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Get Paid to Speak: 3 Keys to Getting Started

Many of our blog posts are for people who speak for a living. However, what if you are just getting started? Here are a few key ideas for those of you who have a desire to become a professional speaker and need to know the first steps to get started. For you seasoned speakers, these ideas can be used as a refresher checklist and something to share with emerging speakers who reach to you for help.

Pick A Lane

Most of us have done something successfully over and over again in both our professional and personal lives. It is our ‘expertise’ that we have become known for and perfected over the years. What is the thing that you have done successfully or the expertise you have that could help other people? If you can break it down into a simple 3-part formula for your audience, you are off to the races.

Once you identify your formula, step back and see what topic it might fall under. It could be offering inspiration, overcoming adversity, team building, negotiation, communication or dozens of other topics. The key is to become known for one thing and one topic area.

A few years ago, my client Greg was trying to be all things to all people. He spoke and trained on Leadership, Sales, Communication and a host of other topics. Being near burnout, he realized he needed to pick a lane and chose Leadership as his main topic. Today, Greg is known for a very specific niche within the leadership arena (mid-level managers in manufacturing) and has started to own his market.

Another of my clients, Rena, had gone thru a horrific two decade-long chapter of family abuse. She turned her story into one of overcoming adversity and helps her audiences shift their mindset and unleash their potential.

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Establishing Your Promise

This tip is for both new and seasoned speakers. A promise statement is like a tagline and helps to support your marketing by identifying exactly what you will deliver. On your website, for instance, your promise should be present on every page so that no matter what page the visitor enters on, the prospective client understands immediately how you can help them.

Your promise is a short and sweet marketing statement – unlike your mission statement. As an example, a leadership speaker might have a promise of “turning managers into leaders”. Customer service expert Lisa Ford has a promise on her site that reads, “How to Give Exceptional Customer Service”, so those visiting know immediately exactly what her expertise is and what she can deliver.

Creating an Awesome Product

Your product is your speech. Your speech is your number one form of marketing, so working hard to develop a strong presentation is crucial and will be time well spent.

Once you have figured out your speaking topic, put together a presentation and get out and speak to anyone who will listen. Consider joining Toastmasters to get some helpful tips and stage time or consider speaking to Rotary Clubs or other local business organizations as a way to perfect your message. While these are typically unpaid engagements, remember the goal while starting is to get stage time in and practice your presentation.

In my book, The Epic Keynote:  Presentation Skills and Styles of Wealthy Speakers, we lay out a formula for developing your stories and adding humor to your presentation – both keys to creating an engaging keynote or workshop.

By getting your lane, your promise, and your speech in order, you will be on your way to becoming a Wealthy Speaker!  Which is why we end each post by saying…

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson




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