As speakers, we have a fine line to walk. We have to be able to translate our expertise to our audiences in a way that doesn’t feel like we’re always bragging or tooting our own horn. But we definitely want event planners to know we’re the experts we’re claiming to be too. If we fail at either of these, we aren’t going to be invited to speak.
The solution is to make sure we’re taking advantage of the opportunities we’re presented with when it comes to claiming our status as an expert in our topic/niche. Let’s begin with the 3 most common opportunities for sharing our qualifications with event planners and meeting organizers.
- Request/call for speakers: This is an event’s official gateway for finding speakers. There’s usually a formal questionnaire which will include asking for information about your qualifications, what you’re proposing to speak about, and what the audience takeaways will be. Easy-peasy… just follow their instructions, making sure you’ve done a good job of including your qualifications.
- A direct solicitation to a planner from you: Even if you’re the one reaching out first, be prepared to provide the same basic information as you would if you were responding to a request for speakers. Granted, this might be less formal, but that doesn’t mean the person you’re reaching out to won’t want to know what qualifies you as an expert for their audience. At the very least, make sure your Speaker One-Sheet includes compelling testimonials from audiences who appreciated you as both an expert and a speaker.
- Testimonials and/or referrals from a trusted intermediary: Sometimes these are the best introductions we can get because it’s someone else verifying that yes, we are the expert we’re claiming to be, as well as a good speaker.
Each one of the above scenarios requires the same thing… us literally and confidently claiming our expertise. When it comes to audiences, we have to think in a different direction. The last thing we want to do is step on stage and start talking about what makes us so great. Talk about an instant turn-off! Instead, we want to take advantage of 3 subtle ways to share our qualifications and expertise with our audiences.
- Provide well-written presentation info for the event planner that includes your bio, talk title and description, and key takeaways about the problem-solving expertise their audience will benefit from. The planner can then share your information, which will help them draw people to their event and fills seats.
- Craft your own introduction for the person who’s going to be introducing you. Make sure it includes the right balance of information about you and your qualifications, along with a lead-in as to what you’re going to be talking about so you can dive right into your talk. Trust me on this one… if you want an introduction that’s going to highlight what you want highlighted, write it yourself! Most planners will be grateful they don’t have to do the research for you. It’s also obvious evidence they’re working with a pro.
- Use first-person stories in your talk. Stories are often the best way to present your main points. The trick is using these natural opportunities within your talk to show your expertise in action by sharing how you helped a client(s) go from problem to solution. This is an indirect way of tooting your own horn, while also letting people know that this is exactly what you do.
With a little creativity and planning ahead, it won’t matter who you’re speaking to because your qualifications, expertise, and ability to provide a solution for an audience will shine through loud and clear. You’ll also be so much better prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. And that my friend is what’s going to make it so much easier for you to fill your calendar!
‘Til we speak again….