Hello again turtleboy-ga:
Since it seems you're still in the early stages of your second career
as a speaker, the main thing you need to do now is rack up speaking
engagement credits and experience that you can eventually parley into
paid speaking engagements.
The best way for you to get paying gigs is by becoming a client or
member of a speakers' bureau. I have listed some from you, and some of
them do work with speakers in the early phases of their careers.
However, many bureaus will only work with seasoned speakers who have
considerable experience. (You'll see a section of this answer devoted
to such bureaus, below.)
In order to gain more experience: for starters, contact local chapters
of civic groups, such as the Lions, Kiwanis, PTA, Elks, Rotary, Junior
Achievement, Jaycees, BPW (Business & Professional Women's Club),
SADD, MADD, and so on. (Your expertise in both psychology and running
a business should make you especially attractive to such groups.)
Your local chapters of these organizations may not pay you, but such
engagements will look very impressive on your resume. You need to
concentrate on building credentials as a public speaker, and these
organizations are highly regarded.
Also, business people often form the core of such civic/professional
organizations. They, in turn, may well recommend you as a speaker to
their companies and/or to other companies that will, of course, pay
you! (Make sure you have business cards to hand out.)
Many of these organizations also submit a recap of their meetings (and
often a photo, too) to local newspapers, meaning you'll get your name
in the paper as "featured" or "guest" speaker, and that kind of
publicity is invaluable.
For instance, getting your name (and possibly your photo) in the
newspaper may prompt local news organizations to contact you as an
expert source on psychology-related matters, such as building a better
family life, or how teens can build self-esteem, etc. Feel free to
submit a press release to the local paper the next time you're going
to be giving a presentation. Even if the paper doesn't send out a
reporter or photographer, someone in the newsroom may decide to put
you on file as an expert source.
If you can get some coverage in your local paper, you may then even be
called in by local TV and radio stations when their news divisions
need to interview an expert about issues in your field of expertise.
Many radio markets feature talk shows that require a steady stream of
experts, especially from the psychology field. Appearing on such
programs is almost guaranteed to make your phone ring with requests
from area schools, community organizations, and businesses.
With your background, you may want to check out conferences sponsored
by psychology associations, and offer your services as a speaker.
Professional and trade associations are likely to pay you.
Since you also have a background as an entrepreneur, you may want to
contact your local branch of the Small Business Administration to
learn about any upcoming conferences and how to contact organizers.
Consider hiring a videographer, or ask a favor of a friend who's
exceptionally good with the camcorder, tape your appearances. You can
use these clips on a Web site promoting your services (more about that
later in this answer), and to submit to companies and events that *do*
pay speakers. (If you can land some local TV news appearances, those
clips will also be a valuable addition to your portfolio.)
Contact local colleges, such as community colleges, which often host
seminars, and which often do pay speakers. A local college may even be
interested in hiring you to conduct some continuing educations courses
in communication and public speaking.
Here's a guide book to finding paying speaking engagements in the
college market, "Speak @Colleges," by Victor Gonzalez:
Approach your local chamber of commerce for more ideas about more
organizations in your area. Chamber personnel may be able to steer you
toward local companies that hire speakers. The chamber will also be
aware of special events: for instance, it's possible that a
professional or industrial association will be holding its regional or
national convention in the city where you live. You can then contact
that organization and offer your services.
As you build a resume, and a tape collection of your speeches, you can
approach companies with a pitch geared to the kind of speech/seminar
you'd like to give: " 'therapeutic information and training' for their
employees as part of the training/morale building . . . ." You may
want to back that up by enclosing research and studies that show
productivity rises after such seminars, and include that data with your resume.
You may also want to submit a proposal to write an article on that
topic to various business or appropriate trade magazines. (Your local
public library should have a copy of Writer's Market, which lists
publications and their contact information, along with advice on how
to write a query letter.) Such publication credits will add value to
Also consider offering to write articles for your local paper.
Newspapers need material every day, and may be very amenable to your
ideas for articles about how to strengthen family life and other
relationships, or business topics in which you have expertise. If you
do a good job, it could even lead to a regular column, such as an
advice column. That's the kind of exposure that leads to more exposure
and, subsequently, offers for speaking engagements. Becoming (even a
very minor) local celebrity is the best thing that can happen to you
in the short-term.
Speakers' Bureaus/ Agents:
Having an agent, or being registered with a speakers' bureau, will
save you the effort of marketing yourself. Instead of hunting for
gigs, you can concentrate on perfecting and expanding your repertoire
of speeches and seminars. Although an agent or bureau will take a cut
for each gig, losing a percentage of your pay will likely be offset
just by time saved since you
won't have to do the prospecting yourself.
First, check your local Yellow Pages to see if there's a speakers
bureau in your area.
Here's some listings of speakers' bureaus that handle events and
Corporate Event Channel:
lists several bureaus. Click on Eagle Talent:
Then click the link " If you are a Speaker or Entertainer click here!"
That will bring up a pop-up box noting the key criteria you must meet
in order to be considered for representation by this particular
agency. This is pretty typical of many booking bureaus; however, a few
are open to working with speakers who don't have lots of credits on
their resumes just yet.
Here are some more bureaus you can contact when you feel you can meet
their criteria. (Note: some charge membership fees):
Maximum Impact Speakers:
For an idea of how much experienced speakers earn, see their fee range:
Again, you may only be able to earn a few hundred per speaking
engagement when you find paying gigs in your local area. But having an
idea of the pay range on a national scale is certainly good incentive
to keep striving!
MJM Speakers Bureau:
Be sure to read the pages "For Beginning Speakers":
"For Speakers Only":
to read about their fee-based mentoring services
Speaker Resource Center:
Baltimore Speakers Bureau.com
Dynamic Speakers, Inc.:
(Click on "For Prospective Speakers" at the top.)
Read this checklist, "Before You Approach Speakers Bureaus," written
by Dottie and Lilly Walters, at their "Speak and Grow Rich" Web site:
Local Talent Agents/Booking Agents:
If you strike out with speakers bureaus, check your Yellow Pages under
agents, and approach local talent agents or
booking agents. Even if local agents or booking agents turn you down
for now, they may be willing to give you some advice on where you can
obtain paying engagements in your area.
For more ideas on where to find paying speaking engagements, check out
MikeMoore's site Motivational Plus:
And the site's "Resources" page:
Taking a seminar will hone your skills and enable you to interact with
other public speakers who can likely give you some invaluable advice
and, quite possibly, solid leads. Nothing beats networking when trying
to establish oneself in a new career.
If speakers bureaus and agents turn you down because they feel you
don't have enough experience, or you need some refinement, check out
The aforementioned Walters, who run the "Speak and Grow Rich" Web
site, are also coaches who help public speakers hone their skills and
learn how to land speaking engagements:
Tom Antion and Associates Communication Company:
The Bill Gove Speech Workshop:
I think speaker Stephen Siebold's site:
makes for a good model; I think it's especially smart of him to
include video clips of his speeches. I think it would be worth it to
you to hire a good Web site designer to set up a site for you so that
organizations can find you by such keywords as "public speaker" and
cities/towns in your region. Let potential clients find you, instead
of the other way around!
Mike Moore's "Ready, Set, Web" site:
explains how his company provides public speakers with a ready-made
site at a low fee:
General Resources: Web sites/ e-zines/e-books
Public speaker Patricia Fripp publishes a free newsletter for public
Check out the resources at "Motivational Speaking":
The National Speakers Association (NSA):
The NSA has thirty-seven local and regional chapters throughout the country:
and that should give you the chance to actually meet with, and learn
from, other speakers.
The membership fee is $500. Here's a roundup of benefits:
If you join the NSA by October 1st, you can submit your profile and
contact information for the NSA's "Membership Directory: Who's Who in
To join, register at this page:
"Niche Marketing for Writers, Speakers, and Entrepreneurs: How to Make
Yourself Indispensable, Slightly Immortal, and Lifelong Rich in 18
by Gordon Burgett (Publisher: Communication Unlimited, 1993.)
"Money Talks: How to Make a Million As a Speaker," by Alan Weiss
(Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997):
"become public speaker"
"public speaker" +career
agent AND speaker AND motivational AND corporate
"find speaking engagements"
"speakers bureau" AND corporate
I hope my research is of help to you. If you need help navigating any
of the above links, or require clarification, please post a "Request
For Clarification," prior to rating my answer.
Google Answers Researcher