regularly meet and have guest speakers including SWAP, Zonata, Rotary and many more. Find out your local networks and offer to speak to their members.
  17. Get Accredited – find out how to improve your skills through the NSA accreditation system and complete each level. This will keep you motivated to achieve your next level and build your skills as you do it.
    Do a Presentation Course – learn how the professionals do it. Many speakers’ bureaus also run these programs so keep an eye out for them.
  18. Seek voice coaching or enroll in a drama or dance class – learn more about your voice and body and how to increase your platform skills.
  19. Be persistent – don’t get discouraged when you don’t have bookings, keep focused on your goal to become a professional speaker and remember… it takes time. Be patient.

This is one of the most exciting industries in the world – you can do it. Believe in yourself and you will become an exceptional professional speaker.

Professional Speakers

 Association of NZ Directory