I still remember my first big public speaking opportunity. I was 19 years old and it was a gym full of high schoolers and parents. Sometimes it’s good to be young and naive. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That was a good thing.
While many people dread the idea of public speaking, still several others get excited about the opportunity to influence hundreds if not thousands at once.
A few years ago, I was sitting at a conference with my wife. There were at least 1400+ people in the room and the speaker was on the stage. I leaned over to my wife and said, “Do you think I could ever do something like that and do it well? Do you think I should pursue something like that?”
I’ll never forget her response.
It surprised me.
It was definitely not what I expected.
She said, “The fact that you are even asking the question tells me you should. Who else in this auditorium right now is even asking that question?”
How about you? Have you asked yourself that same question?
If so, I want you to go a step further. I’m going to offer you three questions you must answer before you can begin to get paid to speak.
These three questions will bring clarity to your idea of having a speaking career.
It is important to note that these questions are not my own but from my good friend Grant Baldwin.
Question #1: Why Do You Want to Speak?
This is an important question for you to answer. If not, you could potentially head in the wrong direction. One that doesn’t support your lifestyle, values or priorities. Do you want to speak because you love the idea of traveling the world?
Do you want speaking to be a main income generator for your business? Is it for credibility? Do you want to bring more awareness to the existing products and services you have to offer?
As I have learned from Grant, if you know your motivation for wanting to speak it becomes easier to identify the opportunities and events that make the most sense for you.
Question #2: Who Do You Want to Speak To?
Not all audience is the same. Understanding who the target audience is to your life-changing message is so vitally important. Is your message ideal for aspiring writers, entrepreneurs, high schoolers, or college students? Maybe your message best serves baby boomers.
Grant recommends that you make a list of ten to fifteen different audience types, then narrow them down to your top three to five.
Question #3: What Do You Want to Speak About?
Most highly successful, professional speakers have two to three main talks they do. While they can adopt them to different audiences, they only have a handful of keynotes. Most do not develop entirely new keynotes for each speaking opportunity.
Your most effective talks will come from your passions, experience, expertise, and areas of recognition. If you were doing a world tour to your ideal audience, what three talks would you most want to give?
Asking these three questions ahead of time will take out much of the anxiety, confusion, and disappointment of launching a speaking career.