1. It puts you in a position of authority. Chances are, you have a story to tell about what you have learned in building your own business. Speaking gives you a chance to share that story with people who may be facing the same struggles you have faced, and can help position your business as a success story that others can learn from, regardless of your industry.
2. Networking is easier as a speaker. People want to talk to you and share your point of view. Being a speaker also helps you network with other fellow speakers on a level playing field. Ultimately, that means you’ll probably make better connections that are more likely to lead to real results, like partnerships or sales.
3. Speakers eat and attend for free. Not that you care that much about a free lunch, but speaking at an event does mean that you often get hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of registration fees waived and have the chance to attend a great learning and networking event at no cost.
4. Potential media coverage and PR. Speaking at an event can also help you to get media exposure and coverage from local or national media, as well as online on blogs and social media. You never know who may be in the audience at an event searching for their next story.
So assuming you’re convinced, the next question you’re probably wondering is how to land a speaking gig if you have never done it before. The absolute easiest way is to use a technique I like to call “panel surfing.” Essentially all this means is that you search online or in your local media for an event on a topic that relates to your business that is approximately 2-4 months in the future.
Once you find one, go through the schedule and find a panel that doesn’t seem to have all their participants finalized. Then email the conference organizers or the moderator of the panel and offer a well reasoned pitch for why you’d be great as part of it. Presto, you’re in! And just in case that doesn’t work, most conferences accept speaking proposals via an online form or email before the event – so keep looking and eventually you’ll find the right fit.
Assuming you do, and manage to get the speaking slot – check out an earlier post I did about “9 Ways To Stand Out As A Conference Or Tradeshow Speaker” for some ideas on how to make the most of it. Good luck!
Rohit is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy, one of the largest agencies in the world. He is author of the best selling new marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide for small business on how to be more authentic, keep your customers and inspire your employees, which has been published globally in 8 languages.