April 1, 2015

5 ways to use LinkedIn to get more speaking opportunities

LinkedIn just doesn’t get enough love. As a social media tool, it’s so different from the web’s prom queens, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, that people tend to ignore it.

But that’s a mistake. Google your own name and see what shows up. I predict that your LinkedIn profile is one of the top five (usually top three) items on the search results page.

So let’s put that high-priced real estate to work for you and get more speaking opportunities flowing your way!

Famous in your field: 5 ways to get speaking opportunities with LinkedIn

(By the way, much of this advice that I’m about to share works for other expertise areas other than speaking, too. If you’re a trainer. A consultant. Coach. CPA. Photographer.)

1. Make sure your LinkedIn headline and profile show that you’re a speaker.

In LinkedIn, you have 120 characters to wow people with what you do. It’s like a virtual name badge, that travels with you throughout LinkedIn (and it’s the “preview” that appears in the results listing when someone Googles your name.)

Don’t get clever here! This is not the time to tout yourself as the “High Empress who Unlocks Your Inner Essence.”

You want a headline that:

A. Contains words and phrases that people are actually typing into Google or LinkedIn to find people like you.

Because I’m talking about getting speaking engagements using LinkedIn, your headlines would include words or phrases like:

Speaker
Keynote speaker
Dynamic speaker

B. Lets people know what the heck you do. (Thanks, but I’ll keep my Inner Essence under wraps for now!)

You might include your speaking specialty, like Derek Mehraban or Christopher S. Penn:

LinkedIn headline for Derek Mehraban

CSPenn

2. Use a great header image (ahem, maybe of you speaking at an event?)

LinkedIn has been furiously adding features to make the site more visual, including a header image for your profile page, a la Facebook and Twitter. Recommended image dimensions are 1400 x 425.

Why not add an image that grabs attention *and* reminds visitors that you’re a stone cold speaker?

Marketing expert Christopher Penn gives loads of presentations about data and analytics. His LinkedIn background image backs up his data chops.

CSPenn_LI

(Careful here…this really is a “background photo.” Elements of your profile will overlap the image. Pro tip:  fade it or have it designed to line up with your headshot, so that it doesn’t clash too much with your profile content.)

Check out how LinkedIn expert and professional speaker, William Arruda, uses several photos of him speaking. Even though the pictures are partially covered by his profile, his friendly face is front and center.

William_Arruda___LinkedIn

3. Add speaking or presentations to your profile.

You can upload presentations, PDF files, and video to your profile. Use them to prove that you rock rooms on the reg!

Share video clips, photos and content from your speaking gigs. LinkedIn has a feature called Professional Portfolio – use it to include video, presentation slides, photos and PDFs. These will appear in your Experience section.

I’ve also seen two creative variations on this idea:

  • List your previous talks or presentations in a special Publications section, like Hope Wilson, CPSM does.
  • Or add them to your main Experience section, like Christopher Penn. His approach is particularly effective, because he’s keynoted at prestigious industry conferences.

4. Get killer testimonials from meeting planners, event organizers and audience members.

The best proof that you can own the room and deliver the goods doesn’t come from you, but from someone who’s hired you, hosted you or seen you speak.

Once you’ve performed brilliantly, ask the organizers and attendees to recommend you on LinkedIn. It’s social proof and we all love that.

5. Wow people with your knowledge in LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn has groups for errrrything. And while some of them – sorry, LinkedIn – just plain suck, there are plenty that are gold mines. The rules for making friends and influencing people in LinkedIn groups are exactly the same as real life networking:

Be cool and Be helpful.

The most valuable groups don’t allow any self-promotions in the discussion threads.

Don’t just participate in groups for speakers, though. Find groups that your target audience belongs to.

And don’t forget geography-based groups! Whether you live in Ann Arbor or Austin, meeting people in your own backyard can help you get even more speaking opportunities.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

This week, wander over to your LinkedIn profile and pick two of these tips to put into action. (Remember, you can promote your speaking or any other area of expertise.)

Then you’ll have it – a LinkedIn profile that commands the spotlight!

Thinking of writing a book? Ask yourself these questions first

Will writing a book make me famous?About that book you wrote…

So maybe you haven’t written a book (yet), but you KNOW that you’ve got a book inside you, bursting to be read by the world.

You are not alone.

According to writer Joseph Epstein,

“81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.”

Ahem, that’s approximately 200 million people who aspire to authorship. But only a small percentage actually do write a book.

And those few who do finish their books take an average of four to seven years to publish it.

The harsh reality

A few months ago, a woman that I’ve known for years made me an offer:

“I want you to help me write a book telling my story. I can’t pay you, but it’ll be big, and I’ll give you a share of the profits!”

Uh-uh.

That’s the sad delusion that some would-be authors believe. Their book will “discovered” as the next Good to Great/Fifty Shades of Grey/Four Hour Work Week/Last Lecture, all rolled into one.

A media juggernaut will ensue.

Oprah will bring back her talk show – one night only – to snag a triumphant interview with you, the author.

Reality really bites

The truth is, there are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. About half are self-published. On average, they sell less than 250 copies each. [Forbes.com, Jan 8, 2013]

250 copies. Not enough to spring you to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List or even the Amazon Sub-Sub-Category-Bestseller-During-that-One-Hot-Minute List.

So if most books don’t become bestsellers, make a pile of cash or sell zillions of copies, why the heck should any self respecting future A-Lister slog through the hard work of publishing a book?

I’ll let Seth Godin (the author of 17 books) tell you:

“The return on equity and return on time for authors and for publishers is horrendous. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re going to be disappointed. On the other hand, a book gives you leverage to spread an idea and a brand far and wide. There’s a worldview that’s quite common that says that people who write books know what they are talking about and that a book confers some sort of authority.”

Do it for the authority.

Some PR studies show that becoming a published author increases your credibility by 300%.

More credibility means that more people will listen to your message.

And hire you.

And follow your advice.

So, if you’ve dreamed of the words, “author of…” appearing in your bio, ask yourself these two questions:

1. Why do I want to write a book?

2. Which do I have, time or money?

You should write a book if _________.

You should write a book if you’ve got a big idea that you want to spread far and wide.

If you can offer something more meaningful or useful than the usual advice or inspiration on a topic.

If you can say something that’s already been said, but in a new way, for a new audience.

Time or money? A tale of two authors

Even after you’ve decided to write a book – for the right reasons – you’re flooded with choices to make: Look for a traditional publisher or self publish? Write your book as quickly as possible to “get it out there” or devote years to create your Pulitzer-worthy masterpiece?

Let’s look at two authors I know who’ve both published books in the last two years.

Book #1 is business advice book, aimed at small business owners.

Cost to produce and publish: $10,000-$15,000.

The costs included a ghostwriter, a professional editor, a graphic designer to lay out the cover and interior pages, as well as printing the book. It’s available on Amazon as a Kindle, and a paperback. She also has printed copies to sell or giveaway.

Book #2 is an advice book for career women.

Cost to produce and publish: around $1500.

Her costs included an editor/writer, an overseas graphic designer and a book uploading service and printing the book. It’s available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and as a printed paperback.

Why did one book cost almost ten times more to produce? And was it worth it?

More money than time

The author of Book #1 is a coach for small businesses. She’d conducted substantial research with small business owners to discover what made certain businesses thrive during the Recession (a killer premise for a book!)

Her clients are the owners of small businesses, usually with teams of 5-20 employees, who pay her tens of thousands of dollars each year to be coached. She did not have the time or the inclination to sit down and write 250 pages herself.

Instead, she hired a ghostwriter to interview her, and write the book content in her voice, using her words, but without her time. (That practice is more common than you may know – 80% of all non-fiction books are completely or partially ghost-written.)

Being a published author increased her credibility and positioned her as a small business expert. Which led to more high profile speaking engagements and media coverage.

Getting just one new client covered the cost of publishing the book.

More time than money

Our second author is a career coach for women. Her clients typically book a few sessions with her to get through workplace challenges or to negotiate a promotion and raise.

She wanted to write a book to share the answers to the questions she’s asked most often and to give women a boost of confidence, so that they ask for (and get!) what they want in the corporate world.

Her process:

Author #2 used an editor strategically, to take existing blog posts and arrange the content into a book structure. She then filled in the gaps, added some stories and let the editor take another crack, making it a seamless narrative.

Next, she bargained with a talented designer friend to lay out the page design template, and sent the template to an overseas graphic designer who did the rest for about $200.

She used Bookbaby, a publishing service to design the cover and take care of getting the book on Amazon, Apple and other platforms.

Caveats:

  • Her book is slim (which her readers actually love!) so she was able to produce it in three months or less, from start to finish.
  • She has a designer’s eye, so she was able to coax great cover art from Bookbaby’s basic design service. She is also meticulous about proofreading, so the book is professional and mistake free.

Boom! A marketing tool that spreads her message and gives prospective clients a try-it-before-you-buy-it taste of her coaching. (She sells loads of books at speaking gigs.)

The bottom line

Both of these books are successful tools that promote the authors’ authority. Each was written to offer advice to her target client, based on years of experience solving their challenges.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

If you know that you have a book in you, this week spend a little time thinking about your motivation for publishing…do you have advice or a message that people need to read? Next, brainstorm how you can use your strengths and resources to get your book written and published.

Your words might be exactly the spark we need! Get shining, superstar.

How to get booked as a speaker when you’re not famous (yet)

Famous in your field: five tips to get started speaking

Famous in your field: five tips to get started speaking

Wendy writes:

I’m just now starting to look for opportunities to speak. It’s getting people to agree to have me since I’m NOT famous! :)

Hey, Wendy, you are not alone. Getting booked as a speaker can feel as daunting as getting your first job. It’s that same conundrum:

You can’t get experience until you get hired, yet you can’t get hired without experience. 

There are about 3,000 professional speakers in the National Speakers Association and about 1,500 more in professional associations in Europe.

But there are millions of people who have information or a message to share.

Here’s what I want you to remember: there is no competition for being you.

And if you can help people improve their lives in some way, there are groups who want to hear from you.

It takes work to gain momentum as a speaker. Here are five tips to get your wheels turning. (Put these into practice and you’ll be tearing up the track in no time!)

1. Start locally

Getting on the main stage at TED, DreamForce or Davos might be on your vision board, but you’ll up your chances of getting there if you start in your own backyard.

Research local groups, events and companies. Reach out to the organizer to offer yourself as a speaker.

Need a little help getting started? I’ve got you covered with a massive list of 17 Ways to Fine Speaking Opportunities.

2. Build your case

Reach out to event organizers to let them know why your topic/info is valuable to their audience.

  • Will it help them be better employees, mothers, fathers, parishioners, etc.?
  • What will they be able to do after they’ve experienced you speaking? What are the outcomes or learning objectives?
  • What’s the benefit the audience will walk away with (the benefit is NOT the information they learn; it’s the “so that” that follows learning the information.)Like this: “Your members will learn how to use gamification with their kids to get them to finish homework, clean their rooms and do their chores, so that they can quit yelling and enjoy more fun as a family.”

3. Reduce the risk

No one wants to be known as the “one who recommended that dud.” That’s why organizers practice risk management by sticking to known speakers and referrals.

Reduce the risk for the event organizer by offering proof up front that you’ll be a hit with their audience.

What can you offer to make it a no brainer? Try these three:

  • Testimonials
  • Video of you speaking to an audience
  • An outline of your talk and how you’ll involve the audience

Bonus: let ‘em try before they buy! If you have any upcoming speaking events, invite organizers from groups you hope to speak to. They get a chance to see you in action and you get to market yourself while you’re speaking. Genius, baby.

4. Build your fan base

Speak for free in return for referrals and testimonials. (Even the pros do this strategically.)

Seth Braun is a paid professional speaker covering leadership and small business topics. Even though Braun earns a six-figure income through speaking and coaching, he still speaks for free at times.

“I am always looking for how can I get more gigs. And the best way that I know of to get more gigs is to speak and the best way to speak is just to speak more, so I’m still booking no fee gigs.”

Seth gives no fee talks for one of two reasons:

  • To give back to causes he supports.
  • To get his “foot in the door” with an organization that he believes will hire him for future work.

5. Go where you want to be

Don’t just sit home, waiting the Universe to magically bring speaking opportunities to your door!

Go to events where you’d like to speak. Before you go, research the event. Create a target list of people that you want to meet.

At the event, ask each person on your target list what they do and about their challenges. Get to know the organizers, members and participants. You’ll get the insight you need to pitch yourself as the must-have speaker for their next event. (Hint: your pitch involves helping them, not just how killer you would be as a speaker.)

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

This week, make a list of ten events or organizations where you’d like to speak. If they have upcoming events, attend them! Make connections and when you’re ready, make your pitch.

It’s time for you to get found in the crowd, superstar.

 

Your easy-button for creating popular articles, guest posts and social media updates

You, after discovering Strip the Blog

You, after discovering Strip the Blog

Panic.

That itchy, anxious feeling you get when it’s time to write another post for your blog (or magazine article) and you are. out. of. ideas.

You’re burned out. Hasn’t it ALL been said before?

If this is what’s been going through your head, hold on, people, you’re gonna like this one.

It’s Strip the Blog, a completely free online tool you can use to find the most popular recent posts on a website.

Now, Strip the Blog does use social sharing as its metric, so it doesn’t give you the WHOLE picture (email subscribers or comments) but it is a fantastic way to get the pulse in your subject area.

Here’s how this magic works:

Go to Strip the Blog.

Enter the url of the blog you want to “strip.”

Click on the timeframe – from one week to two months.

Click it to strip it!

What can you do with this magical information?

Here are three suggestions from the makers of Strip the Blog, along my ideas for putting them into action:

1. See which topics go viral on blogs of your competitors and steal them for your own blog.

But there’s an art to this. Don’t just rehash the same post with slightly different words. We don’t need more of the same.

Instead, rethink the topic. Apply your own filter. Ask yourself a few questions to uncover your own take on the topic:

Q. Is there part of this topic that should be expanded?
Q. Do I believe that any part of this post is wrong, and that there’s a better approach?
Q. Did the author miss something HUGE that readers need? Can I rectify that sitch?

Link to the popular post in your own post and then talk about what and why your opinion or advice on the topic differs.

What’s great about taking a popular topic and reshaping it from your own point of view is that you can also reach out to the owner of the popular blog and let her or him know that you’ve written a post with a different angle. Sometimes that blog owner will even mention your post to his or her readers, with a link (score!)

Watch it work

Let’s look at Strip the Blog in action.

I used MichaelHyatt.com. Michael Hyatt is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing and author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Michael blogs about personal development, leadership, productivity, platform, and publishing. Plus, he has a large following, so if you cover similar topics, you’ll have a pulse on your people and what they like.

Famous in your field tip: use Strip the Blog to find out what's popular in your niche

His top post, The 37 Best Business Books I’ve Ever Read, snagged an ah-mazing 1000+ shares on Twitter, over 6,000 on Facebook (yowza!) and a respectable 86 on Google +.

The takeaway

What’s your takeaway? People LOVE book recommendations. They want to save the list, share the list, tell their friends and followers which books they’ve read and which ones are up next.

How can you adapt this post topic?

How about:

“The best business books [in your niche]?”

“The best business books you’ve never read.”

“The best business books for newbies.”

“The best books for business (that aren’t actually about business!)”

2. Understand which topics perform the best on a certain blog, before writing a guest post there.

Got a guest post coming up? Strip that blog and read the five most popular posts. Analyze why they made an impact and then try to incorporate those elements into your own guest post.

In a previous post on giving good interviews, I mentioned that when Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo and former Facebooker, is interviewed, he preps for it.

How? He listens to a show’s most popular interview and analyzes what made it so popular, so that he can add those elements to his interview too.

(Hint: the most popular are the ones that offer meaty content with specific strategies and tips, not vague advice.)

Do like Noah.

3. Quickly find awesome content to share with your followers on Twitter & Facebook.

My special twist on this is to find the content that your followers don’t already know about. It’s super for you because you get to bring something new of value to your people. Everyone wants to be a hero!

Bonus tip (corporate marketers, this one’s for you!)

Just not feelin’ your blog this week? Stumped about what to write? Take a short cut and use Strip the Blog to create a “roundup post” of your favorite bloggers or posts on a topic.

Who doesn’t want a curated list of guaranteed good stuff, served directly to them? No one.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

Pick three blogs that you want to strip. Head over to Strip the Blog and discover the most popular posts on those websites. Read ‘em and decide: will you cover the same topic with your own special sauce, prep for a guest post or use the info to fill up your social media slate?

Now get out there and shine, you miracle machine.

Two ways to find radio interview opportunities

Famous in Your Field tips: get interviewed on the radio

Famous in Your Field tips: boost your fame with radio interviews

Radio? You?

You bet, you.

Even if you’ve got a face just made for high definition TV, darling, radio is a fantastic way to grow your fame factor.

Just think about it:

Learning about your expertise and message from via broadcast media is an excellent way to be discovered by potential clients and fans!

Hearing your voice and your message, straight from your lips increases the know, like and trust factor so much faster than publishing or social media.

You can share your radio interview on your own site and all over the interwebs, boosting that reach.

Plus, you can do it from anywhere. (And you can wear your pajamas…holla for yoga pant interviews!)

If you want to perform well, keep a these tips in mind:

  • Know what you want to say. Have your key points mapped out, on paper. Keep them near you while you’re being interviewed.
  • Say what you think. Good radio is punchy, with a point of view.
  • Practice! Practice answering questions. Practice your witty banter.
  • Speak in sound bites (typically, ten to twenty seconds long.) Radio hosts like guests who can make their point quickly, and with a little pizzazz. If they want you to elaborate more, they’ll ask.
  • Inject your voice with energy. Stand up, and smile, smile, smile.

Now, wondering how to land these magical fame-boosting radio interviews? I’ve got two sources for you:

Radio-Locator.com

Radio-Locator is the most comprehensive radio station search engine out there. There you’ll find have links to over 14,100 radio stations’ web pages and over 9500 stations’ audio streams from radio stations in the U.S. and around the world.

You can search by format, by call letters (WKRP in Cincinnati, anyone?) or by geography. Just type your zip code into the field and RadioLocator will spit out a list of radio stations in your area.

The locator listed 59 stations in my listening area (generally, about 50 miles or less from where I live.)

Each entry links to the station’s website. From there, let your research super powers find the show and producer that fits your expertise.

RadioGuestList.com

Radio Guest List is a daily email service like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) that solicits experts to interview on radio and podcast shows.

As a subscriber, you can sign up for targeted lists and you’ll get a daily email listing the guest requests for those topics.

(The basic service is free, but the premium service promises 50% more leads and is only about $5 per month, so it’s a total steal.)

You can sign up for requests in these categories:

  • Entertainment and Arts
  • Health and Wellness
  • Business and Technology
  • Self-Improvement, Spirituality and Relationships
  • Lifestyle and Sports
  • Paranormal
  • Politics, Law and Society

Interview requests include the show name, description, booking contact for interviews, audience demographics, audience size and show format.

RadioGuestList request

Bonus tip: you can also use this RadioGuestList.com to find guests for your radio show or podcast. It’s completely free for hosts and bookers.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

Sign up for Radio Guest List and watch for the right match. Then, jump on it and get your genius onto the airwaves. Shine on, rising star.

The secret fame advantage that you can get, too

Let’s talk about one factor that can give you a serious advantage when it comes to being famous in your field.

It’s why you want to follow one speaker backstage after her gig and go home with her, while others leave you cold.

It’s the quality that makes you pick one person over another when they both seem equally suited to do the job.

The secret sauce? It’s charisma and you need it if you want to be a leader and expert in your industry.

Famous in your field tip: three elements of charisma

Charisma doesn’t just help you; it helps your movement, too:

Robert House of Wharton School business professor says, charismatic leaders “cause followers to become highly committed to the leader’s mission, to make significant personal sacrifices, and to perform above and beyond the call of duty.”

When you’re striving to become famous in your field, being charismatic isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s a must.

But here’s the best part: anyone can be more charismatic.

Yes, my friend, YOU can be charismatic.

It doesn’t matter if you were picked last for the dodgeball team in elementary school. Or if three people fell asleep while you delivered your last talk. You can change that.

Too many people dismiss charisma as empty schmooze ability. (“I don’t want to be fake. People either like me or they don’t.)

Or as an innate quality that you’re either born with or without. (“I can’t help it if I’m not as popular as he is. That’s just the way it is.”)

Not true.

Science has proven that there are certain specific behaviors that make a person charismatic. And you can develop those behaviors. Without being fake or changing your personality.

The book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, breaks down charisma as three key behaviors: presence, power, and warmth.

Charisma Myth book

Presence is the foundation that charisma is built on.

Power and warmth are trickier – they must both exist, in order for the person to be charismatic. Power by itself is bold, but cold. Warmth, by itself, is sweet but meek.

Here’s how to demonstrate more presence, power and warmth on the reg:

Presence

Being present is paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts. It’s giving other people the priceless gift of your full attention.

Presence means focusing your energy and attention on the moment. Not thinking about something that just happened to you, or what you must remember to do later today. Your eyes aren’t darting around the room, checking out who else is there…100% of your attention is on the person you are with.

What’s the big deal with being present? When we are fully present, we create a memorable moment for those immediately around us.

“Presence is the single most requested aspect of charisma when I’m coaching executives. They want to increase their executive presence or boardroom presence.

And they’re right to focus on it: presence turns out to be the real core component of charisma, the foundation upon which all else is built. When you’re with a charismatic master— take Bill Clinton, for example— you not only feel his power and a sense of warm engagement, you also feel that he’s completely here with you, in this moment. Present.” ~Olivia Fox Cabane

Ever find yourself in a situation and feel your mind wandering? Here’s a way to bring your attention back to the present in seconds:

Focus your attention on the sensations in your toes. Yep, your toes. Doing this for a moment will stop your thoughts from swirling and connect you to your physical surroundings. And that will amp up your presence.

Power

You can show power through your body and your voice.

We’ve all heard that your mind affects your body. But the reverse is true, too. Your body affects your mind. Fact.

I’ve got three guidelines to powerful speech from the book:

1. Speak slowly.

Ditch the nervous squeaky teenager that may be lurking inside. Show some gravitas. (Rushing and stumbling over your words signals to other people that you’re not confident.)

2. Pause. 

This badass move practically compels people to listen to you, waiting to hear what’s next. (It also shows that you are confident in your power and trust that you won’t be interrupted.)

3. Drop your intonation. 

Assert it, people. For the love of God, do not upspeak.

Warmth

Warmth, the third ingredient in the charisma cocktail is what makes a person truly irresistible. Power demonstrates your confidence in yourself (and I like to hear that.) But warmth demonstrates your caring for me (and I LOVE that.)

And we all like people who care about us.

The easiest way to convey warmth? You already know this magic: smile. Smile when you talk, even on the phone. People can hear the difference in the warmth.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

Ready to amp up your charisma? This week, pick one of these ingredients – the one that you think could use a little boost – and practice it in three situations. Notice the results.

Oooo, I see a spotlight headed your way, A-Lister!

One sure-fire way to boost your fame factor (that’s surprisingly easy)

Famous in Your Field tip: be a great panelistWant to raise your profile?

Build your business cred?

Maybe even dip your toe into the public speaking waters?

I’ve got a great way to get you noticed and ease yourself into the public speaking game.

Be a panelist.

Panels, in case you aren’t familiar with the term, are a small group of individuals, considered subject matter experts, gathered by an event organizer, who speak on a topic before an audience. Usually, there’s a moderator to ask questions of the panelists and transition between them.

Here’s why being a panelist is 100% awesome:

  • You get the prestige of being viewed as an authority in your field. (Someone chose you to be on the panel after all!)
  • You get to make connections with a few other high flyers (your fellow panelists and the moderator.)
  • You benefit from a halo effect of being associated with the other people on the panel.
    The moderator is often a well-known public figure or prominent person in your industry (aka, someone you’d like to know.)

And here’s why it’s easier than giving a full-blown presentation:

  • You are typically speaking in short bursts, a minute to a few minutes at a time. (Don’t be the talky-talker!)
  • You’re one of several speakers, so you get a little break to collect your thoughts before it’s your turn to speak again.
  • As a panelist, you’re typically responding to questions that you’ve been given before the event, so you have time to craft your response and practice delivering like a pro.

How to shine on a panel

The best panel speakers are prepared. They tell stories, exude energy and make a connection with the audience.

You can be one of them, when you follow these five guidelines.

1. Prepare. 

Why do so many panels stink out loud? Because the panelists don’t take it seriously. They think that they can just “wing it.” So, so wrong.

Whatever you do, do not preface ANY of your comments with this groan-inducer: “I really haven’t prepared anything formal.”

Instead, ask for details on the topic, the focus and the questions in advance. Prepare your answers with good information, punchy sound bites and quick stories. Practice delivering them, in whole and in part (in case you get cut off.)

Practice your transitions, too. These are short phrases that let you take control of the conversation and share your story. Keep these phrases in your repertoire:

“Let me add something to that idea…”

“My perspective is different, I believe/think/experienced…”

“At my company, we…”

2. Get to know the other panelists.

Ask the organizer to schedule a conference call or better yet, a Skype chat or Google Hangout, so that you can see each of your fellow panelists, as well as the moderator.

This is your chance to establish rapport, get to know the other panelists’ speaking styles and refine each of your roles.

3. Guarantee your great intro. 

While the session is being organized, send your bio to the organizer and the moderator. Make it short (three sentences!) snappy, and easy to read.

Practice reading it aloud yourself. Rework any words or phrases that trip you up, and include pronunciation help.

But don’t rest there! Bring a printed copy with you. Before the panel starts, hand the moderator the same printed bio and tell him or her to read it verbatim.

4. Talk to the audience.

Panel newbies find it hard to resist the pull to look at, and address their responses to the moderator. It’s natural: after all, the moderator is the person asking you the questions. He or she is also someone you’ve established a bit of a relationship with.

But, no. Nix. Nein.

Never look at the moderator. 1000% of your attention should be focused on the audience.

5. Keep your energy level UP.

When you’re the panelist who’s not speaking, it’s easy to look bored (even when you’re not.)

You forget that even though someone else is talking, you’re still on stage, too. And at least some of the audience members are watching your facial expressions and body language.

Don’t:

  • Hunch or slouch
  • Stare into space
  • Look down at your phone

Being a panelist is a powerful opportunity to showcase your knowledge and your personality. Make it work for you with energy, stories and sound bites.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, seek out one opportunity to speak on a panel. (Maybe you should organize one?) If you have trouble finding one, let three people know that it’s something you’d like to do. When you put your intentions into the world, word spreads and opportunities flow your way.

What’s that hot, shiny object? Oh, it’s you, superstar!

Four ways to create more fans from your content (without creating more!)

4 Ways to Create More Fans from your ContentHere’s a depressing fact: too many creators leave their content to languish on their website, alone and forgotten.

And once, it’s published, they never. look. at. it. again.

Noooo! Don’t abandon your brilliant creations, just because you finished them a week ago. Only the tiniest fraction of people have actually seen that piece of content. You must share it, repeatedly.

You owe it to us.

Here are four simple, but powerful ways to get more readers, viewers and fans for your message:

1. Put it where there are already lots of eyeballs.

Sounds obvious, right? But a surprising number of people with great content think that they can only publish on their own website, their own YouTube channel, or their own email newsletter.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

There are millions of site owners who’re scrambling for material and would be delighted to publish something from you.

So instead of hoarding your mind magic, polish it and publish it on a more popular website as a guest post.

Or, as an article in a colleague or association’s newsletter. Or in a trade magazine.

Publish it on LinkedIn.

(Bonus: When you’ve been published somewhere else, you get the credibility boost of being ‘As seen in.’)

2. Get more eyeballs (traffic) to your website.

This one takes more work on your part, because you’re trying to expand an audience, rather than getting your message in front of one that’s already established. But you can do it!

There are the obvious tools. I’m talking about social media:

  • Tweet about it, with a link.
  • Post a link on Facebook.
  • LinkedIn Status update – write an interest-piquing update and link to your post or article.
  • Share it in LinkedIn groups.
  • Post an image on Instagram and write the link in the caption.
  • Share it on Google +.
  • Pin it on Pinterest.

Don’t forget to ask people to share it! Twice as many people will, just because you made the ask.

3. Promote it more.

Re-promote your content after it’s been published. Some small and solo businesses believe that once a blog post, article or other content has been published, it’s old news and everyone has seen it.

Not true! Only a tiny section of your audience actually noticed your gem. And if you don’t promote it, most of the people who need to see it will miss out. *Sad face.*

We tire of our marketing loooong before anyone else does. Fact.

Derek Halpern, blogging expert and founder of SocialTriggers.com, talks about the 80/20 rule:

“Here’s the truth:

It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more.

Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.” [http://socialtriggers.com/80-20-blog-building/]

If only a few people have seen it and there are hundreds/thousands/millions who would love it, let them know that it exists! Perhaps a mention and a link?

  • If you regularly only post it on your website, send it via email to your friends and fans.
  • Add it to your newsletter: include links to your 3 most recent posts, your most popular posts over the last year or of all time.
  • Send it to strategic partners who’d be interested. (Let other people grab eyeballs for you.)
  • Find interested affinity groups (groups of people who share a common interest or occupation) and email a link to their leaders, accompanied by a gracious, helpful message.

4. Re-purpose. Re-purpose. Re-purpose.

Reap the dividend of your intellectual and time investment, people. Get your content out there in different forms. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s really much less than constantly creating new content from scratch.

Think about it: individuals have different preferences for how they absorb information. When you offer yours in different formats, you’re able to reach a broader audience.

Just what could you do with a single piece of content? Check this out:

Let’s say that you give a presentation. And you’ve put a pile of hours into preparing that, right? Don’t let it languish, with your brilliant ideas only heard once by the captive crowd.

Starting with your presentation slides, you can:

  • Upload them to Slideshare.
  • Embed the Slideshare viewer on your website so visitors can enjoy those babies.
  • Add it to your LinkedIn profile (LinkedIn owns Slideshare, so those two platforms play together like BFFs.)
  • Write a blog post around it. I like to use the Slideshare embed code, then add an opening and closing paragraph, as well as a few bullets. Bada bing, bada boom, done.
  • If your presentations are big on visuals but light on text (ahem, which they totally should be!) you can make your message less cryptic by adding your talking points on new slides. Voila, you’ve got yourself an ebook!

Want to get really fancy? (It’s actually easy-peasy, but you don’t have to let your fans know that.)

  • Record yourself giving your presentation using a free tool like Audacity or Apple’s Garage Band and you’ve got a podcast or Soundcloud file you can post on your website.
  • Use Google’s free Hangouts tool to create a video recording of you, delivering your material. (You can even share your screen to show slides! Plus, it’s automatically on YouTube, the third largest search engine in da world.)
  • Take snippets from your presentation and post them to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ using a visual quote maker, like Recite, Quozio, Pinstamatic, Pinwords, or Share as Image. (Visuals more eyeballs than plain text, yo.)

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week (and maybe next!), do not create one thing from scratch. Instead dig into your digital archives and get your content in front of more eyeballs. Pick one idea from the list and MAKE IT HAPPEN. You’ve totally got this.

The surprisingly simple secret to getting noticed

Want the secret to success and happiness? Want to know how to stand out in the crowd? (Spoiler alert: It’s a major part of becoming famous in your field.)

It comes down to this:

Know your strengths. Show your strengths. Believe in your value.

Boy playing with pilot´s hat and cloudy background

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin

You may already know your own strengths. Or you may not recognize them and believe that your unique abilities are available to the general population, something everyone has.

Not true. Inside you, there are special talents that others covet.

Want to uncover your special skillz?

I’ve got two resources you’re gonna love, people!

VIA Survey

VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), formerly known as the “Values in Action Inventory,” is a psychological assessment measure designed to identify an individual’s profile of character strengths.

The VIA-IS is comprised of 24 character strengths. Each of us have our combination of these strengths that make up our own unique profiles. It’s your secret sauce, yo.

Know your character strengths with the VIA Survey

Know your character strengths with the VIA Survey

“The strengths are universally valued, encompass our capacities for helping ourselves and others and produce positive effects when we express them. Knowing your constellation of character strengths is the first step towards living a happier, more authentic life.” ~VIA Institute on Character

(You can take the FREE VIA Survey here.)

Strengthfinders

The good people at Gallup (yup, that Gallup) created an online test that uncovers a person’s natural talents. The “father of strengths-based psychology”, Donald Clifton developed the Strengthfinders on the idea that every one of us has natural talents.

Discover your innate talents with the StrengthFinder test.

Discover your innate talents with the StrengthFinder test.

“From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.”

The message of Strengthfinders is to flip that formula! When you know your natural, in-born talents, you can focus on doing what you do best. Every. Damn. Day.

What’s funny is that you may not even recognize some of your own talents as strengths. You take them for granted, because they come so easily to you.

My own BFF helped me to recognize something I do naturally as a talent that other people value. My top strength on Strengthfinders is INPUT. (Sounds totally lame, right? I thought so.)

It means that I’m inquisitive. A collector of information.

But when I read this in the Strengthfinders 2.0 book, I got chills:

“You might naturally be an exceptional repository of facts, data and ideas. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to position yourself as an expert. By simply following your Input talents, you could become known as the authority in your field.”

YES, PLEASE.

And it explained why I love to help people become known as leaders and experts in their industry.

It’s the same for you: whether you’re self employed or working within a business or non-profit, you have unique talents that you can leverage. You just have to discover them.

Knowing (and using) your special strengths has three powerful benefits:

1. You stand out from the crowd.

“No one is you and that is your power.” Dave Grohl. Philosopher. Foo Fighter.

Get on Dave’s level, please! When you recognize, use, and OWN your strengths (and by “own”, I mean letting other people know about them), you become distinctive.

2. You are more effective.

When you shift your work to suit your talents, your performance improves. We’ve all struggled to perform tasks that we’re not just not good at…and it sucks. But when we work from our natural strengths and talents, time flies, and we become energized. Work is a joy.

3. You are more confident. 

Confidence is believing that you can do something. It’s what spurs you into action.

Confidence comes from playing to your distinctive strengths and values. And you want to do everything you can to boost your confidence levels because studies show that confidence trumps IQ when it comes to predicting success.

Your fame boosting assignment

Take both these tests to uncover your unique combination of strengths. The VIA-IS is free, but the Strengthfinders 2.0 test requires a special code that you get when you purchase a book. Believe me, the $15 bucks or so that it costs is totally worth it!

Knowing your one-of-a-kind brand of awesome will fire you up with confidence and energy, attracting followers and fans like a magnet. Time to unleash your special kind of magic, friends.

Three ways to make your audience fall in love with you

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and, lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.”

Alexander Gregg

Famous in your field tip: 3 ways to make your audience fall in love with you

Famous in your field tip: 3 ways to make your audience fall in love with you

What do we tend to focus on most as a speaker? Our material. What to say, how to say it.

But the reality is, before you can send your message, you first have to establish a connection with your audience. Here are three ways to create a bond with your future fans:

1. Get to it. 

Cut the corporate speak.

DO NOT start out by telling the audience “a little about your company.”

(You’ve heard this at the opening of many a presentation…”Before I get started with today’s presentation, I want to tell you a little bit about [company name.] We were founded X years ago. We’re a full-service [business type], located right here in [city name], we specialize in [laundry list of service offerings.] Ughhh.)

What kind of harm can this do? More than you think!

When you fail engage your audience at the beginning, they mentally ‘check out’ until you get to something relevant to them. But the big risk is that they become so absorbed in their email inbox/Twitter feed/text chat at the beginning of your talk, they never engage with you. You’ve lost them forever. *Sad face.*

Your audience wants to be educated and entertained. Get into the good stuff right away.

Here are a few stellar ways to get started:

  • Tell a story that’s concrete and real-world. (Not real as in exactly how it happened to you; real as in ‘could potentially happen in real life, but some of the details are altered/eliminated to make it work better in the presentation.’)
  • Ask a question.
  • Introduce a problem
  • Share a quote or a statistic

2. Stick to three points

I know that you’ve got mountains of material and you are so damned excited to share it all with your audience that you exhaust and overwhelm them. (I may or may not be speaking from experience here.)

It’s natural to want to share all your good stuff and to feel as though you are cheating the audience by not downloading every. single. thing. you know to them.

But I want you to flip that thinking.

Your audience doesn’t know as much about your topic as you do, and it’s your duty to give them only what they can reasonable remember and put to use immediately.

Realizing this has been painful to me. When I’m speaking, I’m so eager to give people every strategy, tool and trick in the book, I nearly leap out of my skin. C’mon, I think, “I can give them a framework, proof that it works through my stories, a list of the can’t miss resources, and a litany of mistakes to avoid.”

Ahhhhhhhh! Audience overload!

The way that I’ve reshaped my talks is to think of my major premise.

Then, I talk about the three elements of the famous in your field process. Instead of packing the talk with information about my three elements, I’m using more stories and a few targeted exercises for them to get emotionally involved and get a result on the spot.

I’m slashing the material with a machete. (Even though it hurts me. Bad.)

Here’s a quick tip:

Save most of your advanced information for the Q & A session. Someone who already has a strong foundation in your topic will likely ask a question and you can wow that person an answer that’s appropriate to his or her level of knowledge, while subtly letting your audience know that you’ve got advanced level material, too.

3. Watch what works.

During your talk, pay attention to your audience and notice what they respond to.

Did you get unexpected guffaws from a throwaway line? Add that to your stash to use next time, too!

Is that dude in the back smiling and nodding along with you or did he pick up his phone to text today’s lunch plans with his friends?

If you see the tops of heads, inject a little energy by asking the audience to do something:

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever [something that relates to your next point.]”

“Say the first word that pops into your head when you think about [something related to your topic.]”

The best outcome of using these audience engagement exercises is that once the audience members realize that you are going to be engaging them, they remain involved, anticipating the next exercise.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Like a lot of public speaking advice, these tips are solid gold for networking events, company or client meetings and everyday conversations, too.

Pick just of one these tips and put it to work today! Board room or ballroom, it’s up to you to steal the show. Where ever you go.