For any business owner, getting your name known and out into the community can be challenging. Creating brand awareness is often accomplished through social media, digital marketing, and even print media, but to be wholly associated with your brand and make yourself known as a thought leader is an entirely different challenge. To become known by the greater community, you must become a trusted and contributing member in your industry.
Speaking engagements are one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, grow your audience, and increase your sales. But speaking engagements can be intimidating, overwhelming, or confusing. It can be difficult to know where to start and how to build relationships through public speaking. Here are 6 ways to help you get speaking engagements that will help grow your presence, and increase the public awareness of your brand.
The first step to getting speaking engagements is having a goal in mind. Are you trying to generate a profit from your booking? Speak on a topic that affects your industry? Be seen as a thought leader? Consider which of these goals is most important to you before you begin the process.
Your audience is another important aspect to consider. The most important element of a speech is being able to provide the audience with valuable information that will keep them engaged from start to finish. Your talk must be factual, well-informed, and relevant, so select a topic that you are knowledgeable about within your industry that your audience is interested in. Consider these aspects when you begin to write and organize your speech. Whatever you want to accomplish from your speaking opportunity, be intentional and thoughtful in your goals and objectives.
In order to land a speaking gig, not only do you need to have the industry experience, but you also need the industry connections. These connections can be made through friends, work, or even online. LinkedIn is a great resource for connecting with peers in your industry—just make sure not to be too aggressive in your “cold calling”. If you have a trusted mentor, you can also reach out to them for advice, connections, and information that can help direct you to the relevant parties. Networking is essential to standing out in a crowd of applicants and nailing the speaking engagement you are seeking.
When the time comes to propose your speech be heard, you will not only need to sell your written presentation but also your personal brand. A well-rehearsed elevator pitch is a great way to summarize your experience, qualifications, and desires that can be easily transmitted in a couple minutes or less. Your elevator pitch is essential to connecting with powerful industry members that may be a valuable relationship to develop. Make sure your elevator pitch reads professionally, states the reason behind your speaking engagement desire, and leaves opportunity for questions. An excellent elevator pitch can carry significant weight if you are being considered.
You may think that you have time to relax once you land your first speaking engagement, but nailing your first opportunity is crucial to receiving additional ones. Double check every statistic in your speech to guarantee accuracy, take out any superfluous words, and practice reading it through daily leading up to the event. Make sure to have a friend, family member, or colleague listen to you practice so they can give you tips and feedback. This will help to make sure your first speaking engagement is a success. Most functions with speaking opportunities will be recorded, which will make a great addition to your resume once you receive a copy, so try your best to knock it out of the park. Everyone gets nervous while public speaking, but the more you practice, the smoother your talk will go.
After your first speaking engagement goes off without a hitch, you will want to make sure you are able to get future invitations and offers to speak. Testimonials from organizers and attendees are extremely valuable when marketing yourself for future opportunities, so don’t be shy in asking if you can get a reference. It may feel awkward at first, but if you have provided an engaging and professional service, then the organizer will be happy to help you out with some positive words. These positive references can serve you in multiple areas, from beefing up your LinkedIn profile to creating a great talking point during interviews. A positive recommendation is the highest compliment you can receive.
While it may seem like a no-brainer, a simple thank you can go a very long way. Thanking those who helped introduce you to the right people, practice and draft your speech, and any other relevant areas can create a good-will relationship down the line. Show appreciation for those that have helped you succeed.
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