Gotta Gig? Now what!?

i gotta gig timelineCONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU were invited to speak!  
So what’s your topic? Better yet, what’s your title?
“Um…. I don’t have one yet.  What do I need to do?  I was asked to speak on X.”
Can I be really honest with you?  As emerging speakers, we can’t jump out of the gate acting like the pro’s, not just yet. Too many of us do, and we lose so much in referrals, opportunity, AND money!  I’d like to show you how to easily play smarter.  Are you interested?
Since we are ALL emerging speakers here, first let’s own that benefit, and two, let’s put aside all the discussion about fees & contracts for a minute, that come when you are more experienced (we’ll address those in another post). As an emerging speaker – a not yet established or known speaker – we’re all pretty much simply excited that someone’s asked us to speak! Soak that in!  It’s a great feeling.

But now what do you do?

Typically there’s much that goes on in this initial ‘gotta gig’ period if you are a more established speaker dealing with a professional organization, but emerging speakers deal with non profits, volunteer run events, meetups etc. and the process is a little less structured, requiring a leader. Since you are trying to:
  • build a brand,
  • your speaking business, and
  • your credibility,

this is the time you can capitalize on to set yourself apart from the competition AND double-time your results.

The 4 Pillars of a Successful Presentation Process

Your presentation, the prep and Speaking part, is only but a small part of a complete process.  There are 4 main pillars to a successful presentation process, but this post will only focus on Pillar 2, Prep2Perfect.  All four pillars are:
  1. Inquiry2Deal
  2. Prep2Perfect
  3. Prep&Present
  4. Post Event

Pillar 2:  Prep2Perfect

Your presentation, while important, is just crying out for the following steps so you can capitalize on the whole event and get more out of it!
1. Gather all the information about the event: (want an info collection template? click below to optin)
    • Ask if there’s a theme or overriding topic: diversity in the workplace, UI/UX, growth thru volunteering, etc.
    • Ask for the planned agenda, and your place in the mix.
    • What type of talk do they want from you: General session, Workshop, Panel, Class, Presentation?
    • How much time you get?
    • Do they have any video of previous meetings or sessions?
    • How will they be promoting? (Would they like a flyer, promotional copy, etc. from you?)
    • What are they looking for from your presentation? (trying to get to results to be delivered)
    • Are there other speakers? (If yes, who, and what are topics)
    • How many are expected to attend?
    • Ask planner if they would be interested in an article for their newsletter or blog, a pre-event webinar, or a press release.

Gathering all the event info you can up front helps you identify how / where to make the most impact, but more importantly, how to set yourself apart by knowing what your customer is expecting from you.  It also provides you basic presentation prep info.

2.  Identify your end goal, what you’d like from the event.
    • Want to sell your book?
    • Build your experience? Practice?
    • Build referrals? Testimonials?
    • Get clients?
    • Build Awareness?

Identifying what you’d like from the event helps create focus as well as what you need to focus on / put into play to make sure you achieve what you want from the event.  It helps the emerging speaker move from ‘yay! i gotta gig!’ to ‘ok, what do i have to do to get the most from this event?’. See where I’m going with this?

3. Define your audience. Goal is to gather all the intel about your audience.
    • Gather as much general information as possible about who will be in your audience (age, gender, ethnicity (helps with understanding cultural differences), skill levels, etc.)
    • Ask if there are ‘tracks’ (beginner / intermediate / experienced etc) and which you will be leading.
    • What type of talk do they want from you: General session, Workshop, panel. Class, Presentation?
    • Ask planners what they most would like their members to walk away with after the presentation.
    • If possible, look at who RSVP’d to event (through event brite or other tool)).

Having this information will help you gather and create relevant information and stories (see Victor’s post here on are you stale?) and be able to fine tune a presentation you have, or enable you to create a customized presentation for the group.

4. Plan, Research, and prepare for your audience. Goal is to id pain points, challenges, expectations, needs etc. and specific qualities / knowledge about your audience so you can update your speech accordingly.
    • Using the event RSVP list, you can research some of your audience to connect with via social media ahead of time, or include them in your presentation.
    • Look at what the challenges, interests etc are of the group in general.
    • Craft an audience specific title and teaser, share with planner (Create an innovative / odd / conflict creating title with brief summaries  varying in length / style).
    • Connect with group’s social media streams.

Goal is to provide you with a funnel of ideas for audience social media ‘outreach’ to use in the next step.  Also, this provides you with specific information about your audience so you can tailor your information, prepare for questions, look for innovation ways to connect with the audience before, during, and after the event.

5. Identify ways to branch off your presentation topic, to hook audiences members before you get on stage.
    • Create some special posts, intro information, webinars,  specifically for this group.
    • Announce your gig on your channels.  Share some information about the group.
    • Create a press release.
    • Knowing information about your audience types / members, you can create challenge / topic specific posts to release prior to you getting on stage.
    • Create the perfect combinations from concept to content – think out of the box, and look for ways to tie into your portfolio of material/skills, audience, group, event, etc.
    • Crowdsource* some of your content!

Goal is to create information and ways to get your audience members to connect with you prior to the event and to get on your email list and / or as a part of your social networks.   All of this information will be used in steps 6 and 7.

6. Build your list currency.  Using the information created above, you will use and implement to have audience members / group members connect with you prior to event.
    • Create a special email list bucket for this event. (Make sure you invest in and are signed up for the right email program).
    • Create an email optin link / landing page (do for each event so you can tell which event and pre-event content is most productive).
    • Use link in posts, emails, webinars, or other content created above.
    • Lure with free content, videos, lessons, challenges, tips, templates, etc.
    • Bonus use: Create an challenge during your presentation, encouraging a text sign up to list via a product give away.

This is one of the most powerful steps where most emerging speakers fail and do not take advantage of enough to connect more with the audience and move these people to ‘their list’.  Implementing this step will immediately begin building your social currency.  Having posts or articles for the group to publish for you enhances your exposure, and allows you to have an author’s box which can drive connection and interactions. Offering or volunteering to do intro or related webinars prior to the presentation enhances your list build, connections, and interaction with the audience.  You can create more ‘sharing’ opportunities for the group.

7. Connect and update.  Build event and presentation buzz.
  • Create autoresponders for all your new list members, from welcome emails to lesson give aways to teasers to updates and / or presentation feedback.  Possibilities are endless but requires thought and preparation.
  • Send emails to your audience ahead of time and after, encourage participation on social media channels, to share material, to poll / survey audience before getting on the stage (promising to answer questions, or deliver results, during the presentation)

You’ve taken the time to build your list before your presentation, now encourage growth, interaction, and gather more attendee information.  Know what topics interest and what doesn’t – use that to your advantage.

8. Develop and grow relationships through interactions and connections.
  • As people connect with you on social media, and on your email list, look at what interests them, what they engage with, respond to – all good info for your presentation.
  • Build relationships by commenting and interacting.
  • Do some polls or ask questions.
  • Congrats! you now have a list you can sell to, get feedback from, and more importantly, testimonials from! When you’re presenting you can just focus on delivering a great presentation and not collecting cards or getting people to sign up for your email list / newsletter.

Congrats! You have now built up a larger list before you’ve even stepped on stage!  And – you will most likely have more names on that list than if you just tried to collect at the event.  After the event, you can request testimonials or have people comment, ask questions automatically.

To get all these tips on a helpful infographic, and to get the videos and info for the rest of these tips, click here: ‘get infographic’.  As a SPECIAL BONUS for my fellow emerging speakers, I’ve also done a corresponding event timeline template  for you to use at your next event.  You can get the event timeline template with instructions here.  If you are interested in receiving the corresponding weekly lessons about the pillars and steps above, feel free to opt-in here, and get your Speaking BizDev Manager right to your inbox.

This is your time:

  • to build credibility,
  • to increase awareness, and
  • to take control of your speaking career and / or your business.

Take control of your success!!! Using the time before your presentation strategically is time well spent.  Share some of the things you do before the presentation to build your presentation success.

Cheers to you for taking steps to build your budding emerging speaker business!


* special bonus video lesson for forward thinking speakers who optin for the templates.


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