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