It was 10:30 a.m. when she took the stage to speak to an audience of about 200. She was an expert in her industry at the top of her game. For 45 minutes she shared valuable insights punctuated with success stories, one could assume, about her clients. She was so generous and genuine even I, a public speaker myself, fell under her spell.
Though she wasn't technically "selling" anything, I wanted to buy it. And I wasn't the only one...
At 11:15 a.m., her presentation was complete and followed by a break. I watched the speaker walk from the stage to the networking area where she had a table set up displaying her company's services. For the next four hours, there was a line of people waiting to talk to her and if, assuming my math is correct, even a small percentage actually hired her, that woman generated a solid amount of revenue in under one hour on stage.
If you are looking to expand your brand, increase exposure or generate new clients for your business and haven't tried speaking to fuel growth, you should. Here are several reasons taking the stage could be the accelerator your business needs.
1. The benefit of a captive audience
It's the great marketing mystery, isn't it? How do you capture and hold the attention of your potential customers who are constantly inundated with messages? Speaking grants you unique access to potential leads: a prolonged period of time in front of a group who wants to listen.
You'll need to be prepared, of course, and deliver content they care about in an engaging way. But if you've ever successfully pitched to investors or even one-on-one to a potential client, you might be closer than you think to presenting to a roomful of your customers giving you their undivided attention.
2. The opportunity to "share" vs. "sell"
In the fall of 2015, I went to an association chapter meeting where author and business coach Jane Atkinson delivered a session on building a speaking business. She shared best practices, work-shopped ideas on the spot, and told stories of other speakers who achieved the level of success in their business I hoped to achieve. The focus of the presentation wasn't to "sell"-- I could have walked away with plenty of valuable insights and paid nothing more than the price of entry. However, throughout the presentation Jane demonstrated her mastery of the subject and positioned herself as the perfect partner. In the end, I hired Jane as my coach without being "sold" a thing.
If you have extensive knowledge in your industry, speaking at events is the perfect opportunity to showcase your skill to potential clients without having to ask them for the sale; instead, they can come to you.
3. Endless exposure possibilities
Salary.com recently listed "event planner" the fourth fastest growing job and according to the International School of Hospitality, Las Vegas alone boasted 22,000 conventions with a total of 5 million people in attendance in just one year. What does this mean for you? There are an endless amount of stages looking for industry experts to deliver great content and an endless amount people excited to hear what you have to say. You don't have to travel to Las Vegas to find them; monthly luncheons, local chapter meetings and special events are likely occurring in your region as you read this (unless you're reading this in the middle of the night).
Identify the associations and events your ideal customers attend and offer your message to consider for future programming. Create a session packed with value for the attendees and be clear where to find you once the presentation is complete.
If you are looking to grow your business, public speaking could be the fuel your success needs. Speaking is never easy but if done right, and in the amount of time it takes to make one cold call, you could have a line of leads waiting to know more.