Do you become a well-known speaker before you write a book? Or, do you write a book and use that as leverage to become a well-known speaker? It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg question! But, speaking and writing a book are BOTH great ways to get your worthy message out into the world.
So, if you know you want to become a speaker in addition to being an author, there are some tactical ways to grow your visibility and increase your chances of booking high-visibility conferences and events.
create a speaking reel
Realize that YOU know your content inside and out, but the world doesn’t know you and how well you interpret your content for an audience. Therefore, you need a speaking reel.
what is a speaking reel?
The usual reel contains highlights of your speaking style, including clips from more than one talk. It should be short enough that the person watching doesn’t lose interest, but not too jumpy/quick that the person watching starts to wonder if you had to edit out tons of “ums” and “you knows” to make your reel seem professional. It’s also beneficial to include an audience in your reel. Bureaus and other conferences want to see you in front of a group of people and they want to see their reactions and engagement.
how do you get a speaking reel if you don’t have talks?
Ah ha! Here’s where you may need to stick your head out a few times and offer your services for “free” — knowing that you’re building your brand while “giving away” your content. Think about how you could get out into your community and start speaking about your topic.
While a group may seem “too small,” remember that it’s always a chance for you to hone your message and practice engaging with audiences of varying types. (Note: I’m not saying you do this for years on end, but 3-5 times so you have enough content to edit into a quality reel.)
take it to the next level
If you want to start being paid to speak at conferences, you need to start going to conferences first. What can you offer conference organizers where you hope to speak one day? Can you do a poster presentation or speak on a panel? Even if they just offer you a travel-only stipend, each event you participate in will help increase your brand awareness. Don’t go overboard with the free engagements, but each time you do agree to work with an organizer, s/he/they are more likely to keep you in mind for future gigs.
Wherever and whenever you speak, wow them with your introductory presentation and good things will come!
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