Written by: Dara Connolly, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Public speaking can be a lucrative part of your business plan– if you can stand it. Most people fear speaking publicly. An estimated 75% of the population would rather die than speak on a stage.
Jerry Seinfeld famously said, “At a funeral, the average American would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
As a former timid wallflower, I can attest that when you learn how to master the art of speaking, you can leverage and expand your business to the next level.
Speaking allows you to share your story, your mission, and your expertise in front of a larger audience. However, like anything new, the learning path is not always easy. Today as a TEDx speaker and confidence coach who helps you speak with impact, there are ways to make getting on the stage simpler.
First, if you are very nervous to speak, you will want to begin practicing in front of a live audience. Joining a Toastmasters group or an Improv class can help. People will understand your concerns and are open to beginners.
Second, you will want to get as much stage time as possible. When you do, you will see exponential growth.
As you get more comfortable, your nerves will settle a bit and you will next want to take your content to paid stages.
New speakers can begin speaking at the company you work for and by offering a breakout session at a conference you attend. If you are an entrepreneur, you may not have many connections to the speaking industry– in this case, I recommend bringing your idea to TEDx.
Most people don’t consider speaking on TEDx, as they think they are not ready for the red circle. I’m here to tell you that you can do it! Working with many TEDx curators, I know that they are not looking for perfect speakers but what they want is a perfect message.
What is the message or big idea you can share on TEDx?
Do you want to change the way we think about recycling?
Have a better way to parent kids?
Know a solution for fatigue we haven’t heard before?
TEDx is open to any topic! If it is not self-serving, religious, or political in nature you are good to go.
To begin, you will want to approach local TEDx talks. The little “x” means it is independently organized and you are more likely to get selected if you live in the area.
As a new speaker who landed 100% of the 4 TEDx talks I applied to, here are my tips for getting selected on TEDx:
Choose a relevant topic that is timeless
Choose a topic that applies to everyone and is relevant now but also timeless.
Example: Many people are consumed with the fear of speaking in public and more are fearful now after spending so long on Zoom.
Explain your new and innovative idea that we haven’t heard before
Example: Fear of speaking is not going away, yet I have discovered a new way to “flip” fear in four easy steps.
Establish why you are the expert on this topic
Example: I’m Dara Connolly, author of the new book Flip Your Fear and a confidence coach who has helped thousands be more influential and impactful when speaking in front of an audience.
Be clear and concise and to the point
A TEDx speech is a short informative speech that is eighteen minutes or less. Show the curators you can be brief by pitching a clearly written pitch that is only a few paragraphs and does not include your entire speech.
Follow up, don’t give up
Most people give up after not hearing back from their initial pitch. However, you must remember people are very busy and it takes on average at least seven interactions before they notice you. Consider writing a short follow-up email to inquire if they have had a chance to read your email or ask if they have time for a quick call. The most successful speakers understand the fortune is in the follow-up. Be politely persistent until you hear a “no”.
Once you get invited to speak on TEDx, you can then position yourself as a qualified expert on your topic. Everything in this industry is about leverage!
Tips to becoming a professional speaker:
Let everyone know that you are a speaker and include videos of you speaking on your website
Reach out to organizations and offer a “lunch and learn” or short workshop on your topic
Ask what their budget is and in the beginning be flexible with your pricing
Remember: being a professional speaker is not about being perfect. It is about understanding the needs of the audience and sharing your message to help them. If you keep this intention in mind, you will see success as a speaker.
These are just a few of the many tips I can teach you on how to get on TEDx or leverage into professional speaking.
If you’ve read my article, I’d love to hear from you!
Dara Connolly, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dara Connolly is the author of the new book Flip Your Fear and founder of PTC™– an award-winning confidence program. Dara was the ultimate juxtaposition – a Black-Belt martial artist and a lifelong timid wallflower filled with fear! She now helps individuals speak up with confidence and be more influential and impactful when speaking in front of an audience.
Dara is a TEDx speaker and nationally recognized expert in the field of confidence. She has been featured on FOX, CW, The Connect Show, The List Show, Dr. Laura, and other media outlets. Her latest book, Flip Your Fear is available on Amazon.