A handful of tips to help position yourself within the speaking arena and get those speaking engagements!

Find your Niche One of the biggest mistakes a speaker can make is having a "general" topic. You want to narrow your expert niche as much as possible. Research the industry so you know "what's hot" and "what's not". Take that research and develop a niche around it, be sure it is something you have experience with and will be able to present it as a professional expert speaker in that field. Don't waste your time, energy and money on developing a "niche" that just isn't going to get any recognition because it isn't something that planners or organizations will be looking for! I do put emphasis on this tip! Once you have discovered your niche, you must continue to practice your speaking skills and update your material and presentations to keep-up with the trends and changing issues of today's society.

Develop a Stunning Media Kit Make sure that your media kit is up to date, precise and professionally put together. Nothing else turns away a meeting planner or organization more than an unattractive and unorganized media kit. They won't even bother with it nor have the time of day to look over the remaining contents if they don't like what they see at first glance. It may very likely end up in someone's trash can and as harsh as that may sound, it is the truth. Planners and organizations get hundreds if not thousands of proposals and media kits every year. You have to "wow" them immediately to grab their attention, before they set it down and go to the next one! If you would like information or need assistance with your media kit, please contact us.

Develop a Professional Demo Video You want to make sure you leave a lasting image on the minds of the "hiring" company. They may not use you immediately and it may be months down the road, but if you put together a professional and entertaining video clip that portrays you as an expert in your field, then they will remember you! Your demo video should always show you speaking within the first minute of the video. You also want to capture the audience and the energy they're generating such as clapping, laughing, listening carefully and possibly jotting down notes. Your first anecdote or presentation needs to be the most powerful! We have more in depth reports on how to make a professional demo video. Click here for more info.

Have an Online Presence Develop a professional website to match your media kit - with information on your experience, topics you cover, promotional material available and testimonials from previous clients. A 5-6 page website is not terribly expensive and worth its weight in gold. It can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and it's a great communication tool. Ask us for web design tips if you need assistance in planning an effective website.

If you can't afford your own web site, join speakers organizations and add your name to their online listings - many of them are free, others require a membership fee. The more exposure you get, the better your chances of being found by people seeking speakers.

Work with Meeting Planners Very important: be willing to work with them. Don't be so stubborn that you talked yourself right out of one of the most important speaking engagements of your career. Most planners are eager to work with the speaker, but you also have to be willing to "give a little to get a lot". Remember you want to be a magnet to planners and the "hiring" company, not an itch under their skin. So be pleasant, be negotiable and give them the best performance possible and in return they will continue to book you and recommend you!

Introduce Yourself as a Contingency Speaker This is one way to get your "foot" in the door. One of the biggest fears of a meeting planner is a "no-show" or cancellation of the scheduled speaker. You can send out a letter via e-mail or regular mail to event planners, program managers, etc. Your initial contact with the event planner should be on eliminating one of their largest fears. If you have a properly written letter and have done your research, you will more than likely make an immediate friend. This is where the business relationship begins and in most cases, the event planner or "hiring" authority will book you in because you have approached them this way.

Network ...Walk the Talk Standing out from the crowd is a major challenge for today's professional speaker. Marketing yourself and your company, should be one of your major priorities, which requires to be done on a regular basis. Unless you have ample time on your hands and the expertise it takes to market yourself effectively, one of the best suggestions we can make is hire a professional marketing specialist or consultant/public relations company. Find someone that will work side by side with you in developing a marketing campaign that will benefit you and your speaking career.

Interact with Potential Clients It is very important to mingle and network! Get yourself noticed. Hand out business cards every where you go. Talk to everyone you meet. Go to seminars and meetings that are the same as your expertise. Watch and pay attention. Who are the attendees, what is their reaction to the speaker on the platform? Most importantly, be very personable and agreeable with every meeting planner you meet. You want to leave the impression that you are easy going and willing to make adjustments at the last minute. Meeting planners don't like to work with difficult and irritating speakers, it doesn't matter how well known you are in the speaking industry. They look for someone with humor, an abundance of energy, flexibility, and great content!

Write a Book I know it's not as easy as it sounds, but if you are an expert in your field and you have information you want to share, I would suggest writing a book or some informational products. This is an excellent marketing tool and an addition to your income. We know you have the speaking ability and you know what you want to say, but some speakers just don't have the ability or the time to put it in book form. You do have the option of outsourcing that task. There are many companies or virtual assistants who specialize in that field and can assist you with your project. Refer to our resources page.

Best wishes as you travel down the road to a successful public speaking career!

© 2002 Charli Jane Speaker Services

Author's Bio: 


Wendi J McNeill, "Opening Doors of Opportunity for Public Speakers," continues to work hand-in-hand with beginning public speakers and is the author of “14 Ways to Make Money When Speaking for Free”. To learn more about this free report and sign up for more FREE public speaking tips visit her online.