I am often asked as a booking agency for professional speakers and a speaker myself; what does a speaker need to have in place to be successful? In response I always ask first, “why do you want to be a professional speaker?”
This is the key to any successful career-knowing the “why” you are are doing what you do! What I learned as a graduate of Dale Carnegie: “you have to love what you do, and be excited about it” has been key in making sure my focus is on the why first! Knowing your “why” gives you vision, meaning and purpose to overcome any obstacle!
Once you know your “why,” it only makes sense that you need to have a well thought out written business plan of how you are going to become the best in your field of expertise. As a speaker, you are starting a small business with you as the service, and then you can create products as add-ons to what you love and do best-speak! Your plan needs to include: financial, marketing, operations, systems and processes.
Once you know your why and have your business plan in place; what do you need whether you are marketing yourself, or others are doing some or all of it for you? Here are the key things I have found in today’s speaking industry are the “must-haves” in getting the bookings you want and need:
Positive Attitude– Keep in mind, “it’s not about you, it’s all about others!” Don’t let others disappoint or discourage you!
Be Thankful– Be grateful for the opportunities that come your way and share it with those who invite you to speak, and those who listen
Have and Be Fun– No one wants a “lecturer” anymore! You have to engage and interact with your audience!
Bring Great Content– Audiences of today want content they can use, no canned presentations or sales pitches for your company or books
Website– Current updated one, that is mobile friendly
One-Sheet– Visual marketing tool available electronically and as a handout
Business Cards– Clear concise message
You Tube clip- Visual of you in action
Target Markets Defined– Know to whom you need to spend your time, resources and efforts in marketing yourself
Social Media Strategy– Electronic communication by which you: share, communicate, connect, and engage with your current audiences, event planners, and future audiences. There are many forms such as: Blogs, Vlogs, Videos, On-Line Communities (over 52 Social Media Platforms to choose from) Podcasts, Texting, Newsletters, E-mail Blasts. Depending on your field of expertise you can find out which ones are best for you
Fee Strategy– These can vary and be negotiated, but I love what speaker Shawnee Duperon shares: “if you don’t value your own work, neither will anyone else!” Practice quoting your fee so you can say it without batting an eye! No apologies!
Good Business Practices– Organization, Customer Relationship Management, and Time Management with systems and processes in place.
Be a Life-Long Learner– Know that education is the key to handle the change that is always a part of being a speaker. You never totally arrive where you cannot learn something from someone, and it keeps your message fresh, relevant, and exciting! Audiences are never the same and you can’t expect them to be! Keep learning to handle any situation with ease and confidence!
Sounds like a lot of work? I assure you it is! Why do you think Public Speaking is the #1 fear of most people? Not only is it just getting in front of people and speaking, it is everything else that plays a part both before and after that makes you valuable and able to help others! It’s what I call the #WOWfactor.
In the May 2015 issue of Real Simple magazine, Christine K. Jahnke, author of “The Well-Spoken Woman,” reveals 5 tips on “How to conquer your fear of public speaking.” In this valuable article she shares: “for every important speech, I believe every minute you speak requires an hour of preparation.” She notes this may seem a lot, but for most of us who are speakers, and represent speakers, we know this is so true!
Now you know what it takes behind the scenes to be the speaker that everyone will be talking and remembering long after your presentation, and how to make others feel like a “Rock Star” for choosing or referring you to speak! I wish you well on your journey!