Professional Speaker Career Info

If you like public speaking and like helping other people learn your area of expertise, you may be suited for a career as professional speaker.

Credentials

Although professional speakers don't necessarily need college degrees, they do need to have some expertise about the topic that they are speaking on. So if you want to speak about leadership, then you need to have experience in a leadership role within a company or organization. If you want to talk about customer service, you should have a background working in this area. Although many times nobody will ask you what your credentials are, you will have more credibility when meeting planners are considering hiring you if you have real world experience.

Another advantage of having credentials is that you can establish yourself as an expert in a particular niche or subject area. Doing so will help you narrow down your topics and make you more marketable. Meeting planners want to hire the best speakers they can afford, and if you are perceived as an expert in your field, you will not only be able to command higher paychecks but you will also be able to convince more decision makers to hire you to speak at their events.

Marketing and Sales

While a few professional speakers work for seminar companies like Fred Pryor, Career Track, and Dale Carnegie (just to name a few,) most professional speakers are self employed. As a result, as professional speaker, you will probably be responsible for marketing yourself. You need to invest as much money in marketing materials as you can afford. Start with creating a web site for yourself. You'll also definitely want some business cards. In addition, consider creating quality brochures and flyers, since meeting planners are much less likely to throw nice things away.

Another effective marketing piece is a book. So as soon as you make a decision to become a public speaker, start working on your book. Becoming an author in your niche area gives you instant authority to speak on your subject. Plus you will then have something you can sell to people who listen to you speak. Once you have created the book, you should then make a CD version of it and even a video version if you have the money to do so. You should also record your speeches as often as you can. In this way, you can quickly develop numerous products that you can sell to supplement your speaking fees.

Pay

How much you get paid as a public speaker will vary depending on how much experience you have. Beginning speakers will probably make only a few hundred dollars per talk whereas experienced speakers can make thousands of dollars at every engagement. In addition to your fees, you will want to negotiate travel arrangements with whoever is hiring you. You can either include things like flight, rental car, and hotel stay in your speaking fee, or you can make them extra things that the meeting planner will have to pay. Either way, you need to be clear when you get booked about what is included and what is not included with your speaking fee. You might consider including things like books, workbooks, and CD's with your talk. In fact, it's a good idea to offer a few different options at various price levels so that meeting planners have a choice about what they want included based on what they can afford to pay.

Daily tasks

If you are a successful public speaker, you will spend a great deal of your time traveling to speaking engagements. You will also be continually developing your material and creating new topics. In addition, you will be marketing yourself, answering phone calls, and booking speaking engagements, as well as handling paperwork and finances. Although these tasks are sometimes mundane, being a public speaker can be a fun, exciting, and rewarding career.