How To Become An In-Demand Public Speaker
By Ian Cleary
There’s nothing more satisfying to me than being on stage at an event and educating and inspiring an audience. It’s all about sharing knowledge and expertise to help others succeed. Speaking at industry events also gives you an opportunity to connect with other speakers and influencers and strengthen relationships with them face to face.
But there are also other benefits to public speaking that inspire many marketers and entrepreneurs to join the speaking circuit. Speaking at industry events helps you build your influence and credibility. If you become a frequent speaker, the word will spread, people will talk about you and your business, and you’ll become known as an authority in your field.
All this will make a huge difference, as you’ll soon start to see public speaking as a highly effective way to generate leads for your business.
But to get those speaking engagements (paid or unpaid) you need stand out and build your reputation first.
Following are five key steps to becoming an in-demand speaker.
1. Build out your marketing assets.
I recently keynoted at Social Media Camp in Canada, and one of the other keynote speakers was Bosco Anthony. I was amazed by the list of speaking events that Bosco had lined up. He put a lot of work into creating marketing materials to promote himself as a speaker, including a website, testimonials, videos, and brochures, and it definitely paid off.
Unfortunately, most speakers don’t put in the effort to build marketing materials for themselves. But if you want to stand and get paid gigs, you need to provide better marketing materials than anyone else.
Start by creating a website profiling your speaking, like speaker Jay Baer‘s, for example. It wows the visitors and does all the selling for you. Besides the basics like your bio, booking details, and titles and abstracts of your previous sessions, make sure to add a lot of social proof. This means having testimonials, a list of previous speaking events (as well as upcoming gigs), video highlights from your previous talks, etc. all nicely presented on your website.
The materials on your website need to make it easy for people to understand what you offer and convince them you’re the right person to hire for their event.
2. Fill the room every time you speak at an event.
When you speak at an event, you are generally competing with other sessions at the same time. Make the effort to promote your session before and during the conference. There are a number of ways to do this:
• Send a dedicated newsletter to your subscribers.
• Promote both the event and your talk on social media.
• Write a blog post on the topic of your session and include a call-to-action.
• Guest post on relevant industry blogs and mention your session.
There are also a number of creative ways to promote your talk at the event. For example, create a custom business card supporting your talk, take a walk around, and invite the attendees!
3. Make your speech memorable.
Besides inspiring people, you also need to get them to take action, otherwise, they won’t remember you. Get your audience to actively participate in your talk, and your session will stand out from the rest. There are many ways to be interactive, but you’ll have to find the most appropriate one for your specific topic and the crowd you’re presenting to.
Ask questions or use a tool to poll the crowd or enable them to ask live questions or comment on your talk. This is something you’ll probably need to agree on with the event organizers before the event.
4. Do what no other speaker does.
When I’m speaking at an event, I usually arrive early so all my preparation is done in time. Then, instead of hanging out close to the stage, I stand near the entrance to shake people’s hands and thank them for coming.
Of course, I can’t do this for everyone, especially when speaking at events with over 1,000 people. But I make it a point to greet at least 100 people.
Every time I do this, I hear some people say they just couldn’t believe the speaker was at the door thanking people for coming to their session. That’s because so many speakers today just focus on getting through their presentation and getting out.
Trust me, if you go the extra mile, people will notice, and you’ll build a strong, authentic personal brand from speaking at events. So before your next speaking gig, answer this one question: What is the one unconventional thing you can do to engage people and really stand out?
5. Help the organizers sell tickets.
You’re invited to speak because of your expertise and because the conference attendees want to hear you speak. But instead of just showing up and delivering your talk, do your part to help promote the event.
You naturally want as many people as possible to attend your session, so do anything you can do to help increase ticket sales. If you help event organizers achieve their goals, you’ll leave a lasting impression and get invited back.
Becoming an in-demand speaker in your industry has a lot of advantages: It will help you build your personal brand and unlock new opportunities for your business. Follow the above five steps and I guarantee you’ll get invited to speak at even more top industry events.