While the role of a professional speaker may seem straightforward – someone who delivers speeches or presentations – there are actually many diverse responsibilities and nuances to this profession. Successful speakers must be masters of communication, preparation, knowledge sharing, and audience engagement. Let’s explore the main functions and duties of those in the professional speaking field.

Topical Expertise and Research

First and foremost, professional speakers must establish themselves as credible authorities and thought leaders in their chosen subject areas. This deep topical expertise could stem from extensive academic studies, professional experiences, published works, or distinguished careers. Speakers then continually invest time into researching emerging trends, case studies, and groundbreaking insights to incorporate into their presentations and books. Their spoken content must be substantive and novel.

Captivating Storytelling

While data and facts are important, the real art of professional speaking lies in the ability to package knowledge into compelling narratives that captivate audiences. Through masterful storytelling techniques like heroes’ journeys, illustrative examples, humor, and rhetorical devices, top speakers make complex ideas engaging and memorable for their audiences.

Customized Content Development

Rather than giving rote, canned speeches repeatedly, professional speakers tailor each presentation to the specific interests and needs of particular client organizations and audiences. This requires advanced preparation – understanding the client’s goals, conducting formal discovery sessions, and crafting customized speeches, modules, or workshops with contextualized insights.

Audience Engagement and Connection

While speaking skills are vital, modern professional speakers go beyond lecterns and pulpits, facilitated interactive experiences that foster dialogue and collaboration with participants. They become adept at reading crowd dynamics and energy levels, and adjusting their delivery styles accordingly to create immersive, thought-provoking sessions.

Professional speakers are also entrepreneurs responsible for operating full-fledged speaking businesses. That means negotiating fees and contracts, marketing and selling speaking services, managing travel logistics, and handling administrative tasks.

Polished Communication and Presence

Whether speaking to hundreds in-person or delivered virtually, professional speakers must exude executive poise, commanding presence, and clarity across diverse mediums. Their communication must be articulate, visually engaging, and motivational.

Through combining topical mastery, storytelling abilities, tailored development, audience connections, business operations, and professional poise, the best speakers inform and inspire in impactful ways.