Speaking at events is one of the top five ways to attract new clients.
You probably get invited to speak at events where there is no honorarium beyond coffee, sandwiches or a glass of wine.
Should you accept these engagements or turn them down?
Absolutely accept them. Here’s why I seek out and look forward to speaking opportunities as part of my marketing activities.
First, these presentations help raise the level of professionalism among the attendees and in their industries. People who work in accounting know very little about Public Relations and people who work in Public Relations know even less about accounting, generally. The overview, tips and pointers you discuss will establish a foundation for understanding. This will help the participants improve communication with their colleagues and vendors. You may alert them to an overlooked situation or problem within their organization, and thus the need for your services.
Tip: Speaking at an organization where a client is a member, or to a class where a friend is the teacher, is an obvious YES, as you strengthen the relationship.
Second, to teach is to learn twice over, said French essayist Joseph Joubert. Preparing a workshop requires an immersion in the material; you assemble articles, notes and previously given presentations. You need to be current in your field and incorporate the latest issues and trends in your remarks, keeping you at the top of your game.
Next, know that the participants will ask questions from their narrow perspective, leading you to drill down deeper, on the spot, in order to arrive at a cogent answer. Responding to their queries opens you to a new viewpoint from a business owner or professional whose field is different from your own. You can then incorporate what you’ve learned in future presentations.
Of course, you hope to get business from the workshop; sharing valuable information and branded handouts with your contact details may make that happen. Remember, too, everyone knows someone worth knowing. Note that even if the attendees may not hire you, nor buy your book or product, they may refer you to one of their work colleagues or someone among their contacts.
Finally, speaking is speaking; practice makes perfect, whatever the format and whoever the audience.
This Month’s Tip
Where can you find speaking opportunities? Try:
- Networking group
- Classes taught by colleagues
- Professional membership associations
- Business associations
- Local merchant associations
- Chambers of Commerce
- Municipal public library
- City and county small business services agency
- City and county economic development corporation
- Associations of nonprofit organizations and United Way
- Center for management training
Ready to find your next speaking gig? Contact me at 212.677.5770 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we’ll brainstorm topics for specific audiences and devise ways to introduce you to them.
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