Breaking in to the keynote speaker industry

Learning to be a Keynote Speaker


The 1st step if you desire to be a motivational speaker is to initially make up your mind. Sounds simple right? Your choice will be the easiest part of your journey as you embark on a career as an entertainer, trainer or speaker. 


Keynote speakers are not born, they are made. A decision to become a speaker or trainer is very straightforward. In a number of ways it is liking saying you are contemplating doing the most important cliff jump in to the local lake. However until your feet have left the cliff, you are not committed.


The commitment to learning to be a keynote speaker is imperative. Canadian speakers work typically in a much smaller market than their cousins to the south and it is a competitive market. You must consider why would people pay you to communicate with their organization? That answer will become the actual key to your success.


Making the last step count


Surely, if the starting point is the decision, the last step comes after the decision not to quit the speaking industry. It is not uncommon for speakers to be working away at the sidelines awaiting the career to take off and it takes many years to reach that point. If you knew it would take several years to build your career, can you stick it out? 


Frankly, if we knew the runway to success we will plan for it and stick it out. More commonly we expect everything to happen quicker than it does and we quit in year five not understanding that we might have a very successful year if we had hung around for one more year. 


There are so many stories from keynote speakers of people who even had agency representation yet did not create a “career” in speaking for seven or eight years. You can also find many stories of speakers making several hundred thousand dollars a years. Are you prepared to wait that long?


The steps to success


One of the first steps is to join your national speaking association which will have regional chapters that can provide a lot of help and support on your way to success. 


The networking you can do at these meetings with other successful keynote speakers is extremely important for your future direction. You will have the opportunity to hear what is working as well as, what is not. 


The speaking industry is often challenged with organizations who are looking for free speakers. While it may be tempting to drop your fee to court a potential client who really has no budget, you need to know there is a big difference between a free speaker and a professional speaker. 


Once you have created industry ties and learned the ins and outs of a speaking career, it is time to promote yourself. While the digital side of things is very important and cost effective, nothing beats getting on the road and talking to clients directly. 


At the point where you have a few clients under your belt and have delivered some compelling talks, you can start talking to agents who may be willing to add you to their roster. 


The important point to remember with regard to agency representation is they will typically account for only a small percentage of your overall bookings. Be careful not to rely too much on agency representation and focus on carving out your own success.


In the end, the important take away is that there is no shortcut to success. Stick it out, learn and grow and don’t quit. That will become your story.

entertainer

Top Five list of Keynote Speaking mistakes

Avoid These Costly Speaking Mistakes

If you’re an motivational speaker, then you certainly would like to avoid costly mistakes in the phase where you are seeking to secure a booking, but most importantly during the presentation.

The good news for aspiring speakers is that you have stories to share. The bad news is that many of us need coaching in order to share those stories.

Once you have found your inspirational speaking coach and invested time and money into learning to do a good presentation, you want to steer clear of the major pitfalls of being a speaker.

So in no particular order, listed here are the 5 key mistakes you should avoid if you are getting in to a speaking career.

1.    Not researching your audience.
Either gearing up your talk for a well educated audience in your area of expertise or dumbing it down means the real difference between success and failure. Be sure you know what is at stake before you enter in the room. 

2.    An early connection is critical.
Frankly if you have not put the audience on the edge of their seat in the first minute they already responding to texts. Even more important the organizer just left the room! 

3.    Lead them to water…. I understand we can’t make them drink. So you had a great point, and it may have worked in your life, but how does it help your audience – let them know what and how it will make a difference in their lives. 

4.    Don’t use a lot of slides and don’t read slides. Lets face it, people came to hear you not look at you reciting lives of drivel on a slide. Most speakers could have only a photo on a slide. Their point is to engage the audience with their talk not kill all of them with a slick power point presentation 

5.    Go out with a bang. You might have just delivered the best keynote an audience has had the pleasure of seeing, but if you do not close leaving them gasping for more, you killed the proverbial goose.  

Positive Motivational Speaking Tips

Many canadian speakers that I know have the process of developing a keynote down to a fine art in order that they easily coverthe above points. 

The important take away is the an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure if you don’t get it right…

For  me, I like to at least have a conference call with the even organizers to get a read on their expectations for the speaker. 

Secondly I will arrive early and meet the delegates and again take the opportunity to interview them and find out what makes the difference between a good speaker and a bad one from their perspective.

Finally, it is an art to read the audience from the stage. It is advisable to learn to think on your feet, understand how to wake an audience up and be dynamic.

Don’t structure your keynote in such a way that you can’t pivot when needed.
One of my events was a booking for an automobile club. The drivers had been out all day racing their cars and by the end of the day they simply wanted to socialize and drink. 

I was scheduled to be on stage at 7pm. By 9:30pm after many apologies the organizer asked me to take the stage. I looked at my wife and said “There is no way I can do my keynote, they’re way too loud”. 

I took the stage and indicated I was simply going to share some stories of how I had nearly died 5 times on adventures. The audience immediately quietened and listened intently as I regaled some silly stories of mis-adventure. At the end of the night it was among the finest applause I have ever received!