I do a lot of speaking. I enjoy teaching what I know, and even giving away a secret or two. Paid workshops can be an excellent source of income, and they add a bit of spice to a job which is mostly just me and my computer.
But speaking is also a marketing tool. One of the most effective marketing strategies is thought leadership. You want to be the person people in your industry turn to when they have a problem or question. You want your name to be the one on everyone's tongue when your niche is mentioned. And one of the ways to accomplish this is to speak in various forums.
Conferences, hubs, employment centers, senior centers etc. are all places where you can spread the word about what you know and what you are doing. You never know who you will make an impression on and where it will lead.
Don't get me wrong. Speaking is time consuming and energy sucking. You need to prepare your presentation - even if you've given it before. Chances are the audience is slightly different, you have more or less time or your presentation needs updating. Then there's travel time and lost work time while you are giving the speech. And if there are other speakers, it's polite to stay and hear the others as well.
And sometimes you're not getting paid to speak, or you're not getting paid enough. Is it still worth it to speak?
To speak or not to speak... that's a question only you can answer. Is the audience your target market? Are you well known enough or do you still need to get the word out to the public? Is speaking enjoyable or a burden?
Even if you decide that speaking is a valuable marketing platform, that doesn't mean you need to say yes to every engagement you are offered. Judge each one on its own merits and decide if it's worth the time and money.