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Another possible outlet for your solo show is the public speaking arena. Organizations of all kinds (corporations, professional guilds and the like) regularly have conferences, meetings and events. They NEED GOOD SPEAKERS and are WILLING TO PAY for them!

On the one hand, you may think that performing in a hotel ballroom during a chicken dinner for the annual Plumbing Sales Conference is not as glamorous as having your name on the marquis at the Geffen Playhouse, BUT – think again! That hotel ballroom audience is just as enthusiastic about a good performance as anyone. You’re sharing your art with people who appreciate it and who may not have even come to see you at the Geffen.

Plus, it pays. Public speakers (non-famous ones) normally make anywhere between $1000 and $10,000 per engagement, depending on the affluence of the sponsoring organization, demand, the uniqueness of your show, and your negotiating ability.

My show, “Jonna’s Body, Please Hold,” has a natural fit within the cancer community, and I’ve been performing it nationwide for almost 10 years. Think about where your show might fit. Are there national organizations that relate to your subject matter?

Here’s what I think potential clients look for in a public speaker:

  • Inspiration – Your show leaves audiences feeling hopeful and upbeat.
  • Entertainment – speakers who are humorous and engaging help balance more serious, non-professional speakers (often presenting technical info specific to the conference or trade) who may be sharing the bill.
  • Simple Staging – The fewer technical needs you have (staging, lights, props, sound effects), the easier you are to hire. The event planning committee is usually swamped with details putting the event together. Make their job easier by having a simple set up. My show needs just a well lit 10’x10’ performing space and a chair, with optional music cues if there is a sound system.
  • Variable Length – Clients and events often have different scheduling needs, so it helps if you can tailor your performance to fit into a variety of time slots. It can be challenging to chop half your length while retaining your dramatic arc, but the benefit is yours because you’re just that much more hire-able.

Next Blog: How to Launch Your Solo Show as Public Speaking.


With great love,