Becoming a Seminar Speaker
|Degree Level||Depends on topic and venue|
|Licensure/Certification||Top ten percent of speakers are certified|
|Experience||Experience in your field; many speakers are entrepreneurs or small business owners|
|Key Skills||Eloquent, expert, and ethical public speaking; ability to stay ahead of industry trends and find new ways to market products and services|
|Salary||$100-$500 per speaking event; $1,500-$2,000 per event for experienced speakers|
Sources: National Speakers Association, Inc Magazine Online 2010
Seminar speakers are presumed experts in their career fields. They make motivational and training presentations to organizations, including educational institutions and private agencies. While it can be rewarding to deliver positive messages to a variety of audiences, the job of a speaker can be challenging when faced with non-responsive groups.
According to the National Speakers Association (NSA) and Inc. magazine, there are various requirements for this career. The educational requirements vary, but the top ten percent of speakers are certified. Although there are no set experience requirements, many seminar speakers are entrepreneurs or small business owners. Key skills for seminar speakers include eloquent, expert and ethical public speaking, as well as the ability to stay ahead of industry trends and find new ways to market products and services. In 2010, less experienced seminar speakers were paid an average of $100 to $500 per speaking event, while more experienced seminar speakers were paid $1,500 to $2,000 per event.
Step 1: Determine Area of Expertise
The first step toward becoming a seminar speaker is to determine your area of expertise. Seminar speakers are considered to have specialized knowledge in a particular subject area. Individuals interested in pursuing a career as a seminar speaker can attend professional industry-specific workshops and conferences to assist them in defining their strengths and concentration options.
- Gain experience in a specific field. Seminar speakers often start as professionals in a particular field and evolve into speaking on the topic. Work experience can provide insight and experience that can be used in the speaking engagements.
- Write a book. It is common for seminar speakers to be authors. Frequently, they are invited to speak about their book, as well as share information or anecdotes.
- Get an advanced degree in your field of interest. Having an advanced degree in a particular field may lead to speaking engagements at colleges or universities. Some academic departments may offer a speaker's series and engage speakers from outside the university for these events.
Step 2: Take Communication Courses
The second step towards becoming a seminar speaker is to take communication courses. While a degree in communications is not required for a seminar speaker, public speaking skills are needed. Many colleges and universities offer public speaking courses in their communications programs. These programs may include other relevant courses, such as mass media, journalism and non-verbal communications. Some schools may offer these courses and programs online.
Step 3: Gain Speaking Experience
The third step towards becoming a seminar speaker is to gain speaking experience. Most organizations that assist speakers in booking engagements require a demo DVD. Aspiring seminar speakers can build confidence and improve their speaking skills by participating in professional organizations, which can offer networking opportunities, seminars and workshops.
- Join Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International is an organization where an aspiring speaker can gain experience speaking to a group and also receive feedback on their presentation from other participants to improve their techniques.
Step 4: Join a Professional Organization
The fourth step towards becoming a seminar speaker is to join a professional organization. Seminar speakers can further advance their careers by becoming members of professional organizations, such as the NSA, which offers membership benefits that include professional training and networking opportunities. Additionally, there are many organizations that promote speakers. These organizations generally require a fee to join, as well as a fee when speakers are booked for an event. Submission of a demo DVD may also be required to join.
Step 5: Earn Certification
The fifth step towards becoming a seminar speaker is to earn certification. Becoming certified as a professional speaker is voluntary and may enhance the credibility and employment opportunities of an aspiring seminar speaker. The NSA sponsors a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) credential for qualified members. Membership in the organization for a minimum of three years is required before applying for certification.
The steps toward becoming a seminar speaker, include determining your area of expertise, taking communication courses, gaining speaking experience, joining a professional organization and earning certification.