3 Things Great Speakers of Tomorrow are Doing TODAY
Standing out in the world of professional speaking is similar to a pool table run meaning it’s equally as important to set yourself up for the next shot (or speaking opportunity) as it is to sink the eight ball in the corner pocket. Today’s top speakers are constantly looking for ways to reinvent themselves, to evolve with the business, and to stay on top of what clients are, and will be, looking for. The following steps are essential if you want to get to (or remain at) the top of our chosen walk of life.
1. Put some razzle in your video’s dazzle. Set aside 30 minutes to size up the competition. This doesn’t mean we need to expose our fangs and snarl as we pass them backstage, or show up to their book signings in disguise while secretly taking photos of their marketing materials. It does mean we need to stay on our toes and be aware of what others are doing and offering. Take some time to check out the websites and demo videos of speakers that inspire us to take our own videos up a notch.
Also, make sure your speaking video shows you on a stage speaking. Your speaking video should highlight your stage presence, as well as give insight to your content. Get footage of every presentation you do, big or small. This allows you to watch the tape later, and make notes of what does and does not work. Also, do not use your first or second talk as your demo. Allow yourself some time to find your groove. Work out the kinks and find your true speaker identity before you offer it to the world.
Next, add a professional voice-over to your video. All voice-over artists have solid online demos that you should check out before selecting the person that is right for you. If there is a radio personality in your hometown whose voice and style you’ve always enjoyed, I’d encourage you to contact them through the radio station and offer them the job of recording your voice-over on a freelance basis.
Finally, when it comes to your video, I am a huge fan of the sit down interview. Answering two or three questions 60 Minutes-style provides a new aspect to a demo that makes potential clients stand up and take notice. The segments should be of the short sound bite variety so as not to make your video seem long and drawn out. Snippets of your speaking style with your name and title chyroned in the bottom third of the screen (speaker, author, leadership expert, sales trainer, etc.) are the most effective.
2. Become globally accessible. Skype was a game changer. It took international long distance charges off the table and with just a few clicks, allowed us to virtually be face-to-face with friends, family, clients and colleagues on the other side of the world. Then came Viber. Like Skype, Viber lets you connect with other Viber users anywhere in the world via text, call, or through location services at no charge. The app is free and also allows you to share photos.
3. Make travel easier for you and for them. Consider joining every rewards program you can, cashing in miles for upgrades on longer flights, checking as many bags as possible, booking hotel rooms on lower floors, and valet parking. You can also offer meeting/event planners a flat travel fee in addition to your speaking fee. It’s one less detail the booker needs to worry about. Sometimes being easy to work with is what closes the deal. By tacking an additional $500-$1,000 (depending on the location and duration of the event) onto your rate, the buyer can breathe a little easier knowing the responsibility of booking air travel, ground transportation and hotel now falls onto your shoulders. You’ll then have the option of staying at a preferred hotel and flying your preferred airline, thus enjoying the benefits of the aforementioned rewards programs. Everyone loves to find ways of making life easier, and a flat travel fee does just that for everyone involved in the booking of a speaker.
In order to dig in and set ourselves up for the long haul as a professional speaker, we constantly need to be looking out onto the horizon. We must always be on the lookout for ways to “up” our game, and that includes staying up-to-date on technology and current trends in our niche industry. Content will always be king when it comes to our profession, but presentation and professionalism serve as equal queens of the castle. In an industry where our big mouths take center stage, keeping our eyes and ears open can be the ticket to a prosperous tomorrow.