How to Become a Professional Speaker

Are you interested in learning how to become an international speaker? About 15 years ago, I set out to become a professional speaker and now, 80% of my speaking gigs are in places like Dubai, London, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Gdansk, Milan, and … well, you name it.

Want to see how I accomplished all this? If so, then check out the video below, shot while I was being ferried via helicopter to one of my speeches.


Hey, this is Jamie Turner with In 60 and I’m going to jump on this helicopter and talk to you about a tool tip or tutorial that can help grow your business. Let’s check it out. I am in Ecuador to do a speech from my friends at Lofa Brill. Lofa Brill is the Proctor and Gamble, of this part of the world. I get a lot of questions from people who want to know how I got started as an international speaker, so I thought I’d share my journey in case you want to replicate what I’ve done. But first I’d like to thank our friends at Agora Pulse for sponsoring this episode of In 60 if you’re looking for a way to manage your social media campaigns more effectively, be sure to check out Agora Pulse. I use their social media dashboard every day to make sure my social media campaigns are reaching the right people at the right time with the right message.

So let’s talk about how you can become an international speaker. The starting point is to speak at a local level and the insider secret I used 15 years ago was to email a professor at a local university and ask them if they needed a guest speaker. You’ll be surprised at how many university professors love to have guest speakers in their classes. It gives them an opportunity to provide some variety to the students, so most of them will welcome you with open arms. Once you’ve done your first speaking gig at a university, your next step is to do a local business networking breakfast or lunch. Just call up the local business organizations and let them know that you recently spoke at Xyz University. Since you’ve already spoken at a well respected university, there’ll be more likely to welcome you to speak at their organization. Once you’ve spoken at a local business or networking event, your goal is to speak at a larger event, either regionally or nationally.

The secret is to work your way up the chain until you’re speaking at large national events. Okay. We’ve covered a lot of ground, but let’s talk about three things you need to be able to speak at national events. The first is a reputation which can come from articles you’ve written, the company you work for or radio interview interviews you’ve been part of. The second is a speech that makes you stand out. The trick here is to have a speech that says the opposite of a commonly held belief. For example, if you have a speech that says why Steve Jobs was a great CEO, nobody will ask you to speak, but if you have a speech titled why Steve Jobs was a terrible CEO and what you can learn from his mistakes, then people will be interested in hearing more. The third thing you need to speak at larger events is a book, a blog with wide readership, a podcast of your own, or a YouTube series of your own, like In 60 the YouTube series you’re watching right now.

If you have one of those four items, a book, a blog, a podcast, or YouTube series, then you’re in great shape. Okay. Now the big question, how do you get international speaking gigs like the one I’m doing here in Ecuador, where we’re riding in this helicopter right now to take me down to the speech? Well, here’s how I did it and then here are a few ideas how you can do it too. For me, I actually reached out to a business acquaintance in London and said, let’s do an event together in London. He agreed and we did the event. Once that happened, I contacted other events in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and told them that I was just speaking in London. May I send you a link to my speaker website, which brings me to a super important point. You can get regional or national speeches without a dedicated speaker website, but you definitely cannot get an international speech without a dedicated speaker website.

International speaking gigs require a well-designed and well thought out website like mine at Jamie Turner Live. Either way, once you have a website designed and uploaded, reach out to the events overseas and send them a link to your website. It’ll take a long, long time, but if you stay with it, it’ll work. Okay. Let’s do a quick recap of how to become an international speaker. Step one, speak at a university. Step two, speak at a local networking event. Step three, speak at a regional and then national event. Step four, have a book, a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube series to differentiate yourself. Step five, create a dedicated speaker website and then step six, start contacting large events held overseas to share your information with them. This’ll take a long, long time, so don’t expect results overnight. I was speaking at regional and national events for 10 years before I got my first international speaking gig, but now 80% of my speaking gigs are overseas, so my wife and I get to travel to exotic locations for all of my events.

One final bonus tip, whenever you speak, the person who’s going to hire you at your next gig will be sitting in the audience. That’s a key thing. Your next speaking client is sitting in the audience of your current speech. If you knock it out of the park, somebody in that audience is going to come up to you afterwards and say, I got to connect you with my organization so you can come and speak at my event.

My name is Jamie Turner. Let’s jump off this helicopter and get this thing all wrapped up.

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