Tag Archives for " speaking "

Always wanted to do a TED Talk? 3 Steps to take today

By Admin

Woman standing on TED stage, face blurred

Woman standing on TED stage, face blurredWoman standing on TED stage, face blurred

You’ve heard of TED Talks right? Those things on the internet where famous people like Brene Brown and Jamie Oliver share articulate and inspiring ideas, gain millions of views, and open doors to higher speaking fees, book deals, and fame + fortune?

If standing up on that stage has always been a dream of yours but you assumed it was years away (once you’re “qualified”, a published book, have some magic number of speaking gigs under your belt, and happen to live in California), I’ve got some disappointing news. Or not. Appointing news? (Yes, I made up a word just then.)

Here it is: there are TED Talks events all around you. Just over 1000 per year, in fact. That dream you have that’s “far off?” It’s a lot easier to get than you’d think.

Even if you’ve heard of an event near you, you’ll want to read on. I’d bet I can show you at least 5 more.

Here’s how you can find each and every one of these TED Talks speaking opportunities:

Step 1: What not to do

Don’t rely on Google, word of mouth, or chance to find out about TED Talks events. This is what most people do. The problem here is you’re likely to find out about the event after they’ve already selected speakers (since speaker selection is done months in advance, and marketing efforts only ramp up a few months before the event). That’d be a bummer.

I’ll show you a better way.

Step 2: Find Events in the Future

Find TEDx event around the worldOk, now we’re getting actionable. First, go here:  

Now you’ve got a list of every single TEDx event in the world in the next 12 months. Neat huh? You can use filters to search for location, but I recommend you zoom in using the buttons on the corner.

Here’s where I recommend you look:

  • where you live now
  • where you come from (your home town, where you’ve lived in the past, where you went to university etc.)
  • where you visit often (because your family lives there, you go there for business etc.)

If you live in a rural area and there are few events in your area, don’t be afraid to record events that are a few hours away (or even further) if you’re willing to travel.

If we use the example of Atlanta, here’s what I see:

Map showing TEDx events around Atlanta, GANote that there are several in Atlanta, one near East Cobb, and one near Kennesaw (if we had used the “location” filter, we would have only seen those in Atlanta and missed the ones nearby…not good). Clicking on one of these little dots brings up more details as well (like the date, which is important).

Close up map showing TEDxPeachTree event

That little box that just showed up? If you click on the event title (“TEDxPeachtree), it’ll bring up even more info. Notice below, I can see the theme (“Together”), the website, and a nice little description.

Excerpt of TEDxPeachtree website

Now you know the event title, date, website, theme, and organizer info. Wow. Now all you’ve got to do is apply to speak (check out the full guide I put together on that too).

Step 3: (for even more) Find past events that’ll likely happen again

If step 1 found you events in the next 12 months…what about events in the next 13 months? So glad you asked.

Sometimes event organisers run an event and they plan to do another one, but it hasn’t been licensed by TED just yet (because they just finished the last one, or they took a break for a year). The event is still happening, and the audience for that event knows it, but they just haven’t gotten around to applying for a license renewal just yet. For example, many university events get their license in September when the new cohort of students arrives, whereas many standard TEDx events get the license soon after the previous event is done.

You can find these past events by clicking on “Past” at the bottom of the page, or by visiting http://www.ted.com/tedx/events?when=past.

If you further add an event date filter for the current year (eg: if it’s currently 2016, you can add a filter for past events in 2016) this will give you an idea of what events are likely to occur again the following year, while keeping you from seeing every event since the beginning of time.

Continuing with our Atlanta example:

TEDx 6Not bad huh? Looks like we’ve found a few more events. Some of these are captured in our step 1 analysis, but you can click around and see if there’s anything new (eg: I found TEDxGeorgiaTech, which I’m guessing is a pretty big event!).

Your fame boosting assignment:

Use the strategies above to find future TEDx events and events in the past that may happen again (sneaky!), and record all you can about them. You can even use this handy spreadsheet to track everything.

If you’re ready to pursue your dream of doing a TED Talk, head on over to GetYourFirstTEDTalk.com for specific strategies on how to put togeter a compelling pitch, find your TED-worthy topic, build relationships with the right people, and more.

Ryan Hildebrandt is a TEDx event founder with an engineering background (P.Eng). helping speakers, authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs with an important idea spread it by landing a TED Talk. He created the website www.GetYourFirstTEDTalk.com in order to spread little-known secrets about how to successfully land a TED Talk.

Steal this Speaker Proposal Formula (+ win a free book!)

By Admin

Get Picked to Speak book giveaway

Get Picked to Speak book giveaway
Warning: I’m going hard on a book recommendation here. Seriously, if you have an itch to spread your message, market your practice or be seen as a leader and expert, you need to speak at conferences. It’s the shortcut to becoming famous in your field.

But speaking at conferences can be a different animal from other kinds of public speaking. For one thing, there’s a process. And for some potential speakers, the process feels daunting.

(What the heck is an abstract? How do I create learning objectives? And how can I deliver my message in a way that builds my business and gets me invited back?)

Friends, I’ve got your lifeline.

It’s a brand new book, Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating an Irresistible Speaker Proposal by Aurora Gregory and David Pitlik.

Get Picked to Speak book coverIn the book, Aurora and David share their wisdom, collected from having written scores of successful speaker submissions for conferences around the world.

Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan’s Treasury Services, Eileen Zicchino credits the Get Picked authors with securing coveted slots for J.P. Morgan’s subject matter experts.

And I agree 100% with her statement: “Crafting a proposal that secures a speaking slot is both art and science.”

Here are a few of the strategies and tactics you’ll find in Get Picked:

  • How to find conferences to pitch your expertise
  • How to make your idea a “hot topic”
  • What makes a great presentation title
  • How to use story-telling to sell your presentation idea
  • Making the most of the limited word counts most call-for-speakers allow
  • Ensuring your presentation deck works for you and not against you

Their material on how to structure your speaker submission alone is worth the two hours you’ll spend devouring the entire book.

[A little straight talk here, ’cause we’ve all noticed the trend. But let me assure you that this is not one of those books with an interesting concept that could be thoroughly explored in 20-30 pages, but instead is stated, restated and fluffed and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to eek out the 200+ pages that seem to be required for every New York Times Bestseller hopeful. Get Picked gets right to the point.]

Best of all, you can use this speaker submission framework for everything from formal conference submissions and informal pitches to event organizers to the topic descriptions on your website. With this formula, your conference speaking game is going to be so next level. Enjoy!

3 Simple Steps to Construct Your Session Story (excerpted from Get Picked)

Applying some basic storytelling principles can help you lay out the session description in a way that grabs attention, creates drama, and hopefully makes it irresistible to the committee or task force who will be making the conference speaker selections.

Step 1: In the beginning

Start by setting up the common challenges your potential session attendees face. These may include common headaches you share, things that keep you up at night, obstacles that you and your organization faced – all of which drove you to seek solutions.

Challenges can include everything from lack of know how, mindset issues, economic conditions, regulatory restrictions, process shortcomings, lack of technology, management hurdles, etc.

Be sure to keep your audience in mind when setting up the problem. The more they can relate to the situation you faced, the more likely they will want to hear how you addressed the problem. This sets the dramatic stage for the solution that follows.

Examples of setting up story drama:

“As baby boomers are rapidly aging-out of the workforce, human resource professionals are facing a tremendous brain drain in the senior ranks of their organizations, leading to increased pressure to cultivate the next generation of leaders.”

OR

“With 25 percent of millennials putting off obtaining their driver’s licenses, the automotive marketplace is facing a potentially catastrophic loss of its future consumer base, leaving critical questions for the future of the industry.”

Step 2 – Building the yellow brick road

Now that you’ve briefly laid out the challenges, you’ll want to paint a compelling picture of how you addressed these problems and implemented solutions that delivered noteworthy results.

Stealing a little Wizard of Oz imagery, this is where you’ll describe how you built your yellow brick road to a successful outcome.

Once again, it’s important to keep your audience in mind as you lay out this part of your story. Think of it this way, if you could talk one-on-one with a peer who’s facing the same issue, what would you tell them? The middle of your story continues to build the drama by outlining the steps you have taken to overcome all of your challenges.

Some examples of these steps might include:

  • How you developed a new process for reaching your goals
  • How you worked with different departments to achieve success
  • Or how you innovated a new way to use technology

This is your opportunity to describe your best practices and explain why they were so important for your organization or your clients. Here you just need to hit the high notes, so you can whet the selection committee’s and your audience’s appetite. Get this right and you’ll be the wizard behind the curtain!

Get Picked gives examples of how to frame the heart of your presentation proposal:

“The 21st Century classroom is all about engaging students using the tools they already know and use, which are primarily technology-based. In this presentation, we will explore the use of technology in the classroom and how to ensure quality teacher practice. We will discuss balancing accountability with innovation and how these tools can be used to stimulate effective learning.”

Another:

“No marketing tool today has the impact video has on audiences. In this session, attendees will learn about the latest trends in marketing with mobile video, and hear from practitioners on how mobile web and apps can drive engagement, increase conversions and build brands.”

 Step 3 – The big payoff

Wrap up your session description with a brief explanation of what you achieved. This is the happy ending to your story – the part where you achieved your goal. It’s okay to toot your horn (a little bit.) Everyone loves a success story.

Things you might include as your ending could be:

  • A new process that saved your company millions of dollars
  • Your ability to cut the time it takes your staff to execute processes
by half
  • How you managed to grow your business by 200% in the first three years

One caveat: It’s vitally important to couch everything in your session in terms of what attendees will take away. A common mistake is to focus solely on your own accomplishments. It’s important to be crystal clear that attendees will come away with valuable insights that they can apply to their own life, organizations, classrooms, or workplace.

While it may seem like semantics, shifting the language from “here’s what we learned” or “here’s what I did” to “here’s what attendees will learn” can make a big difference in the eyes of the folks reviewing your submission. This simple trick can dramatically improve your odds of selection!

Now we’re at the big finish. Feel free to model one of these examples of how to wrap up your presentation: 


“We will share how technology improvements have led to significant efficiency gains in managing the supply chain, saving the organization $1 million a year and dramatically improving the bottom-line.”

“Attendees will learn how this government agency was able to implement process improvements that ultimately reduced costs by 60%, drove tremendous staff efficiency, and freed up vital resources to focus on the critical task of supporting constituents.”

“We will reveal how this simple design concept has turned the lighting industry on its ear, and how game-changing innovation from a garage-based company has exploded into a $500 million-a-year business.”

Like what you’ve seen so far? Want more juicy tips? Buy Get Picked to Speak on Amazon today: http://amzn.to/28Y4ik7.

Super exciting bonus alert!

I’m giving away two copies of Get Picked to two lucky readers. (Yep, my first-ever giveaway.)

To be entered into the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what you most want to know about getting picked to speak.<<

I’ve said it before, but never forget that you, my friend, are straight up swoon-worthy.

UPDATE: Huge congrats to the winners of Get Picked, Lisa R. and Randy W. Your books are on the way to you right now. Soon we’ll see YOUR names on those conference programs!

Everyone gives the same terrible advice about public speaking–ignore it and do this instead

By Lori

Famous in Your Field public speaking tipsYou are:

  • a budding motivational speaker.
  • an ambitious professional who knows that public speaking will set you apart from all those other people in your industry.
  • a business leader who needs to inspire your team.

You’ve probably taken some kind of “Introduction to Delivering Presentations” course. (Maybe more than one!)

It might have been your high school speech teacher, or a well-meaning seminar leader who drilled public speaking commandments into your head.

But I’m here to tell you that some of the “conventional wisdom”; the stuff we all know about speaking to a group, is just plain wrong.

Let’s dive into three pieces of public speaking advice that you’ve heard again. And again.

Myth #1 – Don’t move your hands while you’re talking, it’s distracting to your audience.

Who hasn’t read or been told that they should keep their hands still? It’s one of the oldest bits of advice that gets passed down, from wise teacher to eager pupil.

Annndd it’s not true.

Sure, you don’t want to make repetitive, nervous tapping or coin jingling noises, but moving your hands – yes, frequently even – to emphasize points you’re making?

THAT builds an impact.

Vanessa Van Edwards is a body language expert who runs a human behavior lab. She talks about science, psychology and body language on her site, Science of People.

Vanessa’s team ran a study on the most popular TED talks. They found that even when two talks covered the same topic:

“…the talks that had the most hand gestures correlated with the talks that were overall favorites.”

Moving your hands from side to side and up and down actually makes your talk more compelling.

Why? It gives the listener visual, as well as auditory content to keep the brain engaged.

Myths #2 – To keep people’s attention, speak quickly. 

The gist: You should speak quickly in order to capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested.

“Speaking quickly shows energy and excitement,” they say. “Don’t take too much time. You need to speak fast, otherwise your audience will be bored.”

No. Just no.

Instead, use your voice to influence others.

UCLA acoustic scientist Rosario Signorello conducted charisma experiments. Here’s what she told the Wall Street Journal: “You have the capacity to shape your voice in a way that makes people perceive you as a leader.”

So, how can you become more charismatic while speaking? By speaking more s-l-o-w-l-y.

Think about the qualities of a nervous (sounding) person:

  • squeaky, high-pitched voice
  • rapid speech

To broadcast confidence, slow down. Don’t rush to get the words out; pause a second or two between points for emphasis. Silence, used strategically, builds interest.

Speaking more slowly and pausing demonstrates that you’re confident in the importance of what you have to say and in your audience’s desire to hear it from you.

Myth 3. Focus on your words.

Here’s a bit of speaking advice you’ve heard over and over, “Script what you’re going to say. Plan it carefully! Using the right word or phrase is crucial.”

In fact, most people who have to give a presentation or a speech spend nearly all of their preparation time crafting the words.

They agonize over this phrase or that. Have they used a certain word too often? Is it the right word? Is there a better word? What if I flub the word?

The content that you deliver matters. There’s no doubt.

But the way that you deliver your content, the non-verbal matters so much more than you think.

For more research-based speaking advice, let’s again look to the Science of People’s TED talk study. SOP recruited over 750 people, asking them to rate hundreds of hours of TED Talks, looking for specific nonverbal and body language patterns.

What the researchers found was amazing. And counterintuitive.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Viewers who watched talks with sound and those who watched speakers on mute both rated the same talks highly.

Both the with-sound and the without-sound viewers rated same speakers as the most charismatic, intelligent and credible. (Yes, whether they heard the words or not!)

The lesson here is that anyone who has to deliver a message should spend at least as much time practicing delivering the content as what they’ll say.

Focus on the energy you want to bring and using it to connect with the audience.

“Anyone with a big idea should be able to express their passion both verbally and nonverbally,” advises Vanessa Van Edwards.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, pick one of these three speaking myths and practice doing the opposite.

If you normally keep your hands at your side while talking, bring them up to your waist and move them to emphasize your points.

Try slowing down your speech in a conversation. Use strategic pauses when leading a meeting.

Or, focus on your energy during a presentation, not a script.

The forecast for your week? 100% chance of awesome!

11 ways to get more results from speaking

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Speaking and presenting are super effective ways to bring business in the door. (Skeptical? For all the reasons speaking can ramp up ROI, check out my three part series on speaking engagements.)

Done right, you’ll put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into a presentation. There’s the pitching, the planning, the rehearsal, the travel, and possibly, the stage fright.

After all that, don’t you dare leave business growth opportunities back at the conference. To get the most mileage out of your speaking events, here are 11 ways that you can get a bigger, better results from your efforts.

BEFORE

1. Ask your audience, clients and prospects for input.
Even before you devote hours to developing your speaking topic or crafting a killer slidedeck, solicit input from fans, current clients and prospects. Let them help you drill down on hot button issues.

The very act of asking for input and opinions (especially when you can let them know it’s for an upcoming speaking engagement *wink wink*) promotes your thought leadership and positions you as a playa.

How can you gather insight quickly? Through your blog, via email, Twitter, Facebook, professional forums, Linkedin groups, etc.

Ask a question, create a poll or send out a short (no more than three or four questions, please) survey.

DURING

2. Continue the relationship with your audience.

Use your presentation handouts as part of a lead collection or newsletter signup system. Attendees can sign up for your newsletter or blog to receive slides, notes or resources. By providing additional value, you can keep in touch with more people, even if you didn’t have a conversation at the event.

AFTER

Now that you’ve crafted and delivered your presentation, it’s time to accelerate the marketing momentum. How? By practicing one of the key principles of content marketing and your “be everywhere” strategy: repurposing.

Wait. Just in case that little voice is niggling at you, saying “I can’t distribute the same thing again. My prospects and clients have already seen it – they want something that’s fresh and new. They’ll never come back to my website again!”

Wroooooong.

Your prospects and clients are far, far less aware of the material that you distribute than you are. They’re busy. They don’t remember things. Most of them didn’t see that last article/blog post/tweet/email you sent.

Messages have to repeated, repeated, repeated and delivered in different modes to be absorbed.

3. Create multiple blog posts from the content of your talk. Break down the talk into single idea, bite-sized chunks.

4. Write one or more articles. Hate to write? Hire a freelancer from Scripted.com or elance.com or just speak your presentation into a recording tool and have it transcribed. A teeny bit polishing and boom-pow, you’re done.

5. Post your presentation on a sharing site like Slideshare.net or Scribd.com.

6. Post the presentation slidedeck (or just a few slides) on your blog. Slideshare makes it super easy to paste the embed code right into your post.

7. Republish the talk as a whitepaper or ebook.

8. Link to the presentation via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

9. Tweet a series of soundbites from your talk.

10. Record yourself giving the talk and post audio on iTunes, Stitcher and your website.

11. Record and post video on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to get more mileage out of a presentation? Am I missing some great ideas? Comment below and share your faves.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Dig out a presentation or talk that you’ve given. Shake the dust off and repurpose it in two ways, using ideas from this list. The world needs more of that magic you’ve got. C’mon, give it to us!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

How to get speaking engagements at associations, companies and conferences

By Lori

Speak at Associations, Companies and ConferencesEdward writes,

“I have given speeches at Rotary Clubs & Kiwanis groups. I want to know how to approach associations, companies, conferences, conventions, etc. – for speaking engagements. Also, should I offer free speeches at these groups in the beginning?”

Edward, thank you for asking the question!

And the answer is…. Yes.

Okay, let me say a little more about that.

Yes, you should offer free speeches to these groups in the beginning for three BIG reasons:

  1. Free speeches build your name recognition.
  1. Speaking for free gives you an opportunity to hone your delivery and your material until it ignites hearts and minds.
  1. Free speaking can also be a gateway to other moneymaking avenues that stem from speaking, like private consulting, training, coaching or product sales.

But here’s news that may shock you: even after you’re “established,” you might also be giving free talks. Only now, they’ll be at the biggest, most prestigious events.

Gasp.

It may sound counterintuitive, but among the most successful speakers, there’s no hard and fast line between speaking for big fees and speaking for free.

Public speakers who use speaking to grow their business, motivate the masses or those who want to make a living of being on stage understand that sometimes, you’ll speak for free because it’s a smart return on investment.

Chris Widener, a personal development and leadership speaker who commands $20,000 a speech told Forbes he’ll “also speak – often for free – at large multilevel marketing conferences large where he sells a variety of products he’s created, including sets of CDs and DVDs, e-books, and hard copy books.”

His take home haul from those events is far north of $20,000.

And now let’s look at how things generally work in the Association/Company/Conference speaking world.

(As always, your mileage may vary.)

Members only_sm

ASSOCIATIONS

Looking for the best way to kick off your association speaking tour?

Start locally.

When you’ve found an industry or association that’s a good fit for your speaking or training topics, offer to present to a local chapter first.

Then, once you’ve delivered a fabulous experience, chapter members will recommend you to other chapters and even to the larger regional or national organization as a speaker.

You see, association chapter leaders communicate and support other chapter leaders by sharing valuable resources…which could include you!

(Within each local chapter of an association, there are often several members who participate in organizing statewide, regional or national events, too.)

How to approach associations for speaking opportunities

You can reach out to these associations cold, and hope that your email and phone calls are persuasive.

And you can send big fat speaker kit packets and cross your fingers.

But I’ve found a different method to be more effective than the “spray and pray” approach.

Find someone in your network who knows someone in that organization:

  • Email or call friends, neighbors, and colleagues, asking if they know anyone involved in the association.
  • Ask people you meet at events if they know anyone in your target association.
  • Look up the association on LinkedIn, which will often show if you have a second-degree connection to one of the association’s members.

Here’s why this approach works better than cold calling: people often ignore solicitations from strangers. After all, association staffers and volunteers are busy.

But a request from a friend or business colleague? That gets an answer.

Of course, if you just can’t find a “warm” connection, go in cold and heat it up! Follow these simple steps:

1. First, spend some time looking at the organization’s website, event calendar and social media to get to know the types of events it holds, topics covered and speakers.

2. Next, find the staff or board listing (in the case of a volunteer-run organization) on the website. Often, you’re looking for someone with Education, Programs or Events in their organizational title. If those are missing, go straight for the Director or President.

3. Then, craft your pitch. Don’t be salesy, but do include a clear description of your topic, your bio and why your topic is a good fit for the organization.

4. Finally, send it off to the organizational contact you found.

5. Follow up as needed. (That usually means two or three times at the most.)

COMPANIES

The process for getting speaking opportunities with companies is similar to working with associations.

Find your target companies. Then search your network (using the same process as you did with associations) for a connection to the company, who can then introduce you to the right person to hear your pitch.

If you can’t find a connection, approach local companies directly, often through their Human Resources, or training and development groups. (However, depending on your topic, you may reach out to specific departments, like Sales.)

Here, too, giving a talk or workshop that moves hearts and minds will go a long way toward getting you booked for multiple sessions, long-term training or with other organizations.

Bonus tip: members of associations are often employees of companies! Own the stage at that association chapter meeting first, and then ask the audience members to suggest companies and other organizations that could benefit from hearing your talk.

Another client includes this question on her presentation evaluation form.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you're basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you’re basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

CONFERENCES

Conferences range from one-time gatherings to recurring local, statewide, regional and national events, often organized by associations, companies and media partners.

Some conferences are organized informally, and seek speakers who are recommended by members and peers. (These are typically smaller events.)

Other events have a formal submission process, starting with a Call for Presentations or Call for Speakers. Speakers are typically vetted by a committee that evaluates submissions based on the event’s theme and desired topics as well as the speaker’s experience, reputation and speaking ability.

Pro tip #1: Event organizers know that getting bums in seats is much harder than it used to be.

That’s why some organizers prefer speakers with a large platform – speakers are expected to help market the event to their own subscribers and social media followers.

Pro tip #2: Don’t assume that bigger is better when it comes to getting paid to speak.

I’ve spoken at local, regional and national events from the same industry association. Here’s what happened at each:

  • The local event did not pay a speaker’s fee, but I have gotten referrals for business from people who attended my workshop.
  • The regional conference (a gathering of the members across 6 or 7 states) paid travel expenses and a small stipend.
  • The national conference did not pay a speaker’s fee, nor did it cover travel expenses, contending that speaking at its national conference was an honor beyond payment.

Sad truth: The no-pay for session speakers policy is not unusual. In fact, it’s more common than not. While headliners like New York Times bestselling authors, top athletes, and newsmakers like astronauts, business and political figures may score $15,000 to $75,000 for a single conference keynote, breakout speakers are paid in “exposure.”

Just this week, one of my clients was asked to submit a proposal as a break out speaker for an upcoming national conference.

Here’s what she’d get, if selected:

“Presenter Benefits

  • Opportunity to influence the practice of [industry] and to enhance the future of the profession
  • Promotion of presenter’s credentials on the [Association] website, in Convention programs, and in print and electronic marketing materials including the [Association] 2016 Convention App
  • Recognition of presenter’s subject matter expertise by [Association]
  • Full complimentary registration to the 2016 [Association] International Convention & Expo in Philadelphia.

[Association] does not pay per diem, honoraria or expenses for session presenters.

Is it a universal truth that conferences don’t pay breakout speakers? No, but the practice is common and new speakers are often surprised to learn that.

Your fame boosting assignment:

If you’re looking to share your brilliance by speaking at associations, companies and conferences, start by picking three targets.

This week, find your connection to the organization and reach out with a request to speak. (Feel free to get creative with the steps I’ve listed.)

I’m all kinds of fired up about you, superstar.

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.

Engineering

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.

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.

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 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.

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