Updated: Aug 8
I started learning public speaking more than a decade ago. I had never thought that one day I’ll be paid to speak & train at companies, institutes and conferences. It has been a phenomenal journey, full of ups and downs. During this journey, I’ve had the pleasure to speak to people around the world through various social, educational and corporate platforms. I have understood and experienced what it takes to monetize one’s public speaking skills.
Whether you are a budding speaker or an experienced one, if you wish to understand how can you make money with Public Speaking, this article is for you.
Here, I breakdown my 6 steps to monetize your 'public speaking skills'.
Step 1: Find your passion
It took me quite a while to understand that people are not paid for their phenomenal public speaking skills, but for the value they bring to the audience through speaking. Although, good speakers can speak about a variety of topics, the most sought-after speakers always have a passion for a particular topic/subject. As a speaker, their passion is their identity. It is difficult to get paid for speaking about a topic that doesn’t make your heart sing. So, before you get on this journey, ask yourself, “what am I passionate about?” Is it Entrepreneurship, Personal branding, Freelancing, Personal growth, Customer service, Women empowerment or anything else? It is different for different people. What is it for you?
Step 2: Build your expertise
While it is easier to find a subject that you are passionate about, it is daunting to have an expertise and experience on it. When Jay Shetty talks about mindfulness meditation, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about ‘Social media’ and Elon Musk talks about technology, it is not just their passion for their subjects that is impressive, but also their expertise and experience. This is not just true for celebrity speakers, but for every single speaker who wants to monetize their speaking skills. When it comes to making money consistently as a speaker, passion and purpose are nothing without expertise.
Step 3: Build a strong personal brand
I could be a phenomenal speaker with profound knowledge about my subject, but if the right people don’t know me, chances are less that I will be invited as a paid speaker. Many times, people are invited as paid speakers, not for their passion or expertise, but because of the influence that they carry. Many social media influencers and celebrities are invited as keynote speakers because they help in grabbing eyeballs. This is kind of influencer marketing for the host. Keynote speakers also help in conference ticket sales. This is how powerful a good personal brand is. Doing exceptional work in your industry is the only way to build a strong personal brand. It can also be done through social media by showcasing your work.
Step 4: Get more visibility
The more people know about you and what you do, the higher chances you have of monetizing your public speaking skills. Few ways to get more visibility are consistent social media content creation, free speaking at non-profit organizations and being part of clubs & social groups. During the initial months of my career, I landed a speaking opportunity at a university after someone spotted me speaking at an open-house event. Visibility and a strong personal brand usually go hand in hand.
Step 5: Do a lot of speaking
I have done tens of events before I started to get paid for speaking and training. I still do a very few FREE speaking events. It helps me get some more visibility, and it also helps me in testing new content. Moreover, it helps me keep my speaking skills up-to-date. Public speaking is like a muscle. The more you exert it, the stronger it gets. Stop speaking in public for a long time, and you might find it challenging to get up on stage the next time. The more public speaking you do, the better you get at it. EVERY SINGLE SPEECH MATTERS!
Step 6: Paid speaking engagements
If you have a passion, purpose, expertise, a strong personal brand and good visibility, you don’t have to find paid speaking engagements. Instead, paid speaking engagements will find you. This is a time taking process, but is it worth? You bet!
Most speaking leads come as inbound for most professional speakers. The world is full of opportunities for people who can inspire, educate and entertain an audience. We all start at the bottom and make our way up the ladder. Like a loving relationship, it only gets better with time.
I hope that you found this article helpful. I would love to know your thoughts on it.
If you are looking to take your public speaking skills to the next level, and learn some really advanced speaking techniques in the process, check out my one-to-one coaching program which has been taken by some really brilliant people – from CEOs to Founders to IT professionals in India, US, Canada and Middle east.
Wishing you, my best!