Conventions, conferences, meetings, and cruises are a booming business these days. Event planners are making lots of money, and they need you to help them fill empty speaker slots. It’;s your job to figure out how you can appropriately fit into these schedules.
Check out organizations such as the Cruise Lines International Association, the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, and Meeting Planners International, which will probably also have a local chapter in your area.
Do some research to find out what kinds of topics are being discussed on the circuit. How can you create a topic that is new enough to set you apart, but not so new that you will not fit in?
If you’;re having difficulty deciding on the right topic for you, try to do a survey of your target market to determine what they most want to learn. Create a questionnaire to discover their needs, and then find a way to fill those needs.
Become an Expert
Once you have determined your topic, you need to establish yourself as an expert. There are several ways to do this. You can write articles and offer them for free to appropriate publications. You can self-publish a book or put an e-book on CD, which you can then include with your press kit and sell after your speeches.
Whenever you do make a booking, submit a press release to appropriate media outlets announcing your speech. You can use an online service for this, or you can target specific publications, radio and television stations. If you give radio and television outlets a tag line for their commercials that will make their listeners tune in, you have a much better chance of getting on the air.
Every time you make a booking, ask the client for referrals!
Tailor Your Topic to Your Audience
When you get a booking, make sure your material is tailor to your audience. Find out about the people who will be listening to you. Have they chosen to be there or are they required to be there? What are their ages? What positions do their hold? What do they most need to learn?
Most importantly, how much do they already know about your subject? While you do not want to talk over their heads, you also do not want to bore your audience with information that is common knowledge to them.
Public Speaking Tips
Practice your speech aloud, and time it. Have extra information to imp if you find yourself with more time than you anticipated, and know what you can leave out if you run out of time. Running out of time is much more likely, and you will need to be able to cut from the center in order to end your speech appropriatively. You do not want to end in the middle and have your ending fizzle.
Always have someone else introduce you, and always write your own introduction. This way, the most important information about you will be attributed to the audience, and it will not sound like you’;re singing your own praises. You will sound impressive, and the audience will immediately be excited about hearing what you have to say.
Do not try to be funny unless you know for sure that you’;re funny. Remember how Johnny Carson always had something self-deprecating to say after a joke went flat? His joke about his bad joke was actually funnier than the original joke. If you’;re going to try jokes, borrow Johnny’;s tactical. This will help you to save face and keep you from getting flustered if no one laughs.
Avoid slides with too many words. Your audience will read each slide before you finish describing it, and this will just make them feel they’;ve jumped ahead of you.
Whatever topic you choose, expand your expertise even further by reading and researching your topic. Learn everything you can. It will not only improve your speech, it will increase your confidence and ignite your passion even further.
If you follow these guidelines, before you know it, you will be a great public speaker who is also a professional speaker.