Public speakers and workshop leaders perform an important role in our society.
They are expert communicators who use their skills to share information in
They include lectures (formal speeches given to an audience), seminars
(a small class for lecture and discussion), or workshops (less formal gathering
for activities and exchanging information).
Public speaking professionals come to this kind of work from many different
backgrounds. They are teachers, scientists, doctors, nurses, writers, managers
and businesspeople. The one thing they have in common is knowledge and the
ability and desire to share it with others.
"The world seems to be getting more complicated and there's so much information
out there! There's a real need for people who can deliver this information
to others in a clear and organized way," says Fiona Lo, a workshop leader.
Workshop leaders and public speakers work in a number of different settings.
University professors lecture in front of hundreds of people at a time. Workshop
leaders work with groups as small as six people. You'll find these people
working in large companies, as independent consultants, on university and
college campuses and in community organizations.
Public speakers have to plan and research their speech or workshop. Then
they must make their presentations, field questions, provide charts and handouts
if necessary and direct the activities of the group they work with.
Depending on where they work, public speakers may also be in charge of
planning the workshop, lecture or seminar they're giving. That might include
booking the venue and arranging for parking, refreshments, advertising and
budgets. This can be a tough job!
"The logistics of putting a workshop or seminar together can be a real
pain. It's the part I like least," says Jim Mulvaney. He is the director of
a public speaking company based in San Carlos, California.
Public speakers can also expect to be on their feet for long periods of
time and must also be able to speak for as long as six hours.
There is really no average working day for these professionals. While some
on-staff workshop leaders may work a typical 40-hour week, most public speakers
work irregular hours -- working 60 hours one week and possibly as little as
25 another. They may also need to travel in order to speak to people in other