Public speaking can do wonders for one's career in terms of positioning as a thought leader within your industry and having exposure to countless executives in the audience which is advantageous for anyone that's looking to grow a business or advance in their career.
However, the journey to becoming a public speaker isn't one that comes overnight. Like anything else, it requires years of hard work, mastery of a topic, and a lot of patience.
Sure, it's easy to watch well-known speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins take a stage and think to yourself "Oh, I can do that!" But the reality is that these individuals have invested years in speaking on those stages.
Having spoken at over 30 industry events and conferences such as SXSW and Social Media Marketing World in the past two years, I am often asked by aspiring speakers in my social network how to get speaking engagements.
Below is a breakdown of what it takes to become a public speaker in 2017:
Conference and event organizers aren't looking for just someone who can come in and recite a blog post that they read online or provide vague, general content (a "theory").
Instead, they are looking for subject matter experts or thought leaders on a particular topic or platform (i.e. social media, SEO, email marketing, etc.) who have performed the work previously and are able to teach an audience how to do it themselves in order to drive ROI for their business.
Conference organizers are hypersensitive to the fact that attendees often pay upwards of $1,000 or more to hear from seasoned experts, which is why you should not bother applying to speak at an event if you haven't performed the work that you intend on speaking about. Ask yourself, what makes you qualified to speak on a particular subject matter?
Before speaking in front of thousands, I spoke at events at technical colleges in my community to a dozen or fewer individuals. Sure, it's not as sexy as headlining a stage at a major industry event but it's where you realistically need to start to gain experience speaking in front of professionals who can easily spot the difference between someone who knows their subject matter and fluff.