Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Social Networking Can Create Speaking Opportunities

Dr. Stephen Jones

Over the past few years I’ve spent a significant amount of time using all types of social media. There are several that seem to stand out among all of them. It took time to navigate them and to uncover where I should devote most of my time. The three social networks using most of my current time are Facebook, Linkedin and twitter. Each social network plays its own role in promoting communication about your speaking activities.

So where should a speaker begin. Bloggers will tell you to invest time in a certain social network because it will create a lot of buzz about you. You should look for opportunities to share your expertise by answering questions. I’ve spent a lot of time on Facebook sharing and communicating with present and past friends. I’ve updated them regarding my speaking engagements and workshop presentations. I created a Facebook Fan Page to provide more focused information about my brand. My fan page is focused on education and career information so it is easy to share my expertise with parents and students of all ages. I suggest a fan page for people who want to grow a group of followers over time. You can also post information from other websites on your fan page.

Linkedin is a great network for professionals. You can find your professional co-workers and friends from the past just by searching for them. Your contacts will send you messages and you can reply with useful information. One of the most powerful aspects of Linkedin is the groups that you can join. You can search for groups to determine which one you want to join. You can respond to questions and also share your questions. You can also start a group. I received the best results by responding to people right away.

Twitter provides short bursts of information about events, information and resources on the internet. You are able to respond with 140 letters or less. Each comment is called a tweet. On twitter you want to follow others and encourage them to follow you. You can search for people and businesses to follow. Then you can check out their tweets to read what they are doing or saying. You can also respond to a posting that you see. People all over the world have used twitter to help people to stay in touch with events that are happening in their country. Twitter allows you to have a whole conversation with groups of people.

My blogtalkradio is also a social network that I use to convey a message on education and careers. People follow me each week and they call into the program. Some of my internet radio followers have sent me messages and invited me to be a guest on their program. You can invite guest from Linkedin and Facebook. People who are all over the world can listen to the program. You can also post an announcement about your blogtalkradio program on several social media.

Here are some tips to stay active in your quest to generate speaking opportunities:
1. Post a message or information two or three times a day
2. Follow people to read what they are doing and make comments
3. Make sure that your comments are relevant to the discussion
4. Send messages to people that you meet
5. Let people in your social networks know about the events where you are presenting
6. Call people in your social network when possible to let them know that you care
about their response.
7. Include your website on all of the social networks.

Social networks are here to stay. They are some of the best resources for speakers who want to expand their outreach and brand. There are tremendous opportunities to establish who you are and to create a need for your services. You can share you expertise on a blog while also submitting articles to websites that allow you to broadcast the article to your social network (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook). Speakers who commit themselves to social networking each day are able to create a following over time. Use social networking as the next stepping stone to an exciting speaking career.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Speaking

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Speaking
Dr. Stephen Jones
Deciding to become a speaker can be one of the most exciting aspects of a professional’s career. It’s amazing how something so enjoyable can ignite fear at the same time. Your fears can come from many different directions. Some speakers feel overwhelmed by the size of their audience while others feel pressured in a smaller setting. Fear can come from not really knowing your audience or from feeling unprepared. Other times looking at all of the other presenters in the conference can increase your desire to be perfect. Some speakers say it’s difficult to identify the reasons for their fears.

The key is identifying ways to reduce your fears and anxieties. I always say a little anxiety is healthy. It acts as the adrenaline that propels you to have a successful speech. There are people who are sitting in the audience who want you to succeed. They selected you to provide a challenging message that will cause them to take action. They are excited to have you as their guest speaker.

There are some steps that you can take to overcome your fears. One of the most important activities that you can do is practice. When you practice you can clarify the direction of your speech. When your speech is well organized people will be able to follow your major points. You can overcome your fears by doing the following:
1. You can quietly use deep breathing exercises before you give your speech. It will calm you down.
2. If possible go to the room where you will give the presentation and practice your presentation.
3. Focus on the smiling faces in your audience.
4. Identify a coach who can give you positive feedback when you are preparing for your speech.
5. Practice, practice, practice
6. Find a good environment that’s free of clutter to review your speech
7. Don’t tell the audience you are nervous
8. Expect success before your speaking event actually happens

Your speech has tremendous potential to be everything that you desire. Start with a positive confession indicating the good results you expect to happen when you speak. Allow yourself to be relaxed and in a state of confidence. Remember it’s time to take action steps that will help you to overcome your fears. There are a lot of things that you will need to do to get ready for your presentation. You should be innovative in the way that you approach your speech. You can be creative if you do not wait until the last minute to prepare. Remember you are the expert on your topic.

Your confidence will increase as you invest time to research the organization that asked you to speak. Some presenters feel trapped because they have not asked for enough information from the conference leaders. It’s good to get the history of the organization. You want to know how the organization has maintained success over the years. Good preparation should be a part of your plan to reduce your fears and inspire your listeners. You should be well equipped to make small changes that will make your message clear.

One of the secrets to overcoming your fears is involving your audience at the very beginning of your presentation. You can make a connection with them by sharing a story that demonstrates how you are connected. It’s amazing how your audience will connect with you when they feel that you are in their corner. Before you give your presentation take the time to listen to other motivational speakers. Listening to others will raise your feelings that you can deliver a great speech.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Write an Effectice Speech

Once you’ve received the official notice that you are the keynote speaker it’s time to prepare for your speech. One of the biggest challenges is deciding how to get started. Too many presenters wait until the last minute to put their speech on paper. Even seasoned speakers can fall into this trap. You need to write a speech that will engage the audience and leave them with a greater pursuit of excellence. The important part of writing is staying true to your values and the personal philosophy that distinguishes you.

Your audience will be the best guide for your speech. Ask the person who invited you to speak to give you additional background regarding their organization. Then write an outline of important points that you want to include in your speech. You can fully engage your audience by making a commitment to understanding their important issues. Here are some of the key steps you must follow when writing your speech.

1. Start with a speech outline
2. Using a story to establish a connection with your audience at the beginning of your speech
3. Use active verbs in your speech
4. Express enthusiasm and smile when practicing the delivery of your speech
5. Practice your speech with a smaller audience
6. Memorize the stories that you’ve written and practice them orally
7. Devote yourself to writing quotes in your speech
8. Search the internet and review the writings of other famous speakers
9. End your speech with an inspiring conclusion

Speaking gives you a tremendous opportunity to convey a powerful message. It takes organization. When possible try to include a statistic that the audience would like to know. It is one of the best ways to generate conversations amongst members of your audience. Sharing a statistic can also help you to present yourself as an expert.

Writing an effective speech requires creativity. You can conduct your own brain storming session with friends and colleagues. Ask someone to read your document and give you their feedback. Identify someone who you trust. Select someone who will offer sound advice about your speech. They may suggest other words that will help you to connect with your audience. Audiences like to have a picture of what you are saying in their thoughts.

Don’t wait until the last minute to write your speech. This is the same advice that I’ve given to thousands of professionals and students. Some people say they are more productive under pressure. It’s better to have time to reflect on your words and ideas. Taking time to organize a timeline for the completion of your speech will give you a chance to make changes. You may want to try different words and think about the impact of what you are going to say. You also want to be able to add stories that fit into your speech. All of this preparation may take more than a month to research. It’s best to give yourself and your audience a speech that is well planned and relevant to their conference or event.

The ability to write your best speech is your choice. It will require devotion to the craft of writing. Tell your audience something that is important and valuable to them. Demonstrate how much you care by what you write down and express during your presentation. People can tell when something you’ve written comes from the heart. The goal of a good speech is to touch people’s lives and inspire change. Today is the best time to prepare your speech. Enjoy the journey.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Start Your Speaking Career

Becoming an effective speaker is one of the most fascinating experiences you will encounter. It is a process that all starts with self-examination. It’s important to identify your goals and your areas of expertise. Identify the things that you enjoy talking about the most. You’ll notice topics that create enthusiasm when you speak about it. Other people will comment on your presentation and the value of your topic. Take time to seek their feedback so that you can increase the success of your presentation.

Many public speakers will talk about their experiences from working in a particular industry. Identify some key talking points that you want to specify during your presentation. You can focus your speech around your main talking points. Get out to different conferences and organizations to give your presentation. When you first start you want to gain visibility. People want to witness the delivery of one of your successful presentations. There are several steps that you can take to get started:
1. Create a website that highlights your skills
2. Give a workshop at a conference and let the participants know that you are a public speaker
3. Create a brochure that you can distribute and share by sending it as an email
4. Join Linkedin and other social networks
5. Create a list of topics that you can present
6. Send an e-mail to friends letting them know about your availability
7. Create several videos on YouTube
8. Join the National speaker Association
9. Speak at a community events.

There are a lot of public speaking professionals on social networks. You can join groups, read their articles and view their videos. There are many people who are willing to help. You can ask questions or respond to questions to obtain even more advice. Expect to put in a lot of hours when you are ready to get started. You should use every week as an opportunity to do something new to market your public speaking career. There are many forms of media that you can use to market your services. Start with your local community newsletter. They are always looking for articles about local people who are experts on a specific topic. You may also put a small advertisement concerning your services. Also, approach some of your local radio stations because they are always looking for guests.

Your destiny is in your hands. Do your best to spread the word about your speaking career. You never know when someone is looking for a speaker. You may want to start your own newsletter and mail it to a consistent group. The people who’ve signed up for your newsletter will regularly receive information about your expertise. You can find all kinds of information to write about in your newsletter and invite others to share their expertise too. The Constant Contact Company is a good newsletter resource. You can find their company on the internet.

If paid speaking opportunities don’t start right away don’t be discouraged. It’s all a part of the process that will shape you as you become an excellent speaker. Continue to research your topic and look for stories that you can tell when you’re speaking. The story that you tell for one speech may not fit with a different organization so make a list of stories. Each individual is the captain of their own success when giving a presentation.

Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to keep going. Too many people start down the pathway to public speaking and give up. It is natural to have some second thoughts about public speaking but don’t give up. Identify several mentors who can encourage you and offer their words of wisdom. They can help you to stay focused and uncover several topics that you can speak about. Mentors may also help you to identify individuals who are looking for speakers.

Now is the time to get started on your speaking career. Your career can be bright when you invest your time in motivating others to achieve their dreams. It starts with your commitment to speaking wherever you can. Enjoy the ride to on your way to a successful speaking career.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Seven Habits of Motivational Speakers

There are important habits that help motivational speakers to excel and expand their speaking career. However, some speakers get focused on identifying speaking opportunities and they forget some of the basic speaking principals. So it is important for speakers to identify their public speaking goals. An organized speaker can increase their visibility and create more ways to be a distinguished speaker. Each speaker must be prepared to meet the unique needs of their audience. In order to have success as a motivational speaker there are seven habits that you must practice.

1. Research - Make sure to research the group that’s invited you to present. Ask them about a website or literature that they can send to you. Become very familiar with the organization.
2. Stories – Find ways to incorporate stories into your presentation. The people who are listening want to make a connection with you. Your stories will tell them that you are aware of their challenges. It will increase your audience’s interest in listening.
3. Practice – Always set aside time to practice the speech that you are giving. You can organize a small group to give you feedback on your presentation. You need feedback so that you can get better.
4. Passionate - It’s important to have a passion about the topic that you are presenting. People will feel how much you care about their challenges. They will know that you want them to benefit from a great speaking engagement.
5. Quotes – Using quotes can be an effective way to get the audience’s attention. There are hundreds of books and websites that offer quotes. Also consider coming up with some of your own.
6. Empathy – Demonstrate throughout your speech that you understand what your audience values. You should also exhibit greater empathy by talking to people in the organization and asking them about their biggest challenges.
7. Conclusion – Use your closing to tell them what you told them again. End on a high note by encouraging the audience. Tell them about your expectation and what they can accomplish.

In order to become a motivational speaker you must have a plan that you will follow. One effective way to enhance your skills is joining organizations like the National Speakers Association and Toast Masters. It’s always good to get feedback from others who have an interest in your success. Use these organizations to learn how to give an effective impromptu speech. You can also get better by listening to other speakers and witnessing how they engage their audience.

Most effective speakers have a very high motivation level. They’re inspired and they want their audience to benefit from their words of wisdom. They have a great thirst for the chance to encourage others who are new the speaking profession. The motivational speaker has learned the value of helping others to feel confident. You are able to see the audience’s reaction and identify points that will motivate your audience.
Getting into the habit of speaking whenever possible will help you to overcome your fears. Create opportunities where you can speak in front of large and small audiences. There are organizations that look for speakers. Many of them are right in the communities where speakers live. There may be a rotary club or chamber of commerce that invite speakers. Also many of the sororities and fraternities work with young people and they ask speakers to talk at their meetings.

You should become an inquisitive researcher. Read books, visit websites and also watch videos. You want to learn about a lot of the public speaking techniques that you’ve heard about. It will give you an opportunity to think about how you might incorporate certain techniques. I have found many books and e-books that are valuable too.

A motivational speaker is hungry to give their best to every audience. They are passionate about their topic. They dig deep to understand their audiences needs and desires. The time to become a motivational speaker starts today. Give your best presentation to every audience and they will leave wanting more.

Dr. Stephen Jones is owner of Dr. Stephen Jones and Associates. He is a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, consultant and author. You can contact him at or 610-842-3843.

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