I don’t think of myself as a speaker. I’m more of a business professional/ trainer/teacher who likes to help people achieve their speaking goals. But something happens once you’ve created products and services you’re excited to offer. It’s like you have a moment, an AHA moment when you realize that putting yourself in front of people is the next step . . . literally the best step for people to learn more about you and how you can help them achieve their goals. This is a good thing because it’s all about your audience, right?
The idea of creating an event for speakers had been in my mind for quite a while, and after co-leading the Signature Presentation Workshop last October, I realized it was now or never for me. But that’s the way it is for many speakers. One day you realize it’s time to get in front of more audiences. The difference for me was that I didn’t focus my efforts on looking for individual speaking gigs. Instead, I decided to offer my expertise directly to my audience by organizing my own event. The first meeting took place this past Jan. 12th, and DAMN! it went really well. 🙂
Hosting your own event might seem complicated, but like most things, it comes down to planning. I already knew the basics of planning an event, and now I’m sharing them with you. This way, when you have your AHA moment, you’ll know how and where to begin.
1) Pick a date and time for your event. Take out your calendar, grab your event to-do list, and start determining your done-by dates. This is a powerful action because once you have your date, your event is REAL. Just make sure your deadlines are realistic and completely within your control.
2) Decide on your audience. How many people would you like to attend? Do you want to start with a small group—like 5 to 10 people? Or are there 50 people ready to come to your event?
3) How long will your event last? Think about the flow of your event. The major components will be: set up + pre-event networking + your time on stage + post-event networking + breakdown. You can even sneak “biology” breaks in if necessary. Add up those time increments, add a 15-minute buffer on either end, and now you know how long you’ll need to book your venue for.
4) Decide if you want to offer refreshments. Is your event taking place during mealtime? Do you want to offer coffee/tea and light snacks? Who is going to be responsible for this? You? The venue? A caterer?
5) Decide your budget. You have two budgets to consider. The first is your event budget. The second is the budget for things you’d be spending money on even if you were speaking at someone else’s event, such as gas money and printing costs.
6) Consider staffing needs. Yes, it’s your event, but don’t try to do it all on your own, especially the first time. Think of one or two people who might be able to help so you can concentrate on your audience.
7) Get the word out! Come up with a plan and timeline for letting people know about your event using email, invitations, social media, etc.
8) Find a venue that meets your needs and your budget. Consider items such as location, parking, building access, technology needs, furniture, kitchen access, etc.
9) Figure out what kind, if any, insurance you might need. Bet you didn’t expect that one! But yes, you may want or need liability insurance. Your venue might even require it.
This is a solid list to start with. You don’t have to follow it in order, but you do want to address each item. Then it’s time to put your speaker hat back on and prepare just as if you were the speaker—because you are!
Creating and executing your own event—even if it’s for 5 people—is an excellent way to boost your confidence, increase your reach, and show how sincerely committed you are to sharing your expertise with your peeps to their benefit. And now you know it’s not as daunting a task as you thought. Remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own. And when you’re ready, if you’d like some guidance or assistance with planning your own event, I’m here to help.