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Becoming A Professional Speaker 
 
by Fred Bergendorff July 15, 2005

You hear that Colin Powell, former Secterary of State, gets $100,000 for a speaking engagement. The same for former President Bill Clinton. Retired CEOs such as GE's Jack Welch get up to $50,000 for a speech. And then there's Tony Robbins who is a multi-millionaire due to his motivational speaking seminars. Even though you realize you aren't in that league you think, "I'd like at least some of that."

The world of a professional public speaker is exciting, fast-paced and potentially very rewarding monetarily. But truthfully, as is the case in any profession, there are a few that earn top dollars and for the rest it is more or less a part-time pursuit. But there are some tips to increase the likelihood that you can make this a viable career.

Training & the NSA

The first item on the agenda is training. You can’t just get up and speak and expect to captivate an audience. You need to watch the so-called experts, either in person or on a DVD or CD. The legendary Zig Ziglar is an example. Also, watch certain TV evangelists as they whip up the congregation. Notice how they make a point. Be aware of their mannerisms. Consider taking a course in public speaking (see the article “How to Become A Fear-less Speaker”). You also might think about joining the National Speakers Association, headquartered in Phoenix. This is the national organization for professional speakers. Admittedly it is somewhat of a cliquish group, especially for those at the top who have already “made it,” but it still provides a place for networking, and that is a key to success. The organization sends its annual roster to organizations who hire speakers so it is a good way to get noticed. And they hold seminars all over the country where members can come to hone their speaking skills and get marketing ideas. This includes meeting in local chapters all across the country.

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