A little over a week ago, I had an opportunity to speak to Dr. Andrew Goh.
I told him,
"Dr. Andrew, you may not remember me. A few years ago, I asked you for advice on becoming a public speaker. Today, I am well on my way. Thank you for your advice."
I then gave him two copies of The Introvert Teacher, one addressed to him and the other to pass on to anyone he wants.
This was the advice he gave to me. The elaboration is my own:
1) Volunteer to Speak and Practise
At the start, the only way to get known and gain recognition is to speak whenever you have an opportunity.
Also, you are going to need the practice and volunteering yourself will help you to figure out your niche topic, which brings us to...
2) Have a Specific Topic
It's all too easy to take on any and all projects that come your way.
However, being a generalist can be confusing, especially for those who are looking for speakers on a particular subject. It also makes you less memorable to those who have already heard you if you tell them that you can do 'any topic you need'.
People look to experts. Establish yourself as one.
3) Once Established, Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Speaking Fees
At some point, you are going to have to be paid if you intend to embark on speaking as a career.
This can and does happen organically but the surest way is to ask.
Start by getting the organisers to cover your travel expenses, even if it's just a taxi ride.
From there, as you gain confidence, ask for more. Be reasonable. You probably shouldn't ask for 10 thousand dollars per hour if you only started speaking 2 months ago (unless you're already some sort of celebrity) but, hey! If you get it, that'd be quite an achievement.
Still, be firm in your requests. If you give in too easily, you are only shortchanging yourself.
Thank you, Dr. Andrew, for being a teacher I look up to and for taking the time to advise me.