“I’ve got a message I want to share.”
Good for you, so does every other aspiring speaker!
The truth is that there are hordes of people who want to be speakers in order to share their story or give their message. And that’s wonderful.
The problem is that many of the people in that horde think they can get paid to speak if they just follow where their muse leads them and the world is just dying to hear what they have to say. And that’s dead wrong.
Successful speakers treat speaking like a business. No amount of slaying your um’s, nailing your performance, or weaving a spellbinding story will automatically result in speaking gigs.
What helps you land gigs is that from the moment you have a vague inkling that you want to be a speaker you concentrate on how you are going to position yourself in the marketplace.
My client, business mentor, and friend, Tara Gentile, in her book Quiet Power Strategy asks this question:
“What conversation is your business a part of and what voices in that conversation are your best prospects looking for an alternative to?”
Replace the word business with presentation and you’ve got the question you MUST ask yourself if you’re going to succeed at making money as a speaker.
It’s easy, but you must lay the groundwork.
Step 1: Research Speakers In Your Category
Let’s say your topic is social media.
Google “Social media speakers” and bam you’ll find this:
Now, pick five and visit their websites. Find out how they approach their topic. Watch their speaking clips.
What’s their big idea? What topics do they cover? What stories, examples, studies do they discuss?
Bonus points: set up a private Twitter list and see how they are interacting with people about their topic.
Step 2: How Do You Want To Challenge The Conversation?
Tara Gentile writes: “There are always people actively looking for an alternative to the loudest voices.”
Your message is an opportunity to be that voice, but if you want to be an ALTERNATIVE you can’t say what everyone else is saying. Think what everyone else is thinking. Tell the same stories as that everyone else is telling.
Now, you don’t have to go around telling the top speakers in your field how very wrong they are, but you do NEED a different position from them.
Challenging doesn’t need to be in-your-face, but it needs to be DIFFERENT, your point of difference.
Step 3: How Do You Want To Add To The Conversation?
Challenging the conversation is the easy part.
As a college debater, I learned quickly that tearing down an argument is simple, but presenting a new plan was the toughest position ever.
Once you challenge, you must add to the conversation. You’re different, you’re ideas stand out, and now figure out how people should act on your difference.
What’s your approach? What’s your technique? What’s the model?
This is the part where you get to create, experiment, and have fun!
When you understand the conversation that your presentation participates in and how you challenge and add to the discussion, then it becomes possible to market yourself as a category of one speaker. Once your unique message has been clarified you will find it easier to share your message through speaking gigs (and therefore make money).
If you fail to position yourself, you will blend in with all the other noise. If you’re not challenging or adding to the conversation, then the message you’re longing to share will go unheard .
In the words of the venerable Sally Hogshead:
“Stand out or don’t bother.”
Want to know more about how to position yourself as a speaker? Catch the replay of my webinar “Positioning Power: Book More Speaking Gigs and Position Yourself in a Category of One.”
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: So You Want To Be A Speaker? Don’t Fall Into This Trap
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