So let’s say you are passionate about providing your hard-earned wisdom, knowledge and expertise to people who are eager to change – and they are just waiting for a transformational leader/author/expert like yourself to influence and guide them.
It matters not whether you are offering a path to wealth, wellness, personal growth, spirituality, greater happiness, or growing a business around one’s passion – the best way to connect with people and grow your business is through public speaking. It’s also the most effective way to sell a book.
Speaking invites a relationship. And in today’s world, that’s how people come to know, like and trust the individuals they wish to do business with. Yet, as you have probably seen many times, public speaking is the number one fear of most people. But it’s not about being judged. It’s about serving and sharing. Sharing what you know to help others overcome their limitations. Remember, people are less interested in the messenger than the message. So go proudly forth and present with confidence. People are waiting to hear you!
Here are a few things you should know:
1. You will need a benefit-driven “one-sheet” – one page that explains to the prospective booker why you would be a great fit for his/her audience. And though you are including your expertise, your credentials and your experience, what is going to grab them is “what will it do for the audience!” They want to know how it will move, change, motivate and activate the audience. This is a ‘what’s-in-it-for-me” world so focus on them – not you when you describe yourself and the presentation or workshop you offer.
2. Make sure you have a contemporary website – horizontal, lots of images, few pictures – powerful and evocative. An old, out-of-date website will dim your prospects of getting booked.
3. The same is true of old photographs. You create an immediate credibility gap if you walk in looking 10 years older than your images on your site and one-sheet. To build trust and authenticity, update your images (yes they can be slightly retouched, but not radically altered!)
4. Speaker bookers want to see video of you engaging with an audience. At your earliest possible opportunity get some video of you presenting. Make sure it’s well lit, with good sound – not just a quickie from your smartphone. Static video of you talking to your community on YouTube won’t do. When you have this presentation video, provide a link along with the one-sheet when you offer yourself for an engagement.
5. Secure testimonials – not from clients or students – but from OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE BOOKED YOU! Speaker bookers want to see what other people who have brought you on their stages have said. They want to know you have the approval and acclaim of those who have gone before them. That gives the booker assurance that you are a good choice.
6. When you complete your presentation, it is likely many people will rush up to you with questions, conversations, and demands for your attention. How do you manage to sell your books and products when your attention is distracted? Fortunately new technology has given you a simple answer. Your smartphone or digital device has become the modern day cash register. The Square, Paypal and others have developed an easy way to take credit card purchases with a swipe and a signature. So preload the prices (including any taxes) of your merchandise or your merchandise bundles (more than one product you often sell together), and then show either an assistant/friend or someone predesignated by the venue how to use this simple system while you are otherwise occupied. By preloading the merchandise pricing, it takes the guesswork and mistakes out of the picture – and you get to be the star you are rather than a retail clerk. But don’t forget to bring a cash box, with change and smaller bills, as some people still do transactions the old-fashioned way!
7. Don’t start out looking to get on the biggest stages in town. Get confident, refine your presentation, and test your enrollment skills at smaller gatherings of 20 to 40. Hone your skills, get comfortable, start the buzz.
8. To get booked, you have to spend time engaged in the process of finding the right venues, connecting with bookers, providing your materials and then locking down the details. If you don’t have a speaker’s bureau or an assistant to book you, it’s all on you! Make sure you devote time to this task or your nascent speaking career will fade before it begins.