After looking at a list of several speakers bureaus, I found that the average number of motivational speakers each one had was between 100-200 for that category alone. And I counted over 100 speaker’s bureaus in the U.S. That sounds like a lot of speakers. But when you consider that there are thousands of meetings and conferences that go on each year, suddenly the odds get a little better. There are still not enough decent paid speaking jobs to go around, but you can increase your odds as a public speaker.

  • Pick a niche no one owns – Speaker Dr. Brene Brown has spent 12 years studying and researching the topic of vulnerability. Her list of speaking topics all reflect variations of that topic. I can’t say that I have ever heard of another speaker who speaks on vulnerability. She found a niche no one else was pursuing and she is definitely an expert. She stands out by going down a different path from everyone else. Sally Hogshead did a 3 year study on the topic of fascination. She not only wrote a book about it, but she has a slew of products, from books to a fascination advantage test. When her name comes up you know exactly what she speaks about and no one else can claim that.
  • Use your background – No one on the planet has exactly the same background you do. That includes your nationality, education, resume, family history, job skills, personality, and style. How can you use all of these or a combination of them to stand out in a crowd of speakers who are all speaking on the same topic?
  • Know more about your niche than anyone – Would you rather hear a speaker who has read some books on leadership or one who lead a disability group to the Mt. Everest base camp (then went on to be the first person with one arm to reach the summit) like Gary Guller? A speaker who has taken some leadership seminars or someone like Sir Richard Branson, a true leader who now has over 400 businesses under his control? Though most people can’t compete with Richard Branson or climb to the top of Mt. Everest, you can dominate your niche and know more about it than anyone.

So, the next time you fret about keeping up with your competition, take a deep breath and realize there is only one “you”. Challenge yourself, not to compete with all the other speakers in the world, but to compete with yourself.

 

 

a speaker's voice

a speaker’s voice

As a speaker, we’re hired based on our ability to communicate. Our words pour out from the stage and educate, inspire, and affect those sitting in the audience. For a speaker, having a “voice” is everything. But what if that voice was taken away? I don’t mean figuratively, but literally. As a speaker, how would you handle it?

Last month I had the honor of sharing the stage with one of the most amazing and inspiring speakers I’ve ever met, Cynthia DiBartolo. We were in Atlanta for the Cognizant Technology Solutions conference, which was held at the Jimmy Carter Museum. There were roughly 100 Fortune 500 executives and CEOs from Coca Cola, AT&T, etc. The topic was innovation and there were 4 keynote speakers who spoke about innovation from a different perspective. (more…)