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The Write Way to Professional Speaking
by Mark McGregor

Writers have the opportunity to share their words of wisdom to a spectrum of readers. You become the authority on your subject matter because you researched and organized the content of your written project. Have you considered the benefits of verbally sharing the material of your articles and books into a microphone in front of a live audience? Writers who speak professionally can generate a new income, offer more products, develop a secondary market, and have a lot of fun.

-Show me the money-

Professional speakers are usually compensated with a speaker’s fee. The income for a speaker will vary according to their ability to deliver a presentation, subject, longevity, popularity, and uniqueness. For an example, I speak on business and stress related topics. As a freelance writer, I have published articles that relate to my speaking topics. Since I have been training to speak professionally for four years and also because I will become the president of the Hamilton Chapter of The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, I am booked in the range of $2,000 for a four hour or less speaking engagement. Published book authors usually demand a higher speaking fee. Once I become a published book author, I will move into a $2,500 plus speaker’s fee range.

Some speakers make a living on speaker fees alone. However, there are some professional speakers who can generate more income by selling their products than the fee they charge for speaking at an event. Speaker products may include books, videotapes and "systems". A system is a combination of printed and recorded materials serving as a problem-solving kit. Speakers can also record their training programs, presentations and keynotes. Your recorded message can be duplicated onto audiotapes and CDs. These products can be sold at book signings, workshops, conventions and from your Web site.

-Other reasons why writers should speak-

Credibility is very important for writers. Publishers feel more confident when they select a writer who has delivered their thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums. Professional speaking will provide you with that extra credibility.

The media enjoys contacting professional speakers to act as experts for interviews and quotes. While interviewed, you can back up your comments or answer a question by sharing a passage from your book or most recent article. It is possible to suggest to the audience that more information can be found in your book or article, which can be purchased on your Web site or their nearest bookstore. When you mention the publication where your story or interview was printed, the publishers will love you for the extra plug!

-Where to speak-

Most speakers target association and corporation venues. This includes conferences, workshops, trade shows, and training programs. These events can add an entirely new paying consumer to purchase your written materials such as special reports, manuals, guides, books and articles. Event organizers enjoy booking speakers who have contributed written content for their venue’s trade and industry publications.

-Learn how to speak-

Speaking professionally is no different than writing. It is a skill that has to be developed and practiced. It is important that you learn platform skills and how to market your speaking services. There are courses you can take at local education centers and community workshops that will provide you with some basic skills on public speaking. If you wish to speak professionally - that is, to charge a fee, you will have to fine-tune your speaking skills. Toastmasters is one of the finest worldwide organizations that will assist with developing and critiquing your platform skills. Another advantage to Toastmasters is that you can read passages of your articles and books as a speech before they go to print, so you can get constructive feedback from a diversified audience.

-Speaker associations-

Consider the many benefits of belonging to a professional speaker association. Most speaker associations provide their membership with networking opportunities, support, monthly meetings, and education that includes how to market your speaking services. In North America, the two largest speaker associations include the National Speaker’s Association (NSA) for American speakers and The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) for Canadian speakers. There are NSA and CAPS chapters located throughout North America. These two associations are affiliated with a larger body called the International Speaker’s Federation. If you are located outside North America, visit the NSA Web site for a speaker’s association near you.

As you can see, there are several reasons why writers should speak. Contact any of the speaking organization Web sites listed below so you can get started on the write way to become a professional speaker!

Speaker Web site resource links:

Toastmasters: www.toastmasters.org

National Speakers Association (NSA): www.nsaspeaker.org

The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS): www.canadianspeakers.org

Mark McGregor’s Web site: www.speakingofhearts.com

© Copyright 2002, Mark McGregor

Mark McGregor is an international keynote speaker and trainer. He speaks and writes on business and stress subjects. Visit his Web site at http://www.speakingofhearts.com and subscribe to his free business building e-zine called Marketing Email Tips(c). Register today for his income-producing Teleseminars including "Ham it Up and Become a Media Hog." Call Mark now at (905) 385-1588.

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