This week’s featured speaker is Steve Markman, Founder & President, Markman Speaker Management, LLC, see the event details here.
A proven way for authors to raise awareness for themselves and their books is through public speaking. By speaking at various outlets – at conferences, seminars and virtual events – you can demonstrate exposure for your expertise and demonstrate thought leadership. Many people don’t realize that most speaking engagements are unpaid opportunities. But with the chance to expose your book and expertise to the appropriate audience, unpaid engagements create opportunities for future income.
Speaking opportunities represent a strong marketing, public relations, business development, and thought leadership tool for the following reasons:
1-Attendees get to learn about your book and your expertise firsthand. This can lead to book sales as well as identifying customers for your services if you provide any.
2 – You gain “advertising” and branding by having your name and/or your organization’s name published in the online agenda seen by potentially thousands of people online.
3 – Speaking in front of prospective readers (or customers/clients) can lead to the generation of leads of all types.
What should you be doing to get yourself out on the speaking circuit? Take the following 6 steps:
1 – Create high-impact presentations. Audiences want to hear from SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to acquire actionable and practical information. A solid, informative presentation that is purely educational and does not promote your business will create instant credibility and obviate the need for a “sales pitch.” A presentation that turns out to be a sales pitch will ensure low evaluations by the audience.
2 – Target the right audience. Thoroughly research the events for which you can propose yourself as a speaker, as a solo presenter or as a panelist. Identify speaking engagements whose audiences represent who you want to reach. Good venues for speaking are associations, industry groups, and local organizations.
3 – Decide on the geographic area to target for speaking engagements — determine if you want to speak at local, regional, national or international events. And remember that virtual events have become very popular and will continue to exist.
4 – Develop a proactive speaker placement program. Getting speaking engagements takes a lot of effort. It’s fine to evaluate unsolicited speaking opportunities if you’re fortunate enough to receive them. However, if you dedicate yourself to the task of aggressively identifying opportunities, develop relationships with event organizers, and write and submit speaker proposals, the results should yield an increase in the frequency of speaking engagements.
5 – Learn the process for submitting a speaker proposal to the event organizer. It could be a formal process, such as doing so through a Call for Speakers application or simply sending an email to the person you identify as being the gatekeeper or decision-maker. Take care to follow the process for submitting a proposal, which includes writing a presentation abstract, submitting your bio and speaking expertise, and, of course, meeting the proposal deadline date. Make sure you tailor the abstract and the bio to each speaking opportunity so that they fit the objectives of the audience.
6 – Follow up continuously and persistently with the event organizer to help you stay above the noise, since you will often be competing with many others for the same speaking slots.
By developing an effective speaking initiative, you will have taken a big step in contributing to your marketing, PR and thought leadership objectives.
Steve Markman has over 30 years of experience in the speaker and conference business. He is the Founder and President of Markman Speaker Management, LLC, a multi-service speaker agency based in Boston, Massachusetts with an international clientele. Steve has helped hundreds of executives, principals, entrepreneurs, and authors land speaking engagements, working with all industries and professions. His customized coaching/training service teaches people how to successfully obtain speaking engagements. The firm also has a speakers bureau division, providing keynote speakers for organizations worldwide. Early in his career Steve headed up the conference divisions of leading organizations, including The Conference Board and Comdex. Visit www.markmanspeaker.com to learn more.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit on how to become a professional speaker. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!