~ George Carlin
Speaking is one of those ’chicken and egg’ factors in building authority and increasing your ability to influence others: the more you speak, the more opportunities you get to speak, and the more your authority grows. However, despite the truth of Luna Lovegood’s statement in the Harry Potter series that, “A circle has no beginning.” there are always ways to intersect with a circle if you look for them.
The primary reason you should be interested in intersecting with that circle of speaking opportunity is that the right speaking gigs used wisely offer amazing opportunities to connect with your ideal clients, widen your circle of influence, and provide lead generation and sales opportunities.
There are three essentials that every aspiring keynote speaker should have if they want to create speaking opportunities for themselves: Visibility as a Speaker, Promotional Assets for Speaking, and Video.
Visibility: What Does Google Say About You as a Speaker?
These days most people start their research into any new topic or personality with a search of the internet. Therefore, if you want to attract speaking opportunities it’s important that you show up as a speaker when people type your name into Google.
If you were looking for a speaker for your next event and had two names provided for you to choose between, the probability is that you would pick the person who showed up in your search with some sort of personal brand and stage credibility, over the person with a string of degrees and a title on the corporate website. Why? Because you want someone who can speak and engage an audience, not just someone with lots of information. In fact, there’s a good chance that the person on the corporate website will receive an invitation to sponsor the event rather than an invitation to speak.
When a Google search reveals a website that highlights your authority as an author and speaker, and visually reinforces that impression with images and video as well as text it transforms your opportunities, and, of course, the more Keynotes you deliver the more testimonials, photos, and videos you have and the more opportunities you will get as a result.
This is a primary reasons why you need to develop a personal brand that you can take with you wherever you go… because even if you own your business you may sell it one day, or simply choose to branch out in a different direction.
Essential Promotional Assets for Speakers
Your Speakers Kit:
Within your personal website you want a Speaker’s Kit which should come in two forms: a one-sheet summary, and a 4- or 8-page downloadable brochure.
The one-sheet summary should provide your essential information (including contact details and key topics) at a quick glance. The downloadable brochure provides more detail and some graphic reinforcement of the idea that you are used to speaking to large audiences. If you already have experience and credibility, but are not (yet) a celebrity in your niche or industry then you should opt for the 8-pager which gives you more space to demonstrate your ability and expertise.
The reason why your Speaker’s Kit Brochure length should be a multiple of 4 is that you should also have printed copies for distribution with your ‘Shock and Awe’ package that you send out in response to enquiries as a further strategy for reinforcing your authority and professionalism.
Promotional Video Reel:
This should be featured on the front page of your personal website and should include clips of highlights from past presentations. It doesn’t have to be long, but should show your energy, your audience’s absorption and engagement, and give a feel for your style (or styles) so that organisers feel comfortable with this and develop trust.
The clips in this reel should be long enough to provide flow and short enough to create a sense of momentum and range. This should ideally be put together by a video editor who is experienced enough with this type of thing to do it really well.
Raw Video Footage of One or More Presentations:
Your promotional video reel provides the sizzle, this provides the substance that can make all the difference between whether you get the call to speak at all as well as the remuneration offer that you receive as a result.
A meeting organiser wants to know whether you are capable of holding the attention of your audience and delivering genuine value through a long presentation, especially if they are engaging you for a large conference filled with critical professionals. As you can imagine, it’s easy to put together a highlight reel that focuses on just a few minutes and misses the reality that all that enthusiasm was a polite response to the fact that your presentation is finally over and they are free to leave.
If you have more than one 20 minute or longer presentation on your website then your credibility and value could go up even higher… assuming that prospective clients are able to see that you deliver valuable content and hold the interest of your audience.
Using Speaking to Build Your Business
Speaking engagements come in many different shapes and sizes… as do the contracts that accompany them. You probably don’t want to spend your life travelling from place to place chasing speaking opportunities as that gets old pretty quickly so you need to be strategic both in evaluating which speaking engagements you accept and working out how to use them.
Your ultimate goal is to build the list of people you can communicate directly with, but it is very rare for a conference organiser to share the list of attendees with a speaker. In some cases you may be able to make a sales offer and give attendees the opportunity to respond to that offer at the end of your presentation. This might be a discounted purchase, a free consultation or free materials, or some other option.
One thing that is extremely popular at present, which several of my clients are using to great effect is a quiz. This is a great lead magnet in almost every context, but it can be especially effective for speakers. You can use a relevant assessment quiz (free or paid) as an offer at the end of your speech thereby delivering extra value to your audience as well as gaining contact details and additional data for yourself, OR… you can ask the organiser to email a link to your quiz to attendees prior to the event as part of their preparation and position this as a benefit because you will be able to add even more value by addressing the information they have already provided.