I consider public speaking to fall into two categories – those who do public speaking as their primary business, as in motivational speakers and trainers, and corporate employees who speak about their area of expertise. Both speakers need to and can get new clients and referrals from their speaking engagements.
In fact, public speaking is one of the best ways to get new clients. Here’s why: public speaking positions you as the expert and everyone in the room gets to meet, know, and trust you. You have an incredible opportunity to build relationships with all the attendees and wow them with the value you can provide to them. And “to them” is the KEY thing. It’s not about you – it’s all about them and the value they get. The more value you provide, the more trust you build.
In this article, I am focusing on how to get leads from a speaking engagement for any type of speaker. Here are 3 steps to successfully get new clients from public speaking: 1. Know your audience 2. Deliver valuable content that they want 3. Have a structure for new clients to easily do business with you
There are a variety of ways to do each of the 3 steps. Here is bite-size summary of each:
Know Your Audience
Depending on the type of speaking engagement, you can do a few things to really understand what your audience wants. By accomplishing this important step, you can successfully accomplish step 2. If you are invited to speak to a group and in your excitement of accepting, you fail to find out why you've been asked to speak, go back and ask. Ask about the audience and what sort of outcome is wanted. Ask: Why do they want the topic and what are their expectations?
I had a coaching client who was invited to speak to some high school students about going to college. When I asked her questions about the students, such as, what grade are they in and anything in particular about them and the school, she didn't know. I suggested that she call back and find out about the students, to get as much information as she could.
She found out that this was a school of mostly low income students who never went to college in general. Essentially, the students were struggling to live. She ended up setting up a counseling program with the school for the students. The speaking engagement was completely scratched at least for the time being and the real needs of the students were being addressed.
In some cases, what your audience wants is pretty clear. The whole point is for you to be clear as possible about what they want. That is your starting point, your step one so that step two will be a cakewalk.
Deliver Valuable Content
A big don’t: never try to sell in your presentation. Who likes feeling like they are being sold to? Your mission in getting new business is always to deliver valuable content. Your speaking engagement is your opportunity to shine a light on your valuable expertise and how it can help people. It really isn't about you. It’s about the difference you can make for people.
There are several ways to deliver valuable content:
1. Share stories to illustrate your point, but be careful not to tell how your product or service helped someone (unless you are doing a product demonstration which is something completely different). Take YOU out of it. In my case, I share stories about the anxiety that experienced and inexperienced speakers have and various ways that they can overcome that anxiety. I give them the actual tips and resources to do so. The exception to this is to share how your tips helped someone. You can share a real life example of how someone used your suggestion/teaching and what they said the outcome was for them. Just be careful to ensure that you are focused on the benefit achieved.
2. Depending on your topic, you can demonstrate your expertise and how to help people. If you are social media expert, it’s easy. You have lots of information you can share that will help people and when you do a good job, you are likely to be hired and get referrals.
3. Attorneys, accountants, architects, doctors, bankers and consultants have a tremendous opportunity to share their expertise so that people leave with practical information that they can use immediately to help them with their goals. The more value you provide for people, they more likely they are to think/say, “I need this person to really get to where I want to go on this topic.”
The more value you deliver, the more trust you build, positioning yourself as the expert along the way.
Structure for New Clients to Easily do Business with You
Structures help us to fulfill on all sorts of things. A road/freeway helps us get to our destination. It makes sense then, that to get new business, we need structure to facilitate that process. Structure is the basis of fulfillment. Without structure, things fall apart. In getting business from speaking, you need structure to help people do business with you.
Very simply you’ll need a plan, a form and inclusion of that structure into your presentation. Here’s an example:
- At the beginning and end of your presentation, you want to let your audience know your objectives in speaking with them. There are two categories of objectives, the objective for you and the objective for them. The more transparent you are about it, the more trust you build. If there’s any hint of manipulation or hiding something, you destroy any trust you might have had.
- In your introduction, you should state your objectives by stating what you want them to get out of the presentation or what you are going to cover. And, let them know if you have any personal objectives for you, but you state in a way that is a benefit for them.
- Here’s an example intro: “My objective today is that you leave knowing keys ways to shelter your money and avoid unneeded taxes – that you learn tips that you can put to use immediately. I also have an evaluation form at the end and on that form I offer a free 15 minute consultation. So, if you like what you hear today (which I intend you will), and you would like some focused attention on your situation, let me know by completing the form. I’ll also let you know at the end about my financial savings program special offer just for attending today.”
- Basically, in the above introduction, you have started with the end in mind. You have prepared the audience with what to expect – value and more value and you are being completely up front about it. Breaking it down, you are letting them know what you are intending for them to get (value), how they can get more value (free 15 min consult) and a special offer (more value). People respect this honesty because you are letting them in on what’s going on, what’s expected. There are no surprises.
- You can add a little incentive and provide a give-away/prize for everyone who turns in an evaluation form. Tell them you’ll pick one (or more) and the winner will receive your prize (Starbuck’s gift card, a book, or whatever you want). People love the chance to win stuff! I learned this little technique from attending lunch at learns at Microsoft in Houston. It works great, everyone likes it, and almost everyone participates.
- Take the introduction example above and fit it to your particular type of speaking engagement. If you want to sell books, then let people know you’ll have a book signing at the end of your presentation and offer your book at a discount. Let them know at the beginning of your introduction. Always give your audience a special offer if they buy today. You can tell them up front about the special pricing, but at the beginning let them know you’ll be letting them know about your special offer at the end.
- Prepare your materials and your setup for the end. Have your forms ready and how you will distribute them. Have an assistant to help you with the logistics to make things go smoothly. You are going to be focused on your presentation and it’s great to have an assistant handle the details. I like to have my evaluation form already distributed to everyone and have it be a different color like yellow.
When you offer a free 15 minute consultation, it does a couple of things. It gives those in the audience who are most interested a way to connect with you again with the opportunity and chance to hire you. Plus, it provides those who are most interested more value. When you set up the free consult with them, give them lots of value and don't worry if it goes over 15 minutes. Ask them at the end of your consult if they would be interested in your services. In many cases, you won't even have to because they will be asking you about your services. I have seen this happen time and time again and experienced it myself.
Hope this is helpful to you. Your comments are always appreciated. What have you done in getting business from speaking engagements that’s worked well for you and not worked? Love to get your feedback.
There’s good and then there’s great. What makes the difference when it comes to public speaking? First, consider what makes a bad speech: no preparation, winging it, rambling, no real point or too many points, disconnected from the audience, lack of confidence, being overconfident, being boring, no volume, monotone, reading slides, lack of passion or drive about the topic, slouching and no knowledge of what the audience wants.
So, if all of these things are what make a bad speech, you would think that you need to have the opposite for at least a good speech. True. A good speech is one that has been prepared, practiced, the point(s) are clear, the audience is engaged, the speaker is confident and excited/passionate about the topic, you can hear them/they have volume and their tone is anything but monotone, and what the audience wants is clearly understood.
Now that we have clarified the characteristics of bad and good – how do you make it great? Nick Morgan, a contributor to Forbes.com and someone who is passionate about communications, especially public speaking, told of an experience where he had to write a speech for the then Governor of Virginia, Chuck Robb. The speech had to show that the Governor was in control of a situation when four death-row inmates had escaped from prison. It took Nick 12 drafts of the speech before his supervisor was even close to happy with it. From this experience, Nick came up with “5 Secrets of Success” for great speeches:
1. Great Speeches are primarily emotional, not logical
2. Small shifts in tone make an enormous difference to the audience, so sweat the details
3. A great speech has a clear voice speaking throughout
4. A great speech conveys one idea only, though it can have lots of supporting points
5. A great speech answers a great need
I believe that Nick's 5 points are right on for delivering a great speech. Consequently, I went searching for great speeches to see if 1) they had these 5 characteristics and 2) they had any other notable values.
Here are my personal favorite top 5 great speeches of all time:
1. Steve Jobs’ commencement speech to the 2005 Stanford University graduating class. From his eye opening introduction where he states, “I never graduated from college” to his statement of what he’s going to talk about “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories. The first story is about connecting the dots….,” Jobs has captivated his audience. His point is clear “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish,” and each story illustrates this point. He is not overly passionate or excited. He is after all, Steve Jobs, and he has come to deliver an important message by authentically and powerfully sharing about his life. To watch Steve Jobs’ speech, click HERE.
2. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., was a long speech. Yet, it was incredibly powerful. As you listen, you get goose bumps and get swept up in the emotion. It’s full of poignant visuals, inspiring and uplifting you as you listen. King speaks loudly, emotionally, emphatically, passionately. His speech is delivered in total contrast to Jobs, yet both captivate. To listen to Martin Luther King’s speech, click HERE.
3. John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Speech in 1961 where he ended with “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” His pace is deliberate, emphatic, and passionate as well, Kennedy style. I love his next statement, “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” To listen to JFK’s speech, click HERE.
4. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of 1863, although only about 3 minutes long, has remained as powerful now as it was then. Lincoln did more than just dedicate a cemetery to the fallen soldiers; he captured the entire mood of the nation and inspired them to take a stand for liberty and equality. To read Lincoln’s speech and hear Johnny Cash deliver it, click HERE.
5. Susan B. Anthony delivered a speech after she was arrested, tried and fined $100 for voting in the presidential election in 1872. As you read this short and powerful speech, you can hear the emotion and passion. Susan reportedly never paid the fine and she toured the country speaking on women’s right to vote, although it wasn’t until 1920 that women officially won that right in the U.S. Click HERE to read Susan’s short and compelling speech.
In each of these cases and for all great speeches, a need is addressed. The stronger the need, the more compelling the speech can be. One key is to paint the picture of the need first, identify the problem, the pain, the wrong that must be solved and why. Although, as in Steve Jobs’ speech, you can say up front what the speech is about and powerfully illustrate your main point with stories.
Great speeches are carefully prepared, practiced, and are delivered with emotion. The speaker feels what it is that they want to convey. If you want to inspire, you must be inspired. Whatever you want to cause with your audience, you must be it first. You will never inspire anyone if you are not inspired.
And finally, and most importantly, enjoy/believe in what you are doing. The way to connect with your audience and deliver a great speech is to enjoy the experience, enjoy being on the stage, enjoy being at the center, enjoy delivering your message and/or believe strongly in the importance of your message. Your enjoyment and belief will be transferred to the audience. Enjoying and believing what you are doing is authentic, compelling and the cornerstone of confidence, which is essential in delivering a great speech. Good luck!
An elevator speech or pitch is not
something you actually present in an elevator - just to set the record straight. It's a brief "commercial" about you and your business that you can deliver in about the same time it takes to ride in an elevator, however, anywhere between 30 and 90 seconds.
Your elevator pitch can be a powerful way to promote what you do and land new business. First, you have to have the right mindset. Think of it as your movie trailer – you are generating interest for people to ask you for more information. That’s the ticket! Think relationships not transactions. Think conversation starter not getting the sale. With an effective elevator pitch, you are positioning yourself as the expert. You want to introduce yourself in a way so that people want to know more.There are three types
– 10 second, 30 second and 60/90 second. Each elevator pitch is your commercial. Your 10 second commercial is what you use when you are meeting people one-on-one. You use your 30 second commercial when you introduce yourself in front of a group at a networking event. The 60-90 second commercial is something you would use if you were a sponsor for an event and you get to come up and have a couple of minutes to talk about what you do.
I firmly believe that the 30 second commercial is the best time frame. Once you have created that one, you can create the shorter version and a longer version. The longer you talk, however, the more chance you have to bore people!! Make it shorter and it has the potential to be more compelling. Here’s what not to do
: don’t sound like your selling ~ don’t go on and on about what you do ~ kill the vague words and phrases such as transform, strategize, paradigm, peace of mind ~ and of course don’t use any acronyms or clichés, especially “at the end of the day.” Kill me now!!What to do
: be brief ~ talk about benefits, outcomes, the pain you solve, the value you provide. It’s not about you – it’s all about what value you provide for others. The more you talk about you and what you do, the more boring it is. The more you talk about others and how you help them, the more interesting it is. And you have to be specific. Your grandmother should be able to understand what you do when you say it.To get started
, make a list of all the benefits that you provide or the pain or problem that you solve. Make a list of 25 benefits – this is the best exercise for building your confidence about the value you provide for people. How do you change lives?
Then identify your target market
. Who do you help? You are going to tell people in your 30 seconds who you are looking for.
You’ll have five statements
in your 30 second elevator pitch. Here’s my 30 second commercial:“How would you like to build your confidence, position yourself as an expert, and land more business? My name is Pam Terry and I help people become confident and compelling speakers. I teach people how to overcome anxiety in any situation, how to prepare winning presentations, connect with their audience and get business from speaking. I am looking for people who want that edge for themselves or for their teams. Pam Terry, Speaker Coach & Trainer – I love helping people to win.”Your first statement should be a question.
Why? Because questions engage the mind, they are the easiest way to create interest. Your question can start with “How would you like to know/have/be/build/etc.” or “How do you…” or “Are you tired of ….” Your first statement/question will paint a picture of an accomplishment or it might paint a picture of a pain or a problem. Like “Have you ever been audited by the IRS or been afraid you might be?” It’s all about the outcome/value you provide or the problem that you solve.In your second statement, you state your name and what you do
– but you state in a way that you are talking about the value you provide – the benefits. Your next statement is a little bit more about the benefits or the pain and solution.
Tell a little bit more about benefits, value, problems solved in your 3rd statement
. Drive home how you are changing and impacting people's lives.Identify your target market in your 4th statement.
State who you are looking for in a way that you again state your problem/solution or outcome you provide.Lastly, state your name again and your summary statement
– very briefly. You want to leave people uplifted and thinking about you as THE person to go to for what you are talking about.
Once you develop your 30 second commercial, you will be walking taller and more confident about the value you do provide. It’s a great exercise and a total win. Practice it till you have it memorized. Before you go out and use it, work on your 10 second commercial.
You’ll use your 10 second intro when someone asks “What do you do?”
Here’s mine (always say it with a smile and make it very conversational):“I teach people how to get in touch with their star power. I am a speaker coach and communications trainer. I coach people on becoming confident, compelling speakers and how to land business from speaking.”
Once you have both your 10 second and 30 second commercials prepared and you know them by heart, you’re going to be anxious to try them out. Do so as soon as possible!Attached is a worksheet for developing your Elevator Pitch. If
you would like my feedback on your elevator pitch, you are welcome to post it below or email to me at pam @ pamterry.com.