When I gave my first “paid” speech I understood the art of speaking, but I didn’t understand the business of speaking. I understood what I needed to do to engage an audience. I understood what it took to put smiles on the audience's faces. I understood that I needed to provide quality content. What I didn’t understand was how to turn my speaking performance into future opportunities. I was a speaker, but I wasn’t a “Professional Speaker.”
As a Professional Speaker you have two goals. You must provide a high quality program for your client and you must find more opportunities to speak in the future. If you’re not consistently getting paid speaking opportunities, you won’t be a Professional Speaker for very long.
One way to get more speaking opportunities is to turn your next speaking event into a Speaking Showcase. Have you ever invited a prospective client to one of your speaking events? Prospective clients want to see you speak, so invite them to your next paid or unpaid event to see who you really are, what you’re about and what you can really do.
When I started inviting prospective clients to my events (in person and virtual), my bookings increased and my calendar filled. I was showcasing my services. I’ve always known that I provided great content and energy on stage, but I had a difficult time capturing it in a short promotional video. My invitations allowed me to be transparent, stand out from the competition, and gain respect from my prospective clients. Your invitation is a personal and professional development opportunity. Your future client will see your work live and have the opportunity to network with the people in attendance.
When you invite a prospective client to one of your events, you’re proving you have nothing to hide. You’re offering your client a chance to see your true work and not an edited “smoke and mirrors” video version of your work. You’re inviting them because you believe in your abilities and content. No matter where I speak, I look through my database to see if there is a potential client in the area I would like to work with. After getting approval from the client I will be speaking for, I invite my potential clients to the event. Your invitees won’t always show up, but when they do, give the best performance possible. Their attendance is a visual display that they are interested in working with you.
The Professional Speaking business is about creating opportunities to share your message, passion and experience with others. You can write the greatest speech, workshop or training the world will ever see, but if no one experiences it, then you won’t have a career, you’ll have a hobby. Even if you only have one upcoming speech on your calendar, use that speech to invite people and organizations you would like to work with to the event. Use that event as the Speaking Showcase that will fill your “Professional Speaking” calendar in the future.