Do you feel nervous whenever you’re asked to give a speech or do a presentation? Does the thought of getting up in front of an audience terrify you? Have you found yourself turning red or feeling hot before a speech? Then you’re in good company because most people have anxiety with public speaking. You’ve probably heard that public speaking is the number one social fear – some people fear it even more than death!
I love going to free public speaking seminars: if the material isn’t good, I usually walk away with at least a good story. At one such event a few years ago, the leader let me deliver a five minute speech. His feedback was that my introduction had needed more oomph — he told me that I only had six seconds to capture the audience’s attention. I told him that advice was nonsense as people seated will take at times a few minutes to warm up to. Â I know it’s important to have a good opening to your speech and that’s a topic in itself. But this isn’t about speeches, it’s about writing and that’s a different beast.
If you’ve taken that first step towards becoming a professional speaker, then congratulations. It’s an exciting journey that can be both fun and frustrating, but in the end, you’ll find it worthwhile and rewarding. There’s nothing better than wowing audiences day after day. Of course, making the decision to become a professional speaker is the exciting part. But in addition to the fun stuff, there are a lot of business and administration tasks that need to be done.
Last night was the Miss USA pageant. Normally, the big news would be that Connecticut’s Erin Brady won. However, the buzz is all about an answer from Miss Utah, Marissa Powell. No, this time it wasn’t something racist or bigoted or otherwise shocking. Instead, she got nervous, stumbled through her answer and used improper English.
If you’d like to see her answer, the video is below:
Sometimes it seems like a meeting where everyone practices their public speaking skills can only be so fun. I mean honestly, how many speeches about people’s dogs, families, jobs, etc… can one tolerate? I personally love these types of speeches because I’m fascinated with people and like to learn about them (and truthfully, I’ve actually walked away from many of these types of speeches with useful advice). Of course, not everyone is like me so sometimes you need to change things up.
One of the benefits of improving your speaking skills is that you can actually uses these skills to make money, even a living. It’s a great way to put your speaking skills to use and can be rewarding in more ways than just monetarily. If you feel comfortable speaking to groups, becoming a professional speaker can be quite lucrative provided that there are people willing to pay to hear what you have to say.
Professional speakers can make money a number of different ways. We’ll talk about some of them, both the obvious and not so obvious.
Speech contests are a huge part of Toastmasters and can be interesting to watch. While I’ve never competed, I’ve had the pleasure of acting as contest master and chief judge (on separate occasions, of course) and have really enjoyed being a part of them. But the big question about speech contests is whether or not it’s worth all the time and effort.
Like anything, it really depends on your goals. I know people that make thousands of dollars for each speaking engagement they do, yet have never participated in a speaking contest. I also know of people who have won the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking that haven’t been able to leverage their win to create a successful speaking career. But on the flip side, I know people that haven’t participated in contests that have struggled to make a career out of speaking and people that have won contests and have done well for themselves. And of course, there are thousands of us in between.