How many times have you been to a major conference in your sector and seen one of your competitors speaking on stage, garnering profile, plaudits and prospective clients?
Why do event organisers always ask them but not you?
Perhaps you’re not seen as a heavy hitter in the industry. Maybe you’re overlooked because your business isn’t based in Soho or Shoreditch.
More likely, you’ve simply never put yourself forward as a speaker so no one thinks of you when they’re looking for a keynote speaker. Why is that? I’m sure you don’t lack things to say or views to espouse. I’m sure you know your stuff and have ideas to share. I’m sure you absolutely deserve to be on that stage.
The explanation may actually be very simple. The person you see stealing your spotlight put themselves forward. They applied. They asked. They volunteered, even. Speaker selection differs for every event but the key is not to wait to be asked – get proactive and put yourself forward following whatever procedure the event in question follows. Here are some first steps:
• While you’re at this conference, ask a member of the organising team if you could be introduced to the person who books the speakers – and suggest a pertinent topic you could speak on next year.
• Ask the person you’ve just seen speak how they got the stage time – and follow their lead.
• Start promoting yourself as a speaker. Add a page to your company website highlighting your availability as an industry speaker, listing 2 or 3 topics you could deliver on.
• Look for opportunities to appear on panels to show others that you’re ‘stage ready’ and can be relaxed and engaging on stage.
• Start by targeting some smaller events to get experience and to build your reputation as a speaker. Put the video of those smaller speaking gigs on your website and socials to promote your ability as a speaker.
• Work with a speech coach who can help you to hone both your content and your delivery so you know you’re speaking at a level to be taken seriously by event bookers. Those that get asked back regularly are those who provide great value in their content but also have the stage skills to fill a room with energy.
Finally, know why you want to be a public speaker. Are you looking to promote yourself as an expert, build awareness for your brand and drive enquiries? Do you want to be taking on paid speaking slots and generating income? Do you want to change hearts and minds or be seen as leading a campaign for or against something? Or are you seeking the validation and ego-stroke of seeing yourself on posters and receiving applause? All perfectly valid reasons to be speaking in public, but knowing what you want to achieve as you set out on this journey will make it far more likely you’ll succeed in your aims.
If it’s something you’re considering but not 100% sure about yet, drop me a line and lets have a chat to see if I can help you find clarity and a way to achieve your speaking goals.