Brand You: Tips for Marketing Yourself as a Professional Speaker
Karen Taylor Bass, WE NYC Mentor
Karen Taylor Bass

Now is the best time to start planning for a more productive, passionate and lucrative 2017. One option you might not have considered is getting paid for all the professional advice you currently dish out for free to colleagues, family and friends.

Regardless of your job, there is no better way to cement your expertise than to become a professional speaker. A professional speaker is personable, authentic and relatable while connecting with an audience, sharing skills and showcasing his or her expertise on a subject. If that describes you – or the person you’d like to be – you can start taking baby steps to become a professional speaker.

Think about your message and your talents. Master your voice by volunteering at events to empower others and by sharing information. School boards, PTA meetings, civic organizations and local colleges are exceptional places to start. These organizations might not have a budget to pay you initially. But if you’re thirsty for the chance to share your knowledge, starting by speaking for free will offer you exposure and an audience for your brand.

Each connection you make with your audience elevates your persona and essentially provides free advertising.

Karen Taylor Bass

A professional speaker can make anywhere from $2,500 (just beginning) to $50,000 (rock-star status) per speech. “One becomes a professional expert speaker when they create content with outstanding platform skills (connecting with the audience),” says Norma Hollis, a professional speaker strategist and founder of the Global Authenticity Movement. To be a successful speaker, Hollis says, you have to know and be comfortable with your authentic voice and always deliver good and memorable content.

Becoming an expert speaker is a strategic opportunity to enhance your brand. Each connection you make with your audience elevates your persona and essentially provides free advertising. “It [speaking] provides one with more exposure, additional revenue, and an opportunity to showcase their magic by taking a boring topic and transforming it into one of extreme engagement,” says Hollis.

Expert status as a speaker does not happen overnight. Hollis’s company offers training services and workshops for speakers; message development coaching; and marketing services to assist clients with securing paid bookings for their respective topics and passions. Keep in mind that a legitimate speakers’ agency will charge an upfront fee for its services. Most agencies will ask you to pay a monthly retainer and a commission for confirmed speaking engagements.

Norma Hollis’s Tips to Becoming an Expert Speaker:

  • Know your message and talking points
  • Practice your message repeatedly via podcast, videos and speaking engagements
  • Believe your message
  • Tap into your experience, expertise and passion
  • Listen to your inner voice
  • Be clear on your values
  • Use your experience to get noticed and motivate others
  • Treat yourself as a brand and negotiate wisely
  • Create a professional press kit to market your message and expertise

Even if you don’t aspire to rock-star status or don’t want to engage in speaking full-time, developing and marketing your speaking talents can be invaluable for your business and your brand.