One of the best ways to garner some publicity is to become a speaker. Sometimes, if you’re like me, the speaking part of a career blooms quite by accident. Even before my first book, Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? Simple Advice for Settling In After You Move (McGraw Hill) I was hired by Atlas Van Lines to speak before some of the staff and their corporate clients. It wasn’t my best performance, but it did launch my official speaking career and for that I will always be grateful. The point is: before I was asked to speak (now this was a while ago by the way) it hadn’t even occurred to me that becoming a speaker was a possibility, one that would help my book sell. Seems pretty na?ve when I write this, but I was younger then . . .
In any case, how does one begin? Whether you’re the one considering becoming a speaker or it’s something you can imagine adding to your client’s expertise, a few points you should remember include the following:
• Decide on your topic. Just because you’d like to speak on a particular topic doesn’t mean you should. Pick something that makes sense for your current area of expertise. If you’re an accountant, for instance, consider putting together a workshop on fiscal responsibility during an economic downturn.
• Think about your community’s needs. I’m talking about your professional community as well as the one you live in. In other words, you want to think about your audience and what you believe people are hungering for.
• Make a list. Develop a list of groups in your area and beyond if you travel. You’d be amazed how many organizations are always looking for speakers. It’s true that your local library might not have a big budget (but maybe they’ll give you $100), but the local community is a great place to start. Over the years I’ve earned as little as $50/speaking gig and as much as $7,500. That’s quite a range, I know, but I can honestly report that most presentations I’ve given have always been worth my time. Even if you charge nothing a speaking gig can result in many more clients.
Next time: more about developing a speaking career for you and/or your clients.