If you’re working as a speaker, you must be an expert at something. But what makes someone an expert? Does writing a book make you one? I could write a book about scuba diving. In fact, I could write a whole series of books about scuba diving, but it’ll never make me an expert.

sexpert speaker

expert speaker

I have a crazy theory that you should have actually put in a certain number of years into practice that which you claim to be an expert in. My doctor’s been practicing medicine for 30 years, but he’s never written a book. I would call him an expert.

The trifecta for speakers

But I’m not the one who makes the decision to hire speakers. And having a book and being high profile does appeal to plenty of meeting planners. Of course, if you have the experience and a book and you’ve gotten a lot of press, you’re way ahead of the game.

If you’re wondering if you are an expert speaker or not, try getting in front of an audience and taking a Q and A. If you have no fear about any question you might be asked, then “you might be an expert”, as Jeff Foxworthy says.

You should know your topic like the back of your hand and you should stay current on what is happening in that industry. Immerse yourself in the topic. Learn from the best. Learn from those who have done what it is you want to do. I could hear a professor talk about inventing all day. But if he hasn’t actually been in the trenches, if he hasn’t been there, done that, then I wouldn’t consider him to be an inventor. Maybe that’s just me.

I heard some great advice once that you should be experienced in 1-2 topics max. Be the person meeting planners and sponsors think about when they need a speaker in your topic. And do it better than anyone else. Be the expert.

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