Lesson 12 – How to get speaking engagements
For now I want to look at how to ensure you get speaking engagements and the pitfalls to avoid.
If you remember back to lesson 1 we looked at your reason for public speaking. This is because by understanding why you are taking an action, you can appreciate the results you want to see it bring to you.
If you think back to lesson 1 what results do you want public speaking to deliver to you?
Knowing the above information enables you to consider the strategy you will create to ensure you get speaking engagements. You need to make “getting speaking engagements” a goal for you and then just like a goal to “Sell 40% more widgets by 5th of November” is a clear goal, you need to work out;
(This may not just be new sales, but more subscribers, more followers, more enquiries too.)
Creating a clear goal (that personally resonates with you will help you get the right speaking engagements.) When you know this information. You also need to;
Create a speaker bio – 1 one page document, outlining what you speak on, why you, experience, awards, successes, 1 or 2 testimonials (with the wow factor) and up to date image, social media and website links. This is your one chance to shine. Make this document look amazing.
Here’s mine as an example.
Ensure you go back to Lesson 15 and think about the audiences needs and what the host will want. Have you used powerful words that will resonate with them?
If speaking is part of your marketing strategy or even going to become your main income stream you need to ensure that it features effortlessly in your marketing strategy too.
ACTION; If you take a look at my Marketing Production Line can you say you as a public speaker features 8 to 10 times in your marketing strategy?
People need to be drip fed information for them to retain it. Even people we network with regularly can’t hear something once and you expect them to work towards helping you achieve it. How will you ensure you bring structure to your speaking engagement promotion to ensure you get the gigs!
WORTH NOTING; I’ve found that I get back year on year because of the promotion I offer to my hosts and their exhibitions. I always check that I’ve permission to do this and for most events that can struggle with “bums on seats” It’s greatly appreciated to have such a proactive speaker that is not just going to turn on the day like a diva.
ACTION; How will you add value to your speaking engagement to assist the hosts of the event? This can include promoting on your social media as an event, again with their permission. Feel free to print off a copy of my marketing production line to help you work out the best promotion for your hosts.
And lastly pitfalls;
These questions enable you to understand the value of their event and how it could really assist you.
Don’t be flattered into over-delivering and if all else fails use my fail safe answer; “If you let me know your budget I can let you know what I can do for that figure”. Your time is valuable don’t let others disrespect that.
WORTH NOTING; It is important to remember that sometimes you can speak at an event and think “what a waste of time” only to discover your ideal customer was in the audience and remembers you 3 years later for their own event. (Yes that’s happened to me!)
HOMEWORK; How will you ensure you are speaking at the right events and getting the results you want?
Lesson 3 – Your natural style of communicating and why it’s essential to know
I want to take you back to the start of my speaking career. Presenting was very much something I failed at with aplomb! I could fumble over my name and sit down thinking “What did I say?” And that started to change the day I heard a statistic on the impact that powerful communication can have on your career success. Not just the stats that say it’s about your body language (we will look at that in a later lesson) but in the power to speak powerfully to anyone, anywhere.
However I quickly realised that it wasn’t enough to learn what to say, how to stand, how to breathe or any of the other things that people were telling me to do. Ultimately it was through my study of famous speeches I learnt that none of these lessons would be enough to make me a stand out as a speaker unless I could find my natural style.
ACTION; I want you to think about the way you stand when you are talking to someone;
In any of these situations I’m very animated. (Rarely will you spot a picture with me standing still, my mouth shut or my hands by my side!) and for years I panicked about that. I thought “How will anyone take me seriously when I’m dancing around like Tigger, on Redbull powered by Duracell?” And the irony was that an international speaker spotted me and asked to work with me because they described me as Tigger, on Redbull powered by Duracell. That was my natural style!
Id’ been trying to stand like a politician, speaking in low tones and slowly and it didn’t match up to the power of my content, the power of my conviction or even the power of my results!
And guess what the result you get from that?
A mixed message where your audience can’t quite fall in love with you!
ACTION; Think about how you like to speak to people in the 3 examples above.
All of the above give you clues to your natural style ie;
|My natural choice would be…||Which means that….|
|“Yes I like to listen more”||You are going to enjoy having your audience interact with you (even if that feels scary at this stage!)|
|“I can’t stand it when people interject. I lose my train of thought”||You may like written notes with you on stage (Nothing wrong with notes in some circumstances.) And you may like to start by advising your audience that Q and A will be at the end, i.e. “Please let me speak, I will hear from you when I’ve finished.”|
|“I get nervous when people share a different viewpoint to mine, it makes me worry that I don’t know my content”||You outline at the start how you would like opinions and questions to be handled, i.e. at the end, as we go or towards the end of the first exercise. It could also mean that you need to remember Lesson 2 and trust in your knowledge and ability. In a later lesson we look at how to deal with difficult delegates and hecklers.|
|“I don’t like talking about my private life.”||You ensure your language and style of communication does not go “too chatty” and encourages a more formal environment in which you feel more comfortable. (Be aware of how this can make your audience feel if they are new to your knowledge or the subject.)|
|“I can’t stand things being too serious”||You create a style that tells people from the start that we are going to learn and have fun (using your own words) this is a great way of putting people at their ease because you are outlining your natural style.|
If you were to consider your natural style what would you notice?
How could what you notice impact on your natural style of communicating?
HOMEWORK; Explore some famous speeches. What styles do you like?
Look at different famous speakers (and local ones you like) and ask yourself what you like about their style?
Is it similar to yours?
Does it resonate personally with you? If so, in what ways?
WORTH NOTING; Personally I love Winston Churchill. He rarely used long words, he spoke emotionally (in case you couldn’t guess I wear my heart on my sleeve and learnt through exploring this lesson myself that this is something I have to do. Trying to hide who I am doesn’t work. I know you probably know this, however it is amazing how many people stand up and sound nothing like their normal selves!)
Churchill – “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” Notice how this is full of passion!
I also love the book by Professor Max Atkins, Lend me your ears – if you want to understand the structure and ability to deliver powerful communications this book is not to be missed. In later lessons I will draw on some of those skills that he highlights. At this stage it is important to note that up until I read that book, I’d been doing many things right, however I had not understood the power of the science of being myself and what makes a powerful speech, and how when you combine the knowledge of those things with the other lessons, you can’t but connect powerfully with an audience.
How will I ensure I can recognise my natural style and utilise that?
How does my natural style make my audiences feel? Is this how I want them to feel?