Let me take a wild guess. You are full of great ideas that you want to unleash on the world but not quite sure how to reach out? Well in the weird and wonderful world of personal branding we have a number of channels at our disposal such as blogging, social media, networking and yes – public speaking.
What is public speaking?
It's all about speaking before an audience of people that you may or may not know. This includes both prepared speeches (see more on TED for inspiration) and impromptu speaking where you have to think on your feet.
No thanks, I'd rather jump out of an airplane
They say the notion of speaking in public is the greatest fear in people today, worse than war, starvation and even dying (and carnies by the way). The difference between these and public speaking is that you are not likely to be physically harmed by speaking. This of course doesn't apply at some comedy clubs where they hand out tennis balls to the audience.
Why public speaking?
In terms of personal branding, being able to speak to an audience is critical. If you want to run your own business or climb the corporate ladder you will have to use speaking skills. Any sales pitch, job interview or presentation will require the same skills.
Think about your role models, ever heard them give a speech by any chance? Yes I thought so. Ever since the days of Cicero, people have been able to propel their success by having excellent communication skills and so should you.
What do you speak about?
This one's completely up to you. I would recommend you speak about things you are passionate about; first of all you'll know the content better than most folks and second your delivery will be more authentic as the topic means something to you.
Start looking at what books you have read, films you have seen, current affairs or observations from life in general. There is always an interesting angle on things; namely your angle. If you are a blogger, you know that you can turn anything into a blog post, same with speeches.
Where do you speak?
When your other half and even your mirror are sick of you speaking at home, it's time to venture out to find a forum for your public speaking. Fortunately there are a number of organizations that cater for needs like yours.
I am a member of Toastmasters International which is a non-profit speaker's club represented in most cities across the world. More here about Toastmasters.
I found Toastmasters through a little friend called Google, think I tapped in "speaking club London" and one of many clubs appeared in the results. The point is that you can do the same search for location, there will be plenty of alternatives to Toastmasters which I am sure will be equally good. See more at How to Find Networking Events.
How can I get a speaker one-sheet?
When you become a more advanced speaker you will want to look for some personal brand enhancing gigs. This could be at conferences, meetups or other networking events. The way to get these gigs will be to send over a speaker one-sheet, basically your speaker resume. More about here about how to create your one-sheet.
Is there money in public speaking?
Yes there certainly is money for the likes of Tony Blair, Colin Powell and folks of that caliber. What we have to bear in mind is that they have very strong personal brands already and can command a hefty fee for their appearances. Tony Blair got half a million dollars for one speech in 2007 by the way!
For our purposes, speaking is about reputation building and promotion that will boost your brand along with other activities. If you do find a knack for speaking, there is of course nothing to stop you from becoming the next big thing on the after-dinner circuit.
Public speaking is integral for your personal brand. Even though we live in an online age, there is nothing more impressive than hearing a great speech from someone in person. Anyone can be that speaker but not everyone tries – I hope I have convinced you to try it out today.
Here's Gary Vaynerchuk giving a public speech on the topic of personal branding to inspire you further:
Do you ever speak in public? Would you recommend it to others?