Have you ever been to an event and the speaker was terrible? They umm-ed and ahh-ed their way through a presentation. At the end you scratched your head wondering how they got selected as a speaker. More than likely they are an expert on their topic but were never trained to be an event speaker.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Let’s face it, most people’s worst fear is public speaking. If you can establish yourself as an event speaker, you’re well ahead of the pack. You can also grow your business from the exposure your business gains from your speaking engagements.
Where to Begin
When you’re first getting started, consider getting a speech coach or joining Toastmasters to learn not only how to speak in front of a crowd, but how to prepare an effective presentation. Don’t bore your audience with detailed charts, graphs, and presentation notes. Tell them a story they can relate to in their own life and business.
Here are ways being an event speaker can grow your business:
- Start Small – Most business owners will tell you the toughest business to market is their own. As you begin your career as an event speaking, it is important to understand you’re on a learning curve. Take your time and start with smaller events, perhaps a five or ten minute presentation at an association or networking event. You will get more comfortable not only talking about your business but also in preparing presentations the more you do them. Work out the kinks over a series of shorter presentations and grow into presenting in front of larger groups.
- Brand Recognition – We talk a lot about brand recognition and with good reason. Whether it’s your logo on a trade show display or the list of keynote speakers at an event – or both! – getting your brand out to the public will increase leads that your team can convert to sales.
- FREE Stuff – When you begin you speaking career, it’s more about practice than getting paid to speak. Focus on presentation preparation and delivery. You want to be known as a good speaker, not someone who wants to get sales for your business. Public speaking will help prospects know, like, and trust you. Once you’ve got their attention, you can begin to convert them after your presentation.
- How To Sessions – We all love free stuff. There’s nothing better than an industry leader like you getting up and sharing knowledge. The audience wants to know about your business. Choose a topic on which it is easy for you to speak such as how to do something. For example, how to organize an event or how to promote an event using social media.
- Have an Open House – Your clients would LOVE to see where the magic happens. Host an event at your office and let our customers and prospects see the behind-the-scenes of what you do. Get the team involved to show how each of them contributes to the big picture and helps customers. Offer a VIP special to attendees.
- Host an Event – Hosting your own event is an opportunity for you to showcase your own business while supporting the work of other businesses. Gather your power partners or fellow association members for a night of fun and games, fundraising, or celebration. Make it memorable and use it as a way to meet new people and build relationships with existing contacts. You might just meet your next big client!
- Improve the Message – You may think you have your brand messaging established. Unless it is a well-known brand, it is likely the message could be tweaked to reach the public more effectively. Speaking engagements will help you better understand how your business is viewed in the marketplace, shaping the brand message of the future.
- Vendor Opportunity – Often at exhibits and expos there is a special price on booth space for keynote speakers. It’s like you’re getting double exposure – or more – by being an event speaker AND having booth space. Take advantage of this opportunity! Bring team members to work at your booth so you can focus on the presentation.
- Competitive Advantage – Most businesses are looking for a larger market share than they have today. As a speaker, you will have the opportunity to present your expertise to many people at one time. Your non-speaking competitor has to grab the attention of attendees as they walk by their booth. Make it an amazing presentation and you’ve got a competitive advantage and the opportunity to convert leads into sales right from the trade show floor.
Being an event speaker affords you the opportunity to showcase yourself as a leader in your field. While it takes time and planning, it could be well worth it to the bottom line of your business.