December 8, 2010

Getting Started as a Professional Speaker as a Group Coach

If you’re successful as a group coach, chances are you already have the talent, experience and the interests that would make you a good professional speaker. But how can you get started as a professional speaker as a group coach? How can you go from group coaching to professional speaking – with the bigger audiences and bigger paychecks that go with it?

Here are several ideas to keep in mind as you pursue professional speaking to help grow your group coaching business:

• Speak for free (at first). The best way to get started as a professional speaker is to get started speaking – to any audience, even if you’re speaking for free. Every speech you deliver will help build your network, help get your reputation out there, and will give you another YouTube clip to add to your website. As your reputation as a speaker grows and you start to get referrals, you can start to charge for your speaking services.

• Develop a niche. Ask yourself, “What is my area of expertise that I can speak about? What special wisdom can I bring to an audience?” It can be hard to market yourself as a speaker if your subject matter is too general. It’s better to have a specific area of expertise – preferably where there isn’t as much competition. After all, there are already a lot of “motivational speakers” and “leadership experts” in the world; but what if you could offer a speech about “leadership lessons learned from my experience in the U.S. military” or “how to manage and motivate a diverse workforce in the IT industry?” Sometimes it’s better to be more specific – especially when you’re just getting started.

• Put yourself out there. No one is going to come hire you as a professional speaker just because you have a website – you need to get out and introduce yourself. Identify a few events and conferences and audiences that you would love to speak to, and then proactively get in contact with the event organizers and decision makers. Network. Send some e-mails, follow up with phone calls, and offer to drop by for an in-person chat. You might need to start small and start local – if you’re good, the bigger audiences will come with time.

• Be generous and entertaining. Remember to have fun with this! Bring some humor and excitement and energy to your audiences. Be generous with your time and talents – show your audience that you love them and that you care about giving them a memorable speech.

• Use technology to promote your speaking. Write blog posts about the types of speeches you’d like to give – this is a quick way to introduce yourself to prospective audiences. Put a dedicated Speaking page on your website with an introduction and a quick overview of the kinds of speeches you give. Use Slideshare to share your presentations online. Use YouTube to upload videos of your past speeches so people can see you in action. Now more than ever, it’s possible for professional speakers to use fast, cheap (or free) tools and resources to promote themselves and share their ideas.

Have you had some success as a professional speaker to promote your group coaching business or to supplement your income? How did you get started? What are the most important things to remember when getting started as a professional speaker? What are the best/worst/most exciting/most challenging aspects of being a professional speaker?

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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