While public speaking was, at first, a hard slog for me, I truly believe that if you want to become known as an expert in your industry and raise your profile, you need to consider public speaking.
Speaking at conferences and other events puts you in front of an audience interested in what you have to say, who may potentially become your new customers, clients or brand advocates.
But, at first, speaking opportunities aren’t going to come to you, you need to go out there and find them.
If the thought of speaking in front of an audience terrifies you, sign up to a public speaking course or get some one-on-one coaching before you do anything.
If you are ready to start speaking now, start by doing some research about the events relating to your areas of expertise, the events your target audience are attending and chambers or associations relating to your industry.
Most associations and groups will hold small events such as a lunch or breakfast with a key speaker and perhaps a larger annual conference, opportunities for you to position yourself as an expert.
How to pitch yourself as a speaker
When pitching to event organisers to speak at an event you are going to need a speakers profile. This is a document you can send them outlining your bio, the topics you can speak about and any previous public speaking experience you have. Every time you pitch to speak at an event you should attach the speakers profile to the email.
Here is a step-by-step guide to writing your own speakers profile:
1.Start with your bio. Make it approximately five paragraphs long. It should outline who you are, your career and why you’re an expert in your field. Remember to include any major awards you have won that relate back to your industry or any other notable achievements.
2.Include a headshot. This should be a professional headshot of you. Try and have a colour image as it will help to brighten the document.
3.Include three speaking topics. These should be topics you feel comfortable talking about or are an expert in. For example, if you are a Marketing Manager one of your topics could be about viral marketing. Make your topics up-to-date and relating back to what is happening in your industry. Your topics should include a headline, an outline of the topic and what the audience will take away from your presentation.
4.List previous speaking experience. List the name of the event your spoke at and the year the event was held. Write the list from latest to oldest. If you haven’t spoken before, leave this part out. Also include any testimonials you have from your previous speaking engagements.
5.Put your contact details at the bottom. This should include your full name, phone number, email address and website.
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