This is a guest post from my friend and Speak it Forward founder Kent Julian. Kent is an accomplished coach and professional speaker who has built a very successful business the right way. Kent started his business as a part-time side hustle and has “lived it forward” ever since. Kent’s original post appears here. Two special offers from Kent are at the end of the post!
Recently I shared a survey about fear. According to the survey, the activity people dread most is public speaking. This must mean I’m a bit “unusual” because I love public speaking! (FYI, a lot of people just call me “nuts.”)
Photo from Liveitforward.com
If you are as unusual as I am and enjoy public speaking, perhaps you’d like to develop a revenue stream from speaking. If so, here are 7 keys to success for speakers that I follow.
By no means is this a comprehensive list. Instead, these 7 keys to success for speakers comprise a few basic principles a person must follow in order to book speaking engagements.
7 Keys To Success For Speakers
Speaker ID — One of the more commonly overlooked keys to success for speakers is developing a “Speaker ID.” Your Speaker ID consists of your brand, the character you play on stage, and even the key emphasis of your message. Most wanna-be speakers focus on packaging the information they want to deliver; few think about how to package thepresenter who will deliver that information. The best speakers do both!
Platform — For speakers, the term “platform” not only refers to the stage on which we stand to present our message, it also refers to the “marketing stage” we build to promote our services and products. There has been a ton written recently about developing one’s marketing platform and for good reason—a solid platform is vital to getting noticed in a crowded and noisy world. As with all the topics on this list, this one is discussed in detail at the Speak It Forward Boot Camp. In the meantime, if you’d like to read the best books I’ve read on building your marketing platform, check out Platform by Michael Hyatt, Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, or Get Slightly Famous by Steven Van Yoder.
Expertise — Do you have something to say? Do you really? It’s shocking how many people say they want to be speakers but are unwilling to invest the time to develop expertise on a topic. To become a leading authority as a speaker, you MUST learn everything you can about your topic. Read books. Take classes. Attend conferences. Hire coaches. Bottom line, pick the brains of other leading authorities in order to become a go-to person in your field.
Add Value — Another one of the keys to success for speakers that gets overlooked is this: great speakers know that being a speaker isn’t about them. First off, the primary person your speech should serve is the meeting planner who hired you. That’s your client! A close second to the meeting planner who hired you is the audience; serve them well and the meeting planner will be happy. Speakers who end up not making it for the long haul miss this important key to success. They think their presentation is all about them instead of realizing that their #1 goal is to add value to an event by serving meeting planners first and audience members second.
Killer Presentations — If you don’t have a strong presentation, whether you are a keynote presenter or a workshop leader, you won’t make it as a speaker. Sorry, but being a good presenter is pretty fundamental in this business. Obviously, how to develop a great presentation is another one of the keys to success for speakers we spend a lot of time on at the Boot Camp. Since it’s possible to dive into all the details via a blog, here are some quick pointers that should prove helpful:
- Never forget that audiences want to be entertained and moved as much as informed.
- Stories teach better than stats.
- Speakers who speak on similar topics are all basically saying the same thing. Therefore, the best speakers are those who have found unique and memorable ways to communicate what everyone is saying.
- Great speakers are not just memorable, they are unforgettable! The best way to become unforgettable is to think like a stickologist.
Energy Leader — This is one of the simplest keys to success for speakers that even the best speakers occasionally trip over. Always remember that the moment you take the stage, you must own and lead the energy in the room. NEVER FOLLOW the energy of the people in the room. Lead it! Take the energy reigns and lead the audience where you want them to go.
Revolving Door — Of all the keys to success for speakers on this list, this is the one that keeps wanna-be speakers from developing a revenue stream from their endeavors. Most marketing plans that speakers follow, if they actually have one, are erratic at best. This means most speakers never develop TOMA in a market (i.e. Top Of Mind Awareness). I follow a “Revolving Door Marketing Strategy” which keeps me in front of key meeting planners in a positive, serving way every 6-8 weeks. Additionally, I use both traditional and non-traditional “showcasing” as a means of demonstrating my speaking services to a large group of meeting planners at one time. Both strategies create a “revolving door” of business and referrals.
I hope you have found these 7 keys to success for speakers both insightful and informative. Beyond commenting below, here are two things you can do if you are interested in taking steps to become a speaker.
Kent hosts the popular Speak it Forward Boot Camp, and the next edition of this camp is October 25-27 in the Atlanta area (affiliate link). I attended this event last year, and it is a great conference for anyone looking to build a great speaking business.
Kent is also hosting a teleseminar on Tuesday, September 18 at 8 PM ET on how to prepare and deliver a great speech. Details and signup information are located here.
How can you take these 7 keys to speaking to make your own speaking business happen? Share your thoughts below!