So you are starting up a second--or first--career as a professional speaker. Excellent choice. With cities fighting each other to host professional conventions and trade shows, everyone is looking for speakers to headline events, draw in crowds, and improve the overall reputation of the event.
So how do you show yourself to be an amazing speaker?
1. Show Accessibility
More events are putting forth the necessary effort to be accessible to disabled attendees. From providing ASL interpretation to accessible seating options, events that welcome all participants are gaining ground.
As a speaker, showing ways that you can make your presentation more accessible, such as providing written copies of your talk for distribution, can help make you more appealing to an event coordinator.
2. Stay Up To Date on Platforms
To show how you're going to make the next event one that will sell out, make sure to keep all of your marketing up to date. Your website should be strong, mobile ready, and use up-to-date coding and graphics. Set up a regular schedule to check for any errors and replace or remove them.
Also stay on top of what technology is being used at different events. While trainers may continue to use Powerpoint, for example, speakers often don't. Make sure your marketing reflects the technology that you actually use.
3. Keep Learning
As a speaker, you may know everything there is to know about your topic right now. Whatever you're discussing, however, is changing every minute. You need to keep up to date on your topic by following industry leaders, attending trainings and updating your topic with new information as you learn it.
You should also keep your website up to date with new training or learning opportunities you've used, to continue to show that you're staying up to date in your field of expertise.
Finally, all the best speakers continue to work with vocal coaches, movement coaches, and other experts who can help them refine their skills. Consider noting the experts you've worked with on your website as well.
4. Cultivate Additional Income Streams
Not everyone lives in an urban center or can travel to a trade show or event. This is especially true if your speaking topic doesn't relate to business so that people are probably traveling and attending on their own budget. You can offer your talks in different ways than just at a big event.
For example, you could have a paid section of your website where customers can browse on a monthly subscription plan. You could write and sell e-books. You could offer training courses in your methods or a subscription-based mentor service.
These options will generate more income for you, and also boost your reputation as someone who is good with the public and can get the work done.
5. Work On Your Pitch
Event coordinators see a lot of packets and emails every day. Making yourself stand out from the crowd is crucial. Your marketing materials should be easy to browse through, offer enough information to be intriguing, and connect coordinators to a place where they can learn more.
And just like every other entrepreneur out there hustling for a gig, you need to know how to present an elevator pitch. Refine your definition of what you talk about, who your target audience is, and what attendees get from your presentation. You never know when you'll meet up with someone whose interest will get you your next booking.
6. Target Yourself Towards Your Audience
If you know that your topic is going to mostly be of interest to middle-aged moms, then directing your marketing efforts to places frequented mostly by men may not generate as much interest for you as you might hope.
Doing some basic market research and understanding where to post blogs, what social media platforms and hashtags to use, and what industries to make friends in are all key ways of marketing your overall business as a professional speaker.
While modern audiences certainly can learn from books, videos, and online presentations, learning from a person is still a key goal for many of the people who attend trade shows and big events. Whether your speaking topic has to do with business, arts and entertainment, personal growth, or something else entirely, you can make a career for yourself as a speaker by delving into your topic and marketing yourself well.
If you're still not sure how to get started, follow some speakers in your niche and see what they're doing. Find out who they're marketing to, and where, to get an idea of where to target your efforts. And then get to work polishing that presentation.