How to Become A Successful Keynote Speaker In 2022: 9 Step Guide
If any of the above describes you, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to learn more about what keynote speaking is, and how you can become a professional keynote speaker keep reading.
Here are some easy steps you can use to become a successful full-time speaker in 2022:
What Is A Keynote Speaker
A keynote speaker is someone who gives a speech during an event to keep an audience engaged. Great keynote speakers manage to captivate their audiences while driving home an event’s central message or theme. These individuals are industry experts, business executives, motivational speakers, thought leaders, influencers, politicians, and educators. Think Steve Jobs and Brene Browns of the world.
The term keynote speaker derives from musical practices. A key note is a leading note in a musical key. In orchestras, quartets, and acapella groups, it’s common practice to play a single note before a performance. That note establishes the correct key or pitch of the piece.
What Does A Keynote Speaker Do?
The Role of A Keynote Speaker
Much like motivational speeches, keynote speeches are often optimistic, encouraging, and engaging. This motivational component is because keynote speakers need to interact with an audience and capture the essence of an event within a short timeframe. Therefore, it’s essential to become a keynote speaker who is an expert, or well-renown, as this usually raises interest among event attendees.
How to Become A Keynote Speaker
Becoming a professional keynote speaker is a process that involves self-discovery as much as it does practicing and honing your skills. If you’re preparing to become a professional speaker, you also need to plan around speaking fees, event organizers, agents, and marketing tactics. We know all of that sounds complex, so here are the 9 steps we put together to help you on your path to speaking career success:
Becoming a professional keynote speaker is a process that involves self-discovery as much as it does practicing and honing your skills.
1. Find Your Why
When working with new clients, we often ask them, “What is your why for doing what you do?”. This question prompts several topics of discussion and usually leads to a larger self-discovery. The purpose behind why you do what you do is essential because it is the motivator that will drive you to reach your goals and become successful.
So, what is your why for wanting to become a keynote speaker? Do you like helping others? Do you have a message you want to share with the world? Is public speaking something that gives you energy? Whatever your why is, it must be purpose-driven. Having a clear and defined mission helps you through moments of doubt.
If you’re struggling to find your purpose, our article 6 Steps To Find Your Passion and Make An Impact In the World can help.
2. Identify Your Niche
Finding your niche is a critical component of any speaking business. Imagine if Steve Jobs decided he wanted to develop technology for cars, airplanes, and phones. Because that technology category is so broad, he might have never created Apple. As a result, we might have never had smartphones, and the world as we know it might be very different.
What problem will my talks solve for others?
What industry does my skillset fall under?
Who is my target audience?
If I asked my friends or family to give them a presentation on one thing, what would they want to learn from me?
Because each speaker focused on one category, there were more individuals available to present at the conference. Having a niche means more opportunities and less competition.
3. Hone In On Your Uniqueness
While there may be other full time speakers in the world, there’s no one quite like you. Therefore, it’s essential to show your audience your perspective. Bringing your personal experiences to a talk helps the audience connect and stay engaged with you.
Our client, Farrah Smith, does a great job of this in her TEDx talk: The Power In Embracing Rejection. In the talk, Farrah paints a picture of what it was like to pursue her dreams during her dad’s cancer treatments. Then, she uses this experience to relate to her audience’s struggles and hone in on her message of overcoming obstacles.
Most keynote speakers have faced obstacles or done something unique to get where they are; and, it’s that story of perseverance that people pay to hear.
4. Perfect Your Presentation Skills
So, how do you develop presentations that resonate with your audience? We already discussed the impact personal stories have in a speech. Once you’ve thought about some stories specific to your niche, consider layering these additional elements into your presentation:
Another way you can practice your keynote speaking skills is by sharing your talk with your friends and family across social media. Create a group chat, or Facebook page and ask for feedback!
6. Take Free Speaking Gigs
As you embark on your keynote speaking journey, it’s important you take up any talking gig you can get your hands on, regardless of whether or not you get paid for it. Doing this increases your speaking experience and bolsters your speaker credibility. Our client, Brad Stevens talks about the importance of this in his TEDx feature story.
Free speaking opportunities are also a chance for you to get your name out there and build your credibility. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an excellent example of practicing your way to the top. If you haven’t watched the show, comedian Marge starts out giving talks at friends’ parties. From there, she moves to bars and eventually gets paid to do stand-up comedy.
Not sure where to find local speaking gigs? Here are a few ideas:
- Ask local business groups or associations.
- Search social media for events near you
- Join a local Public Relations Association
- Find speakers bureaus
- Ask a local college or university as they often have to figure out how to get guest speakers for classes and events
Aside from local business groups and colleges, there are several other ways you can network yourself to become a keynote speaker. For example, you can hire a coaching company to give you feedback or help develop your storytelling skills.
Another way to create networking opportunities for yourself is to join a speaking group.
Toastmasters is a community where you can practice speaking during in-person group meetings. Another networking group is our own Thought-Leader Mastermind Community, where individuals meet virtually every week for coaching calls with former TEDx speakers.
In our closed social media group, individuals give keynote speeches live and receive feedback from members of our community. These groups and programs are beneficial because they give you access to a network of like-minded individuals while also helping you grow as a professional speaker.
Finally, you can network yourself is by leveraging the power of social media. For example, you can give Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin live talks. You can even connect with others and offer to co-host a life together, as this will expand your reach.
8. Give A TEDx Talk
If you’ve uncovered your why, identified your niche, honed your uniqueness, practiced your presentation skills, and created networking opportunities for yourself, one of the final steps to becoming a keynote speaker is giving one, authority-building TEDx talk. TEDx talks are one of the best avenues for becoming a paid speaker. Why? The TEDx platform increases your speaking experience and reaches a large number of individuals, so you get noticed quicker.
Farrah Smith who we mentioned previously landed her dream keynote gig after giving her TEDx talk. In the talk, Farrah discussed her relentless pursual of getting into The University of California Los Angeles. After seeing the talk, The University of California Los Angeles asked Farrah to come and give a keynote speech to their youth. With TEDx talks, the possibilities are endless.
Now you might be reading this wondering how you could land a TEDx talk in the first place. You’re probably asking yourself if your message is unique enough for the TEDx stage. But, we wouldn’t be writing this article if we didn’t think it was possible for you. We get these questions so often that we even decided to write a blog answering them. Read How to Land a TEDx Talk in 7 Easy Steps to start your TEDx success path today.
9. Market Yourself
1. Create a Digital Footprint for Yourself:
If someone Googles you, what do they find? Is there a photo of a cute dog or a website with your name on it?
2. Share Relevant Content on Social Media:
Post about topics related to your speeches. Show your expertise and create content around that subject area.
3. Create a Value Proposition for Your Target Audience:
4. Build a Media Kit:
A media kit is something you can use to promote your speaking business to event organizers. This one-page document is helpful because it showcases your success, credentials, and background to prospects.
Qualities of a Good Keynote Speaker
1. Passionate: Tony Robbins does an exceptional job of speaking passionately about what he believes. He even gives a TEDx talk that coincides with our first step in this article: finding your why.
2. Relatable: Speaker Kevin Breel understands relatability better than most. In his famous Why We Need To Talk About Depression speech, he talks about inward and outward appearances we can all relate to.
3. Credible: Cynthia Furlow is a nurse practitioner who has taken step two of this article (honing your niche) to the next level. In her viral TEDx talk on Intermediate Fasting, Cynthia uses her own research to establish credibility with her audience.
4. Witty: Brene Brown takes step 4: perfecting your presentation skills to the next level. She often uses humor as an icebreaker when starting her talks, which immediately grabs the audience’s attention, helps them loosen up with a laugh, and then gets down to business.
How Thought-Leader Can Help You Become A Keynote Speaker
We have a systematic process that helps you get a TEDx talk so you can leverage the world’s largest stage to your advantage.
Day in and out, we’re working with aspiring speakers like yourself to help them make an impact on the world around them. We’ve worked with Cynthia Thurlow, Kevin Breel, and 400 other clients, who have landed TEDx talks and become impactful keynote speakers. Collectively, we’ve reached over 11 million lives.