In this article you'll learn...
- How to become a better speaker so that you feel more prepared and less nervous and can get more speaking engagements.
- How to build key relationships to get more speaking gigs.
- How speaking for free can help you grow your business and get more speaking engagements.
Speaking is one of the best ways to get the word out about your company, especially for service-based businesses. As a public speaker, you share your expertise, gain credibility, and engage with your audience in a direct, relevant way that often leads to growing your business.
But getting speaking engagements can be tough, and many would-be public speakers struggle to find opportunities. Here are five ways to get speaking engagements that market your business.
1. Become a better speaker
It sounds obvious, but by becoming a more engaging, polished speaker, you gain even more opportunities to speak. When you're a really good speaker, you'll be able to ask for testimonials from those who've invited you to speak, and such testimonials go a long way with others who are looking for speakers.
So how do you become a better speaker? The best strategy I know is to record every presentation and watch the video later, taking note of what you want to improve next time. When I was first starting out as a speaker, I even recorded myself doing mock speeches at home, just so I could watch the recording and get better.
Earlier this year, I interviewed bestselling author and professional speaker David Meerman Scott, who told me that he spent years working on improving his speaking. He said he would focus on a different thing each time he spoke—how he stood, where he put his hands, how he modulated his voice—and, over time, he became the extraordinary speaker he is today.
2. Know your material
This point might seem obvious as well, but knowing your material inside and out will make you a better speaker, simply by easing your nerves. First, you should know your speech; you should have practiced it over and over. Knowing your speech really well means that you can be more confident and at ease when you get to the stage and step in front of the crowd. Larry Winget, another well-known speaker and author, once told me that being well prepared is the best way to overcome nerves. Mitch Joel has said the same thing.
Susan Baroncini-Moe is a public speaker and the president of Business in Blue Jeans, a business and marketing consulting firm for service-based businesses and startup entrepreneurs.