Professional Speaking

September 26th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

As you may already know, over the past year and a half, I’ve been working hard to build my speaking skills to a professional level. I’ve also been creating a mountainous volume of original content on personal development, much of which you can access for free via this web site. Based on the feedback I’ve been getting (both online and offline) as well as my own self-assessment, I feel I’ve finally reached the point where I’m ready to go pro. By this I mean that I’m finally ready to start booking professional speaking engagements.

Soon I’ll be adding some pages to this web site that will provide details on how to book me as a speaker. Although the scope of this site is very broad in terms of its content (i.e. all things related to personal development), I’ll provide a more focused list of speaking topics where I believe I can offer the greatest value.

Due to the popularity of this web site (which will reach about 400,000 visitors this month), I’ve already been receiving booking inquiries. Up to this point, however, I’ve held back on accepting any paid speaking engagements because it was important to me to first build my presentation skills to a high enough level. I also wanted to develop an abundance of original content. I wasn’t willing to accept paid engagements until I was convinced I could exceed the expectations of those who would choose to hire me.

I want to say a special thanks to all of you who’ve given me so much helpful feedback. Over 3300 comments have been posted to this blog over the past year, along with an abundance of email feedback, and I’ve personally read it all (and responded to as much as I could). I really love the synergistic nature of this blog, where we’ve been working together to help each other grow. I know I’ve experienced more personal growth over the past year than in any previous year I can recall.

I’m especially grateful to those people who’ve been generously mentoring me along the way to this goal, some of whom have been giving me ideas, advice, and coaching for more than a year. I’m in a fortunate position because the traffic to this web site is such that there’s a good chance it will provide all the bookings I can handle. According to Alexa’s site rankings (which isn’t perfectly accurate but serves as a reasonable guide), StevePavlina.com already gets more traffic than the web sites of some of the top speakers in the world, including Zig Ziglar, Barbara De Angelis, and Dr. Wayne Dyer. Right now this site is roughly on par with Dr. Deepak Chopra’s site in terms of overall traffic.

One of my biggest challenges in making the decision to go pro was to reconcile the fact that this web site has developed a sizable online following, while in the offline world, I’m still just a relative spec of dust compared to top professional speakers. I don’t have a Ph.D in psychology or a best-selling book or a long list of Fortune 500 clients. However, I do have a significant amount of experience in the field of personal development as well as enough original content to fill a weeklong seminar.

Recently I had lunch with a talented speaker who was able to help me understand that this web site’s content and traffic is in fact my #1 credential… and a powerful one at that, but only to the right type of client. To those potential clients who don’t understand the online world, I may not be able to get a foot in the door, but given my unique situation, those aren’t the types of clients I should pursue anyway. However, to the right type of client (one who understands the Internet well), this site provides more than enough credibility. Through this web site, I’m already communicating with a large audience, larger than what most full-time professional speakers are able to reach. If I wrote a best-selling book, I’d probably impact fewer people through that book than I’m already reaching now. To the potential client who’s familiar with this web site and its content, it wouldn’t matter much whether or not I have a Ph.D or how many times I’ve been on Oprah. The existing breadth and depth of content on this site provides a lot more information than the typical speaker’s marketing brochure.

Another perspective that helped me was when a speaker posed the question, “Why are you being so selfish with your content?” My brain did a double-take as it digested that perspective. I have an abundance of impactful content that I’ve never shared online but which I have put into speeches — some ideas adapt better to speeches than they do to articles or podcasts. This speaker helped me see that by holding myself back from accepting ALL available communication outlets, I was actually hoarding content instead of sharing it.

Some of you may disagree with this perspective, and that’s fine, but to me this was the realization I needed to begin speaking professionally now instead of waiting until next year. I know that many people who book speakers won’t regard this web site as anything significant or meaningful, so for now, I’ll simply let those people go and won’t try to convince them otherwise. However, for the right type of client, such as the person who’s been quietly reading this web site for months and has already derived significant personal benefits from the application of some of these ideas, that person already has more than enough information to decide whether or not it would be worthwhile to invite me to speak to their company or organization.

While I know that many people are deathly afraid of public speaking and could never fathom doing such a thing as a profession, to me it is the most natural thing in the world. I love communicating high-level ideas like finding purpose in life, building self-discipline, and optimizing personal productivity. I think it’s wonderful that I have the opportunity to permanently change someone’s thinking and behavior in a way that gives them access to greater success, happiness, and fulfillment.

I expect to have the booking info online next month (I still have to finalize a number of documents like my contract, pre-event questionnaire, and fee schedule), but in the meantime if you already have a speaking engagement in mind and would like more information, feel free to contact me now with the details and requirements of your event.

Once again, a big thank you to all the readers of this site who’ve helped me take this step. I could not have done it without your support, encouragement, and feedback.


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