For many of us, public speaking is one of our worst nightmares. The idea of having to get on stage or at a podium in front of hundreds or thousands of people sounds terrifying and more of a chore than a fun career choice.
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For some people, however, it becomes a dream job.
Whether you love speaking in front of crowds or just feel that you have important information that you want to share with the world, you may find yourself seeking a public speaking career. However, if you have decided to pursue this career path, you’re probably wondering where to start.
Though getting into the universe of public speaking is unique from more linear career paths, there are a few proven ways that you can get started on your journey to becoming a great public speaker.
If you’ve been curious about becoming a motivational or public speaker, we have you covered with a step-by-step guide to success in the industry as well as some public speaking tips.
You’re first going to need to consider just what it is that you want to speak on. Are you passionate about helping businesses market to the right audiences? Do you know a lot about a certain political issue? Or do you want to share your personal life story with people to inspire them on their journey to happiness?
Deciding what message you have to share and how you want to share it go hand in hand. If you need to change your audience’s mind on something, it’s best to do so using a persuasive speech. So, learn how to write a persuasive speech beforehand. If you’re looking to share insight and impart knowledge, you will want to focus more on information and facts.
Next, you need to figure out who you’re going to be speaking to. Think of it as though you have one specific person in mind that you want to hear your public speech more than anyone. What do they do for a living? What stage of their life are they in? And why can they, in particular, benefit from what you have to tell them?
Once you have that “perfect audience member” in mind, figure out where they can be found and how you can best deliver the information in a way that they will understand it. The quickest way to fail as a public speaker is to speak to a public that doesn’t want to, or need to, hear what you have to say.
Now that you know your target audience and what it is that you want to say to them, it’s time to consider how to add your own self to it. When it comes to public speaking, you are ultimately your product. You need to brand yourself as such to grab your target audience’s attention.
Take a full inventory of your strengths and weaknesses about any of your public speaking skill. This can be the physical sound, diction, and pitch of your speaking voice as well as the more nebulous properties. When you speak, are your sentences clear and concise? Would you consider yourself to have a more authoritative or soothing voice?
Make sure that you add your own personality to your speeches. Figure out the best version of yourself and highlight your best qualities when you’re formulating your game plan as a professional public speaker.
In the public speaking career, you are your best asset.
Once you’ve laid all of the groundwork with who you are as a public speaker and what you need to say, it’s time to get to work. Take the time to put everything that you want to say on paper.
Begin with learning how to write a speech outline. Jot down the key points that you absolutely have to get across. Organize this information into a clean format including a beginning, middle, and end, hitting all of the points that you want to make during your speech.
Then you can focus a bit more on the smaller details of your presentation. There is no better place to start than at the beginning and first impressions are important. How do you want to come out swinging with the beginning of your presentation.
So, how to start a presentation? Take your time on this step. Write multiple iterations. Read through your rough drafts to make more refined drafts. It’s always important to try reading through your speeches out loud alone before you read them aloud to an audience to make sure the structure is sound.
When you have what you believe is a good speech, it’s time to share it with an audience.
In the beginning, you may need to work for free. Search around for different events and workshops that are looking for public speakers to educate their clients. Reach out to employers, businesses, and conventions to offer your services.
Once you do find an audience, go and give it your best shot. Make sure to warm up before, study your notes and speech carefully, and take a deep breath. Trust that you’ve done the work required.
The only way to be a better public speaker is actually by public speaking. A live audience is the best way to get immediate feedback on your performance, for the better or worse. Notice especially how they respond at the end of your speech since that is what will stick with them long after they leave the room. So, be sure you know how to end a speech properly.
Once you have a few public speaking gig presentations or events under your belt, it’s time to focus on building your brand. Sit down with a web designer and create a website that will wow potential customers and clients.
Get a professional video introduction taped to give prospective clients a taste of what you will bring to the table when they hire you. This gives them proof of your skills and abilities ahead of time and makes you look prepared and capable.
The most important step to becoming a professional public speaker is starting. Once you’ve racked up your first few clients, your work will, quite literally, speak for itself.
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