In this article I share seven of the most common mistakes I see when coaching beginning public speakers who are just starting their speaking business and also on how you can avoid them. This article is NOT about presentation skills or speech tips or even about conquering your fear of speaking but for those who are brand new and just starting their speaking business.
First and foremost, remember to clarify your vision and ask yourself where you would like to be in a year from now. Know in your heart that you are good at what you do…know what you want to share and know with whom you want to share it!
Mistake Number One: Not doing your research first. Before you even think about stepping into the speaking arena you have to know if your topic is marketable. Many public speakers pick a topic they feel will work and spend thousands of dollars on marketing material and come to find out that their topic is not in demand therefore not a paying market and what you have now done is set yourself up for disappointment and have spent endless hours and a lot of money. So, do your homework, research your market, talk to meeting planners and executives in your market, visit associations in your market see who they have hired to speak at previous events, you can even talk to other speakers. Just take the time to research and know without a doubt that your topic is marketable.
Mistake Number Two: Being too general. Don’t try to serve anybody and everybody…not a good idea. This is a very common mistake with new public speakers because they want to serve everyone and you just can’t do that. Many feel if they can serve more people they can become known quickly and make more money…not so! Listen very carefully, you must niche yourself within a very specific market, the more you can niche yourself the better chances you will have of becoming the speaker of choice in this area… make more money and become the speaker everyone will call on when they need an expert.
Mistake Number Three: Not building a strong platform. The importance of building a platform is to let the world know what you do, what you have done, and to back up your “talk.” If you are prepared to tell the world what you do and that you are indeed the expert they seek then you better be prepared in having a strong platform.
Mistake Number Four: Not having an effective web presence. In this area I am continuously coaching my clients in perfecting their web presence. If you’re going to have a website make sure it speaks to your target audience, make sure you are sharing information that is pertinent and helpful to them. You also need to create a media room just for planners and media professionals, make it easy for them to find all the important information because if they have to spend a long time searching out what they need then they are going to leave your site and go on to the next speaker. If you don’t have a website I highly suggest getting one put up, it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive but a nicely designed site showcasing your expertise. If you already have a site reexamine the content and make sure you speak to your audience, I have seen to many speaker sites that even I didn’t know what they do because the message is way too confusing. Be clear.
Mistake Number Five: Not growing their mailing list. You have probably heard me say this a million times, but I will say it again. Your website has two main functions: 1. To showcase and 2. To build your mailing list. There are of course several functions of a website but these are the two main ones. Do you want more business and more clients? If you said yes, then you have to have a sign up box on your website and offer your visitors something of value, something that will immediately help them solve a problem in exchange for their name and email address. This is so important; I see so many speaker and coaches websites that have no way of capturing those important and valuable visitors name and emails. You may be thinking that you have put up a great site, your getting traffic so why am I not getting any business? This is because you are not capturing your visitors name and email so you can continue to build those crucial relationships. Remember your potential buyers need to come to know, like and trust you before they will invest in you and your services.
Mistake Number Six: Not having enough confidence. This makes many public speakers come to a dead stop in following their dreams of speaking. You must start with confidence in knowing that you are good at what you do and that you have a message that will change the lives of many! If you have a dream…I say go for it and don’t let anything get in your way. You are knowledgeable in your field, you have the passion and the dedication then you can do anything! You must be confident in knowing what you can offer your target audience is going to help them solve their problems. Surround yourself with a network of friends who have positive attitudes and that can support you. Do not continue to stay focused on negative thoughts nor the negative feedback you get from people who say you can’t do it or it’s not possible…remove yourself from these people immediately! Focus and take one step at a time towards the goals you have set for yourself…you can do it!
Mistake Number Seven: Not having any marketing strategies in place. I am not going to go into this subject too much because it is a topic that can be discussed in length. Just remember you have to market on a regular basis or you will not grow! Public Speaking is just like any other business…you are a marketer first and then a public speaker.