August 14th, 2018
I was recently asked by a potential client “Will you be able to get me to the point of becoming a sought-after speaker?”
Part of me wanted to jump and say “Absolutely! Work with me and I promise you’ll become a sought-after speaker! I can show you the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! All your dreams will come true if you work with me! I have all the answers to all your questions! Your life will never be the same!”
But of course I didn’t. That’s not my jam. I’m more inclined to say there’s a chance you won’t become a sought after speaker.
Building a speaking business is HARD WORK. It takes determination. It takes a ton of resilience and get-up-off-the-floor-and-do-the-next-thing Commitment with a capital C.
It’s no walk in the park, and there are no guarantees.
Since that conversation I’ve been thinking about what it takes to become a sought-after speaker.
Here’s what I came up with. Four things:
Let me say a few words about each of these:
Yep. It all starts here. You gotta have top notch, content-rich, story-laden, audience-serving, out-of-the-box, well-crafted, from-the-heart (the hyphenated words are really workin for me here…)
Basically, you gotta have a great talk.
A talk that moves audiences to action, comes from your expertise and heart, takes your audience on a clear path from here to there, leads them to walk out of the room changed, so much so that they TALK ABOUT YOU.
You gotta have a talk that is fun for you to deliver, that keeps you on your toes. A talk you know in your bones, that awakens something in you, something that brings new life into the room when you speak about it.
A talk that conveys the heart of your message, and touches the heart of what your audience longs for, that find the meeting place between those two things.
With a clear pathway to transformation the moment they walk out the door. Boom. Epic Content.
During the getting booked portion of Women Who Speak, my speaker mastermind for women leaders, one of the first steps I ask participants to take is to publicly identify as a Speaker.
In social media profiles, on websites, in conversations. Let the world know you have something to say that you want people to hear, and you want them to hear it on stages they invite you to speak on.
Not just event producers, but friends, neighbors, colleagues. Introduce yourself as a SPEAKER. That’s a starting place.
Then, find out where your audience hangs out. Go to conferences and events where you want to speak. Make yourself know to the people who run those events.
Be generous. Build real relationships. Connect people to other people who you think could serve them.
Put yourself out again and again. And again. Be visible.
When you speak, stay connected to the people who invited you. Be a speaker they want to bring back. Be a speaker they want to refer to other events producers. Be a speaker their audiences talk about.
There you have it. Networking in a nutshell.
I suppose there might be some people out there who never had to pitch a talk, and who, right from the getgo, had people knocking down their doors to speak.
If you’re one of them, great.
If the vision you have of the speaker you are is the one that means you get to sit home on the couch eating bonbons, knowing that someone will call upon your genius and bring you to their stage and make you a sought-after speaker, then yay for you.
I fully support you in that endeavor.
But as far as I can see, to become a sought-after speaker, you gotta put yourself out. You gotta ask. Relentlessly. You gotta pound the proverbial pavement.
Event producers are not sitting at home with nothing to do waiting for your call. You have to find the events where your audience hangs out. Find out what they want. Find out why they come to that event. Find out whether your message will truly serve them.
You have to do your research. You have to pitch, then pitch again, then pitch again. And then again.
You have to sell yourself. Not sell yourself out. Or sell yourself short. Or sell a pumped up version of yourself. Or sell in any way that compromises your integrity.
But you do have to sell yourself and your big idea.
You have to communicate to the event producer that something you have will benefit their audience in a big way.
That’s what I’m talking about. Pitching.
In order for any of the above steps to be successful in leading you to becoming a sought-after speaker, you gotta know you’re the bomb.
Speaking will bring to the surface any gunky, murky, self-doubting, second-guessing, self-flagellation that’s lurking under the surface.
If you don’t clean it up, it will ooze out of your pores. It’ll show up in your voice and in your face.
I’m not saying you have to kick all that to the curb before you put yourself out. I’m not saying you have to WAIT till you clean all that up before you begin. No way.
In fact, in taking action towards becoming a sought-after speaker, you will clean a lot of it up. You will move a lot of it out.
Taking action, which also means taking big leaps into unknown territory, is the number one thing that will bring that gunk up from the buried nether lands, and, if you meet it when it arises, it will come up and then it will keep moving right on out.
Yes it will be uncomfortable.
Yes it might be scary.
Yes you might want to run.
But if you take action, and look right in the eyes of the self-doubting, procrastinating, second-guessing demons that are trying to keep you small, if you maybe even invite them to tea, the inner transformation that will happen as a result will look something like
KNOWING YOU’RE THE BOMB AND WORTHY OF SPEAKING ON ANY STAGE YOUR LITTLE HEART DESIRES.
THAT’s what will make you a sought-after speaker.
There. That’s it. Epic Content. Networking. Pitching. Knowing you’re the bomb. You can’t have one without the other. Or rather, one without the other won’t quite get you there.
But with all 4, you’ll be a quadruple threat.