Given today’s challenging economy one proven way to do boost visibility is through public speaking. By speaking at various outlets – at conferences, seminars and virtual events – you can create exposure for your expertise and demonstrate thought leadership.
Speaking opportunities represent a strong marketing, public relations, business development, and thought leadership tool for the following reasons:
1-Attendees get to learn about your expertise firsthand.
2-Speaking can increase your visibility in vertical/industry sectors or broad-based areas that you have targeted for greater exposure.
3-You gain “advertising” and branding by having your name and your company’s name published in the online agenda seen by hundreds or even thousands of people online.
4-Speaking in front of prospective clients can lead to the generation of business leads.
What should you be doing to get yourself out on the speaking circuit? Take the following 5 steps:
1-Create high-impact presentations. Audiences want to acquire actionable information they can take back to their organizations. They don’t want to hear that your firm is a leader in this or that subject area. A solid, informative presentation that is purely educational and does not promote your business will create instant credibility and obviate the need for a “sales pitch.” A presentation that turns out to be a sales pitch will ensure low evaluations by the audience.
2-Target the right audience. Thoroughly research the events for which you can propose yourself as a speaker, as a solo presenter or as a panelist. Identify speaking engagements whose audiences represent the clients and industries you want to reach.
3-Develop a proactive speaker placement program. Getting speaking engagements takes a lot of effort. It’s fine to evaluate unsolicited speaking opportunities if you’re fortunate enough to receive them. However, if you dedicate yourself to the task of aggressively identifying opportunities, develop relationships with event organizers and write and submit speaker proposals, the results should yield an increase in the frequency of speaking engagements.
4-Learn the process for submitting a speaker proposal to the event organizer. It could be a formal process, such as doing so through a Call for Speakers application or simply sending an email to the person you identify as being the gatekeeper or decision-maker. Take care to follow the process for submitting a proposal, which includes writing a presentation abstract, submitting your bio and speaking expertise, and, of course, meeting the proposal deadline date. Make sure you tailor the abstract and the bio to each speaking opportunity so that they fit the objectives of the audience.
5-Follow up continuously and persistently with the event organizer to help you stay above the noise, since you will often be competing with many others for the same speaking slots.
By developing an effective speaker placement program for you and your consulting business, you will have taken a big step in contributing to your marketing/PR, business development, and thought leadership objectives.