It’s very often the case a lot of people believe keynote speaking is a deluxe and prestigious profession.
There’s no question as an entertainer or keynote speaker you can earn a significant amount of income and become very much sought after. However, most successful speakers or entertainers spend a lot of time in airports around the world or hotels in a variety of cities.
To be able to have a career in speaking or to become a motivational speaker, you need to first be or at least be perceived to be an expert in some subject.
What we most commonly see as a successful keynote speaker is a person who has achieved a very high standing in their profession or sport. It is not however the only way to become a successful motivational speaker.
The art of speaking or indeed being a trainer is centred around your capability to retain the focus of your audience. It is what most speakers refer to as the skills to get your audience to lean in.
So What has Changed?
Perhaps the revolution in the speaking industry has been the evolution of TED talks. Even though many keynote speakers and entertainers focus on delivering content over a 45 minute to one hour period, TED forces you to deliver an impactful message in less than 18 minutes.
The lesson for any speaker relates to the capability for the audience to focus over a extended period of time.
It must be noted that while each TED talk is of a shorter duration, the audience is able to maintain focus over several sessions in the same evening.
The lesson therefore to anybody desiring to be a trainer or speaker quite simply must learn to keep your audience engaged over larger spans of time using various tools like humour, audience participation or emotion. Essentially you have to learn to be a number of personalities in the same talk.
Many organizations such as toastmasters concentrate on training people to become speakers, however in many examples the training is somewhat old school. While it is valuable to know the tools of the trade, just like many professions, times have changed and we never have necessarily responded to the change.
An excellent example is within the writing industry. Where books were previously a minimum of 80,000 words, the evolution of the eBook industry has produced a demand for 8000 word ebooks.
The same is true in speaking where today we worry less with regards to the “umm’s, err’s or “like’s” in a sentence and much more with regard to the ability for the speaker to entertain us and hold us captive to their narrative.
Canada is one country that provides many high quality entertainers and speakers. To be a canadian speaker you can get not only the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (which has membership requirements in regards to your experience) but in addition several premium quality speaker agencies.
As you move the desire to become a speaker may focus you on a path of writing a keynote and preparing yourself for the big day, it’s also wise to be prepared to be multi-talented.
Most motivational speakers derive a significant portion of their income from selling books at their events. In addition they deliver workshops for the same audience so as to add value to their service.
In this circumstance the skills to create a book or host a workshop need to be acquired or purchased that can assist you in your career progression.
If you are excited about a career in speaking in North America, I would recommend highly you look to either the National Speakers Association in the USA or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Canada.
Once you have opened enough doors to start to get bookings, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that can be very profitable also.