June 17, 2010

The Life of a Professional Speaker: Myths and Realities

microphoneMany people might think that the life of a professional speaker is glamorous, easy and fun. While it's true that those of us who are in the speaking profession often love our work, it's not always easy - or glamorous!

Here are some popular myths and misconceptions about being a professional speaker, motivational speaker or group coach - and the "real" realities:

Myth: Professional speakers get paid to talk.
Reality: It's not just "talk" - there's a lot of planning involved. The best speakers put in several hours of research and preparation for every hour that they spend actually speaking or coaching. There is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that has to happen before the “show” can start.

Myth: Being a motivational speaker is all about presentation, performance and pizzazz!
Reality: You need to have some substance behind what you're saying. It’s not enough to just put on a good show; you also need to be a respected authority in your field of expertise. And some of the most popular speakers are not necessarily the ones with the most charismatic styles of presentation – there are many ways to win over an audience.

Myth: Professional speakers and group coaches just talk off the top of their heads, using a standard script that they’ve memorized and delivered thousands of times.
Reality: The best motivational speakers and coaches take the time to prepare something special and unique for each audience. They adapt their message and target their expertise to the particular needs of every audience – so that every speech or group coaching session is a little different. The best professional speakers don’t give “cookie-cutter” speeches.

Myth: Professional speakers and group coaches just show up, deliver a speech, collect their pay and move on – they don’t really have to think about the longer-term effects of their work.
Reality: It’s much more than “just” a speech. The best professional speakers and coaches make sure that they leave a lasting impact on each audience that goes beyond the time they spend speaking. Every group coaching session or motivational speech is a chance to help change an audience and influence the direction of the organization. Whether it’s a cleverly-packaged “leave behind” document, an e-mail survey to gauge audience feedback, or a formal follow-up session, the best speakers and group coaches find a way to leave a lasting impression with their audience that will have lasting results.

What are some other misconceptions that you've heard from other people when they hear you're a professional speaker or group coach? And how do you work to overcome these misconceptions in your own business?

DeLores Pressley, Professional Speaking Expert

DeLores Pressley, Professional Speaking Expert

DeLores Pressley is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. DeLores has spoken to more than 107,000 people in over 65 major cities and countries. She has been interviewed on America’s top rated shows including, OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight. She produces Speak for Hire, an educational program teaching entrepreneurs, speakers and coaches how to speak and grow their business. More about DeLores

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June 18, 2010

Rhoberta Shaler, PhD @ 3:31 pm

Well said, Dolores! You do need substance and life-experience to support the insights and information you offer as a speaker. And, yes, it takes well-spent hours to customize presentations to give the most to the audience on each occasion.

Good stuff!

Good to see you in Bakersfield.


DeLoresPressley @ 6:08 pm

Thanks Rhoberta! My research shows that it takes at least 3 hours of preparation for a 30 minute speech. It was great to see you in Bakersfield. After listening to your presentation it is evident that you know the realities of the life of a professional speaker. You are an amazing speaker!

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