Speaking Engagements are good for Marketing Consultants but not for Everyone
Speaking engagements are not for everyone or for every type of company. If you are seeking to build your credibility and/or you have a relatively complicated message to get out, speaking engagements can be effective. I have mentioned many uses such as speaking at conferences or holding seminars but there are many more. So how to you get selected to be a speaker and what kinds of things should you talk about?
In order to get selected by event organizers to speak, you first have to get their attention. So if you have a good idea that you can talk about in your area of expertise, you can just pitch it to the event organizer. After all, they need to get a good lineup of speakers to attract attendees. While this will include some well known names, new names doing new topics are also needed. You can also reach out to event organizers and ask them what kinds of topics they want to have a speaker for. Then you can make a pitch around one of their ideas.
Start with Speaking Engagements at the Local Level
While there are regional, national and even international events, it is usually easier to get into a local event and then build up from there. You may have to submit your ideas months before the event is actually held so this requires some planning. I sometimes get invitations to come to events that highlight certain speakers and topics six months or more in advance. It does not mean that all speakers are signed up by then or that the presentations have been finished but you need to be deliberate. You can also begin by getting some speaking events at non-profits, business organizations to which you are a member or even co-working sites. I have been a speaker at all of those types of events as well as doing seminars at the various Chambers of Commerce where I am a member. I do topics such as how to develop a marketing plan, a business plan or how to connect your business and marketing strategies to your web strategies. After all what kind of company does not need more customers? If you do a good job, people in the audience will seek you out to speak at their events.
Provide Insights from Your Experience
When you start to talk, the audience wants to know why you were selected to speak and what you are going to tell them that is worth their time. You need to tell a story. Tell them why you are doing this (and say it with passion!) and present insights that they are not getting anywhere else because you are drawing from your experience or expertise.
If you want to do a lot of speaking, come up with a few good topics and get really good at telling your story. Make it modular so you can do short, medium, or long presentations while just adding or removing slides. This way, you are preparing only once for each topic. You can also record your presentation and then make it available. You can also try to engage your audience real time over social media during the presentation. Finally have some call to action. Ask them to sign up for something or take some simple action that will be valuable to them and easy for you to fulfill such as getting them on a mailing list for a newsletter. As a small business consultant, I can tell you that most importantly, your presentations need to be engaging! So consider using speaking engagements as part of your marketing strategy and your marketing plan.
PS My next speaking engagement is going to be at the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce on January 18th. at 12:00 and includes lunch. It is free and all are welcome and you don’t have to be a chamber member to attend. The topic is a “Profitability Checkup for Your Small Business”. Also speaking will be Mark Collins on “How to Get Your Website to Rank in Google on Page 1.