So You Want to Speak
by Cherilyn Azubuike
Creating a speaking platform can be a very lucrative and rewarding business, but only for those that are willing to pay the price of perfecting their craft and stay the course.
Warning! Be alert! There are many motivational imposters on the loose. Just because you are able to cite a few quotes, are articulate and have read Napoleon’s Hill “Think and Grow Rich” does not mean that you are qualified to call yourself a motivational speaker or a professional speaker and it often grieves my heart to see people with no professional training, no experiences and no passion or regard for the gift that speaking provides, doing so.
Being able to connect with an audience on any level, being able to transform lives one message at a time with the power of positive and affirming words is not an easy task, but yet the rewards are insurmountable.
So you want to be able to move the masses at the sound of your voice? You say that you have a passion for assisting and elevating people to live large and dream big! Well, I want to give you the nuts and bolts of creating a lucrative speaking platform, one that will be able to sustain you and your household financially rather than as a mere pastime.
1. Know your Why? Why do you want to speak? What are your qualifications? Is it simply to make money? If the why isn’t big enough the dream doesn’t matter. You have to be able to define your why down to the minute details. Why do you feel that people should or would listen to you? Speaking is an art form; it allows the speaker to get into the hearts and the minds of individuals and build them up or tear them down. Imagine being told that your health is at risk and in order to save your life you need an operation. While on the operating table you want a skilled doctor who has successfully performed this procedure many times before, not one who has simply read about how to do the procedure in a medical book.
2. Do the road work: When planning a vacation the least favorite part of the trip is the time spent on the road. The long hours spent driving, making frequent stops and sudden detours are the pits, but once you reach your final destination, you see how critical the road work was. In order to create a speaking platform you must be willing to do the road work, which may consist of, but certainly not limited to, motivating yourself, researching and studying your craft, joining a local Toastmaster’s group in your area, making cold calls, speaking for free and being open and receptive to feedback.
3. Know your flock: Who are you called to? Who is your target audience? You must know everything about your audience before ever meeting them. Who are they? What are their struggles? What are their needs? What do they want? You must know everything there is to know concerning your audience. You are not called to everyone……and trust me not everyone wants to hear what you have to say, but your audience will if you have the know how to connect with them right where they are.
4. Speak for free! This is a biggie! Most beginners think that once they create their website and open up their speaking business that the opportunities and the money will magically start rolling in. Not so! You must be willing to create a name for yourself and that means accepting many opportunities for free. Most speaking bureaus won’t even consider you until you have spoken for free at least 50-100 times.
5. Find a mentor! Who do you know that is exactly where you see for yourself? Contact the individual ask for assistance, ask for advice and then be willing to follow through with the advice given to you. In this business you must be coachable, leadable and trainable.
6. You are here to serve: you must keep at the forefront of your mind that you are a servant. You are here to serve the people who are assigned to you and you must be able to do that passionately and fervently at all times. When you make money your primary goal you’ll see that you will soon be exposed. Speaking and sincerity go hand in hand.
7. Remember that this is a business: Keep your paperwork together. Create files for speaking engagements, keep invoices and other important records. You must conduct business professionally and promptly in order to maintain a long and lucrative career. Keep speaking engagements as scheduled whether paid or not. Integrity and professionalism will keep you on the speaking platform for many years to come.
Cherilyn Azubuike is no stranger to expressing her ideas and captivating her audiences by inspiring them to live powerfully and purposefully. Her analytical ability to substantively address issues, including personal development, one on one relationships, effective communication, finding your purpose, self-publishing as well as women and youth topics concerning sexual abuse and domestic violence, has motivated and empowered numerous audiences to make positive and effective change in their lives. She has an unrelenting passion for life and her mission is to assist others in transforming their lives. Cherilyn has been the speaker of choice for foundations, school districts, faith based institutions as well as civic and community organizations.
In July, 2007 she launched her syndicated radio show “Unveiling the Mask” to a listening audience of 1,000,000. Unveiling the Mask Enterprises has now partnered with Blog Talk Radio and has launched her highly acclaimed show on July 1, 2008.
Cherilyn is Author of, Weekly Wisdom: 52 Ways to Live a More Fulfilled Life. Cherilyn’s commentaries have graced the sites and faculties of McCluer Senior High, Sprint PCS, Sisters in the Spirit, and Divine Eloquence magazine as well as her own bi-monthly free newsletter entitled, “Cherilyn’s Corner!”
You can reach Cherilyn through her web-site: http://www.unveilingthemask.com/
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
by phone at: 323-580-4604