Winning awards isn’t necessary if you want to make a living as a public speaker, but there’s no denying that it can help, in that it will enable you to win more gigs and to charge a higher premium. It can also be nice to receive recognition from within the industry.
But how do you go about becoming an award-winning speaker, and are there any shortcuts that you can follow or tips that you can use that will increase your chances of success?
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today, so start practicing your acceptance speech and get ready. We’re about to dive right in.
1. Get good
This might sound obvious, but the single best way to become an award-winning public speaker is to be really, really good at what you do. If you’re able to give a consistently good performance when you take to the stage, you increase your chances of being recognized and being given an award. And of course, if you’re submitting yourself and hoping for the best, if you’re good at what you do then your application is more likely to be successful.
2. Familiarize yourself with the awards
Most award-winning public speakers start out by submitting themselves for awards, and if you want to do that then you need to familiarize yourself with the awards that are out there. There’s no shortage of opportunities for you to submit yourself, but you need to know that those opportunities are there before you can hope to take advantage of them.
3. Learn what the awards judges are looking for
This builds on from the last point and takes it to the next step. Once you know what awards there are, you need to get to know what the judges are looking for. This includes the basics, like understanding the deadlines and getting to know what they require as part of the submission process. It can help to start building a spreadsheet where you list all of this information so that you can refer back to it and prioritize your efforts.
4. Submit to them
Now that you know what awards are out there and what their requirements are, you’re ready to start submitting to them. Keep using that spreadsheet that we mentioned so that you can log when you’ve submitted and whether you’ve received a response. This is vital to make sure that you don’t accidentally submit yourself twice for the same award. You can also refer back to this in the future, as most awards are annual, and so if you don’t win one year, you can try again in the next one.
Networking is always useful, whether you’re applying for awards or not. With that said, it can be even more useful then, because you’ll be able to tap into your network if the awards go to a public vote or when you need quotes and testimonials to support your application. You might also learn about new awards from your professional network if you keep your eyes open.
6. Showcase your credentials
When trying to win public speaking awards, it’s always a good idea to showcase your credentials. This helps to show that you know what you’re talking about and that you’ve received accolades from other organizations, like educational institutions or public speaking clubs. If you’re fortunate enough to win one of the awards that you’re up for, you should also showcase that and shout about it from the rooftops. Done well, it becomes a virtuous cycle where one award leads to another.
7. Stay authentic
This tip is actually valid for public speaking as a whole and so it’s a sound concept to use throughout your career. People love authenticity, and that’s especially true for public speakers. In fact, if you fail to stay true to yourself then people will pretty quickly become suspicious, so don’t fall victim to the idea that taking on a persona is a good way to win awards. It’s not, but it is a pretty good way to miss out on bookings and to alienate the very people you’re hoping to connect with.
8. Be humble
There’s nothing worse than someone who wins an award and then doesn’t shut up about it. Sure, it’s good to showcase the awards that you’ve won because they can help to remind people that you’re good at what you do, but make sure that it’s not the only thing you talk about. You should also be willing to give credit where credit is due, which may mean acknowledging the members of the team that helped to get you where you are, or some of the people in your network that helped to secure your nomination.
9. Ask other people
In this article, we’ve mostly focused on making your own awards submissions, and that’s because it’s usually the best way to ensure that you’re shortlisted for something. That doesn’t make it the only option though, and so if you’ve done the hard work to build your network and you have grateful clients and followers who might be willing to lend a hand, don’t be afraid to ask them to submit you for awards too.
10. Keep submitting
The key to continuing to win awards is to keep on submitting applications. It’s a bit like that old saying about the lottery – you have to be in it to win it. Even if you’re lucky enough to win your first couple of awards, if you want them to keep on coming in then you’ll want to keep on submitting to new awards and to resubmit to the ones that you’ve already won in later years. Being an award-winning public speaker is good for business. Being a multiple-award winner is great for business.
Now that you know a few of our top tips for becoming an award-winning public speaker, we want to hear from you. Have you ever been nominated for or received a public speaking award? And if so, how did it come about?
As always, we’d love to keep the discussion going, so be sure to let us know in the comments. You can also follow us on your favorite social networking sites for more. We’ll see you soon for another article!