This is a page we’ve added to the web site for those of you who are interested in pursuing a career in professional speaking. Below are several resources for getting into the speaking business. There are many more than I’ve listed but as you start to investigate these below, you’ll begin to integrate into many speaking resources. If you’d like to be added to this page as a resource or if you know of other valuable resources please e-mail Vilis Ozols.
The best resource book I found for getting into speaking is Dottie and Lilly Walters book: Speak and Grow Rich. My original copy is dog-eared and tattered and was truly my template for getting into the business. They also published a magazine for speakers called Sharing Ideas and put on seminars for speakers looking to get into the business.
A more recent resource authored by one of the best speakers in the business is Money Talks: How to Make a Million as a Speaker, Author: Alan Weiss. I have immense respect for who Alan is and what he has accomplished in the Speaking profession and this is an awesome resource.
One of the realities of speaking is that being a good/great speaker is not enough. To be successful you also must be able to market your services and abilities effectively. There are a lot of great speakers going hungry because marketing and selling is not one of their strong suits. A great resource if you are looking to market your own speaking services is called Getting Business To Come To You by Paul and Sarah Edwards Click here to buy this book. (Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam Book published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 200 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10016). Link to Paul and Sarah Edwards.
Both from an educational perspective and from an integration into the speaking industry perspective, one of the best investments in time and effort is an organization called The National Speakers Association. They have regional chapters that meet frequently and provide all sort of educational presentations, mentoring groups, mastermind groups, showcasing opportunities, speakers colleges, business advice, technical perspectives, and networking opportunities.
My local chapter is the National Speakers Association/Colorado Chapter which is recognized as one of the top chapters in the association. The national association provides probably the best convention in terms of learning, motivation and entertainment and is a highlight of the year. NSA also holds two winter workshops, East and West and several seminars at their headquarters in Tempe, AZ. The Colorado Chapter provides a local version of this learning opportunity with our local chapter meetings.
There are several other organizations that may make sense for where your are in your speaking or training career. One is the American Society for Training and Development that focuses more on the training industry. Another organization that can help you develop and upgrade your speaking skills in a positive, supportive and informal setting is the Toastmasters International organization.
Another way of getting into the business is by signing on with a public seminar company such as CareerTrack. This is the route that I employed in getting into the speaking business and be pre-warned, it is a lot of work and a lot of travel and the paybacks may be a while in coming – but if you choose this path (and can stick it out) it is a very viable route into becoming a professional speaker. I did a presentation for the National Speakers Association on this topic and you can link to the handout that summarizes the benefits and gives contact information for many of the organizations who provide public seminars and hire trainers.
Humor is an integral part of being a speaker, and for me, one of the ways that I truly enjoy my presentations over and over again — I have fun doing them and I incorporate a lot of humor. One of the best compliments I received was from a fellow speaker who inquired if I was a comedian or if I billed myself as a humorist. The important thing is to have humor resources and here are a couple of my favorites. One is a web site that you can visit for great anecdotes and jokes, and if you choose to subscribe they will e-mail you a joke a day. Not surprisingly, the site is called joke-a-day.