Meridith Elliott Powell speaks to audiences about how to succeed in business no matter what the economy does. She's the author of three books, the most recent is "Own It: Redefining Responsibility".
Create and participate in a community. Community makes the difference in your speaking career and life. She goes on to expand this topic throughout the podcast.
On stories: Have a bank of story options. However, having your audience relate and connect to the story is almost more important than having a great story.
On preparation: Interview people who will be in your audience - doing a 3-question survey, for example, is a good way to prepare for an upcoming presentation. On the podcast, Meridith provides some example questions she's used, and how she puts those answers into play.
On speaking for free: Meridith says that each speaking career is unique. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't speak for free, or that you should speak for free.