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3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Accepting A Speech

It's every speakers dream to get booked for multiple speeches. However, not all speeches are created equal. Keynote speeches can require that you speak up to forty five minutes or more. There may be other events that ask that you speak for up to thirty minutes are more. Others may ask you speak on a subject you have no experience in. Before accepting that big paycheck here are three questions you should ask yourself.

1.) Can I fill this time? As professional speakers we tend to think we can fill any amount of time. Do you consider yourself a subject matter expert on the subject you are speaking about? Have you had any experience speaking about the topic before? One way to gauge you ability to fill a 30 minute slot is to practice at home. Can you speak for 30 minutes about a topic? If not you may want to decline the speech. The requesting company will respect your honesty and may offer you a shorter time slot at a breakout session.

2.) Am I knowledgeable enough to speak about this? Once your name starts to generate buzz companies may reach out to you to speak on topics that may seem bizarre to you. I was once asked to speak for 30 minutes about parenting teenage children. When I told she event planner I couldn't speak on that topic (I don't have children) she was upset. "I thought you were a PROFESSIONAL speaker" is what she yelled at me through the phone. I told her if I were to accept this speech, it would be a disservice to your organization and your audience because they would get nothing out of the speech and your company's reputation would be tainted. I gave them some promotional material on the topics I speak about. To my amazement they bought me back 4 months later to speak about mental health.

3.) Does this align with my message? Some speakers/organizations have a specific message and do not want to sway away from it. Event planners may offer you a speech that you have to turn down because it does not align with your mission statement. Some speeches may seem like a great opportunity to have a good payday. However, sticking with your message and mission statement ensures that you get the type of speaking request that are right for you and your organization.

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