Whatever your experience with it today’s co-host is here to share some of his personal stories and strategies for making it in the world as a professional speaker.
On this episode we’ll talk about the circuitous route that led him to speaking, how to get gigs and the three business categories within public speaking. We’ll dive into all of that and more on the 256th episode of The Solopreneur Hour!
More About How To Become a Professional Speaker
Thom Singer didn’t always dream of becoming a speaker. At a young age he dreamt of being an actor. Even though he grew up within mere miles of Hollywood he never pursued that dream. Instead he followed his parents’ wishes and did well in school in hopes of going to college after graduation.
When he was in high school his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Naturally his mother’s illness significantly impacted his day to day life. So much so that he chose nearby San Diego State for college so he could be close enough to return if she really needed him.
It was a decision he was grateful for later on. His mom became very ill during the first days of his freshman year of college and he went home to visit as much as possible. She died not long after, but he always felt he had been there for her as much as possible and he was grateful for the time he had with her.
Not long after graduating SDSU he was offered a job in Austin, Texas running an event photography office. His then-girlfriend-now-wife was also offered a job in Austin. They moved together and said they’d stay for 3 years. 24 years later they still call Austin home as do their two daughters. Through a series of jobs and opportunities in Austin Thom became a paid speaker about 10 years ago, full-time 6 years ago.
You’ll also hear:
- Who is the highest paid speaker in the world?
- Is there a specific number of speeches you must give before you’re good?
- What’s the most arrogant thing a speaker can do and how can you avoid it?
- The two tricks to reeling in your audience.
- People die from exposure: Thom explains how this relates to speaking.
- And much, much more!
- How to become a professional speaker
Thom’s initial brush with speaking came when he was hired to be the marketing director at a local law firm. From there he gained more experiences as a speaker and trainer, which only fueled his desire for paid public speaking gigs. So he created a business plan for himself and on today’s episode he shares the three components of that plan.
He also shares the three different business areas of speaking. The first is the celebrity or famous speaker. This is someone who is famous and gets paid to speak simply because of the name recognition. They may or may be trained speakers and may or may not be good!
The second group is the industry speakers. These are people who are known for a particular topic or area of expertise and they are asked to speak on it. They can be CEOs of famous companies or from any other walk of life.
The third group is the group Thom falls into. These are the paid professional speakers. These are the folks who make their living giving speeches. And to be a part of this group you’ve got to practice. The majority of your business is going to come from referrals and the only way you’re going to get referrals is to become good. So join your local chapter of NSA, get some professional speakers as your friends, read Speaker magazine and begin to develop your chops. That is how to become a professional speaker!
We dive fully into how to become a better speaker and how to transition from free gigs to paid gigs. Thom provides some salient advice like building your reputation, setting yourself apart from others by the way you name your topics and developing your own signature story so you standalone and become memorable.
There’s much more where that came from so listen in to glean it all. Big thanks to Thom for co-hosting and to you for lending your ears! We’ll see you next time on The Solopreneur Hour.
QUESTIONS OF THE DAY: Have you spoken before? Is so on what topic and what was your experience? If you haven’t spoken, when will you start?
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Selected Links From This Episode:
Thom Singer’s web site
Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, Thom’s podcast
The National Speakers Association web site
Thom Singer on the Twitter
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