I was recently interviewed on what it takes to be Professional Speaker and how someone can be a professional speaker or even just learn key public speaking skills. Over the past 26 years, I have spoken in 37 countries, to over 1000 organisations and to more than 1 million People. Here is what I shared during the interview:

Public speaking skills have transformative benefits for professionals in various fields. In this article/interview, we will explore the ways in which professional speaking skills can enhance one’s career and contribute to their overall success. We will delve into the connection between professional speaking and building business relationships, the qualities required to be an effective speaker, the challenges faced, how to prepare for a successful speech, and personal experiences of professionals in the field. Let’s dive in!

How can professional speaking skills benefit individuals?

Professional speaking skills offer numerous advantages, including:

Showcasing Expertise and Ideas: Professional speaking provides a platform to demonstrate knowledge, share insights, and position oneself as an industry expert. It allows professionals to showcase their expertise, present innovative ideas, and establish themselves as thought leaders within their field.

Building Credibility and Trust: Effective professional speaking helps build credibility and trust among the audience. When professionals deliver compelling speeches with well-researched content, it establishes their credibility, enhances their reputation, and fosters trust with clients, peers, and target audiences.

Attracting Opportunities and Networking: Professional speaking engagements attract opportunities, including networking, partnerships, and career advancements. By delivering valuable presentations that address the needs and challenges of the audience, professionals can attract attention, expand their network, and generate new business or career prospects.

Does professional speaking involve building business relationships and networking?

Undoubtedly, professional speaking and building business relationships go hand in hand. Professional speaking provides a unique opportunity to engage directly with the audience, create personal connections, and nurture relationships with potential clients, industry influencers, and peers. Effective networking and relationship-building can open doors to collaborations, partnerships, and personal growth within any professional field.

What does it take to be a good professional speaker? And what values are essential?

To be a good professional speaker, several qualities and values are essential:

Good Content, Practice, and Delivery: A good professional speaker understands the importance of creating compelling content, practicing their speech diligently, and delivering it effectively. This includes structuring the speech, incorporating storytelling techniques, using visuals, and engaging the audience through confident and impactful delivery.

Authenticity: A good professional speaker is authentic in sharing ideas, experiences, and expertise. Authenticity builds trust and connection with the audience, making the speech more relatable and memorable.

Adaptability: Professional speakers need to adapt their content and delivery to suit diverse audiences. This involves understanding the audience’s background, knowledge level, and preferences, and tailoring the speech accordingly.

Engagement, Empathy, and Expertise: A good professional speaker engages the audience through interactive elements, empathy, and expertise. They connect emotionally, understand the needs of their audience, and deliver valuable insights that resonate with them.

Continuous Learning: Professional speaking is a journey of continuous learning and improvement. Good speakers have a growth mindset and are committed to refining their skills, seeking feedback, and staying updated with industry trends.

What are the challenges faced when making a public speech?

Professional speakers face several challenges, including:

Lack of Preparation: Insufficient preparation can result in a disorganized or underwhelming speech. It is crucial to invest time in research, content development, and practice to deliver a well-prepared presentation.

Stage Fright: Many speakers experience stage fright or nervousness when speaking in front of an audience. Overcoming stage fright requires techniques like deep breathing exercises, visualization, and gradually exposing oneself to public speaking opportunities.

Difficult and Diverse Audiences: Speakers encounter diverse audiences with different expectations, backgrounds, and levels of engagement. Adapting to diverse audiences can be challenging, but it is essential to connect with them effectively and deliver a memorable speech.

Balancing Content: Speakers may struggle with the temptation to include excessive information in their speech, resulting in an overwhelming and confusing presentation. Striking the right balance between providing valuable content and avoiding information overload is crucial.

How do you prepare for a successful professional speech?

Preparing for a successful professional speech involves several key steps:

Understanding the Audience: Ask questions and conduct research to gain a deep understanding of the audience demographics, their needs, and interests. Align your speech with their expectations and tailor your content accordingly.

Crafting Strong Content: Spend time structuring your content, ensuring it flows logically and resonates with the audience. Incorporate relevant stories, examples, and visuals to enhance engagement and convey your message effectively.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Devote ample time to practice your speech. Rehearse it multiple times, focusing on your delivery, timing, and body language. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or seek feedback from trusted individuals to improve your performance.

Value for the Audience: Ensure that your speech provides value to the audience. Focus on addressing their pain points, offering practical insights, and delivering actionable takeaways that they can apply in their professional lives.

What are some challenges faced throughout a professional speaking career? And how can they be overcome?

Throughout their careers, professional speakers encounter various challenges, including:

Tough Audiences: Dealing with diverse audiences that may not be receptive or have different expectations can be challenging. Overcoming this challenge requires adapting your speech, connecting with the audience, and finding common ground to engage them effectively.

Transitioning to Virtual Speaking: The shift to virtual speaking due to the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges in terms of adapting to the new medium, mastering technology, and finding innovative ways to connect with the audience.

Fatigue and Mental Health: The demanding nature of a speaking career, coupled with long hours and non-stop work, can lead to fatigue and affect mental health. Overcoming these challenges involves setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and seeking support when needed.

What motivates professionals to choose a career in professional speaking? Is it recommended for someone as a career path?

Professionals choose a career in professional speaking for various reasons, including:

Passion for Sharing and Communicating Ideas: Many professionals have a strong desire to share their knowledge, ideas, and expertise with a broader audience. They find fulfillment in inspiring and influencing others through their words.

Monetizing Expertise: Professional speaking offers the opportunity to monetize one’s knowledge by packaging it into speeches, workshops, and coaching services. This entrepreneurial aspect of the career can be motivating for individuals seeking to leverage their expertise

Considering a career in professional speaking depends on individual interests, strengths, and goals. Professionals interested in professional speaking should evaluate factors such as their communication skills, subject expertise, entrepreneurial mindset, and willingness to continuously learn and grow. Seeking guidance from professionals in the field, gaining practical experience, and exploring speaking opportunities can help students make an informed decision about pursuing a career in professional speaking.

What is one crucial thing to avoid when preparing for a professional speaking session?

One essential piece of advice is to remember that it is never about you; it is always about your audience and how you want to make them feel at the end of your presentation. Avoid self-centeredness and ego-driven speeches. Focus on understanding the needs and desires of your audience, and aim to leave them feeling inspired, informed, and empowered.

Professional speaking skills have immense potential to elevate careers in various fields. By honing these skills, professionals can position themselves as thought leaders, build credibility, attract opportunities, and forge meaningful connections. However, becoming a successful professional speaker requires dedication, practice, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning. Challenges may arise, but with adequate preparation, resilience, and a focus on delivering value to the audience, they can be overcome. Aspiring professional speakers should assess their suitability for the career path based on their communication skills, subject expertise, and entrepreneurial mindset.

Dr. Jerome Joseph, CSP, is a Global Speaker with industry experience as a CEO of a listed brand agency. He is recognized as a Top 30 Global Thought Leader on Branding, has spoken in 37 countries, and has worked with over 1,000 brands. To know more about social media’s impact on your personal branding as well as other personal branding courses, you can email us at or contact us at +65 9271 6973.

The Difference Between a Keynote and Guest Speaker

When you’re booking speakers for your event, they must be made aware of their exact role. There are two types of speakers you should consider hiring for an event: your keynote speaker and guest speaker. Both speakers add value to the event, but what’s the difference between the two?

What’s a keynote speaker?

Essentially, the keynote speaker is a person tasked to deliver the keynote address at a particular event. His role is to set out the central theme of a meeting or conference. These professionals are often experts in their field. They can discuss matters on a specific topic or industry for hours.

The keynote speaker serves as the headliner of the event. This person should have the ability to invigorate the audience and keep them interested in staying throughout the event. Thus, the keynote speaker must be someone who can capture the essence of the event in a short period.

What’s a guest speaker?

On the other hand, a guest speaker is a person invited to a gathering or event to deliver a speech. This can be anyone outside your organisation knowledgeable on a particular matter or topic.

This person adds value to the gathering by delving into more specific subtopics. He may also add a unique perspective covering the overarching topic the keynote speaker briefly discussed. He can share his personal experiences to elucidate his talking points.

What’s the difference?

In essence, the keynote speaker functions as the headliner of the event. This speaker is tasked to introduce the main topic and set the tone for the rest of the gathering. The guest speaker’s role is to dive into deeper detail during subsequent talks and expand on specific points. Their job is to support the keynote speaker through their messages. Both keynote and guest speakers are important to an event in their own right, because they work in synergy to educate or inspire the audience.

Whether a speaker falls under the ‘keynote’ or ‘guest’ category would depend entirely on the event. In the speaking industry, all keynote speakers can also serve as guest speakers. However, not all guest speakers can deliver keynote speeches. Technically, a speaker can be both, but expectations should be laid out before the event itself.

Choosing the right speakers

The speakers you invite for an event have the power to excite your target market to join the event. That’s why you must choose your speakers wisely.

When you’re looking for a keynote speaker, you should hire someone experienced in speaking at events. This professional should be engaging and creative because this person should be able to make a lasting impression.

Enticing people’s imagination and intellect is no easy feat. That’s why you must hire a professional speaker to serve as a keynote speaker at your event. Conducting some due diligence can make a huge difference when searching for an expert keynote speaker.

Jerome Joseph is a global speaker who’s spoken to audiences in over 30 countries and worked with over a thousand brands. He’s a certified expert in keeping audiences compelled throughout an event, no matter how big or small it may be.