Marketing yourself as a professional speaker is like promoting and selling any other business service or product. You need to develop a marketing plan that clearly identifies your customer and their buying motives. In another way, think about your answer to this question: What problem do you solve for your customer? Once this is understood you can then start to position yourself as a person who can help others overcome a specific problem or challenge.
Then it is a matter of choosing your marketing channels in order to generate a sufficient number of leads and having a system in place to convert these leads into sales.
The 12 Steps to Marketing Yourself as a Professional Speaker:
1. Create Your Brand
2. Create Your Keynote Presentation
3. Create Your Speaker's Kit
4. Create your Website
5. Get Calling
6. Get Networking
7. Get Online
8. Get Referrals
9. Publish a Blog
10. Publish Articles
11. Publish a Book
11. Publish a Course
The key thing is not to wait for someone to promote you, promoting yourself is an ongoing task and takes time. Remember that most event organisers have their speakers confirmed for months in advance so you need to put a lot of work in for at least 3 months and then continue this effort over time to keep yourself busy.
As human beings, we have many facets to our personalities. I went to a Michael Rowlands seminar many years ago and learnt about the concept of "Multiple Sub Personalities" and can see this at play in myself and people around me. In another way, I used to notice that would be a different person depending on what I deemed appropriate in different situations. For example, I would behave differently at the football, having dinner with my parents and at work. The source of this different behaviour is that as human beings, we want to be accepted, respected and ultimately loved. We often select they behaviour that we think will help us be successful in different situations. As I have embraced a life of leadership over the years, I have found that I am generally the same Paul in each of these different scenarios. That means that my parents get to have conversations with me about entrepreneurship and my friends tend to be also committed to making a difference, living the dream and generally making the most out of life. So as a presenter, I bring myself to the platform and engage in a conversation with my audience. I generally don't pump myself up before a presentation unless I have been burning the candle at both ends or have not been taking care of my own levels of enthusiasm (for life). I have been told that I am intense and this is something that I embrace both on and off the speaking platform. My presentation always includes conversations with my attendees before the seminar and after the seminar and this ensures that I don't fall into the "performance" trap on stage. It is important to be the same person on and off the stage and you will show your audience the parts of your personality that surface when you are sharing something that you are passionate about. If you are sharing passionately, you are probably going to be engaging, funny, inspiring and generous. Oh, and sometimes I get upset, frustrated, demanding and pushing (both on and off the presenting platform!).
To remain enthusiastic for presenting regularly can sometimes be a real challenge. It is true that if you do what you love for a living, then this makes things much easier. There is a lot more to presenting than simply presenting, like logistics, travel, being away from home, being organised and following up attendee questions! I strongly believe that successful people need to be able to speak professionally, and this is what drives me to keep sharing my knowledge and passion for this topic. I have read that everyone has a book in them, and I believe that everyone has an inspiring key note presentation in them. After all, this is an opportunity for a person to share their own life experience - successes and failures for the benefit of other people. I will share with you three ways to remain enthusiastic about presenting regularly.
1. Take Care of Yourself - To be enthusiastic in life, you have to enjoy your life. This means doing thing that you enjoy on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Be very deliberate about setting up your foundation for performance. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and have fun and be fun.
2. Keep the Focus on the Audience - As a professional speaker, you are a leader and as a leader you need to keep your focus on the difference that you are making to your audiences. This is your higher purpose. It is something that you believe in and want to see happen in the world, and you said that you were committed to doing something about this.
This reminds me of the boy in bed complaining about going to school to his mother:
Mother: "son, get out of bed or you will be late for school"
Son "I don't feel like going to school! Why can't I just have the day off watching television and relaxing at home?"
Mother "because your are the School Principal!"
3. Surround Yourself with Inspiration - It is easy to get stale and bored with the same topic. After all, if you are simply using the same old material, jokes and presentations you are missing a big opportunity. Take time to meet and talk with other inspiring people, read the books, watch the videos and listen to the audio recordings. Look for humour, record new stories anecdotes and ideas so that you can keep your presentations current and exciting.
I generally don't rely on websites for inspiration, other than our good friend google.com! I am a big user user of LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube and love checking out other speakers and entrepreneurs that I have heard of or met during my life. I attend a range of business and self improvement seminars, networking functions and listen to a lot of audio CDs. I am also an avid reader of auto biographies, biographies, self improvement books, books on famous quotes and (at the moment) baby name books. I can recommend the following websites for inspiration and assistance to any aspiring speaker: www.ted.com, businessentourage.com.au and paultimms.com (of course!)
Keep it simple and ask directed questions of the audience. If your intention is to make a difference, inspire and teach, then your focus is on finding out what they "got" from the presentation rather than if they liked you, the seating or the catering. Leave the feedback on the venue to the organiser and make sure that you ask questions to measure the effectiveness of your presentation. In addition to this, have a more detailed presentation review tool to give to a mentor, presentation buddy or room captain during the presentation. Use this form in your presentation debrief.
Years ago I used to get upset with people who arrived late because I assumed that they could not be bothered being on time. I am slightly embarassed to admit that I would ignore the late person, sometime even glaring at them or completely ignoring them. I found it even more annoying that they would distract everyone else in the room by wanting to provide a detailed excuse for being late. Generally, this would erode my ability to connect with the audience and be a source of distraction in my presentations. Interestingly, since I have had kids I understand that things come up that can be beyond the control of the attendee (and it is not always about me!). I now realise that when people are late, it may be that they really wanted to be there on time and feel awful for interrupting and perhaps disappointed that they might have missed some of the important information in the presentation. Now I always acknowledge people who arrive late, and take time to reassure them that it is fine with me and they can settle in and enjoy themselves. I might take the opportunity to recap a couple of the main points covered so far for the benefit of the other attendees or set up a paired discussion and take some time to go and speak to the person who has arrived late to settle them in. I remind myself that the person arriving late may be dashing from their leadership role because they would rather squeeze my presentation than miss out on the incredible wisdom and insightful pearls of wisdom that I am so generously dispensing! (ahem).
Often a presenter may feel that they are presenting a "boring" topic and are looking for ways to liven things up a little. Before we get started, make sure that you honestly ask yourself.. do I have knowledge, first hand experience and passion for my topic? If so, then the solution comes down to using the presentation design template and following the rules for using powerpoint in designing your presentation. The good news is that just need to make sure that your delivery is engaging. Even if the content is not engaging and you have no props or powerpoint multimedia, you can still be an engaging presenter.
It was great to speak with 30 inspiring managers at the Australian Institute of Management (AIMQ) in Townsville today. I am grateful to Event Coordinator and MC Mike Mitchell in addition to our switched on attendees. It was a great opportunity to share my personal experience and passion for Presenting Powerfully to Groups with such an enthusiastic group.
The renovated Jupiters Casino is superb and room was perfectly set up for the presentation and networking before and after the event. I provided an opportunity for people who attended the presentation to write any questions down on my "Hand Back" as opposed to a "Hand Out". I had a lot a great questions that I will answer in the coming articles and blog posts:
What are the top three websites that inspire you and you can rely upon. What is the best way to gather feedback of a guest speaker or presenter?
How do you turn content into engaging content?
Do you acknowledge people arriving when you have started the presentation?
How do I sustain the enthusiasm for what you are doing day in day out?
Do you consider that you are a different person when you are presenting?
What techniques do you use for signposting and transitions in style?
How do I market myself as a speaker?
When was a time that you presented to a group where everything went wrong?
What do you do with people who really don't want to be at your presentation?
What are the top three books that have inspired me?
What is a good resource to use for icebreaker ideas and presentation methods?
How do I make a topic like compliance be engaging?
What is the ideal presentation length to ensure that people remain "engaged"?
I recently had the opportunity today to speak with over 50 inspiring managers at the Australian Institute of Management (AIMQ) on the Sunshine Coast. I am grateful to our Event Coordinator Carrie Shaw and our wonderful MC Robert Dunbar in addition to our enthusiastic attendees. It was a great opportunity to share my personal experience and passion for Presenting Powerfully to Groups.
The venue was perfect and the view of the morning sunrise from the Maroochydore Surf Club was stunning (and provided excellent competition to my presentation!). I provided an opportunity for people who attended the presentation to write any questions down on my "Hand Back" as opposed to a "Hand Out". Over the next few days I will take the time to answer each of the questions in series of blog posts and articles.
How do I present seemlessly without notes?
How do I build confidence as a speaker?
Would you recommend Prezi over Powerpoint?
How do you present to employees on a regular basis?
How do I engage the audience from the beginning of my presentation?
How do I engage a corporate audience?
How do I quickly engage the naysayers?
What is the hardest presentation that I have done?
How do I ease my nerves?
How do I get rid of "dot points"
How do you use the 3 key points in a longer presentation?
Paul Timms is a Professional Speaker and the Managing Director of Business Entourage, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs start, grow and sell their business.