Fall is here! People are back from vacation, school has started, we’re all shifting back into business mode, and it’s the perfect time for you to take a strategic look at the next few months. I know there’s a lot going on for speakers at this time of year because everyday my inbox is filled with upcoming events that will feature speakers of every kind! The question is: Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunities that are perfect for you?
I’m always talking about the value of having a signature presentation. Having one makes it easier for people to talk about you and your topic, and that helps you get more invitations to speak. But is your signature presentation up to date? When was the last time you did some online research on your topic? Are there other people covering your topic now too? Is there new research available that you could add to your presentation to make it even more impressive? Are there changes you know you should make but have been putting off? Fall is a great time of year to do this kind of work.
Or maybe you’ve written a book, or are ready to start expanding your presentation into training seminars, workshops, etc.—which is always a great idea when your topic is in demand. This is also when networking can make a huge difference in the number of invitations you’re going to get. After all, if the people searching for speakers don’t know you’ve been expanding and broadening your horizons, they won’t be calling or emailing you with invitations.
So let’s circle back to the title question: What does Fall have to do with your speaking schedule? Everything! People are planning their event calendars and looking for speakers, and this is one of those times of year when networking invitations are plentiful. People are talking about the networking groups they’re going to, and you’re probably finding invitations in your email inbox. They won’t all be a good fit, so do some research to figure out which ones are. Start online. Do they have a FB page? Are they on Meetup? Can you see who's attending their meetings? Do a healthy number of people attend their meetings/events?
Choose a couple that are a good match for your potential target audience and RSVP that you’ll be attending. If it’s a group you feel your signature presentation would be of benefit to, reach out to the group administrators to introduce yourself and let them know you’ll be attending. You can even reach out to people you want to meet and send a message letting them know that you’re attending the event too, and that you’re looking forward to meeting them. If the group has a speaker scheduled, it will give you the opportunity to determine if your signature presentation might be right for this group. And whether it is or isn’t, while you’re there, always remember to be respectful of the fact that networking is a two-way street.
The last thing I have to say about taking advantage of this time of year is that a lot of your competition will be waiting until January of next year to take stock. Taking advantage of fall’s momentum means you’ll already be up and running, and very possibly, your calendar will already be full of bookings they’ve missed out on!