1. To grow interest in your work start in your profession, your community, or anywhere you have to have credibility. You don’t instantly generate demand. You grow demand, starting with a niche where you are known and respected, and grow from there. This also means you won’t be paid for awhile. Pay comes with demand. If no one is asking you to speak anywhere, why would you expect to be paid? You have to do some selling before you can do any earning.
2. Do whatever necessary to be an active speaker. The more often you speak, the more speakers and organizers you will meet. If you’re active,and good, they’ll start reaching out to you. If all else fails, post a ten minute lecture of yours on Youtube every week. There is no excuse for not being active and gaining more experience. Ask friends and speakers you admire for feedback and work to improve. The truth may be you are not as talented as you think. That’s ok. The sooner you sort this out the better.
3. Just be valuable to those people who are seeking speakers and those who may have influence. By recognizing that business is a two way street and it is not just about you, it will allow you to showcase your authenticity, even if it means recommending someone else to speak. No one can create value, as it is unique to each person, but everyone has the opportunity to be valuable.
4. Conventional wisdom suggests that the person who knows 10% more than everyone else is an expert. Not only will you wow them with your grasp of the subject matter; you will also be at your best with command of the topic. Don’t just be prepared, be over prepared. Then, you’ll be at ease and do a great job.
5. People neglect to follow-up after the pitch and this is HUGE. We can’t see into their inbox or schedule, so we have no idea if they received the message. Be persistent and follow-up if you don’t hear back. Don’t wait a week – do this in 3 days or you may be forgotten about. Show that you’re interested in their event and that you can truly benefit their audience. Don’t give up!
6. If you want to be hired for speaking engagements and you already have established yourself as an expert (why else would they hire you), you need to define your target audience. For example, if you specialize in helping women succeed, target a women’s network and diversity groups within companies, women’s organizations, and technical societies that have women’s groups. Offer to give one free talk at many women’s organizations as a “teaser” that leads to additional paid engagements.
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