I had such an amazing opportunity last week. A dream of mine I’ve had for a long time came true.

That dream was to stand on stage and give a TEDTalk. And last week I stood in front of 500 people at TEDx Macquarie University and gave a talk that was streamed to over 200,000 people.

TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. The time limit is generally 18 minutes or less. TED first began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today it covers a vast array of ideas that come from all walks of life, in more than 100 languages. TEDTalks are some of the most popular videos on YouTube today.

When I was invited to speak, my stomach jumped into my throat, but after I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes!

So it is ironic that this wonderful opportunity allowed me to share a message close to my heart. My idea worth spreading was all about being open to ‘yes’.

No matter if you are an introvert, extrovert or something in between, many of us struggle to move from the shadows into the spotlight.

Being open to ‘yes’ enables you to redefine the spotlight, understand you deserve to be there and share your voice with the world.

Public speaking is a powerful medium to build your personal brand

TEDx speaker Catriona PollardIt’s likely you know by now I’m a huge fan of public speaking. It has been instrumental in building the business and the profile I have today.

But to get public speaking requests, there’s one thing you must do to ensure people know you’re a speaker. It’s essential that you write your speaker's profile.

I have no doubt if TEDx had looked at my online profile and not seen my speaker’s profile, it’s unlikely they would have asked me to present.

How to write your speaker’s profile

Here is my step-by-step guide to writing your own speaker's profile:

1. Start with your bio. Outline who you are, your career and why you’re an expert in your field. This is important because it provides a snapshot of your career history and gives you credibility.

2. Include a professional headshot.  It might seem obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of people who do not have updated professional headshots. High-quality professional headshots are one investment that will pay you back again and again.

3. Include three speaking topics. These should be topics you feel comfortable talking about or are an expert in. For example, if you are a marketing manager one of your topics could be about viral marketing. Make your topics up-to-date and relating back to what is happening in your industry. Your topics should include a headline, an outline of the topic and what the audience will take away from your presentation. Having three different speaking topics will increase your chances of being asked to speak as the person booking can choose from a range of topics.

4. List previous speaking experience. List the name of the event you spoke at and the year the event was held. Write the list from latest to oldest. (Don’t be put off if you haven’t spoken anywhere, you have to start somewhere). It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking at a CWA (yes I once spoke for scones and jam!) or presenting for a large company, you need to note every speaking engagement you do as this adds to your experience and credibility on your speaker’s profile.

5. Testimonials. Add testimonials from your previous speaking engagements. People love to know how you have impacted the audience in your previous speaking engagements and will be looking to read these before they decide to book you. Get into the habit of collecting these after every presentation you do.

6. Add your contact details at the bottom. Again, it might seem obvious, but don’t overlook this important step. You should include your full name, phone number, email address and website.

Once you have your profile and a list of events you would like to speak at, start pitching yourself as a presenter. You’ll be amazed at how many opportunities there are out there and perhaps I’ll be watching you at TEDx one day!

Fast track your journey from unknown to a recognised expert and thought leader! Buy Catriona’s book From Unknown To Expert: How to use clever PR and social media to become a recognised expert. Accelerate your personal brand with the Unknown To Expert Acceleration Pack, packed with media lists, blogger lists, blog posts and media releases formats which have generated millions of dollars in coverage, more than 73 templates and so much more. 

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