Make money with your presentation skills

So you like giving speeches. You’ve polished your presentation skills. Now you want to make money speaking professionally. How do you do it? I got three great tips from three experts at the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) convention. It all boils down to positioning, product and process.

Joe Calloway has been speaking professionally for over 30 years. Kris Young is vice president of BX Worldwide, a successful speakers bureau. And for 20 years Jane Atkinson has been helping speakers grow their speaking business.

Making money from presentation skills: Jane Atkinson, Kris Young, Joe Calloway and Halina St James at the CAPS convention.
Left to right: Jane Atkinson, Kris Young, Joe Calloway and Halina at the CAPS convention.

In their workshop, ‘A Category of One’, they gave all speakers, emerging or established, valuable advice on the industry.

1 – Positioning

  • Position yourself as an expert first. Content is important to the client. Define your field of expertise and mine it deeply so you have valuable nuggets to pass on to the client (and the client’s audience).
  • Pick a topic ‘lane’. Don’t speak on everything under the sun, says Atkinson. Choose a lane that fits your expertise. If you don’t know about it, don’t speak about it. This would seem obvious; but the lure of money has swayed many speakers to become instant experts in something they know little about.

2 – Product
Your product is your keynote. So make sure it’s as good as it can be, and memorable. Calloway says he spends all his time working on his keynote. Young says your keynote must be relevant and simple – so people can remember it easily. All three speakers agreed that the characteristics of a great keynote are:

  • it’s memorable
  • has some humour
  • is authentic
  • has great stories
  • has a focussed message
  • includes a ‘phrase that pays’ – a phrase that audiences relate to and remember
  • is relevant to the client

3 – Process
So you’ve positioned yourself as a expert. You have a great keynote. What’s the process for getting a gig? Here’s what our 3 experts said:

  • Write a great book. A book gets you the engagements. It’s a good souvenir for the audience as they leave. They’re likely to remember you and refer you to others.
  • Have consistent messaging throughout all your platforms – book, keynote, website, workshop, coaching.
  • Don’t discount word of mouth. Do you get two to three spinoffs after each keynote? You should, according to our experts – if you’re positioning yourself strategically and have a great product.

Good luck. It’s a competitive business. You need to stand out from the crowd – so you might want to consider investing in performance coaching. At Podium Coaching we offer videos, books and coaching to help people upgrade their presentation skills and polish their public speaking.

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