The Internet is a phenomenal tool that enables anyone to build a reputation as an expert. With specialist knowledge, an Internet-enabled computer, and a bit of determination, anyone can become a global celebrity in an area of expertise.
However, an Internet-built reputation can be greatly enhanced and reinforced by speaking at industry events. This article provides a checklist to help you win valuable speaking gigs. Invest some time in getting on the stage, and it will pay off many times over in helping you build your Internet business.
What Do You Want to Achieve?
Before pursuing speaking opportunities, you need to be sure about what you want to gain from them. Here is my 10-point checklist; most of the points should be relevant to you:
- Objective #1: Build my reputation as an expert in the minds of my audience. I want to become the person everyone thinks of when they think of my subject. I want to be a thought leader.
- Objective #2: Build traffic on my Web site and convert some of the visitors to subscribers.
- Objective #3: Reach new people who have not heard of me.
- Objective #4: Get feedback on my ideas. I always try to introduce some new and fresh thinking into every speech.
- Objective #5: Gather material for new content on my Web site. I always record my speeches and then turn them into multiple podcasts. I also ensure that I network with the other speakers and the audience to gather new ideas, news, and rumors.
- Objective #6: Recruit partners to help market my site and services.
- Objective #7: Get future speaking events by giving a memorable and valuable presentation.
- Objective #8: Get photos for the Web site.
- Objective #9: Sell my books and DVDs.
- Objective #10: Have fun. Sitting in front of a computer all day can get boring and tedious. Getting out and mixing with smart people from my industry is always a welcome change.
Choosing Which Events to Speak at
The first thing to do is create a comprehensive list of all the events that are relevant. It is worth keeping this regularly updated, as events come and go. Also, if you know any regular speakers, ask for their advice. Some events, particularly the big industry conferences, only let people from the sponsoring companies speak.
After you have drawn up a list, rate them in terms of their desirability. Use the questions below to help you decide. If you are new to public speaking, try the smaller regional events first to get some practice.
There are two types of events that I prefer: large events with big relevant audiences, and small specialist events that are attended by the key movers and shakers. To be quite honest, to get started you generally have to take what you can get. However, your time is valuable, so have a checklist for evaluating each opportunity.