Since you’re already providing relevant advice (right?) through blogs, articles, or website content, you can use this newfound credibility to get speaking engagements. Getting a speaking slot at any event will put you in front of clients, establish credibility among your peers, and reward your company with more revenue and an improved reputation.
- Start small. Whether it’s a local industry association, the chamber of commerce, or the university, small events are the best way to find your style and build your confidence. You’ll be able to take your newly padded resume to larger events and show them you have been trusted before. Any speaking credential tells potential clients that you are credible and can be trusted. Include your speaking events on your website, blog, and even in your proposals.
- Drop the sales pitch. If you are even perceived to be selling yourself your credibility will go out the window. Remember, it’s about relevant advice. You are there to inform the audience and leave them wanting more…
- Focus on entertaining your audience. Just like in sales, if you focus on the relationship the sale will come. At an event, if people are entertained they will give you the credibility and trust. Pulitzer prize winning material won’t impress a bored audience because they won’t be listening.
- Schmooze with the audience before you speak. Meet people and let them make contact with you. You’ll realize they are not all snarky critics and that they want to see you do well. It will relax you and you’ll have friendly faces to look at.
- Stay Small. Either ask for a small room or too few chairs for the audience. If it’s in a small room people will remember it was standing room only. If 100 people are expected to come, but there are only chairs for 60, people will remember the hectic commotion of ushers trying to grab and setup enough chairs.
- Be a storyteller. Stories are easy to remember and it doesn’t sound like you’re lecturing anymore. Guy Kawasaki says 'good speakers are good storytellers; great speakers tell stories that support their message.'
- Prepare and Practice. Something I shouldn’t have to say, but I have been to some piss poor events before. Speaking can be a full time job. If you don’t feel like this when preparing for a speech- work harder. Don’t be afraid to change everything even if you’ve already written most of the content. Spend the time finding the perfect picture or example. Spend the time to go the venue so you can visualize yourself being successful. If you want a standing ovation, it takes practice and repetition-at least 20 times.
Put in the work and use this advice to speed up your learning curve and hopefully I’ll be at your next speech standing and clapping.
- Seller of Big S*%$ (Nick)