Some platform personalities command a small fortune to speak at a conference. Maybe you wish that was you. Or maybe speaking to a room full of strangers sounds like your worst nightmare. But wherever you fall on this spectrum, public speaking—even for FREE—is a valuable opportunity.
Why should you take the plunge and bring your platform to the stage?
It’s About Influence, Not Speaking Fees
We won’t be shy about it: public speaking can be lucrative. In 2018, Harvard Business Review and Dorie Clark published a set of fee guidelines for speaking. Rookie speakers, she says, could earn $500–2,500 for a speaking engagement, ranging to over $20,000 for those who are well-known and successful in their field.
However much you get paid to speak, the truth is, getting the undivided attention of hundreds (or thousands) of people for 20 minutes to an hour is an opportunity that should cost you money. There is simply no better way to establish a connection with your audience. And isn’t that what building a platform is all about—connection?
When you speak to a room full of people, your personal stories take on more weight. Your personality comes through more clearly, and you become more relatable. And the affirmation, or applause, you receive from the room has a far more vibrant effect on your morale than any amount of Facebook “likes” ever could.
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In short, public speaking is a fast track to connecting with your audience and building influence.
But even better than that, speaking generates high-quality leads for your online platform. As we’ve often discussed, building your email list is the most powerful tool in your platform toolbox. Now, imagine the impact of nailing a great speech, hooking the audience, and then inviting them to head to your website and sign up for your all-important email list.
Finally, if you have books, resources, or products for sale, you can invite the audience to come meet you in the lobby or front room, deepening this connection even more and generating some revenue in the process.
The best part? All of this is possible whether you are new to public speaking or a seasoned veteran.
Not All Opportunities Are Created Equal
That doesn’t mean you should always be willing to speak for free, but you should widen your perspective to value stages based on the opportunity to reach your target audience in the room.
That also means not all stages are equal, because if you’re targeting moms of young children you’re probably not reaching them in a room full of financial service executives at an event.
Either way, you need to get started. Here’s how to take the step from the audience to the stage yourself:
- Clarify. Get crystal clarity on the types of events that your target audience would go to (ask them, or get inside of their head).
- Participate. Go to one of these events with the sole purpose of making notes on how your talk could fit in.
- Ask. Reach out to the event organizer, and ask about their speaker selection process (let them know you’re interested in speaking next year).
- Connect. Get on stage, share your story, and call the audience to action by joining you afterward!
Getting on stage isn’t magic. If you take away anything from this post, it’s that public speaking is attainable—if you want to do it. And you should want to! You have the opportunity to connect on a deep, personal level to hundreds, if not thousands, of people at a time and funnel those new connections into your online platform.