• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

preparation

I’m registering! What should I charge?

I’m registering! What should I charge? 2560 1810 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker welcomes speakers of all experience levels, so it’s not uncommon for us to be asked how speakers should set fees. While we know the speakers are hoping for a more specific answer, we give everyone the same response: “Well, it depends on a lot of factors.”

Here are some things to consider when determining your fee:

  • How much preparation time does the presentation involve?
  • Will you be allowed to sell or promote your products or services?
  • How frequently do you present? A speaker who is in demand can reasonably charge more than someone who presents only a few times per year. As you increase the number of presentations you deliver, your skills will continue to improve over time.
  • Are you addressing a for-profit or non-profit group?
  • Is this a topic or cause close to your heart? If you have a personal story or passionate message to share, being paid may not be important to you.
  • Are you sharing printed or tangible materials as part of your presentation? If so, you’ll need to cover the cost of those items.
  • If you are delivering specific value to the audience/event organizers, don’t be afraid to set a fee that is commensurate with your credentials/credibility and value.

It’s a complicated decision, we know. Because situations are different, we’ve included the option of “negotiable” fee in your profile.

Public speaking can be public service, too

Public speaking can be public service, too 2560 1440 I Need A Speaker

A little more than two years ago, I attended a presentation at a science center. The speaker was a man who worked at the center for most of his professional career and had volunteered to greet visitors and share his excitement about the center’s work.

Our host was smiling when he entered the room, and he greeted the crowd by hinting at the wonderful things we would see and learn that day. Throughout the entire session, his smile remained in place, and his enthusiasm never waned. At the conclusion of the event, he said goodbye as though we were cherished visitors in his home, and he thanked everyone for coming.

When I Need A Speaker launched, some people blushed and said, “I’m not a celebrity or a professional speaker.” Neither was our science center tour guide. And he was fantastic.

We celebrate speakers who commit to public speaking as part of their personal mission – it becomes one way that they can celebrate and advance the topics and causes that mean the most to them.

Have you considered public speaking as a public service? Regardless of your areas of expertise … regardless of your motivational message … regardless of your personal story, there are classes, community groups, organizations, and employee groups who would benefit from hearing from you.

Great speakers are defined by these two things

Great speakers are defined by these two things 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

People hear about I Need A Speaker, and they sometimes say, “I love to talk about [insert your topic here], but I’m not a professional speaker or an expert.” Our response is, “That’s okay!”

Of course we welcome professional speakers. We welcome speakers of all experience levels and subject matter expertise.

So what makes a great speaker? Audiences will tell you it’s a speaker who has passion and purpose. It’s someone who has a story or a message to share. It’s someone who wants to make a connection with others through a common interest. It’s someone who wants to make a difference.

Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s not.

If you are someone who has passion and purpose, we’d love to hear your message. Better yet, we would be privileged to help you share it with other people.

What is your core idea?

What is your core idea? 2200 1529 I Need A Speaker

Great speakers know that they can inform, persuade, entertain, motivate, and inspire … and they can do it most effectively when they center their remarks on one core idea.

Your audience is expected to absorb a lot of information during your talk. What is the one thing you want them to remember when you’ve finished speaking? That one thing – that core idea – is the center around which every element of your presentation should be focused.

Think about the speeches you’ve heard. What one thing do you recall about each? If you remember it vividly, the speaker was effective.

What’s your core idea?

Know the one tool to master for online meetings

Know the one tool to master for online meetings 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Recent events prompted millions of people to work from home, a trend that’s likely to continue indefinitely. We have adapted to conducting business from our homes, rather than our offices. During that time, some standards have relaxed a bit.

As we isolate toward a healthier tomorrow, we’ll be participating in meetings and classes from home. Our setting comes complete with the sounds that accompany the spaces where we live. To minimize disruption from kids, dogs, trains, emergency vehicles, delivery drivers, appliances, lawnmowers, and other household sounds, be sure to enable your “mute” button until you’re ready to speak. Your colleagues will be grateful.

Two keynote speakers walk into a bar …

Two keynote speakers walk into a bar … 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Some of my favorite speeches include humor. David Sedaris somehow combines just the right words, tone, and facial expression that have made me laugh until tears roll down my cheeks.

When used properly, humor allows us to connect with one another. It lightens the mood when the topic is serious. It helps us remember key points.

As a speaker, you can use humor in a number of ways: cartoons, anecdotes, personal stories, quotes, or jokes. Some of the best speakers tell stories or jokes that make audiences laugh out loud – but be careful. If you’re not accustomed to using humor, your intentions could backfire.

If possible, test your material on an individual or group that represents your audience, and see if your remarks got the desired result. Did your test audience laugh or cringe? Use that feedback to decide how to proceed.

Our next speaker is …

Our next speaker is … 2560 1440 I Need A Speaker

Speaker introductions do more than tell your audience who you are. Speaker introductions highlight your relevance and credibility, and they set expectations for what your audience may expect to learn or experience.

Effective speaker introductions should be no longer than 100 words and should highlight the most important reasons that you’re the best speaker for that particular occasion, subject, and audience.

Having someone read a list of degrees and publications definitely underscores your status as a subject matter expert, but what’s even more important to audiences is what you’ve done and what you plan to share with them. If you’re speaking about entrepreneurial habits, it’s important to note that you’ve started six successful companies. If you’re discussing techniques for outdoor survival to a group of outdoor enthusiasts, definitely include your outdoor achievements in your narrative speaker bio. You get the idea.

Your audience doesn’t have to know everything about you. They just need to know that you’re qualified, capable, relevant, and excited to share.

Master the one most important element of a great presentation

Master the one most important element of a great presentation 1706 2560 I Need A Speaker

Many people would agree that Michelle Obama is an excellent speaker. Time and again, Michelle relates stories of her childhood, her college years, her marriage, and her relationship with her daughters. The former First Lady openly shares her experiences of stepping into the public spotlight and the pressures (and joys) that accompany her status.

Michelle follows the best practices of public presentation: planning, speaking at an appropriate pace for the audience/occasion, storytelling, pauses, and so on. Yet, perhaps what impacts her audiences most is her ability to make a connection with others.

How can you make a connection with audiences of any size? Whether you’re addressing a group virtually or in person, take some time to think about the audience. What matters to the people in that crowd? What do they think and dream about? What do they care about? What values do they share?

When you craft your remarks around your audience and use anecdotes to share information in a relatable way, you build the connection that makes people remember your speech long after it has ended.

How should I handle nervousness?

How should I handle nervousness? 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Nervousness is often the result of inadequate preparation. Here are some tactics to manage those pre-presentation butterflies:

  • Realize that you have a message to send, and people want to hear it.
  • Outline using the classic format: tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them what you want to tell them, and then tell them what you told them. It keeps you on track, and it helps your audience follow along with strong recall of your main points.
  • Know your material well.
  • Practice as much as necessary to be comfortable with your remarks.
  • Practice a “grounding” tactic. Many people believe that you can condition yourself to feel grounded by repeating a motion frequently while associating it with calmness. This motion may be as simple as pressing your pointer finger and thumb together. The belief is that, if you do it enough and make the association, the motion will bring you calmness in times of stress.
  • Still nervous? Take a short walk, reviewing key points and releasing energy as you stroll.

Remember: You’ve got this!

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