19 Oct VA Agency Owner Susan Moore Talks about How to Get Speaking Gigs
Our latest expert, Susan Moore, of Moore VA, answers your questions about raising your profile through speaking opportunities
I’d like to build up my profile as a speaker, what are the first things I should be doing?
Firstly, get some feedback on your speaking. Even if you have some experience, there’s always room to learn. If you think you’d benefit from some help, get some recommendations for public speaking workshops or groups (or ask me).
Get clear about your area of expertise. Some speakers have a broad range of business experience but a long list of diverse subjects can make it difficult for a conference organiser to understand where your expertise lies. If, for example, your expertise is in employment law, put together three or four talks that relate to this subject.
Put together a speaker sheet. This should include an introduction, a brief description of your talks, a good headshot and a short biography together with details of recent press coverage. If you have any short video clips of you speaking to an audience, include them. Testimonials from past speaking engagements can also be added to the speaker sheet.
I’m a bit of an unknown in the speaking world, how can I get them to take me seriously?
Keep building your profile. Think about your target audience and contact conference organisers, networks and associations to let them know you’re a speaker. Be very clear about where you want to speak (in terms of event, business sector and geography). It does take time to become known and there can be a long lead time – from six to nine months – for the larger, corporate events.
It’s not just about key note speaking, offer yourself as a panellist and look for opportunities to run workshops and seminars too.
People tell me I should be speaking for free but I’m fed up with giving my time away for nothing. What do you think?
Even high profile speakers who command a good fee will sometimes speak for free (or expenses only). This is because the audience demographic may be right for them or there may be excellent opportunities for follow on work. If you have a book or a product you can sell, would the organiser be happy for you to mention it at the end of your talk? Is there a good opportunity to market to the organiser’s database or for you to capture sign-up details from the audience/delegates? Think of the whole event as an opportunity to raise your profile and source new business
Having said that, if you don’t think this is the right event for you then say so. And that certainly applies to those events companies whose business model is that you pay them for the opportunity to speak!
Once you’ve accepted an invitation to speak, get as much information about the event as possible and have a call with the organiser beforehand to make sure that your expectations match. Remember to ask for video clips if they have someone filming the event and of course, get in touch right after the event to ask for a testimonial.
Find out more about Susan at Moore VA.