How to Get Speaking Gigs That Generate Agency New Business

By Jason Swenk on December 9, 2015

In this episode we discuss:

  • 4 ways to set yourself up for success as a speaker
  • 3 ways to to get booked as a speaker
  • Elements of a memorable speech that gets you leads

My guest, Eamonn O’Brien is the founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club, a resource for professionals looking to develop or hone their speaking and presentation skills. He talks with me about starting a speaking career, how to get booked as a speaker and the elements of a great speech.

Why should an agency owner become a speaker?

Whether you’re a natural speaker or more timid in front of an audience, you need to know one thing: being a speaker can only help your business and bring you new business. Your ideal clients are willingly sitting in that audience. They want to hear what you’ve got to say. Just like any of your other content, if you can provide even one nugget of value they will remember you for it.

4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success as a Speaker:

Eamonn says everyone’s got something they can say on a stage. In order to stand out you’ve got to be memorable. Here’s four ways you can set yourself up for success as a speaker:

  1. First, focus on the one topic you know best. Create one speech around it where the content is an inch wide, but a mile deep. Specialize your talk and become known as the expert on that one area.

  2. Don’t try to be all things to all people. A lot of people are so anxious to get a speaking engagement booked that they’ll throw out dozens of topics in the hopes that something sticks. Be an expert on just one specific topic.

  3. Put yourself out there via podcast or videos. This way, event organizers can find you, hear or see you and assess your message to determine if you’re the right fit for their event.

  4. Have a speaker page on your website. However, you don’t necessarily need a speaker reel at first. You should also make it a practice to video record all your speaking engagements. You can use the video as future repurposed content, you can watch it later to  evaluate yourself and you can eventually use snippets of it for your reel.

3 Ways to Get Booked as a Speaker:

  1. Get involved in organizations within your niche. Event organizers are always looking for speakers and panelists. Be an active member of professional organizations that host events and conferences.

  2. Develop relationships with people who can get you on the stages and maintain those relationships – not just at conference time, but all the time. Follow-up after the event with a thank you note or simple gift. A gesture like this costs very little but goes a long way.

  3. The BEST way to get booked for a speaking engagement is with more speaking engagements. Getting that first gig and knocking it out of the park will start the momentum, then you can cultivate the relationships with organizers and sponsors to keep it going.

3 Elements of a Memorable Speech

  1. A great title.

Eamonn says there was research done back in the ‘90’s proving that a title is 17x more important than what you say or write after it. Today, with the web and social media sharing that may as well be 1000x.

PRO TIP: I like following this formula for writing titles: “How to do [something cool], without doing [something that sucks]”. It catches attention because everyone loves to hear how they can get a positive outcome while avoiding pain.

  1. An engaging start.

You have less than 30 seconds to hook your audience. It’s your job to use those 30 seconds to make them realize something good is about to happen. If you don’t, you’ll lose them to their smartphone.

PRO TIP: I like to start with a story that shows I can relate to my audience and I’m a regular person who happens to know a lot about a particular topic. Another great way to start is with a question. This is a something the audiences would answer in their mind and the speaker spends time digging deeper into the solution.

  1. A genuine connection.

At the end of your talk, encourage people to connect with you. Be genuine in wanting to help and save the sales pitch. If you’ve provided enough value they will eventually check out what you’re selling. In the meantime, provide even more value by offering to provide more information when they reach out to you. Maybe there’s a worksheet or list of tools you can provide if they email you? It should be something in addition to the slides from your speech.

PRO TIP: Having a long line of people for follow-up discussion is nice, but it’s even better to get their contact information and keep the dialogue going beyond the breakout session or conference keynote. Your talk should be a conversation starter… don’t allow it be isolated just to event day.

If you love what you’ve read and want to hear more ways to capture leads, check out the 5 systems you need to generate more leads on auto-pilot.  My clients are using this exact strategy, and are generating 25+ leads every day.

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