Category Archives for "Professional services marketing"

Power Up Your Marketing, Part 3 (The Speaking Series)

By Lori

Hello and welcome back for Part 3 of The Speaking Series. In part 1, I laid out the reasons why speaking is such a powerful way to market yourself as a consultant, and the business building benefits of speaking programs for professional service firms. Part 2 was the proof – I shared results from three different types of professionals – an engineer, a management consultant and a technology firm.

And now in this post, I want to let you in on a few mistakes that business professionals make, that keep them from reaping the business building benefits of speaking.

You’re doing it wrong

Have you or your firm pursued speaking engagements, only to experience lackluster results? You might be making one or more of these common mistakes.

Not speaking to audiences of potential clients. It’s natural; many firm professionals want to stay in their “comfort zone.” Technical types may pursue speaking engagements for themselves, but those events are typically full of academics who judge the merits of the ideas discussed, but don’t hire firms to perform work. Likewise, your staffers may deliver presentations at professional organizations made of their colleagues and peers, rather than potential clients.

Not proposing topics that are interesting to the potential audience. The best topics are those that your target audience would consider to be “hot” (meaning that its current and generates a great deal of interest.)

Not demonstrating the expertise of the speaker. Make sure your professional’s bio includes credibility indicators, and isn’t just a tedious work history. Where you can, tout your professional’s previous speaking experience and include session evaluation information – it offers conference organizers an independent level of assurance that your speaker will perform well.

Ways to market potential speakers

Want to increase your win rate for speaking engagements? Copy these techniques used by professional speakers’ bureaus.

1. Stack the odds in your favor. Before you submit a proposal to an organization, do your homework. Read about the organization’s membership and mission. This will give you insight into the information its members would value and what the hot topics might be.

2. Make the conference planner’s job as painless as possible. Provide all the information the selection committee needs to choose you (or the firm professional you’re promoting.) Here’s what goes into your package:

  • Brief bio
  • Clear statement about the topics your speaker covers (i.e. sewer modeling, hydraulics and hydrology, regulatory compliance.)
  • List of topics (with catchy titles) and what the attendee will learn with an abstract about each session.
  • Video demo of your professional, live and in action. YouTube is a perfect place to host this. Include the link on your sheet.
  • Testimonials and evaluations from organizations that the potential client can relate to.
  • List of companies/organization your professional has previously spoken for.

Because this is meant to be concise, all the written content should fit on a single page.

Take action

This week, position yourself for speaking success! Create a one page speaker’s sheet with the six elements listed above.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Power Up Your Marketing, Part 2 (The Speaking Series)

By Lori

Welcome back! In a previous post, I laid out the case for using speaking as a core element of your fame campaign. Nothing works like speaking for increasing your reach, influence, reputation and building an expert position. (You can read a quick overview of why speaking is so effective in Part 1.)

In this post, I’ll share a few success stories from professional service firms who’ve leveraged the power of public speaking.

Proof of concept

Sure, speaking is important for prestige,  but does it really bring in the bucks?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Let’s look at three examples from different professionals.


Robert Czachorski, PE, PH, is an engineer with OHM, an engineering/architecture/planning firm, headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. Robert is a modeling guru, who, together with his college roommate, an aerospace engineer/software developer, developed a novel way to model sewer systems. His new modeling method gives the client precise information to right-size the sewer system, meeting regulatory requirements and avoiding ‘overbuilding’. Because the approach is new, Robert has found it effective to present his method, along with project results at conferences. It gives prospects an in-depth view of the idea, and offers proof, in the form of case studies.

Robert says, “I meet new leads at every presentation. There are at least 3-4 at each one. Over the last 5 years, I’ve done between 10 and 15 presentations, so that’s easily 40 to 50 new opportunities.”

“Three people come to mind who I met through presentations – a contact for a large municipal sewer authority, and two partners from other firms. Those relationships are leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business.”

Management Consulting

Carl Friesen, a writer, author and management consultant, also testifies to the business-building benefits of speaking. “I’m living proof that speaking engagements work – I received my two biggest clients, one of which I’ve had for ten years, through one speaking engagement in Vancouver in 1999.”

Software Technology

Beck Technology, Ltd., is a Dallas-based developer of specialized macro BIM software, used in preconstruction to create fast and accurate 3D cost models. Andy O’Nan, Beck Tech’s director of business development, is a believer in the power of speaking engagements. He’s devoted a significant portion of his marketing budget to securing and delivering presentations to regional and national audiences, using a consultant to perform much of the work.

Beck Tech uses speaking engagements to get the word out about the company’s software. Because it’s a new and unique offering, presentations give Beck Tech leaders a non-promotional way to introduce their product and its capabilities to their target market. Beck’s presentations are based on customer success stories and industry trends.

“We never give a sales pitch – that’s important to us,” says O’Nan. “Instead we focus on trends and case studies that impact our target market.”

And the results? “It’s powerful. Each time we give a presentation, the visits to our website increase significantly, along with the number of people requesting trials of our software. And now that we’ve focused on developing a speaking program, opportunities come to us.” O’Nan continues, “Stewart Carroll, our COO, was recently invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference organized by Disney, in a room filled with industry leaders.”

Ready to try your hand at developing a speaking program to propel your professional service firm into fame and fortune? Tune in for Part 3 of The Speaking Series. I’ll share the most common mistakes that firms make, derailing their success with speaking.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Five places to find your target market

By Lori

Image of Jack Russell Terrier giving a human a high five

Five places to find your target market

Whether you’re a consultant, public speaker, trainer, photographer or other business professional, you want to find your tribe.

Your people. The ones who need the magic that you deliver.

If you’ve been in business for years, you’ve got it down. You already know where those folks hang out.

But when you’re starting out? Or shifting to a new business or career? How do you find the prospects, audiences and customers who will become your raving fans?

It’s a recipe of empathy and ingenuity, seasoned with research.

(For a backgrounder on using market research to find your target market, check out this free market research guide from Shopify.)

Let’s say that you’re an up-and-coming expert in cyber security (hey Scott!) and you’re looking for more presentation opportunities.

Your initial brainstorming list might include the usual suspects:

  • Information technology professionals
  • Chief Technology Officers
  • IT managers
  • Database administrators

Those are the easy targets. People in the IT realm already know that cyber security is vital.

This is where the empathy comes in…

Put yourself into the shoes of other business professionals. Who should care about cyber security because it affects their roles and outcomes?

  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Chief Executives Officers
  • Company Directors
  • M & A consultants
  • Government leaders
  • Military leaders
  • Small business owners

And now that you’ve got your expanded list of prospects, think about where you can find people in those positions, in large numbers.

1. Mine your network

Your richest resource is the people you already know. This includes clients, former clients, prospects, vendors, friends and family.

Ask them what groups they belong to.

What organizations would host a workshop or would invite you to present to their members?

What organizations might host a workshop for their clients?

What conferences can you pitch yourself as a breakout presenter?

But to make it really effective, you can’t send a bulk email to all your contacts. A few very close pals might respond to it, but most of your network won’t.

It puts a psychic burden on your friends and colleagues to do work for you.

The way to get the best results is to actually talk to each person. (Note: I hear you, this is incredibly time consuming. Deal with it. #Sorrynotsorry.)

Make it easy on your friends. Just ask what groups they belong to, ask a few follow up questions about the group or groups and do your own evaluation of whether it’s a good fit for you.

2. Local publications

Your local newspaper and city or regional business publications typically have community events calendars. (Most are available online!)

Scour them weekly to find events and groups.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is more than your online resume. As the world’s largest professional network, it’s a hella good source of business intelligence.

Let’s look at two ways to find your target market on LinkedIn:

Groups. Groups are LinkedIn’s feature that lets members who share an interest or profession gather online, have discussions and share information with each other. As a member, you can join as many as 50 groups.

First, go to your groups. You’ll also see a prompt to find more groups.

Use the search field to find Groups to join. You can search for groups to join using a keyword, company name or school.

Try searches based on geography (Ann Arbor or Detroit groups for me) or based on an industry or topic.

Groups___LinkedInThe second way to find your target market using LinkedIn involves a little more labor:

Review your contacts to see what organizations they belong to.

Start by looking at your Connections. If you’re looking locally, filter your connections by location.

Then look at each person’s profile to see what groups or organizations are listed. You might find groups or organizations listed in the Experience section, the Volunteer section, Organizations section, or under Additional Info.


And finally, you can see the LinkedIn Groups your Connections have joined as well.

4. Eventbrite and Meetup groups

Eventbrite is a web-based event registration. And is the world’s largest network of local groups.

You can search for events based on location, date or by using keywords.

As an example, on Eventbrite, I searched for “Leadership” and found 388 upcoming events in my area. I can look at each one in the search results, refine them further by date or geography or category.


I can also subscribe to get an RSS feed of those events, delivered to my inbox. Genius.

5. Trade or industry associations

A trade association, also known as an industry group or business association is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry.

Associations Unlimited, aka, the Encyclopedia of Associations, is a huge resource, but you may need a library membership to access it.

AU provides information on nonprofit membership associations and professional societies worldwide (20,000 international, 134,000 U.S. national, regional, state and local), plus IRS information on over 300,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations.

Sounds fantastic, right? 100,000+ groups, ripe for your services?

But there’s a catch. You can’t jump in and start pitching your wares.

Marketing to professional and trade associations means becoming part of the organization.

Go to their events. Meet people. Get a feel for the people who attend.

Volunteer for the organization. From taking registration at the door, to helping behind the scenes, volunteering within the organization makes you part of it, quickly.

Join a committee. You’ll get to know and create relationships with the key influencers quickly, while you demonstrate your value to the group.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, pick one of these five ways to find your target market and get on it!

I see your name in lights…

Power Up Your Marketing: Speak

By Lori

Want to know the single most effective practice to become famous in your field? It’s not the newest social media tool. It’s good old-fashioned public speaking. Here’s why this centuries-old tool carries so much power today.

The value of public speaking for professionals

With speaking, you advance your firm’s reach, reputation and increase your profit. How? Because speaking helps:

  • Strengthen your expert position. (More on this below.)
  • Build your firm’s brand, gaining recognition, visibility and respect.
  • Increase your influence, as you spread ideas and information.
  • Enhance your ability to promote your firm and your services, in a non-salesy way

Why it works: rarity, psychology and prestige

One reason that speaking is so powerful is that it requires self-confidence. Few people will do it. (You’ve heard about the studies showing that, for many people, fear of public speaking ranks higher than their own death, right?) By taking an action that so many fear, professionals who speak are assured of standing out from most competitors.

Speaking is targeted marketing

Presentations and events are largely opt-in affairs. The audience (when you’ve done your homework) is made of individuals who are already qualified prospects. By showing up, they’ve demonstrated an interest in the service you have to offer. And viewing a presentation offers “proof” for the potential clients – they have a tangible example of how you and your firm is different; not just because your marketing materials say so.

Psychology of authority

The act of standing before a group and demonstrating knowledge on a topic is, by itself, a credibility indicator. Most attendees assume that because a person has been invited to speak, he or she is a recognized expert on the subject. We’re all unconsciously biased to view a speaker as an authority figure and a subject matter expert. Make that work for you!

Prestige factor

When an individual wears a speaker’s badge at an event, he or she dons a cloak of celebrity. Fellow conference goers strike up conversations with speakers at lunch, breaks and sessions. As a savvy professional, you can leverage this effect by engaging as much as possible with prospects and influencers during and after the event. This natural allure gives you dozens of opportunities to “seed” conversations with information that sells without being salesy.

Take action

  • Zero in on speaking topics that will increase your reach and build your reputation. Grab a piece of paper and list the most common questions that you’re asked about your area of expertise. If you’re an wealth manager, for example, start with the basic questions that every contact and prospect has.
  • Next, make a list of current issues in your field. Are there changing laws? New regulatory requirements that impact your business? A new service delivery model that will save time, money or hassle? (Try to stay focused only on those issues that impact your clients, not yourself and colleagues!)
  • For the next two weeks, pay careful attention to your clients and prospects. Listen carefully to their questions and concerns and probe for more whenever you have an opportunity.

Stay tuned! In a future post, I’ll give how-to advice on the mechanics of creating your own speaking program.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Four Twitter hashtags to follow for more publicity

By Lori

4HashtagsWhen it comes to reaching journalists through social media, Twitter rules and Facebook drools.

Oh, I know it sounds crazy…after all, Facebook drives 10 times the traffic of Twitter for news articles.

But it’s true.

“…journalists — and, quite often, the organizations that employ them — clearly prefer Twitter…. It’s true for every journalist I know, and it’s true for me, too.” Ezra Klein

Twitter is where journalists follow, tweet and comment on each other’s stories.

And that means that you should be there, too.

But here’s the best part of this news:

You don’t have to spend the entire day on Twitter, furiously reading every tweet to take advantage of the little blue bird as a publicity tool.

Hail to the hashtags

If you are interested in getting more attention to grow your brand, start with the right tools. Hashtags are one of the easiest resources to use to find journalists and bloggers who want what you’ve got: advice, information and experience.

The hashtag is that funny little crosshatch symbol, followed by letters, a word or group of words.

(Or for us old-schoolers, it’s that symbol formerly known as “the pound sign.”) On Twitter and other social media platforms, the hashtag is used to organize content around a certain topic or event.

Here’s how you can use hashtags: 

  • You can search for hashtags and then follow the virtual conversation happening around that topic.
  • You can create hashtags for your own events or topics, to generate online conversations around your topic.

I’m on the board of a women’s business group, WXW, and we promote our events with hashtags like #WXWbusiness and #WXWForum15.

Hashtags are also used to generate conversation around a trending topic, a joke, an event or a movement. Whether it’s pure fun, like #Mailkimp or commentary on social issues like #YesAllWomen or world events like #BringBackOurGirls, hashtags help to draw attention online.

And if you want to draw a little online attention, here are four hashtags to follow for PR opportunities:

1. #Journorequest

Who uses #journorequest? Journalists looking for information, case studies, expert quotes or products for articles they are writing.

#journorequest tweetGive #Journorequest a quick search to see if there are requests you can respond to.

And next, scroll through the tweets to find features writers you want to follow on Twitter.

2. #PRrequest

#PRrequest is similar to #journorequest; it was created for reporters to connect with information and experts. However, most of the requests are now coming from bloggers requesting free items to review online. *Sad face.*

3. #Bloggerrequest

This hashtag was created by Swedish fashion blogger transplanted in the UK.


In the founder’s words, “#bloggerrequest connects websites and brands with bloggers.”

The bulk of the requests are for UK bloggers and brands in fashion, design and decor, so if that’s you, get on it, please.

3. #HelpAReporter

Help a Reporter Out or HARO, for those in the know, is a web-based reporter-source matching service. You can visit and sign up for 3x daily updates. (Get a little help on using HARO here.)

#HelpaReporter tweet

4. #UrgHaro

#UrgHaro is just an abbreviation of ‘Urgent Help a Reporter Out.’

Tweets marked with the hashtag #UrgHaro mean that the journalist is looking for a source NOW.

It might be that she or he’s looking for a witness or subject matter expert to comment on a breaking news topic. Or, they’re under deadline. Act fast!

052915_HAROTweet5You never know what special talents or experience could land you media coverage:

UrgHaro Tweets

Bonus tip: You can also use the same hashtags to pitch your own story ideas or quotes to journalists and bloggers.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, do quick searches for each of these hashtags to see what journalists and bloggers are looking for. If you see a request you can fulfill, jump on it!

(If you use a Twitter management tool, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, make it easy on yourself and set up a separate stream just for tweets that use those four PR hashtags.)

Oh, oh, oh, the places you’ll go, superstar!

Your 2-step hack to perform better in any situation

By Lori

Anxiety diminishes cognitive ability, reduces confidenceNerves.


Complete hyperventilating freakouts? Yep, 100% totally natural.

Maybe your heart pounds and your palms sweat when you speak in public.

Or when you are about to ask for a promotion.

And especially when you have to sell something.

You are not alone. We all suffer from anxiety at times.

But here’s what I want you to know: you cannot just wait until the feeling passes. There’s real danger in putting off doing something while you’re waiting to become “more confident.”

Because it may never, ever happen.

People sometimes have the wrong idea about confidence. Confidence is not about an absence of fear. Confidence is feeling anxious, but pushing through and doing it anyway.

Anxiety, left unchecked, is an insidious emotion. Besides the physical effects, it has a negative impact on your abilities.

Harvard social psychology researcher Alison Wood Brooks found that “anxiety is a drain on cognitive resources, using up brain power and information-processing ability and reducing confidence.” [Harvard Magazine]

“Feeling anxious is very unpleasant,” she says, so people go to great lengths to avoid it. If they are involved in negotiations, for example, “they exit early, they make large concessions, they respond very quickly to counteroffers, and ultimately they perform poorly.”

Ouch. Instead of suffering the negative effects of unchecked anxiety, let’s look at how you can harness the emotion to actually perform better in stressful situations, like negotiations, speaking and sales.

I’ve got two steps to flip your fear-script and have you performing like a rock star.

2 steps to improve performance

Step 1 – Reframe it.

Most people try to calm themselves by denying the anxiety they feel. Their inner dialogue sounds like this:

“Calm down. Calm down. Calm down. Stop sweating. Oh god, this is going to be a disaster! Wait a minute, calm down. Breathe slowly.”


Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Your nervous system still knows that you feel anxious. Fighting your biology is just too hard.

Turn it around!

Instead of denying it, or trying to calm your nerves, channel them.

Rather than saying, “I’m so nervous” try saying, “I’m so excited.”


Before public speaking:

“I’m so excited that I get to speak to this group. It’s going to be fun.”

Before a sales conversation:

“I’m so excited that I get to talk to XYZ Company about using my training program.”

As a job seeker:

“I’m so excited about interviewing for this job.”

Gunning for a promotion:

“I’m so excited to talk to my boss about increasing my responsibilities and my salary.”

Shockingly easy, right?

The magic behind the method

This tiny little shift in what you say to yourself works miracles. Anxiety and excitement both have similar physical characteristics in the body – racing heartbeat, increased perspiration, and raised cortisol levels (the stress hormone.)

Your brain doesn’t believe you when you tell it to “calm down” because the physical effects are still there. But recasting those physical effects as excitement is effective because it works with the physical characteristics, rather than against them.

Best of all, shifting from feeling anxious to excitement focuses on a positive outlook, rather than negative.

Feeling anxious is related to worrying about things going wrong in the future. Excitement shifts the brain to anticipate opportunities and focus on things going right in the future.

And when you focus on positive future outcomes, you are more likely to achieve them. Fact.

Backed by science

Brooks, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, studied how reframing nerves as excitement improved performance.

In an experiment involving people asked to sing before an audience, participants who said aloud, “I am excited” performed 55% better than those who repeated the phrase, “I am anxious.”

“Since anxiety and excitement are both arousal states, it’s easier to see apprehension as invigorating than to try to suppress it,” says Woods.

Anxiety is a part of life when it comes to being famous in your field, or striving to reach any worthy goal. Don’t fight it – make it work for you.

Step #2: Get your game face on.

No, I don’t mean that you have to shout at yourself in the mirror to psych yourself up. But following your own recipe of rituals will help you to put your mind and body in high performance mode.

Athletes have elaborate rituals. Some hit 100 balls the day before a game.

Or eat chicken on game day. Or wear red shirts for luck.

Is it because they’re superstitious? For some, sure.

But it works.

“…research has shown that players who use a consistent set of behaviours are more successful (Lonsdale & Tam, 2008; Gayton, 1992; Jackson & Baker, 2011; Mack, 2001).

“A pre performance routine is defined as ‘sequence of task relevant thoughts and actions which an athletes engages in systematically prior to his or her performance of a specific sport skill.’ (Moran 1996).”

But for the rest of us, the ‘pregame’ routine is our deliberate process to calm our nerves, channel our anxiety into excitement and to create a mindset for success.

Your routine might involve saying certain phrases to yourself while swinging your arms back and forth.

Or doing 50 pushups, rehearsing your key points and praying.

Feel free to get creative with it.

My pre-public speaking ritual

Before I’m about to go on to a stage to speak, I run through my talk one last time, play a few songs that I love, repeat to myself how excited I am to be able to speak to this group and finish off with a little power posing.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, pick a challenge that’s got your nerves humming. (Maybe it’s something you’ve been putting off?)

Flip the script by repeatedly telling yourself, “I’m so excited.”

Put together a little pregame ritual to put your mind and energy into high performance mode.

Then, do that thing!

I’m all kinds of fired up about you.

I used to run out of ideas, until I found this

By Lori

how to get publicity for your message

Famous in your field: how to find what the media is talking about

If you’re like me, you’re constantly wracking your brain and the internet for topics for blog posts.

Along with stories and trends to keep your speaking engagements fresh.

Plus, you’re looking for PR opportunities based on current media topics.

If that’s you, too, you’re gonna like this one, people! I’ve got a resource that puts you in the know, each and every week.

We make this magic by leveraging what’s popular in talk radio.

Love it or hate it, talk radio brings the ears.

Two of the most popular shows on the airwaves, Rush Limbaugh and NPR’s Morning Edition routinely score 12.5 million listeners a week.

But you don’t have to win the radio guest-lottery to take advantage of talk radio’s popularity. Instead, you can exercise your influence by writing, talking or speaking about the topics that have people buzzing.

And no, you don’t have to scan the radio dial for hours! Just check out The Talkers Ten, the top weekly stories and people on talk radio in America.

In one sweet chart, you can find out what the top radio shows are talking about (hint: it’s probably what’s hot on the television news and online media, too.)

Talkers Top 10

The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.

You can use the top weekly stories to spark interest in your material, grow your influence and show your expertise.

Start by scanning The Talkers Ten.

And think about your area of expertise. Can you offer insights on issues? Can you use these stories to share a tip or your own advice?

Let’s brainstorm a few ideas from this week’s Talkers Ten:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, is in the news for the penalty phase of his trial.


  • The affects of peer pressure on teenagers
  • The impact of sibling dynamics
  • Brain development in teenage boys


Death penalty considerations or answers to common legal procedural questions

The Deflategate Report and Tom Brady


What affect the report will have on the NFL’s image and value as a brand. What about Tom Brady’s image and value as a brand?


What laws, if any, were broken? Who decides if and how someone will be punished in this situation?

Business experts:

What are the financial consequences of the news in this report?

Sport writers, commentators:

Who, if anyone, should be held responsible? What impact will this have on the game? The fans?

Parenting experts:

How to talk to your kids about cheating. Or fallen idols.

Presentation coaches:

Critique the messaging and body language of the speakers during the inevitable press conferences that follow every major news story. Use them as examples of effective communications or cautionary tales of “what NOT to do.”

And now, here are three ways that you can put this weekly wisdom to work growing your fame factor.

1. Contact your local radio or television shows to pitch yourself as a guest expert on one of these hot topics.

A while back I interviewed veteran television news producer Roshanda Pratt and asked where producers got story ideas. One of the top sources?

“National stories – we’d ask, what’s happening in the national news and how can we localize it?”

2. Write a blog post using one of the topics.

Copyblogger is absolutely masterful at delivering its advice wrapped in a pop culture reference.

  • “The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words”
  • “The Eminem Guide to Becoming a Writing and Marketing Machine”

A similar one from the HuffPo machine:

  • “The Definitive Guide To Channeling Your Inner ‘Mad Men’ Character”

3. Write a post for LinkedIn’s Pulse.

Pulse is LinkedIn’s own professional self-publishing platform. When you post an article, you’re building your profile and tapping into exactly what your network is talking about around the virtual water cooler.

And if the LinkedIn gods select your post to recommend on the Pulse network…whoa nelly! You’ll be enjoying hundreds or even thousands of new eyeballs on your ideas.

(A variation on the LinkedIn idea: Publish a guest post on another website.)

Your fame boosting assignment:

Look at the list and brainstorm ways that you could tie your authority to one of these news topics.

Then, add The Talkers Ten to the list of websites you check on a weekly basis. You’ll get a flood of newsworthy story ideas to connect to your expertise.

You, my friend, are full of win.

Follow these 7 Rules to Get More Results From Public Speaking

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tip: Follow these 7 rules to get more results from speaking

Famous in Your Field tip: Follow these 7 rules to get more results from speaking

Too many professionals complain that they’ve given presentations in the past, but they just don’t “get anything out of it.” So they stop.

Let’s end that tragedy now. Assuming you’re a good speaker and you’ve got valuable content to share, speaking and presenting is one of the best ways to grow your fame factor, spread your message and yes, win business. Fact.

Here are 7 rules to maximize your results each time you speak or give a presentation.

Even better, following these gems creates a snowball effect. Each one by itself can generate a small return on your efforts, but combined, they work magic.

1. Keep in touch

People are busy. You know this, ‘cause you’re busy.

How many times a day do you think to yourself, “That’s such a great idea/product/website/service! I’m definitely going to look into that after I get home/this weekend/when my kids go to college.”

But the next thing you know, your hair’s on fire. It takes everything you’ve got to get through the next 24 hours. And you forget about that awesome idea/product/website/service.

Face it – we have the best intentions, but the worst follow through.

So help your well-intentioned audience members get the additional value you can provide them by staying in touch.

A note of caution:

Make sure that your follow-up mindset is about service, not scoring.

There are some presenters who follow up relentlessly (like sharks.) You can feel their white teeth glistening when you get that email (or worse, phone call) trying to sell you their product or service.

Notice the different in follow up attitudes:

Shark mindset: “I’m going to follow up and get these people to hire me or buy my stuff!”

Service mindset: “I’d love to continue to grow the relationship. If it makes sense, let’s touch base and see if I can help. In the meantime, here’s something cool and useful.”

Getting the digits

Sometimes organizers will share the event registration list with you. If they do, you can send an email or really surprise attendees with a printed-paper-in-the-US-Mail follow up message.

However you make contact, express appreciation to the attendees for giving you the gift of their time and attention. You might recap the main points of your talk or presentation. And then give them something.

Sometimes event organizers do not share the registration list with you. In those instances, you have to find a way to gather that contact information yourself.

How? Ask the audience members to give you their name and email address. Offer a gift as an enticement and to show your appreciation.

(To those of you getting slightly sweaty, thinking about all the work involved in creating a stellar giveaway, please take it down a notch. I’ve got some counterintuitive advice that makes it totally doable. )

The freebies or gifts that get people panting to add their name to a list are not huge, elaborate multi-part video series shot with two cameras, lights and sound. It’s not the 275-page book that you spent three years of your life crafting.

The freebies people love the most are the simple, easy to implement and solve a problem they have.

It could be a checklist.

A list of resources you use in your work.

An exercise they can do independently that will get them A Desired Result. You do you.

2. Connect on LinkedIn 

And maybe Facebook, too, if that’s appropriate.

Your goal is to become part of their world, so that you can continue to build a relationship.

3. Ask for a testimonial

Don’t wait for the reviews to roll in, ask for them! Follow up with event organizers and attendees and ask them to give you a testimonial about your talk.

Then, be sure to:

  • Add it to your website, especially in the speaking section.
  • Add it to a flier or one-sheet about your speaking topic.
  • Post it on your LinkedIn profile.

4. Upload slides to Slideshare and share the link

If you use slides in your presentations, upload them to Slideshare. Send a link to the slides to everyone who attended.

Also, send a link to the organization that hosted your event for their members. Organizations love having value added material to share with their membership.

You can also:

  • Embed the slides on your website or blog.
  • Embed them on your LinkedIn profile.

If you’re concerned that posting your slides gives away your “secret sauce” and that no one will want to see you present live, darlin’, I have four words for you:

You’re doing it wrong.

Your slides should never replace your speaking. The audience is there to have an experience. An experience facilitated by you.

Not to read slides.

(Or quelle horreur, to sit in the audience while you read slides.) Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Slides should enhance and spark interest in your presentation. They are not your presentation.

5. Rework your presentation into a blog post

Get more mileage from your presentation by turning it into a blog post or a series. Write your main points and include attendee’s biggest takeaways.

(Bonus: this gives you another opportunity to subtly let people know that you’re available for speaking.)

6. Ask for more speaking opportunities

Turn one speaking gig into several by asking organizers and attendees to let you know about other organizations that could benefit from your information.

One of my favorite small business advisors uses a form at her presentations. The form includes three business-building elements:

  • A checkbox to join her email newsletter list.
  • A space to write a testimonial about her presentation.
  • An invitation to suggest the names of other organizations that might benefit from her topics.

It’s smart to make your ask right after you’ve delivered value to the audience, rather than as part of your follow up. You’ll get much better results when you’re top of mind.

7. Make an offer.

When’s the absolute best time to let people know that they can hire you, buy your book or get a sweet deal on a program you offer?

When you’ve just rocked their world.

People are most excited about doing business with you when they are still in the afterglow. Don’t wait until life gets in the way!

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

The next time that you book a presentation, speech or talk, review these rules. And put your game plan in place to execute them. You’re on your way, superstar. [Cue the fan-girl tears and lighter cell phone wave.]

How to get started as a speaker

The Public Speaker/Presenter’s Most Costly Mistake

By Lori

There you are, about to give your killer presentation to room that’s just packed with your ideal clients.

You mentally push down the butterflies rippling through your stomach and try to walk calmly up and down the aisles while you pass out the slide handouts for the presentation you’re about to deliver.

The attendees immediately bury their heads as they flip through the handouts, reading the slides. A couple of people skulking in the back of the room slip out the door as you clear your throat to begin.

Hold it right there.

Stop. Rewind.

You’ve just made one of the most common speaker mistakes.  It’s okay – you did it with the absolute best intentions. You wanted to provide value to your audience.

Handing out your presentation slides before you deliver your talk creates two big problems:

1. During your presentation, it distracts your audience by giving them something else to read and do while they’re in the room with you. A big no no.

As the speaker or presenter, your goal is to have the rapt attention of each and every person in the room. You do not want them reading pages or slipping from the room because they believe that they’ve gotten what they hoped from your talk.

2. After your presentation, it eliminates much of your attendees’ motivation to continue the relationship with you. As a business person, your goal is to give your audience members a reason to share their contact information with you, so that you can deepen the relationship over time.

So, now let’s replay this scene:

Before you launch into your presentation or during the talk itself you assure your audience that they don’t need to take extensive notes because you’ll be happy to email a comprehensive handout and resource list to everyone who gives you their card. (You can also bring a pre-made sign up sheet with you and have it passed around the room, for people to provide their email addresses.)

Instead of copies of your powerpoint slides, create a single page outline of your talk that covers the major concepts and email it to everyone who requested it. Throwing in an additional sheet or two of helpful resources will go a long way in solidifying your image as a credible (and helpful!) expert.

Best of all, you’ve now got a list of highly qualified prospects that you can interact with.

P.S. Just to be clear, getting someone’s name and email to send them information following a presentation IS NOT permission to add them to a recurring email list. Make this mistake and you risk being labeled a ‘spammer’ by your internet service provider, barring you from sending email at all. You CAN invite them to join your list (and if you do, it’s a good idea to let them know what value they’ll get from joining.)

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

What the Chief Beer Economist can teach you about doing your dream work

By Lori

Famous in your field: what you loved as a kid can be your key to standing out

Famous in your field: what you loved as a kid can be your key to standing out

Bart Watson thinks and talks about beer all day long.

Sure, so do millions of other people, but for Bart it’s more than a hobby. It’s his job.

You may not have heard of him yet, but he’s definitely famous in his field.

The best part for Bart? He mixed his personal passion with his vocation.

Bart is the Chief Economist for The Brewers Association. The Brewers Association is an organization of craft beer brewers, home brewers, their suppliers and wholesalers.

Economics and beer

It’s a killer recipe.

Bart may not have set out to become famous in his field. After all, in his words, he’s a “a stats geek, beer lover, and Certified Cicerone®.” (That’s a certification as a bona fide beer expert. Feel free to casually drop it at your next swanky soiree.)

That’s delightful for Bart, you may think, but how do I combine my personal passions with my professional skills?

There are certain characteristics you need to become even a little bit famous in your field. Let’s focus on just three must-have criteria for now:

  • Specialization
  • Authority
  • Distinction


You know who does NOT become famous in their field? Generalists.

To make an impact, you’ve got to focus.

Concentrate on a core talent. Hone it. Own it.

(Fret not fame seeker! You can always expand your specialty later, but until you’re known, your expertise should be an inch wide and a mile deep.)


Your goal: to be recognized as an expert and a leader in your area.

Marketer Frank Kern said this, “Positioning, most importantly positioning yourself as an authority, is the single most important thing you can do increase your perceived value to the market place.” [Huffington Post]

Bart knows beer and he knows economics. Boom! Authority.


You have to stand out. To be “different” from the other people who do what you do.

(But don’t be that one person who always wears head-to-toe purple, hoping to stand out. You will, but not in a good way.)

Your distinction should have value for your audience and be sustainable.

7 magic questions to uncover your special, distinctive authority

It can be hard to figure out how to specialize, demonstrate authority and practice distinction. It takes effort and self-reflection.

Here are seven questions to help you excavate your assets:

  1. How can you leverage your past training or experience to bring a new perspective to your current endeavor?
  2. Look to practices or strategies from another field or industry. How could you add those to your own approach?
  3. What sections of the bookstore are you drawn to? What books are on your bedside table?
  4. What gives you untold energy when you do it?
  5. As a child, what skills were you good at? What did you love to do?
  6. What are the things you do that you feel come “easy” for you?
  7. As you progress through your life…what characteristics do people keep telling you that you are “so talented” in?

By answering some of these questions for yourself, you’ll discover your own superpowers and interests. When you combine these ingredients with your expertise, they create your secret sauce.

And when you weave them into what you do, they naturally create the personal brand elements of specialization, authority and distinction.

Don’t worry if what you’re doing now doesn’t mix your personal passions with your vocation.

It can take time to remember what you used to love, discover what you’re fantastic at and then to figure out how to mix those ingredients into your signature fame cocktail.

Bart Watson’s first job wasn’t Chief Beer Economist. Nor was his second. But now it is.

And back when I was rocking parachute pants while furiously scribbling detective stories, choreographing Solid Gold dance routines with my cousins and spying on strangers, I had no idea that I’d eventually inject those passions in my business.

But I do.

Every. Damn. Day.

Take some advice from Steve Jobs:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

Your fame boosting assignment:

Spend some time this week looking backward. Ask yourself the magic questions. Rediscover your passions. Take note of your talents. Think about how you could add some of your own brand of magic to your work.

You, my friend, are on your way to being straight up swoon-worthy.