By Stacey Ann Berry
Becoming a professional speaker can feel intimidating, but if you are prepared, it is very empowering and a great way to share your message with the world. It takes courage, charisma, a good story, and the ability to connect with people to be considered a good public speaker. In order to go from good to great, it is essential to master key elements of public speaking such as enunciation, pronunciation, rate, tone, and body language. If you believe you have the qualities and skills required to be a professional speaker, here are 6 practical ways you can prepare:
1. Practice in small groups
Practice makes perfect. Practice your speech in front of smaller crowds such as community groups, social gatherings, and schools. It is much easier to build your confidence when you are in a room filled with friends, family, or familiar faces. It is also a great way to find out how people respond to your message. Are they engaged or do they look distracted? Practice your speech by using virtual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Zoom. This will allow you to test the market and find out if the general public is interested in your topic. The more you speak, the better you will become.
2. Get feedback
Feedback is an easy way to assess your public speaking skills. It is important that you measure your effectiveness and discover how you make others feel when you speak. Do they feel inspired, enlightened, or motivated? Record yourself speaking. Observe your tone, pitch, speed, pronunciation and body language. Are you making eye contact? Are you avoiding pacing back and forth? You can also conduct a survey with people who have heard you speak. Ask if your message resonated with them. What did they like or dislike about your delivery? Getting feedback will help you to identify your strengths and improve areas of weakness.
3. Document your speeches
Hire a videographer and photographer to capture you while speaking. If you are on a budget use a phone with a good camera. Create a speaker reel that includes radio, podcast, and video interviews. Make a video recording each time you deliver a keynote speech, participate on a panel, or make a presentation. You can create an Insta Story of your speeches and add it to your highlights on Instagram. You can also create short promo videos of your speeches and post them on Facebook and LinkedIn. Social media is a great way to get noticed by event planners and conference organizers, and can increase your platform. If you want to measure or track how you are evolving as a speaker, document your speeches.
4. Research and choose your lane
Research the speaker industry to learn what topics are trending and in demand. Do an assessment of your past speeches to find out which topics resonated the most with your audience. What kind of speaker are you? Are you a speaker who motivates, inspires, teaches, or entertains? Are you an expert in a specific subject matter such as investing, health, public speaking, or networking? Once you identify your lane, stick to it and fine tune your message. Read books and watch videos on public speaking. There is a wealth of information out there to help you master this art. Do your homework and find where you fit in.
5. Create a speaker kit or speaker one sheet:
A speaker kit is essential for professional speakers. It should include your name, bio, professional headshots and a few ‘signature speeches’ with a short summary of your talk. Avoid making your speaker kit too text heavy. Include professional photos of you in action delivering a speech. Include your contact information and social media links. It is also helpful to have a policy about covering your speaker fee and expenses such as travel and accommodation. A speaker one sheet is an even more condensed version of a speaker kit. It should include your topics, contact information, professional head shot, name, and bio. See samples here https://speakerhub.com/blog/speaker-one-sheet-template. A speaker kit or one sheet is a great way to package yourself as a speaker in a condensed, polished, and professional manner.
6. Create a speaker website:
A speaker website is very simple to create. It is an extended online version of your speaker kit. It should include your bio, professional photos of you giving speeches, headshots, and a detailed list of your past speaking engagements. A speaker website is a helpful way to showcase organizations where you were a speaker. Include links to online interviews and videos of your speeches. Also include a downloadable PDF of your speaker kit/testimonials from people who've heard you speak, your contact details, and social media links. See a list of top website builders here https://www.sitebuilderreport.com You can hire a web developer or do it yourself. YouTube is a great resource for figuring out how to build a website. For an example of a speaker website visit staceyannberry.com
Public speaking has many benefits. It is a great way to market your brand, build your profile, and share your message with the world. You can make people laugh, motivate them to act, influence how they think, enlighten them, or re-affirm what they already know. Public speaking can also be financially rewarding. Speaker fees range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech. When you are prepared, your message will be more impactful and memorable. If you are passionate about speaking and feel like you have a message that is worth sharing, try these 6 tips, keep speaking and enjoy the journey.
About the author
Stacey Ann Berry is an innovative entrepreneur, published author, NCCA Canada member, and a highly sought-after speaker. As a presenter, she inspires audiences to take a leap of faith, motivates them to make a difference, and ignite their inner talents.
She is the founder of Bstellar™ Consulting Group that provides workshops in soft skills, such as public speaking, networking and collaboration. Stacey is an influential and service-driven leader who is passionate about community development and advocacy. She is the recipient of the “Outstanding Contribution to Student Experience” Award from York University and was recognized as one of the “100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women.” Stacey has a graduate degree in Public Policy Administration and Law, as well as an Honors BA in History and Law and Society from York University.
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