What is one thing that upsets speakers the most? One would be not finding enough pay based speaking engagements. The frustration builds, you become discouraged and it gets to the point where you want to give up and go back to your old full time job. This can be quite frustrating and I totally understand because today many associations and organizations want their speakers to come in and speak for free, they feel their compensation of exposure is enough, I don’t agree but can’t change that because speakers continue to do them and the associations and organizations will continue not to pay. So, we must learn to leverage the free engagements that you do while building a stronger platform and seeking out the fee based events. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of fee based engagements out there but we all know they are precious gems.
While coaching speakers on a daily basis I see and feel their frustration and that’s why I try to coach them into the right mindset and understand that the free engagements aren’t a plague but can be a wonderful opportunity if they open their minds to the possibilities. If you think about it for a minute, a speakers lively hood and success greatly depends on being in front of an audience on a continuous basis!
Here are just a few ways you can leverage your free speaking engagements:
Selling BOR – We all know what back of the room products can do for us so start creating your products to bring to your free events. Start with products that are easy and inexpensive to create such as an audio CD, simple enough because you’re a speaker just speak, record and copy onto CD’s for sale. You can also create free reports, manuals, book marks, and even promote your coaching program. The ideas are endless, be creative and think outside of the box.
Building your list – What is one of the things you need in order to grow and sell your products and services? A good and responsive mailing list! What do you need to build a good mailing list? People and lots of them and what is the best way for you to find a large group of people at one time? At your free speaking event. Use feedback forms and at the bottom have an opt into your list section for them to leave their name and email. Or you can just simply offer them something free when they visit your site, make sure it is enticing enough for them to take you up on your offer. You can also build your followers on Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Linked In and more.
Opening Doors of Opportunity – I always say that any event whether large or small can open many doors to additional opportunities such as future speaking events, new coaching clients, and much more. You can also leverage this opportunity if you take the time to mingle before and after the event while answering questions from the audience members. Be pleasant and willing to help. Don’t show up late for your event and don’t rush out the door when it’s over because this really won’t help you out any.
Gain credibility – Anytime you can get in front of the public and you are an effective presenter you will gain more credibility, become known as the expert in your field. The more credibility you get the more doors of opportunity will open.
Gain more exposure – Not only are you gaining more exposure as a professional speaker while doing your free event but you will be able to use this engagement as a client reference – be sure and get a testimonial from the hiring party before you leave and add it to your speaker website. Testimonials are very powerful. You can also gain more exposure for your book or upcoming workshops, seminar, coaching practice etc.
You have to sometimes take those necessary baby steps in order to grow and even today some professional speakers who have been in the business for years still do free speaking engagements because they have learned how to take a free opportunity and turn it into a profitable and successful one. You have so much to gain and so little to lose!
Now start looking for those free speaking events and grab the opportunity. Don’t ever turn down a free event because you are not only leaving money on the table but closing the doors to possible opportunities.