public speaking

Standing in front of a group of people and giving a speech can be an exhilarating feeling, however, no matter how great a person is at public speaking, actually getting the chance to stand in front of an audience is not an easy task.

In fact, speaking engagements are an excellent way to grow a platform or an audience, since it’s a very powerful medium for sharing concepts and ideas, as well as building relationships. Some people have even managed to turn public speaking into their full-time job, and then, all they have to do is travel from one location to the next, telling people about their thoughts and ideas.

In order to get to that point, there are several questions a potential speaker needs to ask themselves, before they regularly start getting speaking engagements into their schedule, to the point where they might have to turn some of them down.

Narrow the Focus

There are plenty of people out there who simply know that they want to get a speaking engagement, without knowing who they want to talk to, or where they want to do it, or even what they want to talk about. It’s important to have an answer to all of those questions, to know whether they want to talk to CEOs or SAHMs or even teenagers.

Whether they want to talk in front of a small audience that could fit in a classroom or a big one in a stadium. Finally, whether they want to talk about something that they are passionate about or something that they’re potentially an expert in – note that the latter one is always better.

Do Some Research

After narrowing the focus, the next step that a potential speaker needs to do in order to get a speaking engagement is to do some research on events and locations. Before thinking about sitting down with a late-night show host, start small and look up locations or events in the area that you can speak at.

At this stage, all that’s needed is a collection of places or events that are allowing speakers to talk about subjects, whether that’s conferences, summits or any other types of events. Make a list of those events, with the dates and the contact information for them, before proceeding to the next step.

Contact Organizers

After setting up the list of events, speakers usually have to keep up with them to see when the organizers are taking speaker applications – that’s the time to reach out to the coordinators or organizers, talk about the event as well as the potential contribution that you can make as a speaker.

Keep up Connections and Get Referrals

Once all of those emails are sent out to the organizers, expect an answer from them – and then deliver. Impressing the audience as well as the organizers is the goal with every speaking engagement. After the event is over, stay in touch with the organizers for any other potential speaking engagements in the future – whether it’s for the same event or with a referral to a different speaking engagement.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.