That person you see on stage or in that video sharing their expertise, how did they get there? Was it years of hard work or education? Did they get lucky? Maybe they even paid to be up there.
What I can tell you is there are so many possibilities as to how they got that gig. Any stage worth being on will have to be earned. On the flip side, any stage that isn’t worth being on probably didn’t need to be earned and might have been paid for.
Getting speaking opportunities is seen as an excellent way to get yourself noticed in your niche. The problem is, there is a large amount of people taking the wrong approach to getting them. A big part of this is due to timing. There’s no harm in trying to get speaking gigs when you first get started in your business, but chances are you are going to be wasting a lot of energy for very little reward.
It can be a costly mistake if you pursue speaking gigs before you are ready… and here’s why.
- You likely don’t have a substantial following or audience of your own and event organizers have expectations of be able to tap into your audience through promotions made by you. That’s the accepted trade-off. You probably won’t get the gig.
- You might not have your talking points finalized. You might have things to say but you might not have the 30 or 60 minute speaking set that will give your audience clarity on exactly what you do. This can muddy the waters of what your message is, and might make a negative lasting impression on all those involved.
- You might not have the infrastructure to deal with enquires or onboard new clients through your website or other online assets. People will struggle to find you or contact you and you might not look legitimate.
- You might not be relevant yet. You haven’t become notorious enough in your niche. Nobody can understand what you’re about or what you’re speaking to and therefore it’s harder for people to buy-in to you and your brand.
- You might end up doing speaking gigs that have little to no value for you. This is when you either participate in an event (that was easy to participate in) and it made zero impact for your business, or you paid to participate (even worse) and it still had zero impact. You’ll spend time creating content for the organizer, you’ll promote it to your following and it will not boost your business. You’ll part with money just to participate, not because they want you, it’s just because you paid.
I would not be surprised if some of you may have already experienced this, I know I have. But there is there right time to start guest speaking. If you really think about some of the points above, you might already know what you need to do.
Here are some things that might help:
- Build a legitimate audience and following that you are constantly engaged with and that values your message. The core group of people you can help the most.
- Spend time to creating your content and get clarity on your mission and message. Start by creating written content, then some audio or video. Better to have the written content first. Don’t try to be a superstar by winging it live on video. We all make silly mistakes, no need to increase the chances of that. Once you have you message and talking points clear, you should be able to talk about your message 24/7 in a very clear and entertaining way.
- Make sure that when you do your first speaking gig that there is somewhere online (probably a website) that people can find you and learn more. This will increase your legitimacy and enhance your reputation. Make sure it’s something people can look at and see that you are the real deal and includes a way for them to contact you or at the very least get on your email list.
- Have a good number of testimonials and examples of how you have helped others with your product or service. You should have a few raving fans before you take the stage. These people talk you up when you promote your gig on social media and they boost your credibility when pitching for a speaking gig.
- Only participate in events where you are valued for your message. When people want to hear what you have to say, that’s a good indication they would want to pay for it too. Paying to speak at event is backwards, because you are paying to access the audience. You should be speaking at events where the people want access to you.
This list is basically all the things you should do to EARN speaking gigs that give you value in return for your time. Ideally you shouldn’t want to pursue them, you would rather get offers and be able to choose the ones you want to do. One of the most important questions I ask people when they are too eager to do a speaking gig before they are ready is…
WHO WANTS TO SEE YOU ON THE VIDEO MORE, YOU OR THEM?
There is a right time to start doing speaking gigs and trying too early can cost you time and money. Being prepared and having the right pieces in place can make a huge difference in how fast your business or audience grows. ARE YOU READY?