Speaking at special events, seminars and conferences will provide positioning as a thought leader and a boost to new business opportunities for your agency.
To facilitate more of these opportunities its important for you to understand and meet the needs of event organizers. Here are 7 traits that event organizers need and will appreciate:
1. Promote the event. Event organizers will be more adapt to invite you as a guest speaker if they see you how you promote other events. Here are a few ways to promote events through your own networks that organizers appreciate. You could:
- Include a banner for the event in your blog’s sidebar.
- Information about the event in your email newsletter.
- Invite one of the event organizers to write a guest post.
- Write your own article prior to and/or after the event.
- Find out if the event already has a Twitter #hashtag set up. If they don’t suggest one to the event organizers. Use the hashtag for Twitter posts about the event, before, during and after.
2. Participate in the event. Not every speaking engagement is a paid gig. Often times it they may only provide for your travel expenses but most allow you to take in all of the event for free. As a participant you have an opportunity to:
- Use the time to network
- Conduct interviews. Use your iPhone to video and edit podcasts that you can share on your blog.
- Act an a reporter for the event with live updates via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Set-up “meet-ups” from your online networks of people.
3. Prepare for the unexpected. Here are a few of my to-dos in preparation for the unexpected:
- Email a copy of my Keynote or PowerPoint in advance to event organizers.
- Back up my presentation, notes and graphics on a thumb-drive and use a tool called Dropbox as a safety net in case my laptop is stolen or crashes.
- Bring cords and adapters for about every situation. Keep them in plastic bags in your laptop case, so that you can quickly find what is needed.
- Grab current screen shots just in case event’s internet connection isn’t working.
- Bring my own air-card in case I have to forgo the events internet connection altogether.
- I have two different versions of my presentation, one geared toward a larger group and another for small groups. The audience of 150 you were promised may turn out to be only 15.
- Get comfortable with your surroundings. Visit the presentation hall or room in advance.
4. Support and promote other speakers. At a recent BOLO Conference, I met my good friend Jay Baer in person for the first time. Jay was a keynote speaker and went out of his way to promote my session by Twittering to quotes and comments to his network, mentioning me during his presentation and in the event’s wrap-up session. He was very kind. I also did the same for Jay and for other event speakers like Tom Martin.
I was reminded of this from a quote given by Zig Ziglar on my return flight home, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
5. Take time to meet with others. Instead of being locked in your hotel suite, take in the event’s socials. Provide an opportunity to mingle with your audience, gain new friends and get to know your loyal followers in person. Meeting with as many agency principals as I do it amazes me at the number that seemingly don’t like being around new people. Networking is a chore for them rather than a natural curiosity for getting to know about other people.
6. Don’t be a prima donna. The unexpected always happens so be willing to adapt to last-minute changes without a fuss. Be as flexible for your host as possible. Event organizers often network with one another. You will want them to be positive when they talk about you so be pleasant to work with and easy to please.
7. Give it your very best. Event organizers spend a lot of time and effort for speakers to not bring their A-Game for their presentation time. Be prepared, rested and relaxed. Customize your presentation specifically to each event. Rehearse as if you were in a play, practice as you would before a game. When you speak, turn IT on, light IT up and let IT go.
Inspiration for this post is came from an article in I discovered in a recent SlideShare newsletter, 5 Traits Event Organizers Want From Speakers
Here are some additional presentation articles that you may find helpful:
- The Only Rule That Really Matters When Presenting for Ad Agency New Business
- Steve Jobs: 10 Presentation Tactics for Ad Agency New Business
- Agency Leadership: Can you be a great leader and not be a great presenter?
- 10 Tips to Get Speaking Opportunities for Ad Agency New Business