Some people think that the world of keynote Speaking is very glamorous, well, even if that has been the case in the past, for the last year being a Keynote Speaker has been anything but glamorous since the livelihood and business of Keynote Speakers has radically changed. We have noticed too, that the market is becoming very competitive with the increased proliferation of new Speakers and accomplished Speakers vying for online space.
However, the standard of speaking is quite high in most cases and it is indeed great to see younger innovative speakers taking to the screen (and hopefully honing their skills so that they can speak more confidently on a Live stage in the future).
So, if you are currently considering embarking on the business of Keynote Speaking, we thought it would be useful to give you a few things to think about before you clamber on to that (virtual) stage.
Most of us would be familiar with Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’, if you are not, it would be a great idea to look at his TED talk to help cement the reasons why you want to speak. Even during these COVID times it is possible to start a speaking career, however there are a few things you should think about before doing that.
Below you will find 13 different ideas to think about before you embark on a speaking career, these will ultimately help you define your marketing strategy, find your niche and help you target your ideal audience.
1 – Finance – Let’s be honest here, most Speakers launch a speaking career in order make money. Obviously, having a good life and living comfortably requires money and it is perfectly fine if that is hte main reason. It is indeed possible to make money from speaking but it takes a lot of work to make substantial speaking fees, so try and get really clear on why and how money will fit into that equation for you.
2 – Personal Growth/ Share a message – Some Speakers are inspired to share a message, someone like Boyan Slat from The Ocean Cleanup has ONE message only, and that is to save the ocean, if speaking does not correlate directly with that mission, he will not speak. What is YOUR motivation for wanting to speak? Do you wish to engage your audience to understand your mission? Do you want to illicit an emotional reaction from your talk? What do you want them to do once you have shared your message?
3- Timing – Some Speakers who previously spoke at live events prior to Covid have adapted well to this virtual world, having implemented new state-of-the-art studios, resulting in them continuing to speak without leaving the comfort of their own home, saving them hours and sometimes days of wasted travel time. Some Speakers have pivoted well to the online world and are reaching more people worldwide online than ever before, allowing for more time with family and personal pursuits. Tony Robbins pivoted his UPW event to online within a noticeably short period of time and is now reaching millions of people worldwide in less time than if he had to travel to these locations.
Of course, all Keynote Speakers do not have the finances that Tony Robbins has but it has been possible for Keynote Speakers who previously had no experience speaking virtually to update their skills, get decent equipment and start speaking learning at home in such a short period of time.
A lot of Speakers are quite happy not returning to the relentless time-consuming travel of their previous years. It leads to more free time with family and it obviously better for the environment, (however maybe after lockdown, some will want to spend more time away from their family…..which is an entirely different conversation!)
So, have you considered the amount of time you want to speak? Do you want to speak full-time or part-time? Will you be speaking to supplement your current profession? Do you have the time? Do you want to spend all your time speaking online or do you want to speak in person (keep in mind the changing industry) Will the option of travelling to conferences at the same level – and being away from home as much – be still there?
4 – Your current situation – What do you want your speaking business to look like? Have you thought about how your speaking will fit into the bigger picture of what you it is that you are doing? Once you do the groundwork and you have a solid Keynote and message, you’re in charge and you can do as many, or as little speaking engagements as you want,
5 – Credibility – Do you want to be seen as a credible thought leader in your profession? Speaking in public brings credibility to you as a business owner or as an entrepreneur. Usually when we see someone speaking, we automatically ascribe some type of credibility to them, and it is solely down to the fact that they are actually speaking. You may already be well-known in your particular industry to your own followers however if you want to further your name in other industries speaking is an ideal way for you to build credibility.
6 – Grow your audience– From writing, to teaching, to being an expert in your own particular field, speaking is an obvious next step to grow your audience. Nothing compares to seeing someone actually speaking live and has the most impact. Thankfully building your audience online is possible if you are targeting the correct market. How do you plan on doing that?
7 – Promoting and selling product – This is another reason why maybe you would want to speak. You may have some type of product or service already and by speaking it is a great way to promote and market your product or service. Speaking is an ideal way to do this.
8- In conjunction with a book – A lot of Speakers start out as Authors and end up being asked to speak. Whether you have a published book or you want to promote what you’re working on, speaking goes hand-in-hand. A lot of Speakers solidified their message by writing a book and then doing a TED talk, think of someone like Ricardo Semler.
9 – Attend conferences without paying huge entrance fees – Some conferences have very high entrance fees, so if you manage to get a speaking slot and speak for free, usually the entrance fee is usually waived so you can attend the whole event without paying. The advantage of this is you get to see all the main Keynote Speakers at the event and learn from them. If there are several conferences that you would like to attend, or be a part, being able to speak opens the door for you to attend the conference for free.
10 -Share your expertise – Maybe you want to share the knowledge that you have in whatever area it is you are an expert on (be it building honeybee-boxes or teaching people to knit), You just want people to see you as the expert on your subject or topic. You might have years of experience in a particular are and you simply want to share it.
11 – Travel – Okay, maybe a bit redundant right now but it was one of the reasons in the past that some people wanted to be Keynote Speakers. It gave the option for people to travel to lots of different conferences and events in major cities and major markets worldwide. Usually travel and accommodation would be covered as a base on top of the fee.
12 – Networking – Speaking can be a doorway to building great relationships and is so important for business. When you are a Speaker you have credibility, people associate you with being expert in your field. You are more approachable therefore making it easier for networking opportunities.
13 – Fame/recognition – You may be a Big-Name Celebrity Speaker or already famous and you want to make money quickly. You may have already done the groundwork in whatever profession you are in and now you are reaping the benefits in fame and fortune! This is for a minority of high-end Speakers.
14 – Passion – Finally, speaking should ultimately be about being passionate about helping others create change. All the reasons above are very valid reasons, but they should be a byproduct of having a message that you are passionate about and sharing with an audience.
To be a lasting speaker in the long-haul, you should want to speak because you have a desire and motivation within you to want to make some type of difference in the world and leave the world in a slightly better place than you found it. If you don’t have a real mission, not only will you become an ineffective speaker but you’ll also burnout very quickly, constantly just chasing opportunities where you can make more money, will get old very fast.
So, there are most of the main reasons people find becoming a keynote speaker appealing. If we are missing any, please let us know.