I can remember the day I heard my first professional speaker giving a talk for our railroad group in Battle Creek, Michigan. His name was Herb True Ph.D. and that same day he put me on his team as a humor writer. That meeting changed my life. Many hundreds of times when I was out on the road giving speeches I was approached by members of the audience and they too had a burning passion to become a professional speaker. What is the secret? Pretty simple, really. Just have a fantastic message that will somehow benefit the members of the audience. Oh yes, if you want to be paid a high fee then you had better be the best speaker in the field on that topic and have a brilliant marketing approach.
Speaking is similar to becoming a successful artist, author, actor, musician, photographer, comedian or even news broadcaster. Many believe they are called but very, very, very few are chosen.
I have always felt that I was blessed…First to meet Herb True that day and then to have the drive to wade through all of those years of rejection as a part-time author and humorist.
Could I make a success of it starting out today? I seriously doubt it. Not with my high-school formal education. Not with the competition that is out there today.
When they started The National Speakers Assn. there were only around three hundred people they could round up who considered themselves “Professional Speakers.” I’ve heard that today there are over a hundred thousand. I believe it.
Of course there are a lot more slots for professional speakers to fill but still the competition is awesome.
So what is my advice to aspiring speakers? Don’t try it unless you absolutely have to. If you figure that you won’t be able to take another breath unless you are out there striving as a speaker go for it…but…don’t quit your day job.