July is Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month and to celebrate, I’ve invited a team of speaking experts to share their best tips and tricks for improving your speaking skills and overcoming speaking anxiety.
How to Get Speaking Engagements
By Guest Expert Wendy Kinney
The person who books you to speak wants people to attend. If no one attends, they fail. Standing room only? They get promoted. If you want to speak, you have to give the person who books you a boost. They need to:
- know what you’re going to talk about, so they can
- explain you to their committee, and then
- promote you effectively.
They’ll pick informative and easy over the perfect speaker every time.
When I’m asked about speaking I say, “Give me your card, and I’ll send you my speaker’s menu.”
Now I have a way to show I’ll do what I say I will. They get an easy way to see my topics and make a fast decision.
My menu is one page with
- one-third is about me,
- nine catchy titles with two descriptive sentences each,
- a brief client endorsement.
Each title has a separate content sheet with a bulleted YOU WILL LEARN list on the left, for the logical left brain, and an expository story on the right, for the emotional right brain. Program chairs use these in their promotions.
When I send my speaker’s menu I include one content sheet as a sample. I tell them to ask for the content sheet of any other topics that interest them.
Bio – Written to be Read with Eyes
Your bio is an ABOUT ME, to help people decide if they like you. If they don’t like you, they won’t want to listen to you speak. They make that decision reading, with their eyes.
I don’t think you can write this yourself. If you do it well, you’ll feel arrogant. If you’re not willing to sound arrogant, you won’t do it well. Hire someone. It will be $500 or less. You’ll get your money’s worth.
My husband said I did.
Intro – Written to be Heard
Control the speed of the on-ramp. Prevent the nightmare of “Our speaker today needs no introduction. I’ve heard her before. You’re in for a treat. Put your hands together and welcome . . .” The audience will decide to ignore you before your first word.
Send your intro to the program chair in advance. Bring a copy with you. Every time. This is your insurance policy. Don’t allow an introducer to set you up for failure. Make it easy for them to look good. My intro was written by a PR pro, and it’s simple to customize the last two lines for each topic.
Outro – What They Say When You’ve Finished
“Let’s have another round of applause” is code for “I don’t have anything to say because I didn’t get any value.”
Worse is when they completely ignore you and promote the next speaker. The pain.
If you want the audience to take action (Buy your book? Read the copy they received?) provide an outro.
The program chair is not your personal publicist. They will not do this for you.
To command professional fees, provide a professional headshot. The expectation of the board who chooses you and the audience who attends is set up by this first impression.
Set up a schedule to refresh your headshots. (Mine is every four years.) If you aren’t hearing “I recognize you from your picture,” get new headshots. Now.
The key to attention and retention is motion. If you want your audience to pay attention and use what you share, create a way for them to move. Making them write is one way. Provide a handout – with your contact information – and tell them what to draw on it to illustrate your points. I often have them start by drawing a four-drawer filing cabinet.
The most current research on adult memory shows we remember what we draw longer than words we write.
Keep these collaterals in one folder you can easily attach on-the-go. Name the files so it’s easy for the program chair to search for them. My system is “First Last – Title – collateral item.pdf.”
- Wendy Kinney – Networking Aerobics – Content Sheet.pdf
- Wendy Kinney – Networking Aerobics – Bio written to be read.pdf
- Wendy Kinney – Networking Aerobics – Intro written to be heard.pdf
- Wendy Kinney – Networking Aerobics – Outro.pdf
- Wendy Kinney – Headshot.jpg
Go Make Money!
- Design a page with options for the person who will book you. Don’t make it all about you.
- Create a page for each title with details.
- Ask people you respect who wrote the ABOUT ME page on their website. When they tell you prospects mention bits of info from it, ask who wrote it for them. Hire that person.
- Find a marketing professional who writes energizing introductions.
- Write an outro for each title.
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About Wendy Kinney
Audiences transform from groups of passive strangers to active, individual participants learning new skills together. People are meeting. New contacts are being made. Sparks fly.
Wendy Kinney created Ready… Set… Go Make Money! networking methodology from her 21 years of researching, experimenting, and confirming what works for networking.
She opened the Atlanta office of PowerCore in 1995; since then PowerCore Teams in the metro Atlanta Area have connected more than 15,898 Members.
Wendy continues to guide Atlanta’s entrepreneurial community into the lucrative and exciting world of network and referral marketing. And she’s gone global, bringing her proven methods and innovative techniques for creating ah-ha’s and shocks of recognition to corporate events around the world.