Home > Articles > Business & Management > Personal Development

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

How to Start Your Speaking Career

Do this: Go to your bathroom mirror, look confidently at yourself, raise your arms over your head and shout, "I am a public speaker!"

And now you are one.

@kyleplacy:

Is that seriously how you got started?

@edeckers:

Well, I didn't have a big mirror, but I... no, not really.

@kyleplacy:

We need to write more than that. We have a page count we have to meet.

If you want to get started as a speaker, first identify your goal as a speaker. Is it to make $5,000 in your first year as a speaker? To be a keynote speaker at your industry association's national conference? To speak to more than 500 people at once? Some goals can be met right away; others may take a few years, with these goals serving as milestones along the way.

For the purposes of this chapter, we are assuming you want to get paid as a speaker, whether you're giving talks as part of your regular job and you receive an honorarium, or you want to become a professional speaker whose full-time job is to travel around and give talks. These other steps we just mentioned will be milestones along the way.

Here's the problem: Most of your speaking gigs are going to be for free, especially in the first year. That's because you don't have credibility as a speaker, even if you just finished your third year in Toastmasters. You're still an untried, unknown quantity, and you're not going to get the same respect as the industry experts who have been doing it for several years. (And if you've spent three years in Toastmasters without speaking outside, you need to move off center just a little bit.)

Don't get hung up on the fact that you're speaking for free; in fact, learn to appreciate the opportunities. Think about all the stage time you're getting. You're honing your skills, developing your stage presence, and learning what works for you and what doesn't. This will help you achieve the speaking goals you have set for yourself.

Plus, speaking for free can sometimes produce the same results as speaking for money—getting more business, getting other speaking gigs, generating traffic for your blog, finding a new job.

Stand-up comics work like this when they start out, building stage time, trying to get as much as they can, as often as they can. They work up 5 minutes of material and perform it over and over—for free—at open mic nights. Then they move up to showcases, expanding their set into 7 minutes, and then 10 minutes. They hone that 10 minutes until it's perfect, and they keep performing it as many times as they can, usually for free.

A lot of these new comics drive for 2 hours just for the chance to do 7 minutes onstage. In fact, any successful comic you talk to or hear in an interview will talk about how they just did the same short set over and over, for free or little pay, until they started making it to bigger and bigger venues.

That's because one club owner will see that perfect 7 minutes and offer the comic a chance to do an industry showcase for $50. Then all the other club owners will assume that if the comic did an industry showcase, he's good enough to do their industry showcase for $50. Then the comic is good enough to do another showcase, after which another owner will ask the comic to open for a headliner in her club, and bada-bing, bada-boom!, one day, the comic is a headliner. And it's all because he was willing to drive 2 hours to do a free 7-minute set a few years earlier.

But the comics who do only two sets and then give up because they don't get a paying gig will be unknown, out-of-work comics who slowly grind their way to anonymous retirement at their data analyst's job in their tiny cubicle that's slowly killing them. (Oh, but we're sure it's different for you. Seriously, that won't happen to you.)

The lesson is the same for speaking. You need to speak for free for a while. That's the way these things work. But you won't always do that.

Because in the meantime, you're still blogging about your industry, you're still growing your network, and you're blogging to your network about all the talks you're giving, which is helping grow your personal brand.

As you give more talks, more people will see you. Specifically, more people who make decisions about getting speakers will see you. There are almost always decision makers or influencers at conferences. And they'll assume that if you are good enough to speak at this conference, you're good enough to speak at their conference. (Remember how club owners hire comics for their showcases?)

We can't count the number of speaking opportunities we've had because someone saw one or both of us speak at an event, only to be invited to their event a few months later. So while we're both out of the "speaking for free" part of our careers, we recognize that it was an important part of how we got this far.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020