I’ve been invited to speak at major conferences, including Fin Con, Podcast Movement and Social Media Marketing World. I was asked to teach online for the Tony Robbins organization, I was the keynote speaker for Florida BlogCon and I’ve had numerous paid speaking engagements. Why should you care? Because I can help you land speaking gigs as well.
Where did I start speaking? Toastmasters. I would recommend it to ANYBODY, especially if you’re not a confident speaker.
In order to speak professionally, there are skills you're going to have to get good at including speaking extemporaneously. Extemporaneous speaking is when you’re speaking off the cuff, making it up as you go along.
There are going to be times when you have a very, very planned speech and something is going to go wrong. If you don’t have the confidence to “go live” or off the cuff, it’s going to mess you up.
It’s one thing to pitch and sell yourself, but it’s another thing to truly perform well as a speaker. I’ve seen some pretty bad speakers and, well, they don’t get hired much.
Give yourself a year of Toastmasters if you’re not an accomplished speaker already. You’ll learn to construct a presentation, but I think the most important thing is confidence.
Can you put yourself in a very, very uncomfortable, awkward position and still be able to perform well? If you can, that’s going to increase your value and worth as a speaker. More value = bigger gigs. No meeting planner with a larger organization is going to take a risk on you until they see that you can perform very well.
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If you don’t have Toastmasters in your area, check to see if there are any improv classes. Yeah, that’s right, improv comedy classes. I took about a year of improv and it improved pretty much every area of my life.
During these classes, I learned how to deal with uncomfortable situations. If you have a good instructor, you’re going to suffer at some point, because they’ll push you out of your comfort zone. You just gotta keep going.
I had a number of experiences where I completely failed, and somewhere I felt like I did really really well. Improve, by the way, is not about learning comedy so much as it is about learning how to construct a scene and learning how to be in the moment and hyper-aware of what’s going on around you.
For me, the biggest benefit of improv was being able to turn off the analytical part of my mind that filters everything before I say it. This helped me gain confidence that I could do or say the perfect thing in any situation.
Once you’ve started honing your speaking skills, you can start hitting up small workshops and doing pro bono stuff in your local community. You’ll grow from there.
Want to learn more speaking tips? I have a TON to share. Just watch the video above and don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel!
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