"Get Business Opportunities From Speaking"
From Career Tips, 2006 Volume 4, April 2006
Many people assume that speaking will automatically increase their visibility and generate business opportunities. Unless you take the proper steps, this is a very haphazard approach.
I often speak via tele-classes and webcasts, at career networking groups, and at conferences and stand- alone seminars and workshops. The secret I've uncovered to making certain these generate business opportunities on a regular basis is to follow the steps in the acronym SPEAK:
- Setting the Stage
- Kick Off
Let me talk about the first step, Setting the Stage. Before you accept a speaking engagement, think about whether it is the right audience and venue for you. Will the audience be made up of people who might be interested in your services or your company's services, your "target market/client"?
Even if you aren't in a marketing or consulting capacity, these concepts are valuable to apply to make sure your presentations raise your visibility. That visibility is key to ensuring career opportunities seek you out!
Think of what I said above about your 30 second pitch. Make sure your presentation incorporates some of the same elements, that somewhere it illustrates challenges you have solved or are capable of solving, or solutions you can provide, that it serves to communicate the value you bring to the table.
Setting the Stage is often ignored or minimized by speakers, but it is a crucial step. Don't accept speaking engagements just because that helps 'get the word out'. Be selective about getting the word out to the right people, in the right way, and your engagements will quickly begin to set you up as a focused expert in your target area.
Ask yourself some of these questions before accepting your next speaking engagement:
- How does the opportunity fit your niche?
- Are you speaking to just your target audience, or is it a mixed audience? How big is the projected audience?
- Are you sharing the podium? If there are other speakers, are they also marketing products or services and how do those relate to yours? Competitive or complementary?
- What are the dynamics? Are people coming specifically to see or hear you, or is it a venue where people come for the event, and you happen to be the current hired gun?
- Can you promote your product or services at the seminar? Will you get the opportunity to present your marketing message, company, etc. beyond just having it on a slide somewhere?
- What are the goals of the person or organization arranging the presentation and venue, and how can you help achieve their goals? What are the key problems they face?
- How will the event be marketed, by whom?
Now figure out what you can do to make it draw more people YOU want, and ensure that YOU can build the rapport you need with your targets.