"The most UNDER-rated tool for successful speakers"
"The most UNDER-rated tool for successful speakers"
When I first started speaking, it was only for fun. Speaking was just a side hustle that I “tried” fitting in while working a full-time job. At that time my career was in Student Affairs - my first job at the University of South Carolina. Then I worked at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and High Point University. Luckily, most of my bosses were good and they supported my speaking “on the side.”
While I attended conferences for work, I would also present a breakout session. And on campus I would occasionally host a leadership workshop for students. That’s pretty much all my speaking entailed, and none of it was ever paid. I did not know anything about building a speaking business or PAID public speaking. I just wanted to speak. Although back then it might have appeared I was successful and excited in front of an audience – whether large auditorium or small classroom - behind-the-scenes I felt lonely, frustrated and like an imposter. And I often felt like my speeches could not gone much better. Two reasons I had these feelings were because (1) I didn’t know what I was doing and (2) I was doing it all alone. I did not understand the importance of surrounding myself with other speakers of like-mind, similar goals, people who could help me, share ideas with me and challenge me when needed. And most definitely, someone or a group of people to bounce ideas and help hold me accountable for getting sh*t done. There were so many times I nearly quit pursuing speaking because of the doubt and lack of progress. I write about this in the Preface of my book PAID to $PEAK. It’s the largest chapter for a reason! But every time I nearly quit, someone in the speaker community I had surrounded myself with always came into my life at the right time that helped me stick it out – and they didn’t even know it. My first speaking mentor, my coach, my first Mastermind, my first Toastmasters club and even some of my audience participants were all important parts of my speaking journey that helped me grow my speaking hobby into a lucrative speaking business. So what ONE THING is the most under-rated tool to help any person become a successful speaker? ANSWER: It’s their involvement in a speaker community comprised of others with similar goals. And why it’s the most under-rated tool is because it’s not talked about nearly enough as an important criteria to establish a speaking business. I haven't invested much time in it until now! From my experience personally as well as coaching hundreds of aspiring speakers over the years now, intentionally surrounding yourself by others of “like-mind” who can help you, support you, provide feedback, help hold you accountable and even make speaking referrals is essential. Of course knowing how to outline an amazing speech, how to deliver it effectively, having a target industry and being prepared with what meeting planners need to see are fundamental. That’s actually why I wrote PAID to $PEAK to outline a 5-module process that will help any level and type of speaker learn the step-by-step process of being a consistently paid speaker – whether part-time hustle or full-time professional. But if a speaker isn’t involved in a community alongside other like-minded speakers with similar goals, they will feel like I did and likely quit at some point. The isolation, the frustration and the overwhelm will creep in. It’s that community and sense of belonging and connection with others that will help them power through. That community could be a large group of others, small mastermind or even a 1:1 coaching or mentorship relationship.
Are you involved in a group with other like-minded speakers? Have you ever been involved with a speaker mastermind? Ever had 1:1 coaching support?
Below are specific community groups I recommend for speakers at every level to be involved. Regardless of where you live and what level of speaking you’d consider yourself, I highly, highly recommend you connect with other speakers in some way – From my experience having the right type of speaker community around you will be your secret weapon because most speakers don’t have it … and that’s why most will end up quitting at some point. National Speakers Association (NSA) There are dozens of chapters all over the country - click here. I personally belong to the Carolinas Chapter of the National Speakers Association. Visit NSA’s website to find the chapter closest to you. There are different levels of membership – ranging from seasoned pro to aspiring new speaker. Many members of NSA are just starting out their speaking journey and most are not full-time.
Toastmasters International I’ve been involved with several Toastmasters clubs and earned my Distinguished Toastmasters credential – it’s highest honor. When I first moved to North Carolina I joined 4 clubs at the same time! Not only will Toastmasters surround you with other people interested in improving their speaking skills, but you’ll also have practice opportunities to speak galore. Click here to find a club near you. This is why I started Speaking Professionally Toastmasters which is a unique club focused on helping our members build a speaking business. There’s not another club dedicated to professional speakers within the Toastmasters community (to my knowledge) so I’d encourage you to start with our club first. Our members desire to get paid for our speaking. I’m honored to currently be President of this club as well. Visit our website for more details - click here. We meet monthly (virtually) on the first Tuesday @ 12pm EST. If you’d like to join us, simply send me an email at Kevin@KevinCSnyder.com.
Speaker Mastermind I am involved with two (2) different Speaker Mastermind groups right now. One is a small group of 5 other professional speakers. We meet monthly to share ideas, frustrations and bounce ideas off each other. It’s invaluable. This is a closed group though and we self-selected ourselves. We’ve become great friends and no-holds barred accountability partners. The other Speaker Mastermind group is one I lead personally that you could join. I launched it last year and am going to re-launch it in a new way coming soon adding a LOT more value. I’ll provide a monthly coaching call plus you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other speakers in a private Facebook group. It has a small monthly membership fee and you can cancel at any time. Visit my Speaker Mastermind group here (click here) for more details.
Speaker Mentorship program Who can you talk to about professional speaking who’s “been there” and “done that” already? Who do you reach out to when you have some quick questions or want to pick someone’s brain? For me, having a speaking mentor was key when I first started speaking. Without this person, I would have made so many more mistakes trying to figure it out on my own. I started a Speaker Mentorship program amidst covid in 2020 - click here for details. The difference between mentorship and coaching is that mentorship gives you the flexibility to control what our discussions look like. You control the agenda. Coaching is where I guide you through my PAID to $PEAK coaching program. Many of my mentorship coaching clients have already been through my coaching program and want to continue our relationship.
I’ve shared several strategies and ways to build a powerful speaker community:
Who's in your speaker community? How are you surrounding yourself with others who can help you achieve your speaking goals?
You can certainly try to do it alone … but you don’t have to. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. The only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from!”
Desire to become a professional speaker?
Not getting PAID speaking engagements yet?
In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My #1 book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers seeking to build a business in speaking. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation to explore how I can help. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated.
Social: @ KevinCSnyder