Getting Hired As A Public Speaker
Date: October 2, 2015
Nothing can compare to the feeling of a room full of people listening to you and taking your words right to their heart.
So you’ve found a profession people care about. You’ve built your craft from nothing and established yourself as an expert in your industry. People see you as a success and you’re proud of your achievements.
You may have even attended public speaking courses so your knowledge can translate clearly to others. Confidence built, script wrote and passion at 100 percent, you’re ready to get paid as a public speaker.
At this point you ask yourself ‘what am I doing wrong?’
It feels like nobody wants to hire you and no matter how many strong connections you make with people, they don’t consider hiring you.
Yes, a quick Google search will bring up hundreds of public speaking agents, claiming to get you a job in a few days, but that doesn’t always work – especially when they want nearly all your money as commission.
No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down, you aren’t ready to fail. That fire that once fueled your ambition to start, is glowing brighter and you want to get hired to speak more than anything.
Show Your Talents
You are a speaker, not a writer, so the words you put down on paper mean very little until they translate to actual skills. Recording yourself shows others that you’re serious about what you do and you care enough to do it for free. It’s worth investing in a high quality camera and microphone to speak about something you enjoy.
This shows that you can speak, and you have evidence of your skills, and when people watch you, they’ll be more enticed to hire you once they know of your talent.
Alternatively, you could pay a professional to record you speaking at an event. It doesn’t have to be the entire thing, as five or ten minutes will be enough. If possible, do this for a few of your events, to show you taking on new topics and ideas. The more versatile you are, the better.
Create A Strong Profile
“I am a speaker who has lots of experience” won’t cut it. Your profile is a way to sell yourself and showcase your talent, not to list facts that don’t have any flavour. If your profile doesn’t reflect your personality and experience, you won’t get hired. People will read it and throw it to the side.
Include a brief biography of yourself. Tell people a story of who you are using a brief summary of what kind of speaker you are, the topics you cover, what you can bring to a performance and what experience you have.
If you’ve ever had any media coverage include this in your profile too. This includes TV appearances and interviews (both written and spoken). If applicable, give sources.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had any media coverage, it doesn’t mean you won’t get hired. Think back to the highlights in your career, and it may help to ask a friend if they can remember your achievements because you may think speaking in front of 30 people isn’t much of an achievement, but for some, that’s even more daunting.
Provide information about the type of speeches you give. Just a few sentences is enough to quickly summarise your area of expertise. Everything should sound exciting and interesting. If you are bored writing it, people will be bored reading it.
If you have done volunteer gigs in the past, add these on to your profile to really impress prospective people. Add in a description of the type of event, include the audience you performed for and a few sentences of what you covered. Your goal is to make the reader feel like they were there with you.
If possible, ask for client testimonials at any events you attend and add a Client Testimonial section to your profile. This tells prospects that you can be trusted to deliver an outstanding performance and you have proof of that too.
Any awards, certificates, professional bodies you’re a part of, or any experience that sets you apart shouldn’t be missed, along with a clear and professional head shot.
If people are turning you down and you rarely land any work, holding free events is an excellent way to boost your profile and you may even find your next work at the event.
Not only is this an extra something to add to your profile, but you’ll gain experience and have the opportunity to ask customers for feedback – exactly what you need to brush up on your public speaking skills.
Present yourself as an expert and act like you’re doing someone a favour by not charging. Have an idea in your mind of what your minimum rate is, so that if anyone does ask, you can tell them without stuttering.
If you can speak at events where you know prospective people will be in the audience, even better. After the show, you can network with people in the audience and introduce yourself to them. This is a more efficient way of meeting new people than emailing people who have never heard of you.
Once you’ve plucked up the courage to network with new people, stay in touch – and don’t say you will, actually do it. Give them your contact details and website to encourage them to stay in touch. If you have a business card, that’s even better and makes you look professional too.
It’s a worthwhile idea to network online too. LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform where you can get your name out there without seeming too pushy. You see, most speakers wait until a company/person is looking to hire a speaker before they get in touch, but if you have a strong networking system, you won’t have to look for work, but work will start coming to you.
Connect with other speakers online and in person to get some advice from them and see how they managed to build a reputation in this competitive industry.
Don’t forget to tell everyone you meet what you do too, because you never know when this will come in handy. When people ask what you do for a living, say you’re a public speaker – or at least looking for work as a public speaker. If you don’t tell people, they won’t ever know of you.
It is hard, but possible to find more work. If you’re hardworking and passionate about your career, then you will be successful in the end. Remain patient but always try the above points, so that you’re never waiting for an opportunity, but making opportunities.