[Step 4] 🎤 Want Instant Trust? Take the Stage!

Hey there!

Today is about another topic that might make you a little uncomfortable: speaking. 

Speaking on stages.

Speaking on webinars.

Speaking as a guest on podcasts.

It’s especially uncomfortable for those of us who are shy, introverts, or maybe we’re not as confident in our English-speaking abilities.

Me speaking at my own meetup a few years back

Public speaking isn’t for everyone, and you can grow your U.S. market presence without it.

But it sure helps spread the word about your category – and it’s a great way to get customers.

First, let’s get into why you should speak.

Speaking Helps Promote Your New Category

As part of your category design process, you need to spread the word. 

Speaking is one of the best ways to do that. 

But how do you do that if nobody knows about your category yet?

The Category Pirates call it “dam the demand” (dam, not damn). 

Grant Baldwin, author of The Successful Speaker, calls it the Trojan Horse method.

It’s the same thing. You offer conference organizers a compelling talk that would be of interest to your target market.

And in your actual speech:

  • You present the problem
  • Then you present your new category as a solution

It’s as simple as that.

Speaking Generates Trust, The Most Important Ingredient to Selling Your Services

Trust is the most important ingredient to commercial success. 

If your market trusts you, they’ll buy from you. 

They’ll believe that what you say is the truth. They’ll believe you can help them. 

When you speak on stage (or in a podcast or on a webinar), you generate instant trust.

Why? Because you’re perceived as an expert.

Anybody who is an expert at something is trustworthy.

4 Steps to Getting Speaking Opportunities

Many of these steps are from Grand Baldwin’s excellent book The Successful Speaker. I recommend buying it from your local store or Amazon ASAP.

Let’s get into how to start speaking on stages big and small as a way to sell your services in the U.S. market:

1. Decide on your topic

The good news is that you’ve already solved this problem. 

When you created your category and you wrote your book you:

  • Chose your niche
  • Solved a common problem they had in a non-obvious way (or solved a non-obvious problem in an obvious way).
  • Created a whole new methodology and vocabulary for your new category, as a way to solve your niche’s problems.

Check this bullet point off as done!.

2. Create your speaker brand

You want to brand yourself as an expert in your field. 

And you also want to generate excitement that you’re the only person they should listen to when it comes to your particular topic.

How do you do that?

  • Build a speaker website: Your speaker website will feature a professional photo of you, your speaker reel, your book (or books), and a one sheet. Check out Joe Pulizzi’s speaker website for a fantastic example.
  • Shoot a speaker reel: You need a 2-5 minute demo video highlighting your best speaking moments. Have a professional videographer put this together for you. Don’t have any past speaking experience? No problem! Organize a mini-conference for your team, your family or your pets.
  • Create a one sheet: Grant Baldwin says that a speaker one sheet is “…a document that summarizes your speaking business.” A one sheet is usually a PDF you can email conference organizers, or you can offer it as a download from your website. This step is optional, since your website and demo video does the job for you.

3. Identify speaking opportunities

So where do you find speaking opportunities?

Here are 4 places to check:

  1. Software Conferences: Some of the most important conferences are organized by software companies. If you’re a Salesforce partner, you could speak at Dreamforce. If you’re a MySQL partner, you could speak at one of their HeatWave events.
  2. Industry Associations: Industry associations always put on industry conferences. If you specialize in software for the agricultural industry, the Western Growers Association might be ideal for you. Or if you focus on big data, the Data Management Association might be the place for you.
  3. Meetup.com and Eventbrite: Meetup and Eventbrite are the two most high-profile event platforms out there. Check out the cities and topics that interest you.
  4. Industry podcasts: Look for podcasts that specialize in your niche. 

4. Prepare and deliver your talk

So you’ve contacted the industry association or corporation. You’ve been booked to speak. 

Now it’s time to prepare your talk.

How do you do that?

  • Don’t bore your audience: That’s cardinal rule number 1. Make sure you identify success stories and personal anecdotes you can share. Provide interesting graphics. Make sure you practice your delivery.
  • Open with a story: The best way to open your speech is to open with a story. The best stories illustrate a before and after scenario. Before, your customer was losing money and customers. After your amazing solution, they grew by 238% and received great reviews.
  • Use slides with images, not words: Don’t write your speech on your slides. That’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, use interesting images to punctuate your point.
  • Practice, practice, practice: You don’t want to be reading from your notes. You want to know your talk so well, that you don’t even have to look at your deck. Instead, engage with individual members of your audience. Hold their gaze for a few seconds before focusing on somebody else.
  • Close with a call to action: A call to action is not “hire me.” A call to action is to give them specific action steps to implement what you just taught them. And then you can say: “And if you need help with this, email me…”

Next Steps

Public speaking is a powerful tool to start raising your profile in the U.S. market, establish trust and authority, and get in front of potential customers.

  • To get started, research conferences, webinars, and podcasts that align with your niche and new category.
  • Build your speaker website, create your demo video, and develop a one sheet. 
  • Practice your speech to improve your speaking skills. Toastmasters is a great organization for that.
  • Start contacting event organizers or podcast hosts, and fill your calendar!

In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll talk about how to use social media – with a difference.