Thursday, February 18, 2010

So, You Want to be a Professional Speaker? II

Part Deux!
Read Part One if you missed it last week.

Now that you have a handle on your platform and speaking topics, just where are you gonna speak?

Up until now have been what I call practice runs. You’ve spoken to book clubs. You’ve spoken to writing clubs. You’ve spoken at books signings. But where do you go from there?

And before we go any further, if you’ve not done a lot of speaking or feel uncomfortable, you’ll need to improve your skills! Join Toastmasters or take a class at your local community college. It was also give you confidence and decrease nervousness.

Where do you find opportunities to speak? You have your platform and angle. Now, who’s your target audience? Who would benefit from your topic? Who could you inform or who could you inspire?

One of the aspects you need to consider is heart of your message. Is it motivational? Educational? Historical? Instructional? Your basic ‘theme’ will guide you to your target audience.

Places to consider:

• Libraries - they love history and educational talks do well, too.

• Businesses - companies are always seeking instruction and motivation. Can you raise employee productivity? Sales? Teach them new tricks of the trade?

• Schools - what can you teach the students? Can you make English teacher’s lives easier? Can you bring history to life?

• Churches - if your message is spiritual in nature, this could be a great fit! Can you motivate or educate?

• Colleges - can you teach a business seminar? Teach a class? Offer insight?

• Writer’s conferences - always looking for experienced authors, editors, publisher, etc. What could you offer novice writers?

• Organizations - from business to non-profit! Can you instruct or motivate? Does your topic tie in directly with an organization?

• Clubs - Rotary, Lion’s Club, Sorority, etc. They are looking for all angles as they pertain to their group.

• Conferences - all of the above have conferences - how can you tie into one?

There are hundreds of opportunities out there! Get creative with ideas. How about speaking on a cruise ship? How about a political convention? How about in another country?

It’s homework time again!!

Part three next week!


  1. You are good at this motivational stuff! I'm ready to go find somewhere to speak!

    Great post!

  2. Thanks, Crystal! That's why I'm The Spunky.

  3. You've given me some ideas, but still not sure I'm ready for it.

  4. More awesome advice!! For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of attending one of Diane's seminars, she is amazing!!!

  5. Great ideas! I'm a reluctant public speaker, but it seems like I'm doing it more and more. Your tips are helpful!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  6. If you are adept at humor, you can use that in almost all the situations you describe. I have a friend who is a humorist and she's making a living with it.

    Straight From Hel

  7. I would love to see Spunky speak. You motivate me all the time, Diane.
    Thanks. Karen

  8. Very good tips. You definitely motivate.

  9. Don't forget streetcorners or random public places! Seriously, have you ever stopped to listen to one of those "soapbox" speakers? Wonder what motivates them?

    Also, working as a spokesperson or a product pitchman is a way to build up to promoting oneself-- you get used to speaking in public without really putting yourself in the limelight.

    You can work up to it by doing telemarketing or canvassing-- getting used to talking to strangers where they can't actually see you. I used to hate doing that, but it really helped me to loosen up and be able to talk to many kinds of people and also accept rejection.

  10. Helen, I do try and add humor, but I'm not a natural - so I admire anyone who is!

    Karen, I will definitely let you know if I've visiting beautiful ABQ again.

    Good tips for getting used to public speaking, Lee!

  11. Great tips! Thanks for the motivation. cheers~

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  13. Diane:

    The advice you offer always motivates me! You are inspiring. I look forward to your next post.

    Warm regards,

  14. You ARE good at motivating! Terrified as I am of speaking in public, I've actually done it a few times and enjoyed it. Now you've got me thinking I should do it some more :)

  15. Very informative post, Diane! Public speaking always makes me so nervous--it takes all the energy out of me.

  16. This is so valuable. Speaking can be the best way to promote one's book and it's also a great growth promoter for those who think they can't or don't want to do it! You go, Diane!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Tweeting writing and promotion tips @frugalbookpromo

  17. Another gig--Cruise ships! And then you get to cruise with a guest for free. :)

    I am also a fan of Toastmasters. Being an active member of TM helped me overcome nerves and sharpen my skills. It's a "kind" place to receive constructive feedback. The only way to overcome nervousness...if you do experience to continually get up in front of others until you no longer have the "reaction." Doesn't mean you lose all jitters, but as someone in TM once said, "You still have butterflies! Just means that your butterflies fly in formation."

  18. Love these ideas. You know, I really need to just sit down and make a long list of places I would like to speak/teach. Then send out a speaker's kit.

    How cool an idea to be a speaker on a cruise line. I'd thought of it, but more as a lark for the "some day" time. But maybe it's not so far fetched. Hmm.