People are full of surprises… Everyone I know has something that is surprising about them. That one thing that when they tell you — you go “no…couldn’t be”. ..
My surprise is that I am an introvert and very shy. When I tell people that – they are *always* surprised — after all I spend 70% of my working hours teaching and speaking — and have spoken at live events around the world.
So… how did I go from shy gal to confident speaker? The purpose of this article, is to give you the basics you need to get that first speaking gig (after that – it gets much easier).
Getting Over the First Hurdle – Becoming an Expert
Before I go on to the meat of this post – which is the basics you need to have in place to make it easy for people to hire you – I need to get something out of the way.
Take a deep breath.
Close your eyes.
I hereby declare you an expert — go teach and help people benefit from what you have to say.
I guarantee you that you know something that someone needs to learn — and even if your material is not new to everyone in the audience. I guarantee you that somebody in any audience needs to hear what you have to say. So, please don’t think that you need to know everything about your topic to speak on it – you are doing a service teaching people what you do know.
You Need to Make It Easy for People to Ask You To Speak
My number one piece of advice that I give to people who want to start speaking is to to a little bit of legwork and to be prepared. Here are the five things you should do to make sure that you are ready when “opportunity knocks”.
1. Have a selection of no more than 3 speech topics. Event planners are busy people and easily overwhelmed and distracted. Make their lives easier by limiting their choices to three topics (related to services and products you sell) that you can deliver a thoughtful and useful speech on.
2. Create a speaker sheet. Your speaker sheet should be professionally designed and include your photo, your logo, your speeches, a bio, and references from other speeches (if you don’t have any, just leave that part off.
3. Create a speaker page on your website. Your speaker page can contain much of the same information that you have on your one sheet (it should have a downloadable copy of the one sheet too). This is your way of letting people know that you are open for business.
4. Prepare a pitch. After the “I’m not an expert” issue – the second most common issue I see is fear of “the pitch”. As much as you are going to hate to hear this — practice makes perfect. To make it easier – think about the problem your speech can help people solve. Then, come up with a quick script. If you are very shy (or very busy), you can delegate some calling to your virtual assistant…
5. Make an Offer. Speaking is always a good thing – -but I think it is tragic when people speak and have nothing to offer the audience. Don’t be shy about offering your product or service – the audience expects it and it is the best way for them to continue to be connected. Make sure that you offer from the stage – closing sales later will be a lot harder.© Copyright 2012 Michele A Scism