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Emerging Speaker Series #3: The ultimate checklist to know if you are ready to become a successful speaker

Even when you have the desire, expertise, and talents to share your message to the masses, becoming a speaker can be challenging at first. This is why I started this series of blogs exclusively dedicated to helping emerging speakers succeed in their journey to become expert speakers. 

This time, I wanted to address a topic that might sound simple: are you really ready to start your journey as a speaker? People often underestimate the importance of this question because they think you only need to have something to say, and that will immediately turn you into a successful speaker. Well, sorry to break it out to you, but that is not true. 

Having worked with multiple speakers, I’ve noticed that, even emerging speakers who have all of their business foundations in place, can also fail if the time isn’t right for them. And no, this does not have anything to do with moon cycles and destiny! But rather it is about your mindset and the stage you’re in professionally. 

How to know if you are ready to become a successful speaker?

I want to start by saying that success is a result of your effort and your talent. Anyone can be a successful speaker if they set their minds to it, there’s no doubt of that. This checklist would only help you clear out the way, whether you decide to pursue this career path now or maybe wait a bit to make sure you are in the best place to start. 

With that being said, let’s get into it! Here’s what you need to become a successful speaker:

Time

Believe it or not, the first thing you need to become a successful speaker is time. Just like any other business, it takes a lot of time and thought to build up and grow a speaking business, and many entrepreneurs forget that because they are too caught up in investing in their other businesses. 

If you don’t want it to be just a gig, then make sure you have enough time to dedicate to developing a solid structure and growing your speaking business. 

A clear budget

Budgeting is one of the most difficult parts of starting a business. And it can make it difficult for you to become a successful speaker if you don’t have a clear vision of how much you need to invest. 

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to cover the essentials of an emerging speaker starting kit, but you do not want to fall short either. My best recommendation here is to compare prices in the market and set a budget that works for you right now. 

Realistic expectations

Mindset plays a huge role in the beginnings of every new business. For emerging speakers, it becomes even more important, because you’ll be the face of everything. 

Many people feel disappointed when they see only 10 followers on social media or book only one speaking gig in the first month, and that is normal. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. In fact, you might be doing everything right.

To become a successful speaker you need to have realistic expectations about the job. Because, yes, it is a job, and luckily, one you’ll enjoy! 

The best way to know what to expect when you are starting is to ask other successful speakers about their experiences. There are a few ways to gain access to fellow speakers. You can start to attend meetings (virtual or in-person) of a speaking association. I belong to the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and I have been a member for almost 9 years. This organization is full of people who ‘get’ what it is that you want to do and are willing to come alongside you and help.

And if you are not ready to join an association, or attend any meetings, then just “Google” the speakers you admire and read their stories. A few of my personal favorites are Shelle Rose Charvet, Stuart Knight, and Scott McKain.  They all have very different and unique speaking styles, but each style has really resonated with me over time.  Remember though, these speakers have been in the game for YEARS and it took a lot of work and training to get that good.

Tangible and achievable goals

If we don’t have enough motivation to continue doing something, we are more likely to bail on it. It’s natural. We’ve seen it a million times. So, to become a successful speaker, you need to stay focused and motivated even after the momentum has passed. 

Along with having realistic expectations, setting up tangible and achievable goals can help you keep yourself motivated and excited to become a successful speaker. And it also allows you to plan ahead on the possibilities of your new speaking business. 

Maybe your first goal is to book one paid gig each month, and the next would be putting a live event in a year, and so on. 

Confidence in your message

While I was drafting the ideas for this post, I came across a wonderful article by Lisa Evans, which she titles “Take the leap… or small steps”. And I loved it because it is the perfect example of what it is to become a successful speaker. 

Of course, I’m not saying you should just take a leap of faith and hope for the best. But you do have to trust that this is the way you want to follow and have confidence that your message will resonate with others. 

When people come to me and tell me “Lauren, I want to be a professional speaker”, I can’t tell if they are going to succeed or not, but what I do notice is how passionate they are about sharing this message. This passion is what makes the difference when it comes to becoming successful speakers because it’s what keeps you moving forward no matter what. 

So, let me summarize everything for you. To become a successful speaker, you should at least have:

Having clarity in terms of what you want to achieve with your speaking is the first part to become a successful speaker, and it is something I want all emerging speakers to understand. However, if you still have some doubts you can purchase my Clarity Masterclass. There you’ll find useful guides and resources to help you in your journey to become a successful emerging speaker. 

About Lauren Pibworth

Lauren Pibworth is an internet marketing strategist specializing in growing the business of professional speakers. Lauren and her team of graphic designers, web developers and online product and course development and launch specialists work with speakers who want to diversify their revenue streams and move 'beyond the keynote' through smarter marketing solutions, delivered with care.

Lauren (an amateur sommelier) and her husband enjoy fine Ontario wines, great food and travel to exotic, warm destinations where they spend the majority of their time underwater - scuba diving.

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