Back in my early years, I worked at a photo lab. One of the things I had to learn how to do was to size photos for commercial purposes. For these photos, it was all about proportion, and learning how to use a proportion wheel, which is a tool graphic designers use so images don’t get distorted when they get resized.
Many people tried to teach me how a proportion wheel worked, but it all went in one ear and out the other. Finally, one person explained it, and something about the way they explained it clicked, and at last, it made sense.
How does this relate to speakers? There are many people who speak about the same topics… time management, holistic health, public speaking , etc. But not everyone does it in the same manner, or zeros in on the same aspect of the topic. This is what makes each of us unique. This is why it’s so important for us to find our niche. Our niche is our opportunity to become recognized, known, and accepted as an expert.
Many people are afraid that having a niche will disclude them from other speaking opportunities because now they’re too specific. I get that. So let me narrow it down a bit more using myself as an example.
You all know that I’m a public speaking coach. Many of you have heard me say, “If you want to be the next million-dollar paid speaker on every major stage, I’m not your gal! BUT, if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to speak at local events, conference and association meetings, and the like, to share your expertise… then YES. I’m definitely here to help you reach your goals. That’s my niche.
My niche is not helping speakers prepare for TED Talks, or sales presentations, and I’m good with that. I love my niche. I get to speak and work with more people who fit right into the niche where I spend most of my time!
Event planners and program managers appreciate speakers who can confidently claim their niche too. There’s no mystery about what that speaker is going to talk about, or concerns that the speaker is going to go off-topic into an area that you didn’t discuss up front. Speakers who claim their niche deliver better too.
- They’re more confident.
- They know who their audience is.
- They know what their audience needs.
- They know how to deliver it.
- And they do it with their own unique spin that makes them memorable.
Speakers are very much in demand these days, which explains why there are usually several speakers who speak about a specific topic. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. As speakers, claiming our niche makes it so much easier to confidently share our expertise within our topic. We get to decide how we want to share it too.
It’s like I said at the beginning. Many people tried to explain the proportion wheel to me. None of it stuck until one person explained it in a way that made it easier for me to hear and understand. Once you’ve claimed your niche, it will also be easier for you to explain to an event planner how it positions you to talk to their audiences about their “proportion wheels” in ways that will make sense to them.
‘Til we speak again….