Learn 4 steps on how to get started, how to find speaking engagements (where to look online and offline), and how public speaking can benefit not only you but also your brand and business
Public speaking is one of the best ways to genuinely engage your audience and a perfect opportunity for you to be seen as an authority in your industry and promote your brand or company.
Whether these gigs are short talks, conferences, or large formal presentations – if you speak to the right audience and have the message they needed to hear, your listeners will walk away with more awareness and a renewed level of trust in you and your brand.
But sometimes the problem is how to get started or where to look for these business-building opportunities. Others just don’t have time to do it. Below are some tips to help with your speaking engagements.
How to get started – and what to talk about
- Focus on your expertise and what you are passionate to speak about
Take a closer look on your expertise and passion and focus on what you’re actually knowledgeable to talk about. It would be beneficial for you and your audience if you speak about a very specific area of expertise than to present a general topic on which you have less to offer.
- Join events that you would be interested to speak at
Get to know the organizers of the events that you usually attend and the kinds of people who speak. As people get more familiar with you, chances are, you’ll be invited to speak, or more likely be accepted if you ask to speak. If you are just starting locally, look for opportunities to speak to colleges and universities – they are always looking for experts to come share their experiences and knowledge.
- Create thought leadership content in your blog
Start out by writing as much as you could about your company niche and share it on your blog, industry publications, etc. If you consistently write about specific subjects and establish yourself as a unique voice, you will be eventually regarded as expert in that field. When this happens, speaking, networking, and publishing opportunities will naturally arise.
- Do things that show what you’re good at
What do you know better than anyone else? Host a workshop in person or virtual like a webinar where you can do some demo or share about a topic. People will take notice in what you do, and you can then set up a squeeze page on your site or blog where they can register for your next speaking engagement.
Always remember that if people are paying for your presentation, they are not there to listen to your sales pitch. You should mention what you do at the beginning and end of the presentation and how to reach you. But keep in mind that your audience is there to learn, so you need to deliver.
How to find speaking engagements (where to look online and offline)
- Start local to go global
You can approach your city’s organizations or clubs that meet regularly – everything from Lions Club, Rotary, to Chambers of Commerce. Connect with the programming chair and offer to speak on your specialty or ask your friends and colleagues who participate to connect you with these groups.
- Business networking groups
Popular groups such as Business Networking International (BNI) and Local Business Network (LBN) are groups of people from diverse businesses who share opportunities to each other. Join in and let the members know that you’re interested in speaking opportunities.
- Local business publications
Local business news will often list industry events. Check out the periodical’s Events page listed either in print or online, then contact the organizations listing presentations and pitch them for speaking.
- Other professionals who speak
Look at the websites and LinkedIn profiles of your fellow professionals and competitors who target the same audience you do and see where they’ve spoken. You can then contact those same groups and pitch yourself, too. Or, you can collaborate with a like-minded speakers to share opportunities and refer each other.
- Just Google it!
Search for events in your industry.
“Call for Speakers” AND “[Your topic]” “Call for Presenters” AND “[Your topic]” “Call for Speakers” AND “[Industry]”
You can hire a virtual assistant (VA) for a few hours a day to search for speaking engagements, take note of all the important details, and prepare a dashboard for you to review and choose from. You can sit back on a weekend while viewing your dashboard and preparing your speech.
- Social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
You can search for events by topic and geographic location using Facebook Events. During your presentation you can take questions via Twitter and even share your slides using Slideshare.net or other material to help multiply your leads.
Online sites such as Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com also lists marketing events. Again, a VA can do all of this for you so you can focus on your most important task – delivering your message.
- Online tools and directories
- BuzzSumo.com, Topsy.com, SocialMention.com, Twitter’s search feature
- InsideInfoMarketing.com – offers up-to-date listing of events hosted by thought leaders in Information Marketing. If you sell online programs and information products, this is your site!
- Online conference directories
– AllConferences.com, Lanyrd, Plancast, Conferensum and Conferize are online directories, exclusive for conferences.
– EventsinAmerica.com – find events, trade shows, meetings, conferences and conventions in America’s Top Trade Show & Conference Directory
– Lanyrd.com – suggests events for you based on those attended by people you follow on social media and keywords in your profiles.
Choose one or two of these tips to get more speaking engagement opportunities. Always make contact, present your credentials and your proposed topic. There’s a whole lot of people who NEED and WANT to hear what you’ve got to say!
6 ways speaking engagements benefit you, your brand, and your business
How it benefits YOU
- Present yourself as a go-to expert
Nobody will know about your pool of knowledge unless you demonstrate it. Position yourself as an authority within your industry by speaking publicly on matters within your niche.
- Grow your network and build connections
Engage with the audience at the event in a meaningful way by encouraging participation from the crowd. If you have an opportunity for a Q&A session, take note of the questions and valuable insights that the attendees might offer.
How it benefits your BRAND
- Boost your brand visibility
Speaking engagements help increase your or your company’s brand visibility. By giving a talk at industry conferences and other events, you will have the opportunity to market your knowledge and skills, and attract more traffic to your website, increasing your online presence.
- Define your reputation as a thought-leader
As you reach a wider and bigger audience, your speaking gigs will help establish your brand as a go-to source in your field. Talking about what you learned from past mistakes and sharing your expertise on how to avoid them in the future is a positive way to present your company as a thought-leader and a reliable source of information for other like-minded professionals.
How it helps grow your BUSINESS
- Connect with existing clients AND prospective ones
Speaking engagements are a good way to increase your network of clients, both existing and prospective. You will have the opportunity to reach out to new prospects by answering their questions; and reconnect with your existing clients by interacting with them during the events.
- Make content accessible online and offline
You can use online tools such as GoToWebinar to document speaking events and post the video online using Vimeo or YouTube. Not only that, you can use SlideShare.com to share your presentation slides. All of these contribute to your portfolio of valuable marketing materials. Later on, you can repurpose them to promote your company online and as giveaway materials.
Public speaking, whether in person or virtually, is a great way to establish your credibility, generate a consistent stream of leads, and educate your audience as a thought-leader in your field of expertise. If you don’t provide increased awareness to your target market, your competition surely will.
PS. If you need any help on searching for quality speaking engagements within your target audience, please contact Virtual Assistant Talent today.