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Professional Speaking

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 1 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Speech; Speaking; Public Speaking;

Are you entertaining the possibility of becoming a professional public speaker?

If so you need to recognize that while the field is wide open for fresh candidates, it isn’t for every personality. True, there are plenty of positives to becoming a professional public speaker, but there are also some challenges.

To help you make a wise decision regarding a plunge into professional public speech making, we’ve outlined below some of the commonly held beliefs about the professional public speaking field along with objective responses to them. Use them as a springboard to determining whether or not lecturing, presenting, or entertaining is the right occupation for you.

Professional Speaking Commonly Held Belief #1: You can make a terrific living as a public speaker.

There is no doubt that you can earn a decent salary when you become a well-respected speech maker who is knowledgeable in and about his or her chosen line of work. However, as with 99.9% of all career paths, you won’t make money overnight. In fact, you may have to spend a number of years “paying your dues” in order to become a sought-after commodity on the public speaking circuit.

Professional Speaking Commonly Held Belief #2: Public speaking can be a great way to meet new people.

You’ll definitely see countless faces when you give presentations for a living, but that doesn’t mean that all your encounters will result in lifelong relationships. Yes, you’ll be able to casually network, but you might never get to really “know” most audience members on more than an acquaintance level. Unless you’re speaking to the same group over and again (as in the case of a professor or coach), you will rarely be afforded the opportunity to really get to talk in-depth with listeners.

Professional Speaking Commonly Held Belief #3: The most exciting part about public speaking is that there is a huge potential for significant amounts of travel!

Many younger, unmarried persons enjoy speaking to a new audience in a new city every few nights. For them, the travelling that is associated with public speaking is more an adventure than a hardship. On the other hand, a number of married professional public speakers with spouses and children at home find themselves wishing for a less nomadic career path after countless nights on the road.

Professional Speaking Commonly Held Belief #4: Once you know your speech material(s), your preparation time will decrease, so you’ll be earning more revenue with less effort.

While there is truth to this concept, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to become a robot running on “auto pilot”. Not only would doing so be dull for your listeners; it would also be boring for you! In order to stay at the top of your game as a public speaker, you’ll need to constantly re-evaluate and update your delivery of the subject matter as well as continue to rehearse to keep your presentations interesting. Otherwise, your delivery will become stale and your enjoyment of your profession will diminish.

Professional Speaking Commonly Held Belief #5: Audience members are great referral sources.

Certainly, highly satisfied audience members can sometimes help you obtain future employment; however, it’s important to remember that someone who doesn’t appreciate you is statistically more likely to tell his or her friends about you than someone who does think you’re amazing and valuable. (This is simply part of human nature—we tend to talk about our negative experiences rather than relating our positive ones.) Therefore, if you become a professional public speaker, make sure you continue to actively seek out additional opportunities to work; never assume that your next job will come easily.

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