Over the years, I have successfully sold across industries from software to wrought iron gates, from hand carved staircases to animal feed! This selling “gene” was essential in my efforts to establish a speaking business.
But what else do you need to make it as a Professional Speaker – here are four things to consider:
1. Flow transcends all – in simple language if you are doing what you love, you still will be able to perform eloquently even when experiencing excruciating pain.
Just for a minute imagine lying on a floor in a hotel in Madinah, Saudi Arabia barely able to move. Within minutes the conference organiser approaches and kindly gives you the chance of opting out of your one day engagement with their audience. How would you respond?
My response was immediate and for many irrational – “No, I will be fine when I start the keynote – flow will kick in and the pain will subside.” The conference organiser looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and relief! And then proceeded to get one of the team to rush to the pharmacy! Twenty minutes later sitting in the one comfortable position I found, I addressed the audience. I stayed there for the day receiving a 4.69/5 and top speaker ranking for the week ahead of Professors from Cranfield, Insead and Harvard Business School. Where did this confidence to deliver come from in such trying circumstances? 25 years of journeying through the light and dark of the speaking profession! And on one previous occasion where every joule of energy had been drained out of me, I was able to deliver what was described by the CEO of a Multinational as the most energetic pitch over the phone he had ever experienced. Moments after leaving down the phone; I was in the Doctors Surgery and diagnosed with Swine Flu!
On Feb 19th I am organising the inaugural Speaker Summit in Ireland www.speakeracademy.ie – at it 5 speakers from around the globe will address the A- Z of creating and maintaining a successful speaking career www.speakeracademy.ie – my focus will be on highlighting whether or not speaking is your passion… your love because without doubt this love transcends all!
2. Never assume!
In the early 90’s when I was lecturing on Marketing and International Marketing; I always remember this travelling sales rep telling me over dinner – Never Assume because it makes an ASS of U and ME. Yep it is fairly sad stuff but very relevant.
So as I reflect on 2015 my greatest opportunity came from keeping a close on eye on what some of my colleagues were doing on Facebook – a social media vehicle I have described on more than 100 occasions as an unmitigated waste of time for the speaking profession. Yet….it was the source of my greatest marketing victory. The message – Never Assume your current thought process is totally on the money. Business can come from the most unexpected of sources and as you build your speaking business you must be aware of this.
3. Smart perseverance pays.
Is there anything more annoying than sending emails that people don’t respond to! At the end of the year; I spoke to two Speaker Bureaus who thanked me for my 5/6 informative reach outs throughout the year and vowed to book me in 2016. None of these had ever replied to any email I have ever sent…. but they were reading them! It reminded me of a keynote I received in 2011 – it was from an Agent who had never booked me – we had an ongoing silent relationship with 5/6 reach outs a year for TEN YEARS! If you want to be a speaker you have to have the stomach for this challenge!
4. With a winning mindset must come a compelling story!
Categorically your success or not in the speaking business will in the main depend on you. You persist when you are passionate about something. You persuade people with your enthusiasm and energy.
But when you are in the right space the next imperative is that you craft a compelling story. So always consider what’s different, unique about what you are bringing to the table. Operating in an attention deficit market as we do means that to engage requires a little more than “more of the same!”
Love to see you in Croke Park!
Kevin Kelly is an Internationally Acclaimed Speaker and Best Selling Author – on Feb 19th he is organising the first ever Speaker Summit in Croke Park. Speakers include World Memory Champion and Sunday Times Best Seller David Thomas, David Newman US Speaker Marketing Guru, Patrick McKeown who has just secured a six figure advance for his new book on breathing through your nose and many more.
For more details www.speakeracademy.ie