Speaking at colleges and universities can give you some good pocket money and great testimonials to add to your collection. Here’s a strategy that you should make a habit of during the summer and early fall so that you remain booked throughout the year.
- Doing your Homework
Call 3 colleges and ask for the contact information for the appropriate department. Or research them online and find the person in question. Consider:
- Coordinator of Greek Life
- Director of Career Services
- Vice President of Student Affairs
- Reaching Out
Leave a short voicemail if you don’t get through, and follow up if you don’t hear back soon (see #4 for tracking). When you reach someone be prepared to warm them up, here’s your main talking points:
- I speak to students on <Crazy Topic Title>
- Please keep me in mind for your next event
- May I send you my Onesheet and a link to a sample video?
- Get their email address or mailing address to follow up. In academia, they like paper so you can follow up with an email immediately, and send them a physical Onesheet in the mail.
- Following Up
Make sure you immediately send out your Onesheet, link, and anything else you promised during your conversation. You may also want to recap main points of the conversation and any questions or agreements that either party needs to keep in mind.
- Keeping Track
Create and maintain a spreadsheet of all your contacts and date of next follow-up actions. Keep notes on your conversations, their areas of interest, and potential dates of engagements they may have mentioned. If you don’t hear back from them within a week, simply ask them whether they received your follow-up email.
The Magic Schoolbus
Colleges pay speakers for campus events. Yes, you will get paid to speak! Student Activity funds are there for the asking and they’re always looking for a wide variety of topics, not just career-oriented topics. Social media, business management, financial responsibility, networking, job interviews, working with groups, marketing, organizing, focus, and life skills are very appropriate for the college-age set.
You can also speak at other schools, if your topics are appropriate, although they may not have a fund to pay you. Many of the same topics can be trimmed to appropriate depth and length for other audiences in a wide range of ages. Speaking to highschoolers and parent-teacher associations can be another foot-in-the-door for better engagements.
If schools and campuses are a good fit for your niche, you can make a good deal of money on the college circuit. And once you get your foot in the door your testimonials and word of mouth will open door-after-door for you.
- To hit a real home run with university faculty, visit the campus and track down the person(s) who might hire you. Track down the VP of Student Affairs and introduce yourself. Ask if they would like your Speaker Onesheet and ask if they would consider you for a speaking engagement. Make sure you bring plenty of Onesheet copies with you.
- Be genuine. You are the most qualified person to be yourself, and when you’re being yourself you are guaranteed to be unique. This is the core principle of attracting the people you are meant to serve.
- Stay on top of this! Today you’re starting with 3, but you should implement this strategy regularly especially if it’s appropriate for your target audiences or topic. It’s also a good way to remain booked during the day and on weekdays. Aim to do at least 3-4 college talks a month if this is a sweet spot for you.
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