Pam Perry

It’s not written in stone that you have to get up in front of a large audience and put on a full, two-hour presentation. There are many ways to get started with public speaking: The trick is to find ways that are within your comfort zone – and then move yourself slightly out of it with each mode you conquer.

  1. Get Comfortable Online

Create a small Skype or Google Hangout workshop for people you know well – and who you know would be supportive.

Think: Members of any active forum you belong to, your Facebook industry intimates, fellow Facebook Group members, your subscribers or online friends that share the same hobby or career as you.

Make it small and on one topic you have already mastered.

Better yet, make your group Hangout a regular feature, so that you grow really comfortable presenting to others.

  1. Host a Local Workshop

Do you belong to any local business organizations? Then offer to host a local workshop on a topic you know well.

Prepare handouts: A feedback form rating your performance and asking for suggestions and a tip sheet, or summary of the points you made, or outline of the methods you used. (Lists of resources are a popular handout too.)

  1. Take Courses that Include Public Speaking

In addition to courses actually focusing on public speaking, try storytelling courses. Storytelling is a vital component of public speaking.

  1. Volunteer to Give a Storytelling Session in your Child’s School

You may be amazed at how responsive even the most rambunctious audience will be. Children naturally love stories, and if you can successfully tell a story to your own children – or you’ve just taken a storytelling course – you can do this at a school.

  1. Join a Storytelling Circle

Many cities have professional storytellers who host regular, informal storytelling circles or sessions. Join and sit in at first; then when you are comfortable with the venue, the audience and the format, learn a story. When the host asks for volunteers – step forward.

  1. Give Free Short Mini-Talks at Local Business Meetings

Local business organizations are always looking for guest speakers. Hone your skills by volunteering to give mini-talks on a single topic. Keep them to fifteen minutes or less. That way, you are not responsible for an entire event – just a small segment of it – and you can get your feet wet in comfort.

  1. Be the Lifesaver Hero or Heroine

Another surprisingly common scenario at local business organization meetings: Scheduled speakers being a no-show. This happens for a variety of reasons – missed phone calls, wrong dates, car trouble, nerves… The point is, be the one who is heroically ready to fill the gap.

Before every local business meeting, have a short speech totally prepared and practiced on a relevant topic (particularly on the topic that was scheduled, if you can manage it).

The practice will help diffuse your own “nerves” and help you improve your skills – even if you never give your speech that day – and if the organizer calls desperately for someone to fill in, you are right there, ready to save the day.

  1. Create a Paid Product

Pre-record your speech and use it to promote a product. The trick is making sure that the speech itself is as value-rich as your paid product – and that both are unique, original and exactly what your audience needs.

Those are eight ways to dip your foot into the stream of public speaking. Now let’s see how we can accelerate your public speaking career by helping your good reputation spread like wildfire…

  1. Live Public Speaking

Even if you only have a gig or two under your belt, live your dream with passion. If you do – if all your focus for now is on developing your career in public speaking – you will find yourself naturally “talking it up” with genuine enthusiasm.

Let people know why you love giving presentations, what you specialize in, where you’ve spoken, what you have to offer – and most of all, let them know you are available.

  1. Carry Business Cards

Make sure you always carry business cards positioning you exclusively as a public speaker.

And when you do talk up your public speaking abilities, hand out more than one per person. Ask people to pass them on if they know someone who might find hiring you the solution to a problem.

  1. Specialize

While many entrepreneurs are quite capable of speaking well on a variety of topics to a variety of audiences, your best strategy lies in specializing – becoming known as the expert in one specific area of one niche field.

  1. Focus on Your Promise

A good speech includes a promise of what people are going to take away if they stay and listen. A great speech delivers on that promise by the end of the speech – and reminds the audience they have done so.

Always spend time on your promise. What is it going to be for this particular audience? Can you kick it up a notch or two?

  1. Create Website Presences (free training at

You need to be findable online as a public speaker – so make sure you place that information in several different website spots.

  • Create a speaker profile, cv or bio in your Media Section
  • Create a “Hire [Your Name] to Speak” section
  • Create a contact form for public speaking inquiries
  • Create a website only for your public speaking, including transcripts or samples of past speeches
  1. Create a Google Plus Profile

Not only does this make you more searchable on Google, but you can include location-based keywords for the target area you are willing to travel to and speak within.

  1. Create a Speaker Profile Sheet

This should contain:

  • A bio summary
  • At least two to three speech topics and summaries
  • At least two to three client recommendations
  • A list of your most recent engagements (if you have any)
  • Your professional headshot
  • Media coverage, if you have had any (need help, contact com)
  • Your contact information and web links
  1. Create One or More Mini Videos

Make it short – a mini version of a signature speech (less than five minutes; preferably no more than 2.5 minutes).

Give people a sample of what they can expect if they hire you – but make sure your mini video sustains viewer interest – and offers up an unexpected gem.

Be sure to include your video links on your Speaker Profile Sheet. See SPEAKERS.FM

  1. Attend Conferences and Meet-ups

These are great places to make connections in your own niche or industry. Even if you don’t find anyone there to hire you, networking strong personal contacts can lead to recommendations from those contacts.

  1. Create a Strong LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle for presenting yourself as a speaker. For one thing, you can list it as one of your skills and include a CV that is really just your Speaker Profile Sheet.

  1. Volunteer

Offer to speak at your local Chamber of Commerce, civic groups, and other business and service-oriented organizations. Many offer monthly meetings and are always on the hunt for speakers, so it’s a great way to build up your speaking chops while helping out a good cause.

  1. Join Groups like Black Speakers Network

Do this for online and offline groups that include or focus on public speaking. So not just your local Toastmasters chapter, but also local business organizations that need and use speakers at every meeting, as well as focused LinkedIn and Facebook Groups.

These organizations can give you plenty of practice – and exposure.

  1. Just Ask!

Approach organizations you want to speak to. Find out the name of the correct person to contact – and send a query letter and/or your Speaker Profile Sheet.

Outline either one huge benefit to the organization or list three to five strong benefits. Give them the same promise you would include in your speech.


About Pam Perry:

Pam Perry is known as the “PR Guru”, “Marketing Whiz” and “Social Media Expert” by the national media such as Detroit Free Press, Publisher’s Weekly and Gospel Today magazine. She was named one of the Top 50 Black Women Business Online by BBWO and top PR expert to follow on Twitter by eReleases.

Perry has arguably been one of the more high-powered and visible figures in public relations. Her career serves as a notable example of the potency that personally handled promotion has acquired in the mass media. Perry’s rise in the wrangling world of publicity began when she worked in public relations and advertising. Learning the business from the inside out, Perry and eventually formed her own firm, Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc.

Although partners came and went over the course of two decades, Perry remained a constant. Earning her clout in the industry, the clientele list Perry was instrumental in assembling: clients over the years have included McDonalds, Ford Motors, Joy of Jesus and The Salvation Army to name a few. Currently she does public relations for the publishing industry and is a PR Coach for self-published Christian authors. Perry has placed clients on media such as TBN, Daystar, Harvest Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, Jet and countless others.

Her work has also appeared in Gospel Today magazine, The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, CBA Marketplace Magazine, Precious Times Magazine, Michigan Front Page and The Christian Communicator.

Perry’s greatest attention is devoted to her clients, who value her for exalting their talents. This management style has enabled Perry to carve a niche for herself amidst the morass of media marketing. She is also the author of Synergy Energy – which is a how-to manual on PR, joint ventures, social networking and book marketing.


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