Like many professional business leaders, odds are good that you are moving into Act II of your career and your life. You want to speak publicly because you know that you have something important to say—something that audiences will benefit from knowing.
Clearly, this is not an ending. It’s simply the next phase.
And your timing couldn’t be better because in Act I, you set everything up to prepare you for this big, bold step. Perhaps it was almost formulaic: college, grad school, job, family, promotion. Now you are looking at what you have done—and re-thinking, re-working, re-committing—and the possibilities abound, including having your voice heard, whether or not it is connected to your current job.
Our advice: Do it!
We meet many presenters at this juncture. Wisely, they approach a company like ARTiculate: Real&Clear because before they embark on the journey of speaking publicly, they want to find, unearth, and create the best keynotes they can to share with the world. Or they are polishing their speaking skills to take it up a notch.
Public speaking is a powerful platform, providing a place for individuals to share their experience and ideas and leave their footprint on the world. If one person can move another person to shift their perspective on business or life, they have created a ripple effect that moves others and moves the world.
So let’s get started.
Step 1. Begin by gathering your thoughts about what you want to speak about.
- Write down all of the topics you’d like to speak about, no matter how incomplete they may seem. Just get it all down on paper.
- Another option is to speak your ideas into a recorder if you feel limited by the writing process.
- Remember, the goal is to be as free and creative as you can. Don’t edit yourself or over-think how your ideas will be received. Just get them all out.
Step 2. Take a public speaking class—in person or virtually.
- There are plenty of courses in cities around the country, and these classes are a great way to help you overcome anything that holds you back in terms of public speaking—nerves, especially.
- Toastmasters International is a great option, for they have 292,000 members in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. Odds are good there is a chapter near you!
- Hire a speaking coach. One-on-one sessions are invaluable, and a good coach will help you create your speech, and work with you on the delivery, too.
Step 3. Practice, practice, practice, wherever you can.
- Speak whenever you can—at work, at the clubs you belong to, and eventually to nonprofit groups that want to hear what you have to say. From here, you’ll be able to leverage your experience as a speaker and—if it’s your goal— eventually get paid to speak.
- Also check out the National Speakers Association, a great source for community, education, and entrepreneurial business knowledge that can help you to be successful in the speaking profession.
- Again, we have found Toastmasters to be a fantastic option, for the goal is to give speeches regularly in front of a group of your peers. The rule of thumb here is that practice makes perfect.
Here’s to your Act II! The curtain is rising. Take the stage and let your voice be heard. Do it!
This article was originally posted on BeInkandescent.com in May 2014.