How I became a public speaker by Alex Lowery
Written on 31st Jul 2018 by Alex Lowery
One of the questions I’m frequently asked is “How did you get into public speaking” I’ve also had a number of fellow autistics contact me saying that they wish to start doing public speaking. I decided it might be a good idea to write a blog post to help those who hope to start doing it.
It all began when I was 17 years old and the only form of raising autism awareness I had done was in the form of YouTube vlogs. My parents actually thought that maybe I could do guest speaking one day. I liked the idea of it but in honestly, I thought it was extremely unlikely I’d be able to do it. I actually remember hearing autistic people on YouTube mention that they had started giving speeches on autism & I was absolutely astounded that they were able to do it! I even commented on the videos saying stuff like, “That is impressive! There’s no way I’ll ever be able to give speeches!” The idea of speaking in front of people was absolutely horrifying!
At this time I used to attend the Cadets at St John’s Ambulances. We were learning about communication. My support worker was asked to deliver a speech on how autism affected communication. She felt like I should be the one to deliver it. I didn’t want to give the talk. Not only I was I scared, but at this point in time: I was fairly self conscious about having autism, but I also knew that if my support worker was going to give the talk: all the cadets would find out anyway. I decided to give the speech a go because it felt like an opportunity that I shouldn’t waste. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, but I was willing to try. I practiced the speech for weeks before I was due to give it. When I finally came to give it, I tried to imagine there were no audience and I was just speaking for the camera again. Soon after this I was trained in Public speaking through ‘Autism Cymru’ and this lead to further opportunities.
Eventually I decided it was something I’d like to make a career out of. I started out giving talks for free. I also got hold of a free website, I created a Facebook Like page & just slowly got myself more well known. If any of you want to start giving speeches, I’d say that giving them for free to start with can be a good idea. Let people hear you and ask them to write reviews of your speeches. Create a website (even if it’s only a free one at first) and include the reviews of your talks on the website once it’s set up. It can also be a good idea to include snippets from your talks on YouTube just to give people a taster of what your public speaking is like. It’s important to phone people up to let them know what you can offer. I’d then say that once you’ve had a number of reviews, you’re more well known and people will be willing to pay, that’s the time to start coming up with a fee. I am now a public speaker on autism, but also have to give credit to all the support I’ve had and still have. I have a lot of help from my family with running the business and if it wasn’t for the supper: I likely wouldn’t be doing it. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this helpful.
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