But how do you begin to build the kind of platform that will lift you to the position of keynote speaker? Build a platform
If you want to speak to crowds, you need to show the world that you have something to say. By developing followers on social media, you will begin to create the kind of attention and audience that will show event planners your potential success.
Remember that the relationship between event planners
and speakers goes both ways. Speakers rely on events to reach a wider audience, but planners and coordinators rely on speakers to bring their fans to an event, and boost its attendance. Start small
Your first keynote speaker headline won’t happen at a national event. You will probably start out by offering smaller talks and seminars at local or regional events. Don’t be impatient; doing smaller events gives you a chance to build your talk and refine your presentations. Be careful of “exposure”
Many planners, looking to keep their own budget under control, will ask speakers to appear for free, citing the “exposure” they will get at an event. In some cases, this may be worth it, but in others, the exposure you will get is so minor that you should insist on payment, or choose a different event. Exposure might be a worthwhile payment if:
Build your follow-up
- You are gaining access to an audience that you otherwise would not be able to reach, but who are also interested in what you have to offer.
- You don’t have to spend much, if anything, out of pocket to make the event work. If you have to pay a substantial amount for moving expenses, and lose valuable time at your day job, for example, the experience may be less worthwhile.
- The venue offers another form of compensation. Perhaps they want to purchase a certain number of your books for giveaway, or offer free promotion at the event, for example.
One difference between casual speakers and those who’ve been doing this for a long time is the way they choose to follow-up with their fans. Some speakers give event attendees access to a private mailing list where they can ask questions or talk about progress, for example.
If you want to do some sort of follow-up after the event, make sure everything is ready to go before your event begins. Make sure to promote the follow-up during your talk, and obviously follow through on what you promise. Pull it all together
Winning yourself or your company a keynote speaker spot
is going to take time, effort, and regular refinement. You might not see it happen this year, but if you invest some significant attention and practice, it is an achievable goal. Start now, find what works best for you, and practice as you improve. Ask for feedback
One way to show your value to the next venue is to provide feedback showing that your attendees found you useful and informative. You can ask for written feedback during the event, if the planners are open to it, or you can pass out business cards with a QR code that points to a comments section on your website.
It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from event planners. Were you a model guest, or were there things you could have done better? Word gets around about who is a great speaker
, and who is horrible to event staff; you want to be part of the former group, not the later. Market yourself
No matter how revolutionary your platform, event planners aren’t going to be knocking down your door trying to get you to show up. You need to market yourself to colleges, events, and Chambers of Commerce as a potential speaker. If you aren’t familiar with this specific marketing technique, consider working with a PR person to put together an event packet to send out. Create watchable samples
With the easy availability of high quality recording equipment, you should never expect event planners to book your talk sight unseen. While there’s something to be said for keeping key elements for your in-person audiences only, you should have samples on Youtube and your website which show your presence in front of a crowd, ability to present yourself, and professional appearance.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a public speaker?