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How to become a public speaker

How to become a public speaker

As a professional speaker and public speaking coach, how to become a public speaker is one of the most common questions I am asked. Here is one exercise you can do to help you start with the basics.

My answer is, well it depends. It depends on what your overall objective is in becoming a public speaker. 

Let’s start with Why

Purpose drives action. Before you consider the what, let’s look at the why. Here are some questions for you to ponder as you think about why you want to become a public speaker.

  • Would you like to use speaking as a medium to boost your sales?
  • Would you like to speak in public to build your network and professional relationships?
  • Would you like to inspire others with a message that they want to hear?
  • Maybe you have a TEDx talk on your bucket list, with a single idea that you’re burning to tell. 
  • You are a purpose-driven leader with a desire to leave a legacy, and speaking is a way of getting a message across one to many. 

You may have a desire to do all of the above, or you may begin in one direction and over time, your public speaking will develop and evolve. 

Once you have considered the reasons why you want to become a public speaker, the next step is to determine what you are going to speak about – your speaking topic. 

When I began my public speaking journey eleven years ago, I knew that I wanted to speak, despite feeling terrified at the thought of standing in front of an audience. And I also knew that I would need to dedicate time and resources into becoming very comfortable speaking to an audience, as well as mastering the craft of speaking.

But at the time I didn’t have a strategy. I hadn’t thought about public speaking as a business. I was in the hobbyist mindset.  I went about learning the basics of public speaking, but I wasn’t clear about my speaking topic and I didn’t really know who I was going to speak with, even though by this time I no longer feared having people in the seats. 

I certainly hadn’t considered the most important question of who would be willing to pay me to be a guest speaker? I thought I would figure it out as I went along, and I did. 

Knowing what I know now, I could have shaved off years of experimentation and saved time and money by investing in the right skills and the right people, to help me at the right time. If you are ready to explore becoming a professional speaker, you may be interested in one on one coaching. It’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you. Let’s make a time to chat about how I can help you.

How to decide on your topic as a public speaker 

You can speak about anything you want, but if you want to get booked and paid as a public speaker, then getting clarity on your topic is essential.  

My advice to anyone who would like to get started, is to think about a broad topic you would like to speak about, and then narrow that topic to a single focus. 

Begin by doing some market research into what topics are hot and relevant now, as well as the topics that are likely to be evergreen. 

There is no point speaking about a topic that won’t get you a booking if you want to get paid to speak.

What do you love to do? 

What do you love to do? Speak about that! This is an ideal place for a beginner.

What is something that you really enjoy doing that you could speak about? Maybe a skill or craft, a sport, your travel adventures, or possibly some adversity or stories. 

When you speak about a topic that you love your energy and enthusiasm will shine through.

This is where most hobby speakers start, and then many stay stuck playing in this space even though they want guest speaker bookings and to move from free speaking to paid speaking opportunities. 

Truth Bomb!

No one cares about your story, until they care about how your story helps them.

Choosing a speaking topic that you enjoy is ideal when you want to be a volunteer speaking for free to clubs, associations and peers. If you want to get paid as a public speaker, read on. 

If you are serious about making a career out of being a public speaker, this article about becoming a professional speaker will help you.   

What is it that you know? 

What’s your area of expertise? Do you have skills, qualifications or certifications, or perhaps awards and accolades in a particular industry? 

When you combine speaking about what you love with speaking with what you know, then your credibility is higher and you get ahead faster. You may consider guest speaking opportunities that are a fit with your brand and are unpaid. 

Like anyone getting started it is likely you will be speaking for free until you are confident and ready to ask for a fee.  

Still not sure on your speaking topic? 

Speak on a topic you have earned the right to speak about.

What topic will the market pay for? 

If you aspire to getting paid to speak or even becoming a full time professional speaker, earning as much as a C-suite executive, then you must be very clear on what the market is paying for. 

Speaking is a business, and the role of a speaker is to not only be skilled in the areas of platform delivery and crafting a message, but also highly skilled in sales and marketing, branding and positioning, and relationship building. 

Fundamental to your success as a public speaker, is the commitment to investing time and energy in finding and working with people who can help you. 

Is working with a speaker coach right for you? 

If you are ready to work on your speaking business as well as your speaking craft, then I recommend that you consider finding a skilled and experienced public speaking coach who can help you navigate the process. 

Getting paid to speak

It becomes a reality that you will get paid to speak when you combine what you love, what you know, with what the market will pay for. 

Do some research to find out which speakers are also speaking about that topic.
What is their angle and how you can be different (it’s not cool to copy others ideas or to become a cookie cutter). So think about what unique insights you can bring to the topic. What experience and skills do you possess that are different or unique, and how can you package that in a sellable service. 

Becoming a speaker is primarily about running a business and that means being very comfortable with sales and marketing, having a standout brand, being visible, and being able to adapt and, if necessary, reinvent your brand and your topic to remain relevant.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers.

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Virtual – Live Online Training – Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Business Storytelling and executive Speaker Coaching is available online.

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference live of virtual event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Yes, you do need to use the microphone

Yes, you do need to use the microphone

Pass the mic, and please use it.

Using a microphone will help you sound better and serve others. When you have 30 or more people in a room and there is a mic available, please use it. Always use a microphone if the event is going to be recorded. 

When you make use of the mic, the audience will be able to hear you, and you can comfortably speak without having to strain your voice. Plus, it’s the polite thing to do and makes for good conference etiquette. 

If there are not mic runners at the event, it requires a little patience to pass the mic along to the next person. But it really isn’t about you and how you feel about using a mic, or that you think you have a voice that is loud enough. As a hearing impaired person, I can tell you, your voice is not loud enough.

No thanks.

I recently went to an event with 60 business leaders in attendance. Towards the end of an interesting talk about productivity, it was time for the Q&A session and there were two people at the back of the room ready to pass the mic to those with questions. 

The first person posed their question speaking into the mic, all good. 

The next person waved away the microphone, ‘I’m all good, thanks’.  The next person, ‘I don’t need a microphone, thanks’. And the next, ‘No need for that, I have a very loud voice’. Not one person after the first, accepted the mic. 

I was sitting towards the back of the room and I got to see the backs of heads, but I couldn’t hear the questions. The speaker, from the stage, answered each question into her microphone for all to hear, so that gave me a reasonable guess as to the question asked.

People looked bored. 

As I looked around the room I sensed that people were switching off, and starting to get fidgety maybe because they also couldn’t hear.

No one said anything. The idle mic runners stood like sentries at the back of the room and people either glazed over and tuned out or began to chat in hushed tones with their neighbour. 

Not a great end to what started out as an excellent presentation. 

I don’t like using the microphone.

Sound familiar? We don’t all have a love of speaking into a microphone, but learning to get comfortable with one is an essential part of business communication. Don’t make it hard for people to listen to you. 

 “I was a shy kid with a broom handle that I pretended was a microphone.”

Patti LaBelle

3 tips on using the microphone when it’s passed to you.

  1. Accept the microphone. If you are in a room where there are 30 or more people, a microphone is necessary and you are helping others including the speaker by making use of it. You are also doing yourself a favour by taking care of your voice. 
  2. Hold the microphone about 10 cm from your face just under your mouth. When your head moves, move your hand with it so that the mic follows your mouth. Use your free hand to make hand gestures. Don’t wave the mic around near your navel.
  3. Speak normally and let the microphone amplify your voice. 

The microphone is an opportunity for you to get heard and it will make it easier for everyone else in the room too.

Thank you for using the microphone.

Here’s how I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling can be delivered as a 30-minute session x 3 or a 90-minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching via Zoom 

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world. 

Lisa Evans, MBA is the CEO of Speaking Savvy. She is one of less than 150 Certified Speaking Professionals in Australia. She is a Certified Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Certified Virtual Presenter, Accredited Business Coach (ICF), Author, TEDx Speaker Coach, NLP Coach, Graphic Recorder, Host and Curator of Stories From The Heart, and Improvisation Actor and Marketing Director at Perth Playback Theatre.

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

There are no shortcuts (and no roadmap) to success

I heard Rory Vaden speak at a conference in 2014. I have heard him speak several more times since then. Each time, his words resonate with me. His message ‘Take The Stairs’ has become a metaphor that I adopted as I was taking my first steps in  a new career as a professional speaker. 

When I first decided that I wanted to become a speaker, I was working full time in a government department. The job was stable and well paid, yet predictable and unfulfilling. I enjoyed much of the work, but I knew there was more. I felt compelled to teach, inspire and serve others, and I decided that speaking was the medium to allow me to do so. 

There are no shortcuts. Focus and determination will set you on the right path. 

Just over a week ago, I got to stand on stage with 11 others at the Professional Speakers Australia conference and received the Certified Speaking Professional recognition. This conference was one of the last to be held in Australia, before all large public events were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

As a novice in a new field there is so much choice. It is overwhelming. 

When I made the decision to become a Professional Speaker. I knew it would be hard. Having a story to tell and some public speaking skills was not enough. I knew nothing about being a business owner or the world of professional speaking. 

 In October 2017 I exited the workforce with a one page plan and a commitment to give it my best shot. 

As a novice to the world of professional speaking it can be overwhelming working out what’s next, who to turn to for help, and what professional and personal development is required. I was that speaker. 

My 20+ year career taught me many things that I am grateful for,  but I was ill-equipped to run a small business. 

In the early days, I made some mistakes that cost me time and money. However, these became some very important lessons that have served me well. If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested in the right help sooner. it’s important to find a public speaking coach who is right for you.

Things began to fall into place when I decided that 2020 was the year that  I would become a Certified Speaking Professional.

Slow and steady wins the race

According to Rory Vaden successful people achieve results the old fashioned way, with focus and self discipline. By ‘taking the stairs’ we are resisting the temptation of ‘quick fixes’, eliminating distractions, and overcoming personal setbacks to achieve our goals. 

So what is a Certified Speaking Professional?

The Certified Speaking Professional accreditation is an international designation awarded to only a small percentage of professional speakers globally. 

The CSP has gained global recognition as an indicator of dedication to excellence in the field of speaking. 

I am aware that there are less than 150 active CSP’s in Australia. 

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

The five most important elements which led to success

When I got serious I found clarity, and the rest fell quickly into place. With a personal manifesto and a one page plan I got to work. 

1. Clarity

In the first year of business, I lacked clarity. I was trying to serve a wide market and I was targeting a market segment that did not feel right for me. I decided to follow the age old advice of ‘picking a lane and sticking to it’. This felt like a weight off my shoulders. 

This included becoming really clear on who I want to serve, what services I will offer and when to walk away, and why I am doing this in the first place. I revisit exercises and activities on clarity every 90 days. Doing a simple exercise such as mapping out your niche and topic using Ikigai is a useful thing to do.

More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.  

2. Focus

I have always been a planner and a detail person, and I love any tools that assist me with the process of planning and organising.  This year I made the decision to work a four day week. This meant even more focus and self -discipline. My productivity increased and I now get more done in less time. I practice Deep Work. According to Cal Newport, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. I always do the hardest tasks when I am at my sharpest mentally and physically which is early morning, and after coffee. 

3. Consistency

I have built a brand that I am proud of, and I continue to show up true to that brand. If an opportunity comes along that is not aligned with my brand, I am happy to let it go. Yes, I do still get FOMO at times, but I now fully embrace the thinking that when you say no to something it paves the way for something that is better aligned. I believe that by showing up consistently and true to my brand it builds a higher level of trust. 

During the current crisis I will strive to stay on brand, even though change will be inevitable if my business is to thrive.

4. Values

When I began working with a new coach last year, I took a closer look at my values and did some values exercises. I have five values that guide me in both my personal and business life. I like the compass analogy, as my values guide me to navigate my way. What became apparent to me is that once I got clarity on my values, I began to attract more clients with similar values. Staying true to my values has also helped making it easier to say know and when to walk away. 

5. Support

I lost some friends along the way! This is a tough one and something I never anticipated. I have a wonderful family and I must admit it took them a while to fully understand that I was serious and it was not a sabbatical from my previous career. I am a member of many virtual groups and I love the fact that I can connect with so many people around the world and they are so supportive. I have a core group of close friends and business associates. 

So what’s next?

I am approaching this next chapter of uncertainty with an open mind. Like any small business in Australia I have been affected by the situation. 

Fortunately my programs and coaching are all able to be delivered online. I have a range of interactive live webinars and virtual presentations to help leaders communicate with confidence. 

How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3 or a 90 minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching via Zoom or where practically possible, in person.

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world. 

Why Bother? 10 Reasons Why Presentation Skills Matter

Why Bother? 10 Reasons Why Presentation Skills Matter

In my role as a speaking and storytelling consultant working with leaders across many industries, I know that the most successful people have high-level public speaking and presentation skills. They are the charismatic individuals who know how to use storytelling as a tool of influence, they are the leaders who continue to develop their communication skills, invest in working with an experienced coach and seek expert feedback in order to further hone their skills.

With the current rapid and unpredictable change we are now experiencing in the world, now more than ever, is it vital that leaders have effective communication skills.

Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?

You don’t aim for ordinary when you take up tennis or golf, you don’t enter a sales presentation with your fingers and toes crossed hoping for the best! Your goal is to excel, to win and to make a difference. But you can’t be the best version of yourself with ordinary presentation skills. If you are ready to step up and level up your speaking and presentation skills, let’s chat about how, as your speaker coach, I can help you.

So, what is ordinary?

Here’s what I mean by ordinary presentation skills. How you define ordinary may be quite different as it’s a subjective and personal thing. I consider an ordinary presenter to do the following:

You may rely heavily on slides to prompt you, perhaps you didn’t get time to run through your presentation to see if it comes in on time, you are unprepared and have not tailored or refreshed your presentation, you frequently use waste words and unnecessary fluff to your message, you appear fidgety or uncomfortable when you are in the spotlight, and you read from notes or recite a memorised presentation.

You will get by with ordinary presentation skills, but will you get ahead?

I encourage you to take the next step and be the best speaker you can be. Having exceptional spoken communication skills will advance your career and help you stand out among the crowd.

Here are 10 reasons why it’s worth the effort.

10 reasons why improving your presentation skills is a must

  1. To cultivate a memorable positive first impression and be top of mind for your prospects.

2. To become known as a person of authority in your field of expertise.

3. To stand out from your competitors (who may be better at presenting).

4. Your desire to leave a legacy and make a positive difference.

5. You feel compelled to teach and touch lives and reach larger numbers.

6. You want to grow your business, seek more funding and inspire others to follow your lead.

7. You are not getting the results you know you deserve, even though you are putting in the effort.

8. You have missed out on an opportunity because your presentation skills have let you down.

9. You want to be able to sell authentically and avoid being icky and inauthentic.

10. You are creating a business (or have stepped up into a senior position) that requires you to be the face of the brand.

The stand-out presenter

The leader who excels at speaking in public aims to master the following:

  • Using executive presence, authenticity and charisma to earn trust, respect and buy-in.
  • Looking and feeling at ease and eager to be presenting.
  • The ability to read cues from the audience and adjust content on the fly if necessary.
  • A practical understanding of vocal techniques and how to develop the full potential of your voice.
  • An ability to present with or without slides (by choice or when technology fails).
  • The effective and strategic use of narrative and storytelling as a tool to inspire.
  • An effortless manner in which Q & A sessions are handled.
  • The role of the MC, panel moderator or panellist.
  • The ability to offer feedback (when sought) from peers to help others excel at speaking.

Resources to get you started

8 Storytelling Basics – if you wish to get started using stories in your presentation this is a good place to begin.

How to Win Hearts and Minds. Tips for Speaking Persuasively

When you fail at public speaking – how to pick yourself up

Your Leadership Voice – learn to use your voice to make an impact

Is working with a coach right for you?

If you are ready to take your skills to the next level and become an extraordinary presenter then let’s chat to see if I am a fit to help you reach your goals.

I am an experienced and certified coach who specialises in spoken word communication, body language and business storytelling for leaders.

My coaching packages are bespoke, I work with a selected few 1:1 clients at any time.

If you’d like a facilitated session for your team, I offer half-day, one-day or two-day workshops on-site anywhere in Australia.

Applications Open

2-Day Speak Like a Leader™ intensive experiential speaking and business storytelling professional development for senior leaders, entrepreneurs and executives.

Only 8 participants on each course. Includes a SoundBite for Leaders™ 1:1 session for a limited time – Contact me to find out more.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – This program is currently being delivered remotely.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your virtual conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

If you want to improve at public speaking, don’t focus only on words

If you want to improve at public speaking, don’t focus only on words

One of the keys to improving at public speaking is to focus less on your words. 

While this may sound paradoxical, especially for someone who uses words to inspire and move others, there is something that has a more powerful impact than words on an audience.

People are generally time-poor and so it is important that we can have an impact in a short space of time. The challenge is how to be memorable when you only have 15 or even 45 minutes to deliver a speech and still leave the audience with something of value to take away. 

What lies beneath?

Once you have chosen your words and crafted your message, remember that words by themselves are rarely enough. As speakers, it is our job to delve deeper into what makes a message stick in the minds of our audience. 

They will remember the images that our words create. They will remember the smells that we describe to trigger a memory. They will remember how something feels or how it tastes. 

Let’s think about the images we can create with our words. A powerful image can convey places, colours, textures, periods in time and many other kinds of memories. When we create an image in the minds of our audience, we are helping them access a particular memory, facilitating what we could call a transfer of emotion. 

Dale Carnegie once said, ‘Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt.’

Taking this a step further, we want to use what our audience sees, hears and feels to make our message relevant to them.

Storytelling is a tool to help you transfer the emotion

Storytelling is a powerful tool used by speakers. When we share a well-told story, it is like taking our audience on a journey, a journey into their imagination and memory, and if we cast our characters in such a way, our audience could feel as though they are a part of the story.

At the same time as we share our story, we are inviting our audience to think and reflect and be present in their own story. An image will help them determine the context and why it is important to them.

The journey leads to the destination

When we create an image with our words, instead of simply showing a picture, each member of our audience will have their own interpretation of that image. 

The images they conjure up in their minds are more relevant and more powerful than anything we could present on a slideshow.

If I showed you a photo of my very first bike, which I got for my fourth birthday, you would see a three-wheeled tricycle with a pink straw basket attached to the front, tassels on the handlebars and a rope tied to the front for my dad to pull me along, because my feet barely touched the pedals. My parents had bought me the ‘next size up’, so I could grow into it. 

The photo and the accompanying words would provide an accurate description of the size, colour and shape of the bike, but that is about it. My first bike is likely very different from your first bike. So, rather than show you a photo, wouldn’t it be more powerful if I used words to help you conjure up your own image of your first bike? Then, my story becomes relatable. I can do this by saying something along the lines of:

‘Imagine you are learning to ride a bike for the first time. What can you remember about that first bike? Were the wheels shiny? Did you have stabilisers on the back? Or maybe you had a three-wheeled tricycle like mine.

How did it feel when you realised that your parents had let go and you were balancing and pedalling on your own? You were doing it all by yourself!’

The positive power of imagery

Once this imagery has been set up, I could then go further with a lesson or analogy about ‘letting go’ or realising that you are ‘freewheeling’. The aim is to create a feeling for the audience through their memories, allowing them to go back to that moment when they were on a bike for the first time, learning to ride and maybe feeling both excitement and trepidation. 

When we provide the audience with an image that they themselves have created, it is much more meaningful and also has context for them. They are able to access their emotions associated with a particular time and place. It is when we rouse the emotions of our audience that they become most engaged. That is how you take your words to the next level. 

The meanings behind words

Of course, words still matter. We should always strive to be memorable. But, if we really want to make a difference with our message, we must pay close attention to the emotions behind those words.

Our audience will remember the images that our words create, and being memorable is what we strive to be as public speakers.


Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

How may I help you to improve at public speaking?

Resources to get you started

8 Storytelling Basics – if you wish to get started using stories in your presentation this is a good place to begin.

How to Win Hearts and Minds. Tips for Speaking Persuasively

When you fail at public speaking – how to pick yourself up

Your Leadership Voice – learn to use your voice to make an impact

Is working with a coach right for you?

If you are ready to take your skills to the next level and become an extraordinary presenter then let’s chat to see if I am a fit to help you reach your goals.

I am an experienced and certified coach who specialises in spoken word communication, body language and business storytelling for leaders.

My coaching packages are bespoke, I work with a selected few 1:1 clients at any time.

If you’d like a facilitated session for your team, I offer half-day, one-day or two-day workshops on-site anywhere in Australia.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.


Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your virtual conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.


Your Brand is the Key to your Success as a Speaker

Your Brand is the Key to your Success as a Speaker

As a speaker, your brand is the key to your success and what sets you apart. Starting out as an emerging speaker can be tough.

You have the subject matter and a desire to change the world with your message, but you may not have considered the creation of your brand or how it will determine the future success of your business. 

Knowing what I now know about starting a business, defining a personal brand, and getting started in the world of professional speaking, I would say this to those starting out: don’t waste too much time and money on creating a logo, business cards and a website. Instead, develop your brand and focus on getting it to work for you. 

Create a recent, professional-looking profile page on LinkedIn and capitalise on this social platform to build relationships and share valuable content so that people will be able to find you. People will be drawn to your story and find it easier to relate to you as a result. A business card or logo is pointless unless you have a following. 

So, how do you get started building a brand?

” A brand is much more than a logo. It is a way of being, what you stand for and how you make a difference in the world. “

This can be tough for people entering the speaking business. According to Lois Creamer, an expert in the speaking industry, the US Meeting Industry Association reports that inquiries for speakers have increased by 5% in the last twelve months. Whilst this may be cause for optimism, it means that competition among speakers vying for platforms will also have risen and will become as challenging as ever.

A simple Google search for keynote speaker or professional speaker will produce thousands of results from which to choose. If you are a speaker who has a broad topic of expertise (e.g. leadership or culture), then creating a stellar brand and consciously positioning yourself will set you apart from those thousands of others. 

So, how do you construct a personal brand that enables you to carve out a niche, create a reputation, and make a positive difference with your message?

” It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone” – Hans F Hansen

If you have only a bland or static brand, you will blend in and be hard to find. You will get lost amongst numerous others out there, despite the importance of your message.To construct your brand needn’t be expensive or seem gimmicky. Your brand should be authentic; it is your essence, and it constantly evolves. That’s why I love the concept of the brand tree.

Introducing the brand tree

The brand tree is such a simple and wonderful metaphor to use to describe an approach to building a brand as a speaker. 

Consider your brand as having the same essential components as a tree: roots, trunk, branches and leaves. If you invest time and energy in the different parts of the tree, it will, at the right time, thrive and become easily differentiated within the forest of trees, whilst others, left untended, will wilt and wither.

Brands, like trees, depend upon a healthy seed and root system. This is the foundation from which everything springs. This solid foundation is required to support the life and growth of your brand. If a good seed (your ideas and purpose) is planted and well-nurtured, it sprouts and develops roots which, if strong, will take hold. Conversely, a weak root system will result in a weak brand. 

What is your purpose?

Your purpose is the brand’s seed. This is where your story begins to take shape. This is the human element behind your brand. People are fascinated about your why, and so your purpose becomes the essence of your brand’s personality.

What are your roots?

Your vision and your values make up part of the root system. This is the heart of your brand. Take the time to define each of your personal values and use those values to guide your decisions. Once the roots are established, the rest of the tree begins to flourish. In other words, the purpose and personality of your brand must be communicated and understood. 

As you begin your speaking career, be clear on your purpose and your values, because when things get tough, you need to be willing to persevere, to be prepared for setbacks, and to do the hard work. There is the skill of speaking and stagecraft to consider, but there is also a lot to learn about business. 

Your values are the compass that guides your brand as a speaker

Begin by identifying your values because they will be the compass that guides you. 

When roots become anchored in soil, the trunk of the tree then forms. The trunk gives the tree its structure, strength and shape. The trunk of your brand is your positioning; that is, how you differentiate and set yourself apart from other brands. This part of your brand will shift, evolve and adapt to better fit the environment. 

The trunk is can be understood as the how. It is your methods and processes and the way you act to consistently achieve results for yourself and your clients. Your processes and methods should be versatile and adaptable. 

As a speaker, you will need to adapt and to evolve at all stages to avoid becoming stale and irrelevant. Understand what is going on in the market. There is an abundance of speakers, and there are self-appointed experts who appear; unfortunately, there are also people who may copy your ideas. Don’t be disheartened – a copy-cat will not be able to copy your essence, as that is unique to you. There is no need to lose sleep over it. If someone copies you, create something new and better. 

The final component of your brand tree is the leaves.

Think of the leaves as the decoration or the first appearance. This is what people see and what draws them in initially. Although they are highly visible, unless the leaves have a solid structure and root system, the overall brand tree will be unsustainable. Shiny, perfectly formed leaves may catch attention as they blow in the breeze, but without the solid foundation and support structure of the other components, the leafy visual brand will soon fade. You must be able to back up style with substance; there must be more to what is seen on the surface. 

The leaves include elements of your brand’s appearance, such as how you dress, the way that you present and handle yourself, the level of service you provide, the value and content that you deliver and the materials you use, such as brochures, slides, cards, images and social pages, etc.

Now, picture your brand as a tree. What sort of tree is it? Does it blossom and bloom? Is it resilient to environmental changes?

The seed and its roots determine the health of a tree. The same goes for your brand, so lay a solid foundation. This part cannot be hurried. Tend to the roots and be patient while they take hold. 


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder, sketchnote creator and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to access a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.