by Paul Chika Emekwulu
In some countries like the United States, Canada, Kenya, South Africa India, some people make a business out of speaking and get paid.
Yes, get paid.
That is when speaking becomes professional. For some of them this is in addition to what is called “back of the room sales.”
Back of the room sales comprise of selling a speaker’s books, DVDs, audio CDs and so on.
In the United States these professionals include Brian Tracy of Brian Tracy International who reviewed one of my books titled, How to make goal setting work for you, Wayne Dyer, the author of _Erroneous Zones, Manifest Destiny, Norman Cousins, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orma, Joel Osteen, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, the author of Awakening the Giant Within.
Topics covered in their various professional speaking assignments include the following:
Spirituality, (intuition, dreams etc.), motivation, business and, personal development or self growth, language acquisition, customer service, public speaking, self publishing, creative writing, creative non fiction, grant writing, genealogy, resume writing, writing job applications, physical fitness etc.
Professional speaking is a lucrative business in the United States of America, the country we love so much.
Speaking as a business can equally succeed in Nigeria but for various teeting problems.
Almost every conceivable group can benefit from professional speaking. The reason is because there are various topics to choose from. These groups include the following:
(1) Rotary Club International
(2) Catholic Men’s Organization (CMO)
(3) Catholic Women’s Organization (CWO)
(4) Catholic Youths Organization of Nigeria (C.Y.O.N)
(5) Mary League
(6) Charismatic groups
(7) St Joseph the Workers Chaplaincy
(8) Unique Fellows of All Nations
(9) Old Boys’/Old Girls’ Associations
(10) Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT)
(11) School Principals’ Associations
(12) Students’ Unions/Associations
(13) People’s Assembly
(12) Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN)
(13) Boys’/Girls’ Scouts Movement
(14) Public Relations Associations
(15) Age grade groups
(16) Ụmụada Associations
(17) Inyemaọna Associations
(18) Retirees Associations
(19) Ụmụnna Associations
(20) Nigerian Bar Association
(21) Traditional Rulers Associations
(22) Parish council meetings
(23) Parent – Teacher Associations (PTA)
and many, many more!
Challenges Faced by “Speaking” as a Business in Nigeria
“Speaking” as a business! Yes, ‘speaking” as a business. Information is power and still more power when used responsibly.
“Speaking”, whether as a business or not is about exchange of information.
Various platforms that involve this exchange include the following:
Seminars, workshops, breakout sessions, speeches including keynote addresses,, presentations, lectures
In Nigeria, “speaking” as a business is not yet well recognized because of several reasons including:
- A very significant number of Nigerians doesn’t believe that one can sit in a class that doesn’t have anything to do with the following:
WAEC, ACT (American College Testing), NECO, SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Tests), JAMB, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), job interview
etc. and derive some benefits.
- People define what is business as only moving of commodities from point A to point B while money exchanges hands in the process. So, to some people, business is only about buying and selling physical goods rather than goods and services. “Speaking” is a service business.
- For a very good number of Nigerians in various sectors of our society, it is out of habit to pay to listen to a speaker.
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People are ignorant of what is good information, or knowledge, let alone paying for it and using it.
- Apart from teaching aids in the form of computers, calculators, maps, overhead projectors, cardboard papers etc. information in the form of knowledge is a spiritual thing. People always want to walk away with something physical. Our society is too physical.
- People don’t realize how empowering good information could be.
- To some people, knowledge is a terminating decimal (one that ends). Once you reach a certain age there is no need to gain new skills, no need to acquire new knowledge, no need to improve or update what is known.
- Some people believe that First School Leaving Certificate, as the basic evidence of literacy has a limit.
- Some people believe that such businesses as speaking is a white man’s thing, so as a black man you’ve to find a real job. A real job as we know it is one that pays you hourly, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. A real job is is one that runs from 9 to 5.
- Some older folks believe that new knowledge, new skills etc. is for young people. To these people therefore, age becomes a barrier to empowerment.
- Some people don’t regard new knowledge or information as a need. They are concerned with basic needs required for survival (housing, food, safety etc ).
- Some people don’t appreciate knowledge.
- Some people believe that education can only take place within the four walls of a formal classroom.
- Some people don’t believe in the power of information in the transformation of lives.
- Some retired men and women who have less expectation of themselves have the wrong opinion that they have done their best and as such don’t need new knowledge or new skills.
- Some people are ignorant of how to monetize their skills, some people are ignorant of how to monetize their training, some people are ignorant of how to monetize their experience, some people are ignorant of how to monetize their knowledge or a combination of the above etc.
“Speaking” as a business has a serious problem in
Nigeria and the above factors and possibly others work together to build a mindset against it. With the advent of cellular phone this mindset is worse now when there is a strong impression that everything can be found in the Android type of cellular phone. We know this is not true.
This mindset is not only dangerous, it is inimical to human progress and civilization. For Nigerians to be empowered more as a people and for Nigeria to move ahead as a country, this mindset must be discouraged in all its forms, this mindset is evil and must not be allowed to exist, otherwise, many Nigerians if not most, may not reach their maximum potentials.