Becoming a thought leader is actually easier than you think. However, it does take commitment and determination to get to the level where others are looking for you!
If you can see yourself as a professional speaker and you have enjoyed sharing your knowledge with others, with a little time and the right approach and strategy, you could be well on your way to achieving your dream career.
Here are some actions you can take to ‘bridge the gap’ between where you are now and where you want to be.
Talking is much less about talking to people and more about taking them with you on trips. One of the many skills that successful professional speakers possess is the ability to lead their audience and influence them to invest in the ideas, concepts, and topics they are talking about.
Leadership qualities and the ability to influence are core skills needed to achieve this, so take the time to master these specific skills through your experience.
To excel in any arena, it pays to invest time and money. While practice and repetition are a great way to perfect skills, it is also very important to continue learning a specialized approach by attending courses and seminars on presentation or speaking skills to help you stay current and master your craft.
Say ‘yes’ to any and all opportunities available to you to share your knowledge with others – seek, offer and accept free speaking slots in schools or small groups – regardless of size, just say yes! The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to make new connections and networks, opening up new possibilities every time you speak, while honing your skills as a speaker, of course.
The ‘model’ of the Masters
‘Modeling’ is a term used in Neuro Linguistic Programming that describes the process of re-creating perfection. The act of ‘modelling’ can be achieved by studying the behavior of someone who is already doing what you want to master. First you need choose a professional speaker to create models, and then find out as much as you can about them.
Watch videos, read their books and take notes on what they say, how they behave, their physiology and their strategies that make them successful. For example, if they have a special routine or ritual that helps them prepare for a speaking event – try it yourself.
Do your research and find out as much as you can about them – not to become exact replicants but to incorporate what works for them into your own speaking strategy. You can also attend some media training to hone your skills.
Looking for Feedback
No failures, only feedback! Every time you speak, you will learn how to be better the next time. The best way to find out what is working for you and what isn’t, is to ask others’ perspectives and evaluate your own performance equally over time.
Always ask yourself, what can I do differently next time to get better results? If you receive positive feedback and score a 9 out of 10, ask yourself – what must I do to get a 10?
You are the Brand
Find your USP (unique selling point), what makes you different? How can you stand out from the crowd of other professional speakers? What can you offer that no one else can? In this field, your prospects are not only looking for a confident and charismatic professional, but also someone who can add value to their audience and support the results they want to achieve – skills, techniques, approaches or simply a positive emotional state.
Clients are looking for specialists, generalists are looking for clients! Pick an area you are already good at and see if you can make it more specialized. What matters most is that you have topic mastery – you know your stuff and can talk about your subject with ease and confidence, while making it easy for others to understand and absorb.
To be an accomplished speaker, you must be able to easily hold the audience’s attention, adapt to their reactions, and answer their questions.