microphone130I should have written this post long ago. Oh well, better late than never! I see often on social media, and get asked constantly, “How can I get started speaking for money?”

I’m going to assume you have a speech. If you don’t, get one! If you need help, seek it out. You must have a great program that organically comes from your experience and expertise. Next, you must decide where your speech would make sense. What market could use a program like yours? Again, where does past experience come in? You have to make sure your program is marketable.

After you have your speech, do the following. Get to Toastmasters! “The Off Broadway” of speaking. There you will learn how to communicate in front of a group. You’ll find a real mix of people there. All professionals of some sort. Many are executives who want to present better as well as many professional speakers who attend regularly to practice new material and get feedback.

Next step is to get in front of groups with your program. Look for opportunities everywhere. A great place to start is your local Business Journal. It comes out every Friday. It contains a “calendar” which lists any meetings taking place in the coming week and what the program will be.

Call the group and ask if you can present your program. Don’t be surprised if they give you 20-30 minutes. (You need to be flexible!) They usually do not pay; however, you want to ask for a testimonial letter from the leader of the group. I call testimonials “the economic capital” of your speaking practice. They are very important and you should try and get one each and every time you speak.

Note: I tell my clients to not use the phrase “free speech”. Rather, use the term “waive my fee”. Such as “I may be willing to waive my fee in return for value other than money.” See my post on “What Do You Consider Value?

Your next step is to leverage the testimonials you get into paid engagements. Note: the people who hire you and pay you don’t know whether or not you were paid for any presentation.

A great move now would be to see if there is a National Speakers Association chapter in your city or in a city near you. If you want to speak, you belong in NSA! Chapters are great places to gain expertise, meet others, network and befriend others who do the same thing you do. You can find out all about NSA and its chapters at http://www.nsaspeaker.org.

So, I’ve gotten you started. Go back through my posts on positioning and selling. That’s what you need to know now. And good luck! This will be the toughest job you’ll ever love!

Copyright 2013 Lois Creamer. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes! She can be reached in the following ways:

Phone: 314.822.8225
Twitter: @loiscreamer
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/loiscreamer
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/loiscreamer
For more information on Lois’ business check out http://www.bookmorebusiness.com as well as http://www.bookmorebusiness.tv!
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