The Key to Starting a Speaking Career (Video)


One of my favorite things to do as a business owner is work as a professional speaker. By speaking to market by business (and working as a paid professional speaker), I get to teach thousands of people what I know and encourage them to own their stories and their gifts. But this wasn't always an aspect of my business. In fact - I was once terrified to even raise my hand for speaking opportunities!

So what changed? That's what I'm sharing in today's brand new episode of "Skip to Action TV" -- "The Key to Starting a Speaking Career!" Watch here or go ahead and read the transcript below. This is a great short video to watch if you're considering adding speaking to your business or getting into it as your business!

So, as part of what I do, I'm also a professional motivational speaker. And as a speaker, I often get asked the question, "Well how did you get started in speaking? I really want to get into that." And you might expect some kind of magical answer. But, for me, it kind of went like this, it came down to sharing the idea that I wanted to speak.

This was something I kind of buried, kind of put to the side, I was a little bit afraid of doing, to be honest. At Disney, my job was creating presentations for big executives to give, but I was afraid to create those presentations and give them myself, simply because I hadn't really done that before. So I had this dream, this idea, but I wasn't really sharing it with other people. I had kind of reached out to someone, I saw someone looking for speakers, I talked to them over the phone, and said, you know I might be interested. And I thought, okay, I'm on their radar, they'll call me. 

And things really changed for me when I went to my Mastermind group. I have a women's networking group, there's about 10 of us, and we get together about once a month and we went around and shared our goals. And I don't know what possessed me, but I finally gave words to what I had been thinking in my head for probably a year or two years. And it was, “I think I want to be a speaker. What do you guys think?” And the response was huge. The response was, "Oh my gosh, you'd be so good at that. You can do this. What? You should go and do something about that. You should talk to these people." And their support and the echos that I heard, and the people that said, "Yeah, you can do this". And I thought, “Oh alright.” 

And I got this hunch of well I'm going to call that person I talked to a few months ago. You know, old Annie would have been, “Well you know, that person knows that I want to be a speaker, right? So they'll call me if there is an opportunity. “

And here's the key thing that happened - I didn't wait for that person to come back. I went and emailed them and said "Hey." Right after that meeting, I emailed them and said, "Hey, I'm really interested." I get an email back from her where she tells me, “Oh I'm so glad you reached out. We're looking for a speaker next month. Do you want to do it?” So, I said, “Yes, I want to do it.” And promptly and soon to be terrified. Absolutely terrified. Up until right before I did my first speaking engagement a month later. And I tell you this story, just to say that there's no magic way to become a speaker. You just have to start speaking. And the one way to do that, is very simply, I told people that I wanted to be a speaker. 

You can't wait for people to think that you're an expert in your field or you're really cool in what you do... or ask you, "Do you want come speak for this thing?" They're not going to necessarily know that you speak. A lot of people are very afraid to speak as you may know, because you may be one of them. But if you do like to speak or you might be interested in it, the more that you can do to tell people you want to be a speaker or that you are a speaker, you know, often you're getting those opportunities for free, you know it's OK to say you're a speaker and you're just getting started. That was my very first talk and the talk that I created for it, the presentation, I've gone on to give 15 or 20 times since then. In different variations, using it for different audiences. And it's been an incredible boom to my business. And I took the leap to do that. But it wasn't anything more than just, telling people who cared about me, like what my dream was and following up with somebody. You know, you can't wait around for people to hand you opportunity. I love that the story is about, I could have waited for that person to come back to me, she knew I wanted to be a speaker, I'd told her that. And I could have waited around. But instead, I sent a note. We're all busy, we all don't keep tabs on every single thing we're doing, so follow up with people, ask for opportunities, and that's what I really learned from this story. 

And having now become a speaker and been a few years into this, and starting to get paid for speaking as well, you know, I'm so grateful that I didn't wait another month or another year, even, to share my dream. Or to go after my dream. To do the thing that scared me and push through it. Because I've found that I love speaking and it's really a part of who I am. 

So if you're considering speaking, whether to market your business or to become a professional speaker, or both, which is what I do, just start telling people. Tell me. Shoot me a note. Leave me a comment. Send me back an email and say, “Annie, I want to become a speaker, I think I want to talk on these topics,” and we'll go from there. Maybe I know somebody. Maybe I'm part of a group, you know, anybody that you may talk to, you don't know what opportunities may happen. 

So the first step, I think, in becoming a speaker, whatever your goals may be, is tell people that's what you want to do. You've got it.