I don’t know too many entrepreneurs who do not put on their resolution list to “Speak on More Stages.” Was it on yours? Are you speaking on stages? Are they the right stages?
In the past 4 months I have worked a lot of events and witnessed first hand the right and the wrong way to speak on stages. I have also been approached by speakers wanting to get on my stages in all the wrong ways. In addition I have searched for seasoned speakers for several large conferences only to find no appropriate information. There are things you MUST have in place before you can truly embark on a profitable and successful speaking journey.
Here are my top 5 things YOU NEED to know or have in place:
- Updated Headshot: Please look like your photo! It’s not that you have to be beautiful, not even an issue, but if your picture is from 20 years ago, your brown hair is now grey or bleached blond and you are 50 pounds heavier; you need a new headshot. The production company will be promoting your participation and if the guests walk in and see a different person on the stage; it will make the event company look dishonest. I know we all looked better in our 20’s and 30’s but I am not the same person I was then as I am now. You only have your integrity and if you are lying to them by using an old picture; you lose the trust factor.
- Speaker One-Sheet: This does not have to be professionally produced, you can do it yourself or go to fiverr and pay a slight fee to have it done. Make it as easy on the production team as possible and list 3 Top Topics you can speak about along with a quick 2-3 sentence description. Put logos of the companies you have spoken to and add a few testimonials from people who have either hired you to speak or heard you speak. Your picture and a short bio should also be included. Links to your website, your contact information, etc. should be there as well. MAKE IT EASY ON US PEOPLE.
- Video: If you want to speak on my stage, I better see you speak on other stages. Not everyone is a good speaker (we know who those individuals are). A 20 minute speech can sometimes feel like an hour when the speaker is not engaging. If you can’t walk, talk and entertain; bottom line, I don’t want you in front of my audience. So if I can see you speak to a group (no matter the size) and get a sense of your personality, knowledge base and stage presence; that is a win! If we live in the same area, invite me to one of your presentations to hear you live. Always put your video links in your speaker packages and emails so all the production team has to do is click and see your brilliance immediately.
- Know the Rules: Nothing makes an event host and the production team madder than people who don’t play by the rules. If you have 20 minutes you better be done in 20 minutes. Watch the timer, practice your speech and know the timing. If you were told you could not sell from stage, DON’T SELL FROM STAGE, or the back of the room. If you have a table at an event; it is expected that you will be selling something; but don’t think it’s a given for you to offer from the stage if it was not agreed to in advance. Just ask the question “What am I allowed to do from stage?” They will tell you exactly what you can and cannot do. If you go against the rules, I can assure you, you will not be asked back. Remember an Event Producer/Coordinator/Planner, whatever you call us, have more than one client. Mess up with one client and who knows how many stages you just lost the opportunity to speak on.
- Show Up Right! Make it easy on the host and show up confident, positive and professional. I don’t care if your dog ran away, your kids are having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, or you drank too much last night. It’s not about you, it’s about the audience. Whatever you have to do to get in the right head-space you need to do it. You have either been paid to speak, or paid a pretty penny to speak, or you are being given an opportunity to grow your business for free. Whatever the circumstances, you show up with your “A Game.” Dress professionally, you are not only representing your own business, but you are representing the production company as well. This is not a high school book report and you just rolled out of bed. Think about the event and the environment and dress the part. If this is a retreat you will not be wearing a 3-piece suit; but if its a corporate event, you better be wearing a suit/dress or business attire. Show up early; be a part of the event, network with the guests. Don’t isolate on a table for speakers and only interact with other speakers. Be approachable. The best speakers I have seen come to the entire event and mingle with the audience so they get to know them before they get on stage. When they offer their “sale” the audience already knows them. Stay after you speak to answer questions and close more sales. Don’t think you are a celebrity and once you are on the stage you have to get in your limo and leave. Be generous, kind and authentic.
There is so much more that I would love to share with you in this blog and so many people I would love for you to learn from. That is why I am offering a 1-Day Workshop titled Summer School for Speakers. If you are serious about having a speaking career you need to be in this room. I have brought together experts in this field who will share the ins and outs of speaking on stage; how show up confident and professional; how to share “Your Story” to engage the audience and finally, how to dress and present yourself in the best possible way. Find out more information at Summer School for Speakers .
Let’s make those New Years Resolutions a Reality!