Here are my tips, from my initial foray into speaking myself.
I believe the best way to achieve personal growth as a business and marketing person is to work hard your weakest areas, but in short sprints. If you’re reading this I guess you’re looking to find some secret sauce or silver bullet to land you a speaking gig.
Unless you are ‘crash hot’, in at least one area, stop reading and go get good at something before you want to talk to others about it. If you are not at least book smart on the topic, forget it, you will be found out, and made to look a fool… speaking career over.
If you are confident in your chosen area and want to grow read on, and follow my journey.
First things first – Speakers are not heros
I assume now your ass from your elbow in your chosen field, but speakers at a lot events are not superhero legends, in-fact some might know less on a topic as you. They have just took steps towards being a speaker; steps you can take too.
Secondly – you know more that the attendees.
Topics covered in a lot of events are shallow and aimed at beginners, so if you know even a little on the topic you probably know more than 80℅ of the room. So put your fears aside, you are master compared to most people. When was the last time you went to an event to learn about something you were already an expert on?
Thirdly – Start Small
Further you don’t start by aiming to talk at the big events, start small. Hell, make your own event with 5-10 peoole you know, and speak at that if you have to. Network with suppliers who host small events, try networking at events and meetups in your local area… Try meetup.com for ideas.
Lastly – Seek opportunities close to home
As with everything, getting the speaking slots can depend on who you know, and what opportunities exist for you. If your company will let you speak at internal workshops, do that, it could be just that start you need. Speak to your own company staff, cross train other member of your company if you can. Do anything to just start speaking to someone…anyone.
You will learn a lot from your first speaking slot, “do you like it”, “should you use less jokes?”, “should you be less formal?”, “or more formal?”. Don’t underestimate how valuable these early experiences are. Even if it feels silly, just do it.
I’ve made these first steps, here is how I done it:
- Present reports to clients, managers and directors
- Do a ‘show and tell’ with colleagues
- Write a blog
- On-board / Train any new staff to your firm
- Offer to help/advise struggling or new webmasters informally 1 to 1.
- Record a few video tips
- Put together and sell a training course (in real life AND via services like udemy)
- Deliver training to small classes
- Network with event organisers and suppliers who run small events to land your first small speaking slot.
Tip: Network with people you know control speaker lists, they are just people like you, and if they like you in person they will likely give you a small slot regardless.
This is where I am right now
I spent a lot of time worrying about speaking in front of a big crowd, then I remembered its not all that different from all the teaching and training I’d delivered in the past. Putting that mental spin on it made it comfortable and easy for me to speak. If you get worried about speaking in public simply try to frame the situation in a way your are normally comfortable an confident.
These are all steps I’ve taken myself already… I’m awesome at marketing, but this is all new to me. So if I can do it, you can too.