~by Deb Bixler~
Becoming a public speaker is something that many aspire to but few take action on. Whether you are a direct sales consultant who would like to speak for leads, or a leader and a trainer ready to take that next step, getting that first speaking engagement on the calendar may be daunting.
Get Your First Speaking Gigs
The simplest – and most foolproof I might add – way to date your first speaking engagement is to reach out to local clubs and groups who have monthly meetings and offer yourself as a free speaker.
Every Kiwanis, Lions Club, Junior League, and Women’s Club features special entertainment at every meeting. Many of them often meet monthly or even bi-weekly.
It is easy to get invited as a free speaker to these clubs! Once you get invited to one and do a great job, then others will begin to call you because most club members belong to more than one club.
Here is what you do:
Know your topics – I am sure you do already, but it is a good idea to have several topics you can speak on. These do not have to be related to your business. Actually, they can be anything that you are skilled at, whether that’s a hobby or business skill.
- Write out your speech titles and a quick one-line description or subtitle. (Don’t write the speeches!)
- Do a Google search using your county, state, and service clubs. (Like this: Augusta County, VA, service clubs)
- Start dialing for your first job!
Most likely the results on your search will bring up many groups as well as a directory of groups. Some will have phone numbers and some will not.
When you start calling, chances are you will not get the right person. Just tell them you heard that the group was looking for meeting speakers and you would like to offer your services.
They may send you on to someone else, in which case you reference the referral in your call. “Larry asked me to give you a call; he said you were looking for meeting speakers. What kinds of topics do you usually look for?”
Let them tell you what they usually do, then pick one off your list that is as close to the topic as possible.
Once you have a date, be sure to ask questions that give you the information that you need:
- What is the time allowance?
- At what point during the meeting is your time allocated?
- Can you do a prize drawing and give away something to the guests?
The time question is key because the meeting often has a specific agenda. You could be given a small slot, but anything is better than nothing. You must honor their time!!
The prize drawing is your lead-gathering technique. A speaker always shares their bio, and then it is appropriate to sprinkle your services into the talk as long as you are not too sales-y.
Go early, make friends, do a drawing, stay after and make more friends, knock their socks off with your presentation, and ask for referrals!
Keep adding more free speaking gigs to your calendar!!! You are now an experienced speaker and it is only a matter of time before paid events will come your way.
Meet the Author: Deb Bixler
Deb is a direct sales success story in the most classic sense! She used the technique of becoming a free speaker to find leads as a tool to quit her full time job using a home party plan business. Her Cash Flow Show party plan website, CashFlowShow.com, was named as one of the top 3 blogs for direct sales consultants worldwide and the Cash Flow Show Radio is on the list of 2012 & 2013 list of “Must Have” items for the industry.
Visit the Cash Flow Show website for more party plan sales tips.