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Public and Motivational Speaking

If you enjoy standing in front of a group of people and getting your ideas across, you might have the raw material to be a public speaker.

Public speaking (sometimes called presenting or motivational speaking) requires you to have more than just calm nerves and a lot of knowledge; you also need:

  • A talk, topic, or a story that others want to hear. The best speakers are experts in a field, experienced an ordeal, or have an interesting or funny life story that bears being retold.
  • A marketable style and the ability to promote yourself or have others do it for you. Just because you are a good speaker doesn't mean others knows about you or would hire you.
  • Social skills and seat-of-the-pants quick thinking for dealing with realtime problems or audience reactions
  • Promotional and saleable "tools" (books, videos, etc.) that allow people to "buy" more from you after you are done speaking.

Getting Started

The definitive group for new and experienced speakers in the National Speakers Association and its local chapters. They actively promote the training and encouragement of people desiring public speaking as a career and provide mentoring and training. The goal of public speakers in this group is to achieve CSP status (Certified Speaking Professional),
a designation that both marks achievement and quality. Many event promoters look for CSP's when booking keynote speakers and major presentations.

Alternatives to CSP

If you want to speak, but aren't gung-ho about the CSP route, there are many other

organizations that encourage the development of speaking, graphics, and slide creation skills and stage presence. Look to Toastmasters, local community colleges, and even community theatre as places to sharpen up your speaking and presentation skills.

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