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Speak, Earn, Inspire: 3 Proven Tips to Monetize Your Public Speaking Passion

Recently, I've received an increasing number of requests for advice on how to get paid for public speaking. Often, these are from individuals who have attended my workshops, eager to learn how I carved out my niche in this field. I always strive to provide actionable advice, and I encourage you, the reader, to also reach out. To assist a broader audience, here are three pivotal tips for entering the world of paid public speaking.

 

  1. Understanding the Market


When entering public speaking, one of the most critical questions is: Who is your market? This tip is common and crucial in any business venture. Initially, I wanted to engage audiences who worked with professionals who helped others, but I was unsure who specifically that was. Did that mean child welfare, workforce development, re-entry programs, education, or healthcare? With such a broad spectrum, the only way to truly know was through trial and error. I tested my message across various sectors by speaking at workshops, conferences, seminars, and online events to see which audience resonated most with my content. Remember, no matter how potent your message, if it doesn't emotionally connect with your audience, their attention will likely wander.


Tip: Identify your target audience through exploration and testing.


Scenario: Imagine you’re a new speaker at a child welfare conference. Your session covers "Strategies for Enhancing Child Safety and Well-being." After speaking, you note the audience's questions focused on water safety and early childhood trauma. This feedback is invaluable, revealing that your message resonates deeply within the child welfare community, and they wanted more guidance. From here, you decide to focus more on these two topics, tailoring your speeches to fit the needs of social workers, educators, and policymakers in this sector.




2. Build Credibility


I recall hosting a workshop in Chicago where I performed exceptionally well. Many attendees stayed afterward, eager to speak with me—one of those truly gratifying moments. However, I’ve learned that maintaining humility is key. Someone once remarked post-keynote, "It must feel rewarding to get that response." I replied, "It won’t matter if my next one is horrible." This illustrates the critical nature of consistency in public speaking. Recency bias is real; audiences will remember your last performance the most. Whether it's a free engagement for four people or a paid one for 400, treat every opportunity as if it’s your most important. Your credibility, knowledge, and passion will either open more doors or close them.


Tip: Consistently deliver quality presentations and handle each opportunity with utmost seriousness.


Scenario: You’re invited to speak at a local community center, and only a handful of people show up. Despite the small crowd, you give the talk your all, engaging the attendees with interactive questions and compelling content. One attendee, impressed by your passion and expertise, happens to be a local business leader and invites you to speak at a larger corporate event. This opportunity arose because you treated the small event as important as a major conference.




 

3. Networking and Promotion


I’m not a fan of cold calls, so my advice here is limited. However, your network is your most significant asset as a public speaker. People prefer to work with those they trust, respect, and feel emotionally connected to. Rarely does a cold call create such bonds. Instead, leverage connections through colleagues, friends, and past employers, as these personal endorsements are invaluable. In my early days, I undertook numerous free speaking engagements, each paving the way to more significant opportunities and relationships. Additionally, utilize social media—a powerful tool for indirectly and directly connecting with potential clients. It's free, has extensive reach, and lets you share your story and passion. There's no excuse for a new business or speaker not to have a robust online presence.


Tip: Leverage existing networks and use social media to enhance your visibility.


Scenario: You start sharing short clips of your speeches and interactive sessions on LinkedIn and YouTube. These clips showcase your expertise and speaking style, catching the attention of a conference organizer looking for speakers for an upcoming professional gathering. They reach out via social media, and you secure a well-paid speaking slot at the conference. This engagement further boosts your profile and leads to more inquiries and bookings.

 


Conclusion


Embarking on a paid public speaker journey is exciting and challenging. Each speaking engagement is a stepping stone toward greater opportunities, allowing you to refine your skills, better understand your audience, and build a supportive network. Stay persistent, seize every chance to speak, and continue to share your passion and knowledge. Public speaking isn’t just about delivering information—it’s about making meaningful connections that can propel your career forward. If you ever need personalized advice or have questions about public speaking, don't hesitate to reach out.


You got this!

 




 


 Disclaimer


*Statements on this blog reflect the author's personal opinions and do not represent any other person, company, or organization. The purpose of this blog is to provide general knowledge and to raise awareness of tools, techniques, people, and organizations that bring about positive change. The reader is strongly encouraged to perform independent research about the topics discussed.

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