One of the best free ways to market your personal brand to your target audience is to take on speaking engagements in your field. I do this quite a lot in the London meetup circuit and I would like to share some tips on how to get booked to talk.
When you speak before a group of people, you generate lots of interest and you will have plenty of opportunities to chat with potential employees, customers, partners, investors, etc. Compare this to a normal meeting where you do your pitch to one or two people, it’s obviously more efficient to do it to ten or twenty prospects in one go.
By giving talks on specific topics you establish yourself as an expert or even a thought leader. Being seen as someone that really knows their stuff will lead to increased interest from peers and customers. The more you are seen, the more you are likely to be mentioned and interviewed in the media, both online and offline. If you have a site or a blog, you will notice that your visitor stats can skyrocket after a good speech. Your increased exposure will in turn lead to more inquiries, business and hopefully allow you to increase your rates.
How to get speaking engagements:
How do you pitch yourself and your speaking prowess to meetups, seminars, and conferences? You obviously have to find out who does the bookings of speakers. The best way to convince this person to book you is by sending over a speaker one-sheet, basically, a one-pager outlining what you talk about and why they should book you.
Just like a resume is screened by an employer, the speaker sheet will be reviewed by the event planner and it needs to provide this person with enough compelling information to get you booked in. Here are the main five bits of content your speaker fact sheet should contain:
- Name and photo – You will need a photo that brings out your personality and stays consistent with the topics you are proposing to speak about. The photo is critical to your personal brand as images tend to be remembered long after the text.
- Topics and benefits – What exactly do you speak about? List a few of your ‘greatest hits’ talks and how they were received. What are the benefits to the audience, why do they need to listen to you? You can write what problem you are looking to solve and what others thought of your presentations.
- Bio – The short biography will tell the reader what you have done in the past, what makes you an expert on your topic, and where you have spoken recently. Just like your normal bio, make sure to stay concise, write what you do for others, and back it up with evidence. Drop any prominent names that you think could be familiar to the reader. More on bios at 8 Steps To Writing a Professional Bio.
- Contact information – Your call to action has to be followed up with your contact details. Give the reader a range of options to contact you (phone, email, site, social media, etc) so that they can use their preferred method.
- Testimonials – This is where you let others sing your praises. List quotes from previous event planners and even audience members. Make sure to include glowing testimonials from a diverse set of people, so that any reader will be able to relate to the feedback you have received.
Having a great looking speaker one-sheet doesn’t mean you now should spray and pray it to every event planner in town. Take your time to research the individual and personalize your message as best you can. Follow up with a phone call to make sure they have received it and to create some urgency. Best of luck with your speaking campaign!