Being on stage is one of my happiest places because I was born to teach and love interacting with an audience no matter the size.
Among all the conversations I had with people at the event, several people asked about how they could get more speaking engagements so I thought I'd share my answer with everyone.
1. Hone Your Craft
A good speaker is always looking to improve their skills. I'm always going over my slides and thoughts right up until the minute I take the stage. I practice. I ask for constructive feedback and take it to heart.
Public speaking is something that you can always get better at. The moment you think you've mastered it you should stop.
2. Attend Conference and Get to Know Event Organizers
Until you've established yourself as a solid speaker, you've got to get to know the people planning events.
Attend events that focus on the topics that you'd like to speak about. Chat with the other attendees, speakers and of course the event organizers.
Let them know that you are interested in speaking and that if there is ever an opening that you'd be interested in it. You'll probably start with panels or perhaps as a last minute filling in for someone, but everyone starts somewhere.
3. Have Something Unique to Say
Do you have any idea how many people can talk about social media, online marketing or the vertical that you work in? A lot is the answer.
Having a unique opinion and the knowledge to back it up will make you stand out. If you are on a panel, you have to more than nod along with everything that is said, you must have an opinion and voice it.
4. Embrace the Long Tail
The keynotes and paid speaking gigs are not going to fall in your lap tomorrow. They will only come after you've earned them.
Every speaker has done tons of gigs for no money. We've all been part of a panel wondering why in the world we were on it.
As with most things in life, you have to start somewhere and work your way up.
5. Treat Every Talk Equally
It shouldn't matter how long you are talking or how small the audience is. Each time you take the stage you are building your reputation as a speaker. Put in the effort to make it as great as possible.
Don't throw together the presentation at the last minute or hit the stage with a ho hum attitude. Bring it every single time.
These are just five things to get you started.
If you fear getting on stage and speaking, the best way to move past that is to face it head on and start speaking. Once you feel that rush from getting a positive reaction from the audience, you'll start feeling better about it. Plus, every speaker gets nervous. If they say they don't, they are either lying or are dead inside. My nerves are always going until the first words come out of my mouth and then I get rolling.
Best of luck and I hope other speakers can add to this conversation by leaving their tips in the comments.
If you'd like me to speak at your next event, you can find details here.