It’s usually really easy for me to distinguish between a newbie speaker and a professional that knows the ins and outs of the speaking industry.
Because most newbies make the same mistake: they accept ANY speaking engagement that’s offered to them.
That’s because most (struggling) speakers at the beginning of their career don’t understand the concept of time as the most valuable asset we have.
They think that going from one speaking engagement to the next (mostly free) will help them build a successful career.
I’m not saying it cannot happen, but more often than not, these people end up being frustrated, underpaid and underappreciated in the field they want to establish authority in.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a myriad of times before: in an overcrowded market, picking a niche and becoming a thought leader in this niche is vital.
Now, I want you to take this a step further.
I want you to become extremely picky with the speaking opportunities you allow into your life.
That doesn’t mean that I’m telling you not to say “yes”, but I’m telling you to say “yes” only to those events that provide value in some way. Remember, that value is not only money.
VALUE CAN BE….
Target customers in the audience
Because the fact is, we all have 24 hours a day, and with 24 hours there’s only so much we can do.
You wouldn’t want to have to pass on an event that’s a better opportunity because you already said “yes” to a gig that doesn’t advance your career and all it does is keep you busy, would you?
So how can you know for sure if a gig is the right fit for you?
Here are four questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to get into an event or you receive an invitation to speak – the results will give you a clear answer as to whether the event is a chance worth taking or you’d be much better off if you chose to invest your time in another event or activity.
1. Does It Align with Your Goals?
If you think that every speaker has the same goal, think again.
Sure, we all want exposure, but our end goals are different.
Are you trying to get clients through in-person meetings?
Do you want to network with your peers and grow your list of connections?
Are your promoting your own product line?
Have you written a book and now you’re in the promotion phase, trying to get people to buy it?
When you clearly know your goals, it’ll be much easier for you to pick the best conferences and audience for your needs.
If a particular conference doesn’t bring you closer to reaching your goals, you probably need to turn it down and focus your attention elsewhere.
2. Will It Broaden Your Network?
There are many great things about speaking, but one of the biggest benefits is that it gives you a chance to befriend other like minded individuals, industry leaders, and event hosts.
Even if the conference itself is not an exact match to your goals, study the attendees’ profiles and see if building a relationship with these individuals may be valuable to you in the long run.
If you suspect that it is, it may be worth attending the conference.
3. Is It a Good Fit for Your Niche?
Speaking for “experience” is great for honing your skills as a speaker! However, as you get more experience you should also raise the bar to further your career.
You need to figure out the kind of people that would be interested in what you have to say (your ideal audience) and the kind of people that would bring value to your professional network.
If you’re looking to become a true expert in a field, stick to it.
4. Does It Excite You?
Finally, even if you answered the first three questions with a resounding “yes”, you need to consider this final one.
While other questions are logical and rational, this one has a lot to do with how you feel about a particular event.
Is this something that you think would be fun and enjoyable or personally enriching?
It can get really hard to attend an event and show enthusiasm if you’re actually not excited to be there.
That’s why, before yelling out a “yes, count me in!” and booking your tickets, it’s smart to stop and check-in with yourself.
No matter what the rationale says, it is your enthusiasm that will show during your speech – and if you don’t quite feel it, maybe you should reconsider getting on that stage to begin with.
Use this simple assessment, and I promise you, no matter how many hours you spend prepping for and attending an event – you’ll always feel that this is time well spent and very much worth it.
Until next time,