Why should you speak publicly while in job search mode? Because the perception of someone who delivers presentations, and who does it really well, is that they are an expert. Companies like to hire and promote experts.
Research shows that speaking engagements are:
- Business opportunities
- Career opportunities
- Leadership opportunities
Merely being in front of a group and presenting sets you apart from the crowd, particularly if you do it well. To be a strong presenter, consistently study, practice and apply the art and science of public speaking and presentation skills.
Steps to strong presenting
- KNOW your subject.
- STUDY to develop a higher level of expertise on your topic than others possess.
- KNOW the structure or outline of your presentation and follow it.
- HAVE A POINT – Have you ever seen and heard a speaker talk and talk and not say anything? Don’t be that person! Download FREE Speaker’s Template
- KNOW your content so that you can convey it seamlessly. Delivery trumps content.
If you don’t have excellent presentation skills, you can learn them. Check out Toastmasters and consider hiring a professional presentation coach.
There are speaking opportunities off line and online. Let’s look at each.
Off-Line Speaking Opportunities
Many groups, associations, and companies have guest speakers. You can find contact information for most of these groups online. The majority of such groups do not pay a speaking fee, but they may offer you a meal and a table to sell your books. (You have a book or are working on one, aren’t you? … being an author also encourages people to think of you as an expert).
If asked what you charge (and your research tells you they don’t pay), tell them you’ll “waive your regular fee for them.” Eventually you may work your way into paying gigs.
Groups that often seek speakers include:
- Chambers of commerce
- Meetup groups
- Professional and trade associations
- Rotary clubs
- Lions clubs
- Optimists clubs
- Companies that have “Lunch & Learns” with guest speakers
TV and Radio
Pursue opportunities to appear as an expert on a local TV news shows or on locally-produced shows like Good Morning, Cleveland or Show-Me St. Louis.
- Become the go-to person to comment on a trending news story. Continually let TV and radio producers and reporter know of your topical expertise by calling, emailing, and mailing them information about why you are the go-to expert. (Producers keep a list of experts … be on their list for your topics!) The better you do in these interviews, the more often that they will reach out to you when your topic comes up in the news.
- Consider TV stations’ paid programming option. You pay to be on their show, but it looks like a real interview, which can help you spread the word that you are an expert.
- Look into being a guest on someone else’s Internet Radio program, such as on Blog Talk Radio, or host your own show on such sites.
If you’ve written a book, seek to make presentations about it or have a book-signing event at:
- Book stores
- Specialty stores that sell products related to your book subject
Online Speaking Opportunities
The Internet provides a variety of speaking engagements. Let’s look at a few:
Most people are visual learners. The next most popular way people process information is by listening. YouTube delivers the best of both worlds!
- If you don’t have a YouTube Channel, get one! Regularly post short, informational videos on the site to build a following.
- Link the video to your website and to your dedicated landing page for a particular offer.
- Add the web address into the description section of the video, reached by clicking on Video Manager. View my YouTube channel.
- Produce good videos. They don’t have to be professionally produced, but by spending a bit of money, studying the craft of video production, and practicing, you can produce quality videos.
- Search DIY Video Production on YouTube. You will find lots of help.
Here are my recommendations for producing quality videos:
- Your cell phone video camera may work adequately, but it is best to invest in an HD video camera.
- Good lighting is essential. DIY videos on this topic are worth your time investment. The kind of lights and where they focus is critical. My preference is infinite white lighting, because it is nothing but bright white with no distractions, which puts the focus on me, the speaker, where it should be.
- Editing software is mandatory for a good video production. ScreenFlow for Mac and Camtasia for PC and Macs are excellent, moderately priced choices.
- Sites like SlideShare let you embed your video into a PowerPoint presentation or upload video clip links onto your LinkedIn profile and web site. SlideShare gets great traffic so posting your videos there will help you build a following.
Since many people are auditory learners, add an audio (only) option in addition to a video link at the top of your blog posts.
- Invest in a good microphone. I use a Rode Smartlav Lavaliere microphone that plugs into my iPhone.
- Use audio editing software such as Audacity, which is available for free for Macs and PCs.
- Link your audio to your iTunes Podcast Channel. Doing so provides another way for Google to find and promote your content.
In conclusion … work it!
- Tell everyone that you are looking for speaking engagements! List your topics and provide them with your contact information so that they can easily pass on your information to others. Refer other speakers to your interviewers or event hosts. Many will repay the kindness by referring you!
- Call, email, and continually follow-up with groups to secure speaking opportunities. Getting booked may take a while at first, so be patient and persistent.
- Your talk should not be a commercial, although with permission from the host, you may be able to touch briefly on what you offer. Your presentation should provide valuable information that the audience can use. If all you do is sell, you’ll lose speaking opportunities because your presentations will be considered too sales-focused.
Pursue Speaking Opportunities! Doing so can help you … Get a Job!