People often think that public speaking only refers to giving a speech in front of an audience or cameras. However, in all areas of our lives, there is a need for public performance.
From oral exams at school, through job interviews, to presenting within your company, we need to express ourselves verbally. A discussion at the local post office counter, a meeting of the tenants’ association, or giving a speech at a wedding – it’s all considered public speaking.
And the opportunities for public speaking are all around us. Perhaps only a click away. All it takes is to spread the word about your passion, tell people what you’re into, and seek out opportunities carefully.
If you are a talented speaker, you just need to know how to locate the gigs that inspire you the most. But before you learn how to do that, let’s dedicate a couple of lines to this beautiful profession first.
Why is public speaking important?
Communication is the backbone of human interaction. As a part of everyday life, public speaking is one of the most important forms of communication.
Developed public speaking skills can be useful in many areas of personal and work life. Experience in public speaking can get you a dream job, or a promotion, a lifetime partner, and increase your confidence.
Participating in public speaking activities regularly can make you feel more comfortable around other people and help you cope in various unfamiliar situations. Having these skills allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, stand out from the crowd, and position yourself as an expert in your field.
Great leaders are also great public speakers. They know how to inspire people to take action, change their behavior, or reach certain goals. They know how to convey their passion and drive to others, which is essential in some professions, like managerial positions, fitness coaching, or politics.
Having public speaking skills and experience brings many benefits and opens many doors. That’s why practicing it can be of key importance in preparing for various life situations. Though everyday activities bring possibilities for public presentation, here is how to find more professional opportunities as a public speaker.
Opportunities for public speaking
Now, if you have worked on your presentation skills and put a lot of thought into what you are going to speak about next, it’s time to find opportunities for you to speak publicly.
Present at work meetings
An office job provides plenty of opportunities for public speaking. Especially in large companies. There are meetings, presentations, onboardings, or lunches happening on a regular basis.
Next time you hear of an opportunity, volunteer to do the presentation in front of your team, speak up and express your opinion at a meeting, or welcome and onboard your new colleagues.
You can also hold workshops and train others for specific tasks. And don’t forget to give a toast at special events, such as a company function or a corporate Christmas party.
Look for local business events, public conferences, and open meetups. Join some as an attendee and look for information, experience, and connections. Later, when you have built your credibility and expertise, people will start inviting you to speak on such occasions.
Ask questions and exchange opinions with speakers, hosts, and anyone present. Defend your views, but always be polite. Present with arguments and facts so that you come across as a credible and knowledgeable individual. That is how they will remember you.
Nowadays, online conferences and webinars are also very popular. The same applies to them as for live gatherings. Just make sure your camera, mic, lighting, and Internet connection are high quality. Also consider using a professional background in video conferences.
Attend a career day
A career day at school is another good opportunity to speak in public. It is a chance to introduce young people to your business and workplace. Especially if your profession is not typical or is on the rise.
This is an occasion where you can share information on the education and skills necessary for success in your field of work or in business in general. Similarly, you can speak as a guest lecturer at a school or college on specific topics from your field of expertise.
If you are still new to public speaking, you need to develop a pitch that will convince event organizers to engage you. And be prepared to do it for free in the beginning. Giving a free speech will help you gain experience, make connections and build a reputation.
Explore online public speaking portals
Events that require talented speakers are being organized all the time. It is common practice for event organizers to sign up to an online public speaking platform in search of an inspiring new speaker.
So you need to be in the right place at the right time. You can create a profile and present yourself to event organizers in the best possible manner. Remember to include references and videos of you performing if you have them.
SpeakerHub is an example of a virtual portal that serves two main functions: It enables speakers to easily find their next gig, and it helps event organizers find their next speakers.
Use social media
How we communicate has been changing dramatically in recent years. It’s no longer necessary to be face-to-face with people in order to be heard. The development of technology and the Internet has given us the opportunity to spread our message across the whole world.
There are almost 4 billion active social media users worldwide and you should take advantage of that. Join social network groups that are relevant to your business and the topics you deal with, and elaborate your views there. Follow the hashtags or channels related to events that you would like to attend and ask if you can speak at them.
This type of activity will put you in touch with people sharing your interests, help you demonstrate your value, and build your audience.
When considering which platforms to target, LinkedIn is an important platform for business networking and you can use it to reach out to event organizers. And of course, LinkedIn is not the only one. Solopreneur speakers are successfully finding gigs on Facebook and even Instagram.
Join public speakers communities
You are not alone in your passion for delivering great ideas and important messages to large audiences. There are growing online communities of like-minded people.
These communities are gold mines of useful information and are perfect for networking. Don’t be shy, you should join these communities even if you’re new to public speaking. You will find a lot of amateur enthusiasts just like you, along with professional speakers happy to help you sharpen your skills.
Online platforms such as MeetUp are a good place to start. MeetUp is focused on helping people with the same interests find each other. That includes public speakers..
At the time of writing, you can find more than 3,000 public speaking related groups on MeetUp with more than 1,5 million members from all over the world. Who knows, someone from your neighborhood might already be a member?
Another way to expand your network is to join the international organization Toastmasters. This non-profit organization regularly organizes public speaking and leadership workshops.
The Toastmasters network has over 300,000 members and 15,000 clubs in more than 140 countries. Membership is available to everyone interested in public speaking, for a small fee. Toastmasters offers a variety of learning programs to improve your skills. Also, catching up with some of their events might be a great opportunity to meet new friends and potential new business partners.
Almost any country has public speaking communities. For example, if you live in Australia you can join Rostrum, an online public speaking training platform and community. They have clubs in every Australian state, and for a small fee, you get access to meetings, events, workshops, and more. Check out the most popular communities in your city and hop on board!
Create a course
Education is in demand and this presents you with an opportunity. You can create a video course and make it available on a dedicated learning platform such as Udemy. Ensure that your content is high quality, interesting, and useful. Be available to answer people’s questions and resolve their doubts. Make your courses interactive and create tasks so that people learn through practice. That’s how they will keep coming back for more and recommend you to their friends.
Once you have created a course you can invite people to subscribe and regularly update them about additions and new courses via email. There are email extensions you can use to organize and track everything.
Speak at TEDx
TED is an organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. It gathers people from all over the world and from various disciplines. TED welcomes inspirational artists, scientists, and thinkers who are willing to speak up and tackle global issues.
TEDx is a TED program focused on a local, geographic area where people present in front of their community.
It is not easy to be accepted as a TEDx speaker. First of all, you need to apply for the event far in advance. Because they receive many applications, you need to make yours stand out. Focus on how your topic connects with the theme of the event and how you can add value to the audience.
Start a podcast
Podcasts are a great way to reach a large audience and build a community of like-minded people. They can be recorded and uploaded on YouTube, Instagram, IGTV, SoundCloud, Apple Store etc., or on more subject-specific apps. People can subscribe or download them and listen to them whenever they want. Or you can go live, as it used to be in radio talk shows.
Podcasts are typically available in series and the frequency of episode release is up to you. You can go weekly, biweekly, or even daily if there’s enough quality material. And it’s relatively easy and cheap to set up and produce your own podcast show.
Don’t hesitate to collaborate with others from your or similar industries. It can help you offer different insights and perspectives. Working with others will also attract a bigger audience and new followers for both you and them.
Find an agent or customer success manager
Being in charge of many things can be overwhelming. To make your life easier, you can use various tools to help you handle everything. For instance, there are ready-made templates and proposal software you can use to create pitches and get yourself the gigs you desire.
However, if you have more trust in humans than in machines, you can always hire an agent. They can hunt down speaking opportunities and book your gigs while you dedicate your time and energy to other things.
If you are running your own business, think about hiring a customer success manager. As the title suggests, their job is to help you achieve business success.
A career in public speaking can be very interesting and also profitable. There are plenty of public speaking opportunities and demand is increasing all the time with the expansion of virtual events. Perfect your communication and presentation skills, do some online research, and be ready to shine on stage in no time.