Speaking engagements are high-impact opportunities get in front of your audience, brand yourself as a thought leader, and make connections that grow your business.
Especially as more and more aspects of our daily lives shift to the digital space, a compelling public speaker carries a lot of influence.
I’ve been an enthusiastic audience for some talented speakers over the years. I’ve also had the privilege of being a featured speaker at various conferences and events. So I’ve been on both sides of what I like to call the Rockstar Effect — you know, the rockstar and the raving fan.
The Rockstar Effect
Have you ever been to a remarkable talk put on by a great speaker, and noticed a crowd of people line up to talk to the speaker after? That speaker could be you.
And you don’t have to be remarkably charismatic or a big shot at a multi-million dollar company to experience the Rockstar Effect.
With a few strategies in mind, you can leverage speaking engagements to build brand awareness and generate opportunities for you and your business.
First thing’s first — you have to land a speaking gig.
Landing your first talk as an entrepreneur or thought leader takes a little persistence and a lot of strategy.
Cultivate your valuable insight and unique perspective by regularly publishing content, then use that content to demonstrate how you as a speaker bring value to your audience.
Be proactive by scouting conferences or networking events that you know you are a good fit, and be the first to reach out. (I hate to break it to you, but the chances of you being hand-picked for your first speaking gig is slim-to-none.)
And as always, follow up, follow up, follow up.
Once you’ve got your talk on the books, here are some tips to help you make an impact on your audience and your business as a rockin’ speaker:
Offer high value
Providing value to your audience is the number one ingredient for a successful speaking engagement. Your audience will tune out (or not show up in the first place) unless you’re delivering top-notch value that they can apply in their own work or life to make a difference.
Your goal should be for people to leave your talk thinking they absolutely NEED to take action — that’s the telltale sign of the Rockstar Effect.
Put your audience first
Your talk shouldn’t be about stroking your ego — it should be about providing valuable information to help your audience learn, grow, and succeed. By putting your audience’s needs first, you’ll deliver high-quality content that makes your brand stand out and your listeners want to connect with you.
Promote the event
Getting people to show up to any event is an all-hands-on-deck affair, and if you want a speaking engagement that is worth your time, it starts with an actual audience!
Don’t just show up the day of — help promote the event beforehand. Let your network know you’ll be attending on social media. Share a quick cell phone video letting your audience know what you’ll be talking about and why they should join you.
Doing your part to drive turnout shows your audience you’re happy to be there and demonstrates a good faith effort to the event hosts.
Send people off with a resource
Have a resource to give away for free at the end of your talk — an ebook, workbook, worksheet, or anything else that will help your audience remember your talk and continue to find value even after they leave.
Connect with your audience at every stage
Engage with your attendees before, during, and after the event. Creating business opportunities starts with sparking a connection early on. Greet people as they arrive, thank them for coming, and ask what they’re looking forward to gaining from your talk. Be available afterwards to answer questions, offer advice, and connect with people one-to-one.
Continue the conversation
Most importantly, make your contact information available at the beginning and end of your presentation. Let your audience know from the get-go that you’re accessible and eager to connect after the event to continue the conversation.
In the saturated digital world, the in-person touch carries a lot of weight. Speaking engagements are an excellent tool for building connections with your audience and generating opportunities for you and your business.