Thursday, March 04, 2010

So You Want to be a Professional Speaker? Part IV

This is the final post in this series. Visit the first three: Part OnePart Two and Part Three

So how did Spunk On A Stick start her speaking career?

I was part of a motivational training program for ten years and that is where I got my experience speaking in front of others. I taught at team meetings and occasionally spoke briefly from stage to groups of several thousand. At the time, I was rather introverted and shy, but there was just something about holding a microphone that I really enjoyed.

When I began as an author, I spoke to book clubs, writer groups and at small book festivals. My professional career launched about three years ago, though. I love knowledge and research, and my husband says one of my strengths is that when I develop a fascination, I go all out. So at the prodding of an author friend, I put together a book promotion seminar and we approached a local community college with the idea. They said yes, and I was off and running!

I now offer six different seminars through the community colleges in North Carolina. In addition to several promotion seminars, I offer motivational ones on leadership and goal-setting. I also give a talk every year at the Book ‘Em Festival, which in turn led to my characterization sessions at middle & high schools. Over the past two years, my speaking expanded to businesses and organizations, including several health events and NCAEOP’s annual conference.

In March of 2009, I was admitted into the National Speakers Association, which is quite an honor.

My biggest claim to fame is an event that featured Michelle Obama as the keynote speaker. At the last minute, she was unable to attend, but I have the program guide to prove I was the last speaker before the First Lady!

I enjoy professional speaking because it’s an opportunity to share. I love passing on my knowledge to others. It’s a delight to watch people come to life and get excited during my motivational talks! My goal isn’t just to motivate them - it’s to inspire them to motivate themselves. I also meet some of the most amazing people along the way…

Is it worth it? You bet! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it.

Thanks for following this series. Spunky has to run now… she has a seminar tonight!


  1. It's been great reading your "Professional Speaker" series the past few weeks! Having gotten to know Spunky the author, I've enjoyed the glimpse into Spunky the professional speaker!

    And spreading some of the infamous CCP "HAPPY," have a great day and share some of my giddiness over today's holiday for grammarians: National Grammar Day! ☺

  2. I *love* watching speakers like you...who are really fired up, creative, and connected to the audience. I think my delivery leaves a lot to be desired...something I continue working on.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Great series. Thanks for giving me a heads-up on it. I'll be letting people know about it.

    You have given me things to do to increase my own public speaking opportunities. Thanks!

  4. Hope to get to see you in person one day, Diane. Your wonderful energy comes through your written words--I can only imagine what it's like for real.

  5. This has been a very motivating series. I've enjoyed it.

  6. The practical experience that you started with was an excellent opportunity for you to get started in speaking. The motivating people with whom you were associated certainly added to your motivational mindset. Great example of a person who has taken her skills and made her career happen.

  7. As a person who enjoys listening to speakers but dreads being the speaker, I’ve enjoyed your series and tips. Like Karen, I hope I have the opportunity to hear you in person one of these days.

  8. Diane- I have taken many of the community college seminars and the several you have given have been the most dynamic and memorable. You do a fabulous job and your tips are invaluable!

    If anyone ever gets a chance to hear Diane speak, don't let it pass you by!

  9. Don't know if I could do all of that, but at least now I feel I can try.

  10. god stuff all round, ldw... sadly i'm far north of the carolinas...

  11. Thanks everyone! Glad you enjoyed it. You requested promo stuff and Spunky info!

    And now Spunky is off to Southern Pines for a seminar...

  12. Thanks a gain for even more great advice, Diane - wonderful series ... and knock 'em dead at the seminar tonight!

    Marvin D Wilson

  13. I've had my nose to the grind stone and missed that you were doing this series. I'm excited to go back and catch up!

    Love it!

  14. I love this series you're doing. It's not only informational, it's motivational. But, then, what would we expect from Spunk on a Stick?!

    Straight From Hel

  15. One of these days I hope you'll visit the Flatlands of Illinois so I can hear you speak. At times, I could use some inspiration!

    Morgan Mandel

  16. Great advice!! I love your approach - no wonder you are so popular - very natural and fun :)

  17. I'm glad to hear how YOU did it. One is always most inspired by the personal!
    Tweeting writing tips and resources @frugalbookpromo

  18. Wow, Diane - I'm so glad I read this post. Obviously you're a fantastic, confident public speaker, and that's a wonderful trait.

  19. Your background in public speaking is impressive, Diana. Have you ever done an audio recorded class on this subject? Or on goal setting?

  20. Just ordered your 'obstacles' book. Looking forward to reading it!

  21. Marvin, thanks, and I had a large crowd awaiting me!

    Thanks Angie, Helen, and Morgan.

    Jemi - LOL! I wouldn't say popular...

    Thanks Carolyn and Jennifer.

    And big thank you, Mayra! Actually recording me doing a talk is on my to-do list.