Speaking is like grocery store sampling – you reach your ideal audience at exactly the time and place when they are most interested in the services or products you offer. When you speak at an event, someone else does the work of gathering a crowd most likely to be interested in what you have to say. You glean “authority” from the event host as they present you to their attendees as an expert in your field with valuable information to share. And, then you give them a powerful, delicious sample of what you’re all about. The key is to make sure that the sample you give out is valuable, memorable, and information rich. You repay the event host for their confidence in you by over delivering to their attendees. You honor the time of the attendees by giving them exactly what they hoped to receive when they chose to give you their time and attention. When you deliver the goods, your exact perfect target market client knows that what they just received was only a sample and if they want more, you are the answer to their problems.
Speaking is to personal branding what in-store sampling is to new grocery items.
But how to start is always a challenge. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me and might work for you:
Chamber of Commerce: Your local Chamber of Commerce most likely sponsors educational or informational sessions for local business owners. If what you offer can be valuable for local business owners, offer yourself as a speaker and present a topic that fills a need for the target audience.
E-Women’s Network: A wonderful nationwide organization of women entrepreneurs and business owners that hosts local speakers monthly in most markets. Find your local chapter and consider offering your expertise.
University Alumni Organizations: Alumni and university clubs meet regularly and are frequently looking for speakers for business luncheons. A little research might be required here to find the club or professional association that’s right for what you offer.
Professional Trade Show Organizations: Every industry has a trade show or several regional meetings every year. Think about which industries are the right fit for what you offer, visit their website and find out when and where they host educational meetings for members.
Toastmasters is a wonderful organization not only for learning the skills needed to hit a home run once you are on stage, but also for networking with like-minded professionals who will know about other local speaking opportunities.
Let’s support one another here. If you have suggestions of beginner speaker resources or organizations that host speakers, let’s start a list in the comments below.