As a speaker, you want to get your message out to the world but often speakers are not sure where to find strong leads. One of the best ways is to draw on your existing network.
And yes, you have already heard how important it is to ask for referrals before but the majority of people do not know HOW to ask in a way that gets results.
Let’s map out a strategy for you to get more speaking gigs.
When doing your ‘ask’ you need to tell me:
A great example of an effective “ask” is my friend and colleague, Tina Dietz. Now, she wasn’t asking me for bookings but I wanted to share this example so you can see how specific and targeted she was. Here is what she emailed me:
“Hi Cindy, I am reaching out ask for some connections. I work with authors. They are missing out on a huge market of people who love to listen to audio. I help them to put their books on audio so they can increase their reach and impact. Who do you know that are book coaches that you can connect me with?”
It is a great “ask” because book coaches help their clients create their books and then they can refer them to Tina to get those books on audio. I gave her four referrals right away. She made it easy for me.
If we were to alter this to get bookings instead of clients, here would be her ask:
“Hi Cindy, I am reaching out to ask for some connections. I work with authors. They are missing out a huge market of people who love to listen to audio. I help them to put their books on audio so they can increase their reach and impact. Who do you know that are book coaches that host conferences who you can connect me with?”
Right now, create a short one paragraph “ask” that includes your who you work with, what you do for them and who is a good connection. Then email five people you know that may have connections.
So, let’s say you are passionate about providing your hard-earned wisdom, knowledge and expertise to people who are eager to change –and they are just waiting for a transformational leader/author/expert like yourself to guide them.
It matters not whether you are offering a path to wealth, wellness, personal growth, spirituality, greater happiness, or growing a business around one’s passion—the best way to connect with people and grow your business is through public speaking. It’s also the most effective way to sell a book.
Speaking invites a relationship.
And in today’s world, that’s how people come to know, like and trust the individuals they wish to do business with. Yet, as you have probably seen many times, public speaking is the No. 1 fear of most people. But it’s not about being judged. It’s about serving and sharing.
Sharing what you know to help others overcome their limitations. Remember, people are less interested in the messenger than the message. So go proudly forth and present with confidence. People are waiting to hear you!
Here are a few things you should know to have the best chance at getting booked to speak:
You will need a benefit-driven “one-sheet”
— one page that explains to the prospective booker why you would be a great fit for his/her audience. And though you are including your expertise, your credentials and your experience, what is going to grab them is “what will it do for the audience!” They want to know how it will move, change, motivate and activate the audience. This is a ‘what’s-in-it-for-me” world so focus on them—not you when you describe yourself and the presentation or workshop you offer.
Make sure you have a contemporary website
—horizontal, lots of images, few pictures—powerful and evocative. An old, out-of-date website will dim your prospects of getting booked.
The same is true of old photographs.
You create an immediate credibility gap if you walk in looking 10 years older than your images on your site and one-sheet. To build trust and authenticity, update your images (yes they can be slightly retouched, but not radically altered!)
Speaker bookers want to see video of you engaging with an audience.
At your earliest possible opportunity get some video of you presenting. Make sure it’s well lit, with good sound—not just a quickie from your smartphone. Static video of you talking to your community on YouTube won’t do. When you have this presentation video, provide a link along with the one-sheet when you offer yourself for an engagement.
—not from clients or students—but from OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE BOOKED YOU! Speaker bookers want to see what other people who have brought you on their stages have said. They want to know you have the approval and acclaim of those who have gone before them. That gives the booker assurance that you are a good choice.
Back of the Room
When you complete your presentation, it is likely many people will rush up to you with questions, conversations, and demands for your attention. How do you manage to sell your books and products when your attention is distracted?
Fortunately new technology has given you a simple answer. Your smartphone or digital device has become the modern day cash register. The Square, Paypal and others have developed an easy way to take credit card purchases with a swipe and a signature. So preload the prices (including any taxes) of your merchandise or your merchandise bundles (more than one product you often sell together), and then show either an assistant/friend or someone predesignated by the venue how to use this simple system while you are otherwise occupied.
By preloading the merchandise pricing, it takes the guesswork and mistakes out of the picture—and you get to be the star you are rather than a retail clerk. But don’t forget to bring a cash box, with change and smaller bills, as some people still do transactions the old-fashioned way!
Don’t start out looking to get on the biggest stages in town.
Get confident, refine your presentation, and test your enrollment skills at smaller gatherings of 20 to 40. Hone your skills, get comfortable, start the buzz.
This is a time of year where our “tinsel” gets tangled and can make the holidays a challenging time for leaders, entrepreneurs and frankly, anyone!
Stress rules the day as we go, go, go and take precious little time for ourselves. Self care is critical at this time of year and the more you listen to your Intuitive Inner Guidance System, the more relaxed and in control you will fell. Bottom line, YOU need to make this choice to take control of your life with preparation and tuning in to what is important to do and what you can let go of. The more stress resilient you are, the healthier you are, and the more you can enjoy life, family, your work and….drum roll…..the holidays.
Below is a short stress meditation to help you make the upcoming holiday season special!
1. SETUP: Shift attention to your chest area.
2. BREATHE: Place your hand over your heart area. Imagine your hand acting like an air pump guiding each deep breath in and out of your hand. Relax your body with each breath.
3. VISUALIZE: Imagine your holiday gatherings as you would like for them to be. Feel it, hear it, sense it, see it in your mind’s eye. Own the entire experience. You may say, “I don’t know how to visualize.” If that is the case, what comes to mind when you read the words “christmas tree?” The impression you “see” is how you visualize. This is what you work with.
CHOOSE to see yourself calm, centered, grounded.
CHOOSE to have everything fall into place. If something goes differently than expected, allow it in with grace and ease as it probably means something better is coming.
CHOOSE to delegate instead of doing it all yourself – we are our own worst enemy because we want things PERFECT – nix that idea folks right now… your perfection tendencies creates more stress for everyone and feelings of EXCLUSION instead of INCLUSION. Instead choose EXCELLENCE which allows freedom and flexibility. There is none with perfection.
4. ASK: Work with Practical Law of Attraction by using intention and ASKing the UNIVERSE, and others, for what you want help with. Then get out of the way and allow things to fall into place and flow.
5. ASK for help. (Stop playing martyr, which many of us do, thinking that we need to do it all) Establish your boundaries and do what feels right to you and let go of misplaced guilt.
6. CHOOSE to enjoy the season, be healthy and let go of others opinions. Be true to you!
I have seen rumours lately that SEO is dead. Maybe that makes sense because of the continuous changes being made by Google to their algorithms (basically formulas that provide the results they display). But I disagree. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is here to stay. And I can prove it to you.
When you are trying to find a hair salon in Chicago because you are speaking at an event and your hair is driving you crazy. Where do you look? If you are like most of us, you will grab your phone or computer and type in Best Hair Salon in Chicago. The search engine you use (my go to is always Google) will give you a list of possibilities. Now how are these particular business showing up? Well, because they have optimized their websites and listings with search engines in mind.
I know that the term SEO can send people running, but I would like you to take a step back and think about the keywords themselves… not SEO.
So what are keywords anyway? Keywords can be a single word, or group of words, that are really search terms that help us find information on what we are looking for. Generally these words, or combination of words have been identified as being used by our potential customers, when they are searching online.
Here are 3 reasons why I love keywords and you should too:
By making determining the right keywords, to attract the right audience, you will begin to see higher and higher conversion.
Last year when I was contacted by a lovely lady in the spa service industry, her biggest complaint was that she just wasn’t getting any traction with her website. Bookings tended to be word of mouth and she wasn’t showing up in the first 10 pages in Google search returns. After doing some research to determine how people were currently finding her, keyword research and some competitive analysis, we made changes that resulted in her regularly showing up near the top of the first page. I was just speaking with her last week, and she is incredibly busy now.
So, once you are clear on the results you are trying to achieve and who your ideal client is, your online presence can soar.
To differentiate your business in your marketplace, offer a Certificate of Competence.
Of the programs and packages you offer, one or more can be written in competency-based language suitable for verification and certification.
In addition to competency, there are three additional words that guide and sustain a “Competence Verification for Certification” approach. They are capabilities, continuance, and capacity.
The four words are the four rungs of a ladder or the four elements of a free form, dynamic visual. Both examples are shown below:
The ladder metaphor suggests a mechanistic, step-by-step connection whereas the free flowing image suggests an organic, interweaving connection. Depending on your preference and the situation, both are useful.
Here is a description and explanation of the four words in connection to awarding YOUR Competence Verification for Certification. The article leans into concepts and practices best read and digested, than scanned and taste-tested.
Capabilities highlight the achievements, skills and talents a person currently possesses. These capabilities indicate the potential a person offers when matched with YOUR program/package profile competencies. Herein, program/package profile is profile.
Because of a person’s capabilities, s/he can apply personal learning and actions to a situation. Capabilities denote an inside-out conversation between the person and YOU (the profile-keeper/verifier/certifier).
Capabilities highlight the person’s fit with the competency profile. The degree of fit is determined by the person’s self-assessment of the competency statements. The results of the self-assessment follow the person until s/he applies for competence verification for her/his chosen level of certification.
The submission of the assessment indicates the person’s knowledge, skill and attitude alignment with the competency statements. It identifies what the person requires and requests of YOU. And reminds registrants what they bring to the competence verification process.
Competencies, on the other hand, are statements that identify what YOU require and request of the registrant applying for certification.
The competency statements are grouped into a competency profile. It conveys the level of certification offered by YOUR business. You can award a certificate of (1) attendance completion, (2) assignment achievement and/or (3) verified competence. The thread of this article focuses on verified competence.
The profile frames what is “legally and reasonably” required for a person to know and do to receive a verified Certificate of Competence. It is YOUR accountability to ensure access to the competence verification process offered through your business.
In addition, YOU manage access to education material to support the learning and action whether via your business and/or external organizations. That is, you provide some/all of the education and/or you acknowledge external educators aligned with your profile. Working with external educators is a great way to establish strategic alliances and access potential verifiers.
The phrase “the person is competent” is acknowledged when the assigned verifier confirms the competence of person against the competencies. That is the person’s capabilities match the profile competencies.
For the person receiving verification of competence it’s an outside-in conversation with YOU.
From YOUR perspective, you’ve stated what you require and request of the participant. And you state the resources you supply to the registrant to gain the level of certification for which they’ve applied.
Here is an adaption of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s writings on Flow linking capabilities and competencies:
Continuance is the requirement of time you assign a competency to counter the person’s forgetfulness and/or to identify the amount of time that can elapse between the person’s learning and verified action.
Also, the assigned timelines of profile competencies are influenced by external policies and/or regulations. These external influences identify the societal standards and practices linked to the profile. They indicate the influencers’ best judgment of the amount of time that can elapse between learning and verified competence. Their list of continuance markers highlights the ethical boundaries between the marketplace and YOUR corporate social/legal responsibility.
Continuance is a double-edged sword. On one side, continuance is a benefit while on the other side, it’s a cost. As a benefit for YOU, it ensures a reoccurring conversation with registrants to maintain their certification. It’s revenue for you and peace of mind they remain verified competent for their needs according to YOUR practices and standards.
As a cost, it is continued payment by the participant to remain verified. What is the value of their certification over time? What is the cost of their effort to remain certified?
This continuance factor requires YOU stay on point to ensure the profile is current and the participants are made aware of the profile edits and/or their need to recertify. Therefore, you have to manage the profile for the long-term. What does long-term mean to your business?
Capacity is the about the participants’ readiness, abilities and willingness to perform at a level consistent with the certification for which they’re verified.
Just as capacity is YOUR readiness, abilities and willingness to improve, focus, and strengthen your Competence Verification for Certification system and processes.
That is, the left bar supporting the four rungs of ladder shown above is about YOU. The right bar is about the person(s) YOU verify competent.
To be clear, the verification of competence is a multi-event process as evident by the requirement of continuance and the commitment of your registrants. YOU and your registrants must remain actively involved in the verification for certification process for it to have meaning to the person, your business and the recipients of those affected by the person holding YOUR certification.
The caveat of closure for the registrants acknowledges their non-renewal of certification. At this point YOU do not deem the person competent and you’re not legally linked to the person.
For YOU, the caveat of closure is your notification and the registrants’ acknowledgement of the discontinuance of the certification. Therefore, you must exit in full view and with due diligence with your registrants. To do otherwise, may result in legal issues.
The inter-exchange of capability, competency, compliance and capacity for the purpose of awarding a certificate of competence by verification serves as a springboard to realize disciplined risk mitigation from legal, financial, and people perspectives.
The legal perspective has been highlighted throughout the article. Follow due diligence to the verification process in establishment, maintenance and exit and you have done what is reasonable. However, a conversation with legal counsel is recommended. This document does not serve as legal guidance.
From the financial perspective, the person has invested in their certification from YOU. Therefore, appropriate financial controls and guarantees are required to ensure the person is treated fairly and respectfully during their engagement. Competence Verification for Certification is a commitment to quality service and experience with your registrants.
At its core, the Competence Verification for Certification process YOU manage focuses on your evolvement of your registrants. They enter the process based on self-assessment. They remain because of their experience of YOU and the process. And they exit, based on their decision of non-renewal.
YOU are a guide on their ride in their words, on their terms.