Being your own boss can be a an exciting profession that comes with many benefits. But, if you are self-employed and running a small coaching practice, being your own boss also likely means you’re wearing multiple hats. Sales person. PR professional. Marketing coordinator. Accountant. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day, “behind the scenes” of running your business that you lose sight of what you do so well…connecting with others to share your knowledge and help them succeed.
One way to showcase what you do and how you help others live their best life (personally and professionally) can be to commit to a few speaking engagements throughout the year.
Yes, it takes practice and planning. And yes, it can be a bit intimidating especially if it’s outside your comfort zone. But, it can also lead to increased revenues, better marketing opportunities and could boost your coaching business with new leads.
Why add public speaking when connecting 1:1 is what you do so well?
Public speaking allows you to market yourself and build brand awareness with potential clients who might otherwise not engage with you. Sharing your expertise with audiences of ten to 10,000 allows you to create new relationships and educate diverse audiences on the benefits of working with YOU as a private coach.
The idea of taking your business “to the masses” may seem daunting!
Public speaking is historically listed as one of the greatest human fears. But, to form connections with people who could really benefit by hearing what you have to say, taking the leap to showcase your talents on a larger stage may be just the boost your business needs in 2019.
Four things to consider when committing to public speaking engagements
1. Stay in a lane
Don’t be all things to all people. Select topics that are relevant to your coaching practice and to your audience.
Avoid committing to opportunities that are not a good fit. It’s easy to see when someone has a genuine interest in the audience and topic…and when they don’t!
2. Prepare for your presentation
Make sure your delivery is appealing for audience members, your speech outline follows logical steps and you work to eliminate filler words (ummms, sighs, ands, etc.)
If you need help putting together your presentation, there are many quality, free resources that can help. Watching TED Talks is a great way to observe public speakers and what resonates with those sitting in the audience. On a larger scale, consider Toasmasters and the National Speaker’s Association.
As CEO and CFO of your own practice, understanding how (and how much) your speaking engagements are worth is important.
There are times when offering a keynote or breakout session should be done gratis. You may not walk away with a paycheck, but you will walk away having made a dozen new connections who may have a future opportunity that does pay.
Additionally, and until you feel confident in front of an audience, a few pro bono “practice runs” may prove necessary! Look at this as both a business and professional development opportunity! If you do request a fee or stipend to speak, understand what your time is worth and stick to it.
4. Where to find engagements
Think about who your target audiences are and make a list of relevant organizations. Where do those people work? Of what clubs/associations are they members?
To start – think local! A Chamber of Commerce, rotary club, or other civic/charitable organization that hosts a monthly meeting is often looking for speakers to present. You might be surprised to learn that there is an association for just about everything! Pick an industry relevant to you and your business, and start making a contact list.
Network, network, network!
Public speaking can be an exciting way to grow your business and your self-esteem! If you stay true to your passion and expertise, you will shine in front of your audience. Speak from the heart and learn from each opportunity.
Most importantly, network with those in the audience.
The value that comes from speaking engagements isn’t just the opportunity for you to stand up at the podium and demonstrate your authority and gain public recognition.
The greatest benefit actually comes from networking with the audience and meeting new people (your potential clients!) and exchanging name cards. The coffee break sessions are a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself to attendees, get to know them and find out what they do.
In turn, when they ask about you and what you do, be ready with your pre-rehearsed and super effective 2-minute pitch about what you do and how you help people. No hard sell here, just a casual conversation.
Be sure to follow up with those whom you have met after the event by contacting them and sending a personal email. Always keep track of those whom you meet and take notes about what they shared with you during your conversations. Those nuggets of information will be really useful when you reach out to them and possibly have a discovery call with them later in the process.
The CoachVantage app lets you create contacts easily even on your mobile phone and take notes so you can easily have access to it when you need to follow up with them. Or if you prefer taking voice memos, you can do that too and then upload it and save it to that contact’s record in CoachVantage.
You can sign up for CoachVantage for free and try it out. for yourself here.