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Tips On Speaking and Getting Clients

Updated on July 22, 2010

Things to remember when you are prepping to speak and how to get clients after.

Speaking is one of the most exciting and most frightening things a person can do in their career. You get booked to speak at conferences and on panels but you also then realize that people are going to be judging you. Your employer is going to want you to push their company and the conference is going to get upset if you try to. You have a million questions going through your head like what if no one shows up to hear me speak or what if the other panelists are smarter than me on the topic. What happens if I trip or mess up? There are a million things that you think about before you go up there.

From speaking at many conferences in my niche and getting ready to speak at 3 of the largest shows in my industry within the next few months, I wanted to share a few of the reasons I get booked to speak and a few of my "secrets" to landing Clients afterward so that I not only get booked again but I can also hopefully make some money from speaking to the audience.

1. How to get booked and then booked again for more speaking opportunities.

The first couple of times you get booked to speak may be the most tricky. You have to prove the the person planning the show why you are the expert on a topic and also prove to them why you are better than someone else even though you have no public speaking experience on that particular topic. Once you do get those first couple speaking engagements you'll actually find that although it is easier to book more, you may also find it harder.

One thing that I always take to heart when prepping to speak is that I need to share something with the people I am talking to. I try to not mention my services or my Clients while speaking but what I do do is share examples of strategies I have implemented and help to make them general enough so that they can fit into just about anyone's niche. Then when I know how to fit it into other niches I give very quick and short examples of how to implement the strategy into other channels so that I can get the audience to start to think about how they can get it going for their own company.

By not promoting myself or my company or my Clients on stage I have not only not made my session a sales pitch but I have also shown that I can be versatile enough to work in multiple niches and because I got the audience thinking about how they can use some of my strategies they may now get curious about how I would twist it to meet their needs. After the session many times people will approach me and that is when I can exchange cards and start to bring them on as a new Client. Then because I also did not give them an hour long sales pitch and because they could walk away with something they hopefully didn't know before, they may be more inclined to give me a positive review to the owners of the show which in turn gives me a better chance of being invited back to speak again. Remembering to share something valuable and not turn your session into a sales pitch is key, but it also brings us to my next topic.

2. Speaking to your audience at all levels.

One thing I constantly forget is that not everyone in the audience will be an expert. They are there to learn and you are there to teach. If they were at your level then they would probably be speaking or at a different session since they could be doing exactly what you are doing. With that said there are some people that may come in for a refresher or to see what you are talking about in case there is something they didn't know but the majority of the audience will not be as knowledgeable as you are so it is important to remember a few things.

Do not use to much jargon.

Use simple drawings and graphs.

Make comparisons to things everyone knows and then relate them back to your topic.

Always dumb it down because you never know who is to scared to ask what something means or is.

Allow people to ask questions because if they didn't understand something you can also learn how to better address and engage your audience, and there is a good chance that if one person didn't know something there is probably someone else that had the same question.

Remember that just because you use slang and jargon each day your audience may not so try to not use jargon or office terminology and focus on plain and simple English.

3. Remember to let people know you will be speaking.

There is nothing worse than getting prepared for a lecture or to give a workshop only to find out no one showed up for your session. Remember to let everyone know that you meet at the show that your speaking and when your session is. If you have a blog don't forget to post about your speaking opportunities and where you will be. If your company has a booth, ask your Marketing department to include that you are speaking on the handouts. If you push enough that you are speaking and the topic is good, you should be able to get people to attend your session and you won't have to deal with the embarrassing no show empty sessions.

For the other things like insecurities, don't worry about them. Everyone gets stage fright and no one is perfect. Even the most seasoned speakers have issues and make mistakes so try to relax yourself before you speak and practice speaking in front of a mirror if you need to. I prefer to go to Karaoke and get myself used to looking kind of stupid before hand because it really takes the edge off of the stage fright to practice doing something you are scared of because you may not think you can sing. Karaoke makes a great practice stage because you not only get to practice performing in front of a crowd, but you also have to do it on a stage and in front of an audience who will be judging you.

Public speaking is an absolutely amazing way to help boost your career but you do have to remember to not make it salesy but make it informative and if you can show you really are an expert, the show owners may not only invite you back to speak again but the audience may end up asking you to help them with their projects so your employer will be happy as well.


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