As a professional speaker it is really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your genius and expertise is going to be what gets you onto stages.
Obviously you need to know what you’re talking about if you are pitching yourself as an expert. But that’s not nearly enough.
In order to actually get booked your number one job is to be the simplest person to work with. Remember, nobody gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says “today I want to deal with someone who is a pain in the butt.”
Meeting planners are responsible for organizing events and finding speakers that fit their specific needs. So you need to make yourself an attractive choice in order to push them towards a “YES.”
By making yourself more appealing to decision-makers, you increase your chances of being selected to share your message and grow your business.
Here are some simple strategies you can use to make yourself more appealing to meeting planners:
Know your audience – Before you reach out to a meeting planner, research their organization, the event, and the audience demographics. Understand their goals and objectives and how your expertise can help achieve them. By showing that you’ve done your homework, you demonstrate your commitment and interest in their event. One of the best ways to do that in the ASSC is to watch our Conversations with Association Executives. In this series of over 40 interviews, Ed Rigsbee goes deep with decision-makers on what they are looking for in their speakers and the best ways to get on their stages!
Create a compelling message – Your message should be clear and focused, highlighting your expertise and the value you bring to the audience.
But the emphasis shouldn’t be on you. Instead you need to make the case for how you intend to help the audience solve their problems or achieve their goals. If you do that, then pitch is more likely to resonate with the meeting planner.
Provide a strong online presence – I can’t stress this enough, your website, social media profiles, and online content should be professional and showcase your expertise, credibility, and professionalism.
If you visit our speaker video showcase, you’ll see examples of how our members are creating authentic, informational showcases to demonstrate their style and show off their content. This is different than a sizzle reel.
Use high-quality images, videos, and testimonials to highlight your speaking style and the impact you’ve had on past audiences.
Offer customization – I’ve often joked that a great speaker can customize their expertise to match the theme of any event. Meeting planners appreciate speakers who can customize their content to fit the event’s specific needs.
The more you emphasize your ability to customize your topic to the event’s theme, goals, and audience – the more impressed the planner will be..
Provide value beyond the stage – Planning an event is not easy. As a speaker, what can you do to make the planner’s life easier? Meeting planners value speakers who can offer additional value beyond their presentation. Offer to participate in Q&A sessions, meet-and-greets, or social media campaigns related to the event.
What about providing a pre-event webinar or series of promotional videos? This doesn’t just help the event planner, it also gets people excited for your actual presentation and can help deliver a full house.
Build relationships – Planners are like everyone else they work with those they know, like and trust. But too many speakers don’t work on the soft skills necessary to become successful.
Networking with meeting planners, event organizers, and other speakers can help you stay top-of-mind and generate new opportunities. Attend conferences, events, and trade shows, and be open to collaborating and sharing resources.
Remember, meeting planners are looking for speakers who can deliver value, engage their audience, and make their event a success. By showcasing your expertise, customizing your content, and offering additional value beyond the stage, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and become a sought-after speaker.