You know public speaking is a powerful tool for establishing yourself as an expert in your field. You've been to public-speaking classes, you've perfected your style and you know your subject cold. But while many books have been written on crafting and delivering perfect speeches, one question often remains: How do you get the gig?
If you're the CEO of a large, multinational company, you may have an agent or public relations department to book high-profile engagements for you. But if you're in charge of a smaller enterprise or new to public speaking, here are some steps to take to make yourself the main attraction:
*Start small. By beginning with small engagements, you'll be able to polish your skills in a low-risk environment. Check your newspaper for groups that may be looking for speakers for their monthly meetings.
- Do your homework. If there's a particular industry you'd like to target, check with trade associations or clients in that industry to find out which events are the most important. Trade shows, conventions and other gatherings often have seminar programs, which offer great opportunities to speak to your key prospects.
- Plan ahead. Call event organizers to find out the best time to submit your credentials. They may book events as far as a year in advance.
- Find help. If you belong to any professional organizations, check to see if they promote speakers from their membership. However, before you send money to pricey organizations and directories that promise to promote you, check them out.
Some engagements pay speakers an honorarium, ranging from a few dollars to several thousand. As you become more successful and well-known as a public speaker, this could become a profitable sideline to your business.
Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey. She is currently completing a marketing workbook titled Promote Your Business. E-mail her at email@example.com
While many people are deathly afraid of public speaking, Peter Daniele, owner of Professional Inspection Services Inc. in Brick, New Jersey, has made it the primary means of marketing his business. And it's working. His home and building inspection company has doubled its revenue base each year since opening in 1994, and Daniele, 33, is currently working on plans to franchise it nationally.
"Speaking engagements do so many things for you," says Daniele. "They're a great way to meet your audience face to face and show them your expertise firsthand."
Daniele averages about one speaking engagement per week, reaching about one thousand people per year. He targets his primary audience--home buyers--through seminars at a local college, and reaches his most important source of referrals--real estate agents--through training programs and presentations at their agencies.
"If you know your subject well and make it interesting for the audience, public speaking is a great springboard," Daniele says. "It really sets you apart as an expert and may become an additional revenue stream."
Professional Inspection Services Inc., (800) 405-3453