Five questions every aspiring speaker must answer

Jan Robberts, Five questions every aspiring speaker must answer, Speaker, Keynote, South African, Johanneburg, International, Scotland, Leadership, Jan speaking on stage with a mic

Five questions every aspiring speaker must answer

  • Have you ever watched a Professional Speaker and wondered how you could do what he or she does?
  • Have you ever had someone suggest to you to develop your speaking skills but you’re not sure where to start or what to do?

This article will address some of the very basic questions, ideas, and tools for you to put your foot on the first rung of a ladder leaning against a professional speaking building.

1. – Why do you want to speak?

2. – What is your story / message / topic?

3. – Who do you want to impact?

4. – What is your biggest fear?

5. – How much do you know about this industry?


1. – Why do you want to speak?


why, become a speaker,


Some of you might already have a solid answer for this but for many, this will need some very careful consideration and introspection.

I hope that money is not your main reason as you might be frustrated, disillusioned, and disappointed before that would ever become a reality. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you won’t make a living out of speaking and, as my friend and mentor, Les Brown says, “ join us at the top because it’s the bottom that is overcrowded” and as long time #1 motivational speaker, he should know.

There are people like Les Brown, John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Nick Vujicic and many others who command wonderful amounts of money for their keynotes on a global scale. There are also many who make an income or part-time living from speaking but it does take work, persistence, and consistency….lots of it!

I hope I haven’t scared you yet J

There are many reasons people start to speak…or want to speak; They have a passion and want to share that with the world, they want to educate a certain section of the population on a subject they know lots about, for example Leadership, EQ, or communication, or they just want to tell their story to inspire or warn others.

Everybody has a story that people need or want to hear, not ALL people but certainly some people and, for aspiring story tellers, that will be a great achievement.

Mother Theresa talked about “To be able to impact one other life would have been worth living.”…and we all know she did a lot more than impact one!

So, speaking is no different than other areas of life; it is important to find your WHY!


2. – What is your story / message / topic?


When you know why you want to speak, you also need to find out what you want to talk about.

As I mentioned already, there are many different areas to talk about, but when you have your reason(s), you better focus on exactly what it is you want to share with ‘the word’ and then craft your story or message in a way that connects you with your audience in an amazing way….a way they will remember you for.

You might have to join a Speakers Club J or find a mentor who will support you on that arduous journey without you having to tip-toe through the minefield of speaker training all by yourself.

If you already know why you want to speak but you are still very unsure about what exactly you want to talk about, you might need to find yourself a coach who will be able to help you find the answer you are looking for.


3. – Who do you want to impact?


When you have found your why and your what, then you also need to find your who.

Who do you want to share your message with?

It is important to know who your ideal audience should be, even when you will talk to other groups who want to listen to what you have to say.

This way you can create that message more strategically and intentionally for greater impact.

Your audience could be students, corporate clients, religious organizations, government departments, Chambers, Rotary Clubs, the general public etc.

You get the point; When you know who you want to deliver your message to, it will become a lot clearer for you.


4. – What is your biggest fear?


Always an interesting subject when it comes to speaking as it is said that Public Speaking is the biggest fear for most people….when the vast majority know very little, if anything about the subject.

What is your biggest fear? Is it indeed public speaking, the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of going blank on stage, the fear of negative feedback, the fear of flopping in front of your boss and some important clients…that list is long but do you have any idea what might be stopping you from developing your speaking skills?

Once you have discovered your fear, you can begin to face it, overcome it and looking back, it was probably easier that you ever imagined. You might not need a councillor or lie on a sofa somewhere as often, action kills fear!

5. – How much do you know about this industry?


This is also an important question to ask yourself when you set out on this exciting journey. If you are serious to develop your skills in this industry; it will be good to gain knowledge about this industry and those involved in it.

  • Who do I know who can help me? If I don’t know anyone, where can I find speakers in our country?
  • Where can I find information to support my journey?
  • What is Toastmasters all about and where is my nearest club?
  • How can I visit the Professional Speakers Association of South Africa if I am not a professional?…and what do they actually do?
  • Where can I find networking opportunities with like minded people?
  • How long should a keynote be?
  • Lastly, How much, and how often, do speakers practice?

You probably have many more questions and the good thing is, that there are lots of places where answers can be found from google. YouTube, and other social media areas to organizations such as Toastmasters InternationalPSASA, Speakers Bureaus, and off course, JRs Speakers Club.

I hope this article has given you food for thought and, while answering those questions, you will discover your why, what, who and where.

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