August 31, 2023
9 min read
If you have a powerful message to share or if you have a knack for communication, public speaking might be the path for you. To learn how to become a public speaker, follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way.
Becoming a public speaker entails more than just delivering speeches. Here are the steps we’ll cover:
Before you can become a public speaker, you must figure out what you’re going to speak about. People want to hear from someone who knows what they’re talking about. So, first, you must identify your expertise or develop expertise in an area.
We’ll go through some of the steps to do this. But, first, let’s get clarity on what it means to be an expert on something.
It’s important to note that expertise isn’t static. It’s something you can develop and grow over time. The more you learn and practice, the more expert you’ll become.
Now, let’s turn to some of the ways you can identify your own expertise.
Once you know your area of expertise, you can start to develop your message and find audiences who are interested in what you have to say.
To become a public speaker, you must not only have something to speak about; you also must have someone to speak to. Your speaking is a service. So, you must identify a target customer just as any business with a service must do. Who will “buy your service”? Who wants or needs to hear what you have to say?
To begin to identify your target audience, consider your competition. Who are your competitors? Who else speaks about what you speak about? Whom are they targeting? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Consider where your audience will overlap with the audience of your competitors. Think about where you might fill a gap.
Next, ask the following questions:
The more you know about your target audience, the better you’ll be able to tailor your marketing to their needs and interests. This will help you reach them with your message and achieve your goals.
Consider creating an audience persona. This is a named, fictional representation of your ideal audience member. It can help you better understand them. And, you’ll be more likely to remember that you’re speaking to a real person with real needs and desires.
By taking the time to identify your target audience, you can give yourself the best chance of marketing your speaking services successfully.
If you want to become a public speaker, you’ll need to know how to write speeches. A well-written speech is essential for a successful public speaking performance. When writing your speech, be sure to:
If you’re wondering how to learn your speeches without reading them word-for-word, check out these articles:
Of course, if you want to become a public speaker, you must have the right delivery skills in addition to writing skills. These include:
Lots of resources are out there to help you improve your public speaking skills. Of course, to develop any skill, the most important thing to do is practice. Speaking classes, associations such as the National Speakers Association, and clubs such as Toastmasters provide these opportunities as well as training.
Of course, you always can practice in front of family and friends. And, if you’d like to practice on your own, Yoodli’s free AI speech app provides endless opportunities for practice as well as instant feedback on your word choices and delivery.
Also, a mentor or coach can provide you with guidance and support as you develop your public speaking skills. Here’s what to look for in a public speaking coach.
With practice and effort, you can improve your public speaking skills and become a more confident and effective speaker. Check out our article “9 Strategies for Effective Public Speaking Skills” for more on this topic.
If you want to be a successful public speaker, you must have a professional online presence. This is nonnegotiable. This means having a website and social media profiles where you can share your expertise and connect with audiences and potential audiences. A podcast or a video channel on sites like YouTube are also excellent ideas.
An online presence is one of the best ways to establish and grow an audience. Once you’re ready to “go live,” make sure you’re online with a professional and active presence. Amateurish, sloppy, and out-of-date sites and profiles don’t make a positive impression. It’s not enough that you set up an online presence. People will regard even the most professional-looking site or profile as unprofessional if it’s not consistently active.
Being online as a public speaker entails making and uploading videos (and possibly livestreaming) and/or audio. So, you’ll want to make sure you invest in a webcam, a microphone, and lighting to create quality videos that show you’re the real deal. You don’t have to go over the top, as equipment can get expensive, but try to at least match the quality of your competitors’ work.
Network with people, including—but certainly not limited to—other speakers. Attend industry events and connect with other speakers. Join speakers associations and clubs. These are great ways to learn from others and find opportunities to speak. Chances are, there’s at least one networking group in your area. Connect with others, let them know what you do, and more opportunities are bound to come your way.
Here are some ideas on how to make the most of networking events and mixers: “Career Mixers 101: A Guide to Success.”
To become a public speaker, start speaking! Even before you have invitations, you can seek out opportunities or make them yourself. Once you have your message and your skills in development (not perfect), start speaking locally and/or online for free. This is a great way to gain experience, get feedback, and build your reputation and audience. Even if only 12 people attend your speech, or five people watch your video, or nobody listens to your podcast, you’re getting invaluable experience.
Becoming a successful public speaker takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a speaking gig or build a big audience right away.
Don’t let setbacks stop you. Along the way, you’re likely to experience public speaking anxiety. Building a reputation and an audience will be slow going. Some days, you’ll feel like you’re just speaking into the wind. The important thing is to keep going. Learn from your mistakes. Grow through the challenges. Keep your expectations in check.
Whatever. youdo, have fun. Public speaking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you’re not having fun, it will show. So, relax, enjoy yourself, and let your passion for your topic shine through.
There’s no such thing as public speaking perfection. Knowledge and skills have no limit. Success has no ceiling. Keep practicing and networking, and you will find your audience. Yoodli would love to be a partner on your journey to becoming a public speaker. Let’s go!
Note: This post was created in partnership with artificial intelligence.
Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.