Do you love speaking to audiences but don’t really want to earn your living at it? Toastmasters encourages us to take our talent beyond our club to other clubs. We’re also encouraged to enter Club, Area, Division and even District competitions. If we’re good enough – and generally if we love speaking we’re alreading heading up towards the top levels of competition. But the Toastmaster environment is really only a small part of the public speaking world. There are other organizations, for example the National Speakers’ Associations (NSSA) and the speaker’s bureaus.
However, the NSAA and the bureau’s cater to the client who is prepared to pay for a speaker and this is generally not an area to easy get into. Well, anyway, not as a straight out speaker. As a trainer or an educator, yes. The proviso here is that you have something that the client or clients are willing to pay for. Such people are often experts in their own specialties. They niche speakers for the most part. Only a handful of the very top presenters actually earn a good living at speaking ‘just for the enjoyment of it.’ I’m talking here of entertaining after-dinner speakers and the like.
The good thing is that you, too, can become one of these entertaining after-dinner speakers if you’d like to be, and quite easily, providing you’re not insistent on being paid. There are literally thousands of organizations out there crying out for speakers. The service clubs, retiree groups, various associations – the list really is endless because new groups come into being constantly. As a Toastmaster who loves to present to groups, I can assure you that once you gain a bit of a reputation as a good speaker the invites just keep coming in. I’ve addressed 758 audiences and over 41,000 people since I ‘retired’ in 1995. But even before that, way back in the 1980’s and whilst still working, I was invited along more than sixty times.
Point I’m making is that if you want to speak, and speak to audiences of all manner of people and all manner of audience size. (I’ve spoken to as few as five and as many as 300) make the effort. Establish a few contacts outside of Toastmasters. Do that, and your ability to hold an audience will keep on growing. There really is no upper limit to how much you can grow.