03 Nov PR To Get More Speaking Gigs…or more speaking gigs to get PR?
I’ve noticed a slow but insidious change in the speaking scene. When I first started speaking it was very common to be paid to speak, your expenses were always covered, both travel and accommodation, and what you sold on the day, was yours and good luck to you.
And then were more than a few clever people who truly made their living by speaking alone. And we’re not just talking those outstanding people who have done things like crossing the Sahara on one leg.
Now, the number of people who make serious money out of speaking has dwindled considerably. Indeed, in a recent conversation with successful business speaker Robert Craven, he told me that he thought that there were only a handful of real professional business speakers in the UK.
But, let’s face it, the majority of us business people don’t want a full on speaking career, hurtling up and down the M1, spending night after night alone in the Premier Inn. But more speaking…and more money with it too would be a good thing.
So, there’s generally two ways of making money through speaking. The first is by getting paid to speak and the second is by selling from the stage.
Selling from the stage is a whole different article, so let’s think about getting paid to speak here.
If you want to get paid to speak you’ll need to look professional – people want to know they are getting their money’s worth. Ways you can help yourself to look more professional are to spend a bit of cash putting a great video on your site, getting lots of testimonials (if you speak for free then at least insist on getting a testimonial out of it) and letting people know that you want more speaking work – have a page or an obvious link on your page that tells people this.
Embrace Your Niche
I always cringe when people tell me they can talk about this….and then add “I also do that”. How compelling is that? Hardly. Be strong and confident about what you and what you stand for. Get comfortable with your subject and you are on the road to being memorable.
Do It Your Way (thanks Frankie)
I had a chat a few months ago with Simon Jordan who told me that in the past he spent a lot of time going to 4 Networking meetings around the UK, which allow you the opportunity to do on the spot talks about your business. That’s one way of doing things, although it wouldn’t be my way. I’m not sure I would want all the travelling and it certainly doesn’t fit in with my family life.
So, decide how you would do it? You could do a series of videos and create a YouTube channel or place them on your website.
You could set up a talk and film it for a show reel to send to a speaker’s Agency. I know that they are not taking many clients on at a moment, but now and again someone does blow them away. Could that be you?
Make a decision on how much free speaking you are going to do. Where are your boundaries? Will you talk for free if you are allowed to sell, or grow your list by offering a freebie? What if you can sell but the organisers want fifty percent? What are your boundaries? Setting your own boundaries and rules is a good idea because it is then so much easier to reject offers that don’t fit them, rather than agonising over every opportunity. Now and again you might bend your own rules, such as when you would be speaking alongside someone you would love to meet, but on the whole you’ll save a lot of time and, quite often, if you are firm about where your boundaries are, if they really want you, people will bend to accommodate you.
Finally, the great thing about speaking is that it is more than just the money. Travelling can be lots of fun, you get to meet interesting people and some people (like me) really relish the peace and quiet and pampering of staying at a lovely hotel. And then more speaking you do, the more people will come up to and ask you to consider speaking for their event or their conference. Embrace it, one of the most exciting things about speaking is that you never know what’s coming next.