I strongly encourage you to do 3 things simultaneously:
- Identify what you’re world-class at doing and participate in as many experiences within that “world-class topic” as possible. This is important because audience members will want to hear stories based on both theory and practice. The more experiences, the more practice you’ll have.
- Speak as much as possible (for free). Even if that means simply picking up your mobile and going LIVE on Facebook. Their are certain skills that the best public speakers possess and many of these can be developed doing live video (persuasive tone, storytelling, comedic relief, etc).
- Volunteer to speak for free at in person events. I’ve looked at my career of public speaking and this is where it started about 10 years ago. I was invited to speak for free, and that led to another speak for free event, and that led to another, etc, etc, until it led to a “for fee” speaking event, which then led to another “for fee” speaking event, etc, etc. My logic here is that the people most likely to hire you for their speaking event will be the ones in the audience of the events you’re already speaking at. Also, by honing #1 & #2 above, you’ll stand a higher probability of being hired when someone sees you speak in person.
I began this journey 3.5 years ago and at first, I got myself some training in speaking which created a network of speakers.
From there I needed some speaker experience and I chose to host speaker events. Now I get invited to speak at larger events, have had some TV appearances.
I have found that having a circle of influence helps as I am seen as someone who can encourage people to attend the events.
One thing that I learned the hard way was that for paid roles they often want to see professional footage of your speaking. I didn’t have the right quality and missed out on a brilliant paid role. So I would advise asking for copies of any professional recordings along the way.
I also find that watching other speakers, noting what works and doesn’t work is hugely beneficial to learning. Taking opportunities to speak and for me always keeping that real. Connecting with the audience as much as possible. If a host, promoter ect gets amazing feedback about you they will let other promoters and hosts know.
This is all in addition to Pauls advice of course.