Have you decided to hit the speaking circuit to promote your product or service? Congratulations! Giving talks is a powerful, effective way to enhance your reputation and grow your business. Once you’re booked, these tips will help you be a speaker who is applauded, referred and invited back:
1. Provide appropriate promotional materials in advance. Find out if the host organization has a newsletter, when it goes out, and the preferred content submission format. Send a brief description of your presentation, your bio, and a photo well ahead of the deadline. Make it clever and catchy, and be sure the reader sees a benefit in attending. Remember that most organizations post their speaker info online these days, so include your targeted keywords in the copy. And remember your complete contact information.
2. Find out how much time you have and stick to the organization’s schedule. You can always offer to stay after the meeting closes to answer questions one-on-one.
3. Let the host know ahead of time what sort of equipment (projector, screen, white board, other resources) you need. Don’t walk in the door five minutes before the meeting starts and expect to have those items available—as a speaker did to me a few months ago.
4. Write your own introduction and hand it to your host. You can also send it ahead of time, but bring a copy with you. It should briefly establish you as the expert you are and appropriately set the stage for your talk. If you let the host come up with your introduction, there’s no telling what will be said—or left out. Most hosts will read exactly what you give them. And if your name is tricky to pronounce, include a phonetic spelling.
5. If you have a book or other products you want to sell, ask about the host organization’s policy in advance. Some are liberal; others very strict about how sales are conducted. Non-profits may appreciate a cut of your sales. Never assume.
6. Get the numbers and demographics of the audience. Before you book the event, ask about the group’s demographics so you don’t waste your time or theirs with an inappropriate presentation. Also find out how many people will be there so you’ll be sure to have sufficient hand-outs and/or products. It’s also worth asking if the organization will make the attendance list available to you for follow-up. Most won’t, but they may allow you to collect business cards or use some other strategy such as a raffle to capture contact information.
7. Make your hand-outs memorable and usable. A thick pack of information will likely get left behind or tossed as soon as folks get home or back to their offices. Coach Jenn Lee attaches her business card to a rubber duck and makes the duck part of her presentation. I’ve got that duck sitting on my desk.
8. Don’t read, engage. Don’t just stand at the front of the room and read a speech from paper—or even worse, throw up a PowerPoint presentation and just read what’s on the slides. Use notes to keep yourself on track, but have a conversation with the audience. If time allows and the venue is appropriate, take questions. Hang around after for individual chats.
9. Keep your promises. If you offer to send follow-up materials, do it promptly. If you agree to meet with someone, make it happen.
Need help writing your books, ebooks, hand-out materials? Hire a great ghostwriter. Call me!